Kite-Eating Tree

by Tom Power
(Charlottetown, PE, Canada)

Was hunting around for wind, there was a weather system rolling in, although I wasn't sure when. To my dismay it was getting late in the day.

So I found a field that crisscrossed into adjacent fields with treelines in between. As I rigged my big 15 I realized the wind was picking up. Finally I got it airborne and then realized how icy the snowpack was. After a few vain attempts at trying to avoid going downwind due to not getting an edge I decided to head for home.

As I was transitioning between 2 fields suddenly got a terrific gust sending me and the kite towards a large evergreen. I decided rather than go through I tried to do a 180 but of course that only pulled me up in the air and then 1 line just caught a branch. The kite then arced around the tree and smashed into the next old tattered tree downwind. It destroyed the kite, eating every fiber in it and shredding it!

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Apr 23, 2011
by: Glen -

Hi Tom,

Thanks for sharing this! To this day it still impresses me how much power these kites have, and how easy it is to get lifted.

It's always a challenge picking the right kite size when snowkiting. I have never been able to get out with my 15 m on the snow, simply because the kite is waay too powerful. I'd need an incredible amount of snow in order to provide enough resistance for that kite, even in the most moderate winds. And that's an example of how different snowkiting is than kiting on the water. You don't have to deal with waves and the like, but you do have to deal with different snowpacks. A kite that's working well in the poweder might not work well on the hard pack. If you're kiting on a lake, any bare ice can really throw you off.

And this is why I always make sure to leave myself enough room downwind in case something goes wrong (like the ground gets icy and I can't keep your edge, or I get hit by a gust, or both).

It's too bad that your kite got trashed, but I'm glad you didn't get hurt. Do you think it would have made a difference if you had tripped the safety release instead of trying to maneuver away, or did you just get too close to the tree?

Thanks for sharing!

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