Thursday, February 23, 2017

Kite-skiing in the Fairfield area puts a different twist on skiing and riding

Kite-skiing near Fairfield ... this pic was taken during an annual event several years ago. 
Hi all,

This winter is showing no signs of easing up as we near the end of February this weekend. Temperatures will be taking a dive in the mountains with highs in the low 20s, and lows in the single digits. Even Boise will barely get above freezing on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday looks to be a day of sunshine, even if it will be brisk, and the alpine, cross-country skiing and backcountry skiing should be stellar. That's because the cold temperatures should keep the snow conditions nice and cold for high-quality turns! Don't forget the season pass sales going on at Bogus BasinBrundage Mountain, Soldier Mountain and Tamarack Resort right now -- people who buy early get the best prices and most benefits. Go for it!

In the meantime, I'd like to share a blog post I did for Southern Idaho Tourism this week about kite-skiing in the Fairfield area. This is something I've heard about off and on, but I've never personally tried it. I interviewed Eddy Petranek of Boise, who is not only an expert kite-skier, he also a paraglider and a kite-boarder on lakes and the ocean. He's one of those guys with all the toys and the skills to have fun with them!

Petranek used to give people kite-skiing lessons on weekends in the Fairfield area, but a few years ago, he started a family, so he's been too busy to teach lately. No local lessons or rentals are available at the moment.

The way to plug in with kite-skiers is on SnowkiteIdaho, a Yahoo group.

The bottom line is that a huge snow-covered area on the east side of Cat Creek Summit along U.S. 20 has emerged as the best place to go kite-skiing in the state of Idaho. It's got the open terrain, consistent wind and a lot of clear days to enjoy cruising around in the hills. Petranek has a big kite that carries him some 30 feet into the air.

"It feels like you're in the air for an eternity," Petranek says. "It's a really cool feeling. And then you land like a butterfly."

The ideal thing, it seems, would be to double-up on a day trip to Soldier Mountain near Fairfield and then go kite-skiing. You might stop at the Soldier Creek Brewery in Fairfield for coffee, lunch or dinner. They've got great coffee and food!
Notes: I wanted to share a couple of stories that appeared in the Idaho Statesman's Playing Outdoors section recently:

Have fun!
- SS

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