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rofer


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[*] posted on 2-1-2016 at 08:03 PM
Ice testing


Living in Pittsburgh doesn't give me a lot of options for kiting. So far my best bets have been spots along Lake Erie (2.5-3.5h away) or one large park (2h away). However, the winter has got be excited because nearby lakes which may not get enough wind in the right directions to use normally should be great spots for snowkiting.

I'm wondering what the best practices are when it comes to testing the ice when out on a frozen lake.

I currently watch the temperature and check the ice reports on Ice Shanty (an ice fishing site) before I'd even consider going out. If those look good I have a pair of ice screws I can use both to aid self-launching/landing and to test the depth. However, I'm not sure how often is often enough.

Ideally I'm hoping to travel around a mile crosswind from my launch and back, but I can't imagine any way I could do remotely comprehensive testing of that long of a run. Is the usual practice to just test a few spots and then just pay attention to your surroundings as you go?




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skimtwashington




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[*] posted on 2-2-2016 at 04:51 AM




Test as much as you can starting several+ feet from shore edge and then 20 feet out from that and then again. Increase to every 50-100 ft after that and continue until at least 500- 1000 feet off shore, perhaps...and you may even test from a few different shore/bay locations if possible.


The first hole is most important an determines if it's safe enough to go farther out to make 2nd....and so on.

Get accurate measurement...whatever you use.

Notice what quality of ice, notice variations in surface, and even notice the terrain surrounding the lake- like streams(inlets) hills, vegetation- some which can make ice thinner closer to shore.

if you know the recent ice history it helps...ex: my lake was half open water before it all froze so last area to freeze likely is thinner. Sometimes a demarcation line will exist between old and new freeze. Either avoid or test that area before proceeding.

No, you can't test every area, nor every 100 ft or 100 yards over a mile... its not practical. But if you have tested what you can and the thickness is generously safe, you can be fine. If it's marginally safe don't do a mile out run, stay locally to area tested.....or don't go on the ice at all.

Don't necessarily put 100% trust in any report. Better to do some testing yourself.

Always have self rescue gear(ice picks) ...plus things like phone, whistle, flotation vest(wear this).Wear all synthetic clothing only .




Side-story:

Sometimes after determining the ice is safe and going on a big town's lake that hundreds of cars drive around, and that folks walk around, bystanders may make a determination for you- that the ice may not be safe(perhaps because they see open water down a mile away on far side)- and make lots of call to the police and an officer will come down to visit you and call out to you from shore when/if you get near shore.....


...or it happens to me anyway! There's more to this story...:rolleyes:


Be safe and have fun!
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Feyd


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[*] posted on 2-2-2016 at 04:53 AM


When we scout ice we drill 1" diameter holes every 30' in a grid pattern of the area we intend to use. Sometimes wider spacing or tighter depending on situation. We also drill larger holes at key spots, depending on the lake topography, where we will send cameras down to get images of the ice layers to determine the quality of the ice, how it formed and how long it should remain viable.

Ice shanty is a decent reference but be aware ice fishermen, not always the most safety minded. :P

Find the lake survey maps for the body of water you intend to ride and see where the inlets/outlets are and make note of it as they are higher risk areas. Find out where the springs and other features that may inhibit ice formation.

This winter is not a winter where you want to take chances. I've seen a number of Nordic skater and ice boaters, driven nuts by the lack of winter, go on ice that I won't trust. Just because the ice is 4-5" thick, doesn't mean its good. When the ice starts to bow under you in the afternoon its just a matter of time before you find a spot that breaks in my experience.

Check out our page on ice safety.

http://www.hardwaterkiter.com/ice-safety-information.html


Here's a link to Bob Dills page. A great source of ice knowledge.

http://lakeice.squarespace.com




Chris Krug-Owner @ Hardwater Kiting. Authorized Dealer of Ozone, HQ and Flysurfer kites.
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[*] posted on 2-2-2016 at 05:09 AM


A guy just died in my area. He went in a pond to rescue his dogs and went through. Looking at the news pictures, it was obvious the ice wasn't safe where he went in so I'm guessing maybe he thought he could touch if he went through. It must not take long. They found him with his sunglasses still on.
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dangerdan




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[*] posted on 2-2-2016 at 05:31 AM


Let me guess.. The dogs survived.




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ssayre




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[*] posted on 2-2-2016 at 07:00 AM


Quote: Originally posted by dangerdan  
Let me guess.. The dogs survived.


I don't know. Last reported was they were not found. I don't know what type of dog they were either.
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Feyd


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[*] posted on 2-2-2016 at 08:16 AM


Sucks when stuff like that happens.



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skimtwashington




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[*] posted on 2-2-2016 at 05:44 PM



With all I said or suggested, I left out how much harder it is to investigate conditions with a complete or deep snow cover on the ice verses bare ice.

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Feyd


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[*] posted on 2-2-2016 at 06:14 PM


Worst case. Open holes skim and then snow. All looks the same.

And snow KILLS ice production. If the ice is covered, it has to be extended sub zero temps for ice to grow. I've heard people say that snow helps ice get thicker.

DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY.




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rofer


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[*] posted on 2-3-2016 at 07:50 AM


I'm a big fan of the lake ice blog. I've come across it before and it convinced me to wear my drysuit when I head out onto the ice. Before finding it I knew enough to bring ice picks, but I liked his suggestion to under I've armpit and over the other shoulder.

How does ice testing work with a layer of snow? Do people bring shovels out and clear it off?




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Feyd


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[*] posted on 2-3-2016 at 08:53 AM


Yup. We sell and use Snow Claws for both shoveling and for use as a deep snow anchor.

But your best bet is to have an idea what the ice was like before the snow. Or know someone who saw it before it got covered.


One way to improve your odds if you do go through is to ride with a drypack full of a second set of clothing. The pack will help you float and when you extract yourself you can change out of wet gear into dry. But ideally, you just want to stay out of the water all together.



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rofer


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[*] posted on 2-3-2016 at 09:12 AM


A dry pack does sound like a good idea as do snow claws, though I'm hoping a dry suit lets me climb out and then keep going like nothing happened, but there's always a risk of it tearing.

I've mostly been relying on ice shanty to monitor how the ice is developing, but I want to know how to confirm things myself before I actually head out.




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Feyd


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[*] posted on 2-3-2016 at 11:11 AM


Drilling your own holes is the only "sure" bet. We work on the ice so our efforts are a little OCD but the safety of our clients depends on our diligence in checking everything we can. This winter we had several sites where the ice was consistent 6-7" 100m off shore then tapered off to 2" within about 100 feet of the last 7" measurement. You can cross that distance fast on a kite so you can understand why we check such a tight pattern. In broad distances of a couple miles you have to do a sampling every couple hundred feet at least. A power drill makes life easy in someways but dies off fast in the cold. I like using a 7" ice screw with a speed handle. Fast, light and no batteries required. You can use it to gauge ice thickness and the holes tend to be easy to plug. We always plug the holes when we can to avoid flooding the plate. Especially if there is snow weighing things down otherwise you can cause a slush layer.

Ice shanty is a good start. Ideally it helps to make friends with local ice fishermen as they are as interested in the ice as we are and we can share info that they are less willing to share with each other sometimes. Ice fishermen are a territorial lot it seems. :P They are tight lipped about where they go. But we are not looking to fish their spots. :D Also, researching the weather as the ice formed will give some insight as to how good the ice is. Paying attention to the weather is as important for us in terms of ice as it is in terms of wind.

There is no way to completely reduce the risk. But it can be minimized with a bit of effort. Having a place that you get to know well is a huge asset. We have been riding the areas we ride for a long time now and we've got a lot of miles in on them over the years. So the local riders have a good idea of where the higher risk areas are.







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[*] posted on 2-3-2016 at 11:49 AM


I have one of those old Dakine impact vest / harness combination set ups.

It is too big and bulky for summer use on land but is comfortable over my snow clothes. I like having both the impact protection and security of flotation if I go through. It's biggest drawback is it's big and doesn't travel well.




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[*] posted on 2-4-2016 at 08:28 PM


I sell a complete kit for not Falling into a lake through the ice

It is called snowkiting
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volock




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[*] posted on 2-5-2016 at 04:41 PM


We're "lucky" in our state. The couple place worth kiting on for frozen lakes the rangers measure and open/close the entire lake based on safe ice conditions. However because of our occasionally high daytime temps, safe ice has been judged by the state parks to be 10" for anyone to set foot on the ice. I'm glad this thread exists, so I can learn a bit more about what I should be doing were the park rangers not.



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skimtwashington




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[*] posted on 2-6-2016 at 02:12 AM


'Lucky'..?

I don't want someone telling me I can or cannot be on a natural resource that I can't harm...nor telling me what I can or cannot safely do with my own person what is otherwise legal.

As I referred to before, the police have come down to talk to me out on my town's lake...prompted by calls from concerned citizens... or perhaps at times by their own initiative(?)....

...But they can't order me off the ice or 'close' the lake to users. They can only suggest to me that it might not be safe to be out( even though they have no idea on the ice safety at the time- or ever-which they admit.)

I've had one particular police officer try to persuade me to get off ice and go as far as lying and saying a person 'just' fell though the ice(I won't explain how I knew it was a lie)- I remember that intro: "Sir, please drop the ax first.." (I was chopping holes).

"So you aren't coming off the ice? , he asks after I explain it's okay, I am not a fool and test out things.

I say, "No sir... but thank you for coming down. I'll be fine. May I pick up my axe?". "Yeah... okay. Can I have your name?" he asks. I say "I rather not give it..." And he grumbles a little and leaves disappointed and a perhaps even a little mad.

:moon: to him for lying to me. Other police aren't like that and have been quite nice. Thank gosh for my freedom to recreate as I choose.

I would listen to these 'federalists' if they ordered me off:




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[*] posted on 2-6-2016 at 05:23 AM


Live free or die...got it
I've been wondering if Feyd has gotten any of the candidates out




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skimtwashington




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[*] posted on 2-6-2016 at 06:48 AM



Cold weather is making a surprise return to east next week

I don't know if(safe) ice will return around Boston- or my lake.

Might be quite okay up northern NE right now, where Chris is though.

I can wait and hope.

C'mon ice...ice..baby





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[*] posted on 2-6-2016 at 01:11 PM


I'm with Skim on this one. It would be absurd for the local authority in Wisco to say whether I could access a frozen lake or not. Perhaps the only reason being is the property on the water is private. 99% of our lakes have some kind of public access. Winter activities on WI lakes is the norm around me. Everything from snowmobiling, skiing, sturgeon spearing, hockey, car races, kiting and even festivals with live music all done on the frozen water :D:D Oh, did I mention lots of beer drinking? That too:P



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br44




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[*] posted on 2-9-2016 at 06:55 PM


Slightly off-topic but interesting.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-35516211?post_id=102...

Vehicles sink as frozen US 'car parS-P-A-M-L-I-N-K- unexpectedly melts
7 February 2016 Last updated at 14:19 GMT
A frozen lake being used as a car park at the annual Winter Fest event in Wisconsin, US, unexpectedly melted leaving vehicles submerged in the water.
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skimtwashington




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[*] posted on 2-14-2016 at 07:36 AM
Monkey see, monkey don't




Yesterday I checked out my town lake. Been waiting for re-freezing to make lake safe again, after warm spell and melt.

I had checked the snowy end earlier in the day. I found 2-4 inches of a non-clear, 'medium' quality ice. Thinnest was were snow was thickest cover over ice, thicker ice was were it was a bare spot.

I am not comfortable riding or just being on 2 inches.... even if Ice is clear and uniformly thick..and that I am only 155 pounds.

But then I went to the other end where there was no snow and mirror smooth ice.... and to my surprise a half dozen people were on it ...kite winger's and wind surfers with bladed boards.


I ask a regular just off the ice, "how thick is it?"

He says,"Three to four inches".

I go and get my ax to check myself. As I walk on the ice it is clear, and just looking down I can see it doesn't look thick enough. I chop my holes and it is confirmed. about two inches to 2.25 inches....BUT seemingly hitting thin water layer before bottom of ice layer. Water layer? Not good.

I said to him, "I don't feel comfortable on this...I'm not going out." and I left.

Just because the surface is great and others are on it I will not go out there just because they are. My goal is to stick to MY accepted minimum required ice conditions. I go with the 3 inch minimum on clear ice.

I could have been out yesterday and rode-perhaps- without a problem like the others were... but the risks would have been greater than I am comfortable with.

BTW....Set(smashed) a record in Boston with cold this morning....Good!...the ice will thicken up more...
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[*] posted on 2-14-2016 at 08:16 AM


Quote: Originally posted by skimtwashington  


Yesterday I checked out my town lake. Been waiting for re-freezing to make lake safe again, after warm spell and melt.

I had checked the snowy end earlier in the day. I found 2-4 inches of a non-clear, 'medium' quality ice. Thinnest was were snow was thickest cover over ice, thicker ice was were it was a bare spot.

I am not comfortable riding or just being on 2 inches.... even if Ice is clear and uniformly thick..and that I am only 155 pounds.

But then I went to the other end where there was no snow and mirror smooth ice.... and to my surprise a half dozen people were on it ...kite winger's and wind surfers with bladed boards.


I ask a regular just off the ice, "how thick is it?"

He says,"Three to four inches".

I go and get my ax to check myself. As I walk on the ice it is clear, and just looking down I can see it doesn't look thick enough. I chop my holes and it is confirmed. about two inches to 2.25 inches....BUT seemingly hitting thin water layer before bottom of ice layer. Water layer? Not good.

I said to him, "I don't feel comfortable on this...I'm not going out." and I left.

Just because the surface is great and others are on it I will not go out there just because they are. My goal is to stick to MY accepted minimum required ice conditions. I go with the 3 inch minimum on clear ice.

I could have been out yesterday and rode-perhaps- without a problem like the others were... but the risks would have been greater than I am comfortable with.

BTW....Set(smashed) a record in Boston with cold this morning....Good!...the ice will thicken up more...


Good on ya for sticking to your personal standards Skim. Being a Lemming just seems like the last thing you want to be in such settings.

The whole ice thing sort of freaks me out. I'm sticking to dry land covered with snow around here. We have a large reservoir right on the outskirts of town (Jordanelle) with an earthen dam that splits the Provo River into the Upper and Middle sections. It is in the same "wind alley" as my main Snowkiting spot, just a couple of miles South. It freezes first in the fingers but stays open for a long time in the deepest water near the dam. We get a lot of snow here and would never have clean ice underneath the snowpack. I've seen tracks on the lake in the past couple weeks but I for one am staying on land. I read all the ice-related posts here on PKF and have concluded that the snowpack could easily set up a situation where the ice underneath just isn't of great quality.




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skimtwashington




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[*] posted on 2-14-2016 at 08:57 AM



Steve, you're lucky to have any open terrain on land for kite skiing in your area.


I pretty much have to use lakes as a base for kite skiing or kite skating....and with a lake 6 blocks from home...it's a gift.

You mentioned being leery and untrusting of ice in general

Quote:

The whole ice thing sort of freaks me out. I'm sticking to dry land covered with snow around here.




Ice is a fantastic medium to kite on-especially bare ice..... and ice skates are about the most minimal piece of equipment to ride on any surface using a kite. Means you can pack skates and kite in your day pack for easy transport.

If you almost always have snow cover on land , and have wide open land to ride on....then I guess you may never need to be on ice anyway.

But don't summarily dismiss yourself from an ice opportunity. A large lake provides a huge open area for good wind as well as uninterrupted long runs on skis or skates, regardless of wind direction.

You may just need to get comfortable with ice...ice testing...know and practice safe ice protocol, mitigating risk..etc.

But if you are just not comfortable... go alone.... can't get a proper read on the ice(because of snow cover?)..then it is your choice, as it is a little riskier. You can't fall through the land!

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[*] posted on 2-14-2016 at 09:18 AM


Quote: Originally posted by skimtwashington  

Steve, you're lucky to have any open terrain on land for kite skiing in your area.


I pretty much have to use lakes as a base for kite skiing or kite skating....and with a lake 6 blocks from home...it's a gift.

You mentioned being leery and untrusting of ice in general

Quote:

The whole ice thing sort of freaks me out. I'm sticking to dry land covered with snow around here.




Ice is a fantastic medium to kite on-especially bare ice..... and ice skates are about the most minimal piece of equipment to ride on any surface using a kite. Means you can pack skates and kite in your day pack for easy transport.

If you almost always have snow cover on land , and have wide open land to ride on....then I guess you may never need to be on ice anyway.

But don't summarily dismiss yourself from an ice opportunity. A large lake provides a huge open area for good wind as well as uninterrupted long runs on skis or skates, regardless of wind direction.

You may just need to get comfortable with ice...ice testing...know and practice safe ice protocol, mitigating risk..etc.

But if you are just not comfortable... go alone.... can't get a proper read on the ice(because of snow cover?)..then it is your choice, as it is a little riskier. You can't fall through the land!



Skim - all great points. Agree that I'm privileged to have snow covered land and don't need to consider my local ice options. I fully acknowledge that my deal with ice is a personal phobia. I grew up in rural VT on a dirt road and skated a lot on ponds as a kid. I went in about waist deep one time and got pretty freaked (and very cold). A few years later a neighbor lost a really sweet girl about my age under the ice. Found her the next day or day after if I remember right. So... Guess I'm pretty gun shy around ice. When I lived in Sweden in high school we did a lot of long distant ice skating on the ocean but that ice was probably many feet deep.

Bottom line, if I lived in an area without good land-based snowkiting options I'd be right there with you with ax and drills in hand. I actually really admire you ice guys.

As for the whole skates and kite thing I am right there with you. I bought off road skates just before winter set in with that exact thought in mind. Will ride them for the first time next month at IBX.




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skimtwashington




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[*] posted on 2-14-2016 at 09:35 AM



With that history, I now understand.

Speaking of skates-minimal equip riding...

....Your trip to IBX..
...Are you bringing both the XC Trail frame AND the Metropolis SUV frame to use?
The comparison will be interesting.
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Windstruck


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[*] posted on 2-14-2016 at 10:09 AM


Quote: Originally posted by skimtwashington  
....Your trip to IBX..
...Are you bringing both the XC Trail frame AND the Metropolis SUV frame to use?
The comparison will be interesting.


You betcha! I'm most interested to see if a theory of mine holds true. I'm thinking that I will prefer the Metropolis SUV Frameset setup for turning and general maneuverability, but that I will prefer the XC Trail Frameset more for general stability at speed on long straight runs such as are afforded on the playa.

In other threads here on PKF folks with both Wheels of Doom and Coyote experience say that one can carve turns with Coyote skates, but you need to step your turns with Wheels of Doom skates. Also, folks say you can skate yourself out of trouble more easily with the Coyotes.




Kites:
Born-Kite LongStar-2 (3.5m, 5.5m, 7.5m, 9.5m, 12.5m);
Born-Kite NASA Star-3 (1.5m, 2.5m, 3.2m, 4.0m; z-bridled for handle flying)

Buggy:
Peter Lynn Bigfoot+ modified with VTT rail & seat kit (a seriously great performance upgrade), two sets of Sysmic rims (one set with BigFoot slicks for the "beach" of the Great Salt Lake and the other with 6-ply trailer tires for the Ivanpah playa), and BigKidKites AQR (because it keeps me in the bug and in my marriage)

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[*] posted on 2-18-2016 at 08:55 PM
Don't be an axe hole....




There was a warm rain and a refreeze and it was gonna be close call on ice safety today...

So I knew I had to do some lengthy testing and hole chopping.
I checked quality and thickness and walked out long skate route.

Open water only a few hundred yards away.

Because it was clear I could really see the ice depths and drain hole traps. That was VERY fortunate for safety for a new hazard of the season'. But I still chopped 75-100 holes including final track I would kite skate.



And the wind was way UP!

Speeeeeed!

Good morning on favorite little vehicles..

And With 45 minute axe hole ( ice depth) and safety check track walk...

SAFE!!!- the goal.


..Ran off- by kite- to other shore when police car came by shore parking lot where I was coming near .Was it because one of many townsperson that that walks around lake saw me on ice in contrast to the open water in the horizon in front of me- from their high shore view, and thought...danger ..phone call...? Maybe just curiosity and coincidence..?

But maybe...... they were thinking, " Whaaaat ... is this a** hole doing out there!".
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Feyd


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[*] posted on 2-19-2016 at 08:12 AM


Our current conditions.

12+ ice here in the north. That rain smoothed everything out, knocked down the snow and the ice making machine is in full affect. Many places that were open water now are 6" perfect glass.

Psyched.:P

Snapshot - 322b2.jpg - 243kB




Chris Krug-Owner @ Hardwater Kiting. Authorized Dealer of Ozone, HQ and Flysurfer kites.
www.hardwaterkiter.com 518-407-KITE
www.eastsidebikeguides.com
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Windstruck


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Registered: 5-16-2015
Location: Park City, UT, USA
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Mood: Feelin' oh so (single) skinny and Sysmic!

[*] posted on 2-19-2016 at 08:24 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Feyd  
Our current conditions.

12+ ice here in the north. That rain smoothed everything out, knocked down the snow and the ice making machine is in full affect. Many places that were open water now are 6" perfect glass.

Psyched.:P


Get your rip on Chris! :karate:




Kites:
Born-Kite LongStar-2 (3.5m, 5.5m, 7.5m, 9.5m, 12.5m);
Born-Kite NASA Star-3 (1.5m, 2.5m, 3.2m, 4.0m; z-bridled for handle flying)

Buggy:
Peter Lynn Bigfoot+ modified with VTT rail & seat kit (a seriously great performance upgrade), two sets of Sysmic rims (one set with BigFoot slicks for the "beach" of the Great Salt Lake and the other with 6-ply trailer tires for the Ivanpah playa), and BigKidKites AQR (because it keeps me in the bug and in my marriage)

NAPKA Member US2815
SWATK Member UT00003
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