Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Snowkiting weekend on Rice Lake from Jan. 27-29 at Elmhirst Resort

By Brendan Wedley, The Peterborough Examiner
Put on skis, skates or a snowboard. Launch a kite. And start tacking up wind on Rice Lake during the fifth annual Snowkite weekend at Elmhirst Resort on Jan. 27 to 29.

"It's an up-and-coming sport," said Steve Elmhirst, with Elmhirst Resort near Keene, who organizes the annual event.

The kites used for snow kiting are similar to paragliding chutes. They're not childhood-type kites.

They're massive kites that range in size from about 1.5 square metres up to 16 square metres and beyond.

A person attached to a kite uses four lines to steer the kite, travelling perpendicular to the wind — similar to sailing.

Beginner lessons on trainer kites will be available for a $10 fee.

“When you have a kite, all you have to do is launch a kite. It’s excellent exercise. It’s colourful. It’s environmentally friendly.”
- Steve Elmhirst

The $10 fee includes access to the poker run with its prizes and access to the resort's recreation facilities, including the indoor pool, hot tub, sauna, weight room, skiing and skating.

People can learn how to fly a kite, Elmhirst said.

"That's what kite weekend is all about," he said.

The flight lesson is done with a kite that's about 1.5 square metres in size, Elmhirst said.

If participants feel comfortable with kiting after the lesson, they can try kiting while wearing skis or skates, he said, adding the use of skis and skates is included in the $10 fee.

Snow kiting can be done at a leisurely, relaxed pace or it can be an extreme-type sport with skiers and snowboarders doing jumps and flips as they're pulled along by the kite.

Unlike downhill skiing and snowboarding, there's no need for an expensive lift pass, Elmhirst said.

"When you have a kite, all you have to do is launch a kite," he said. "It's excellent exercise. It's colourful. It's environmentally friendly."

Elmhirst encouraged people to show up to watch the snow kiting even if they don't want to take a beginner's lesson.

"It's a great excuse for people to get out and walk around on a nice winter weekend," he said.

The event starts with snow kiting and watching video of snow kiting on Jan. 27. There will be swap table for equipment, a poker run, kite demos and lessons on Jan. 28 and 29.

NOTES: Elmhirst Resort is at 1045 Settlers Line in Keene, about 30 minutes southeast of Peterborough on the north shore of Rice Lake…. The resort's website is www.elmhirst.com.

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