Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of this trip has been Snow-kiting. It was a gamble for me to bring my kiting gear half way around the world on the off chance that the conditions would be right for me to try this extreme sport. The was very little info on the internet, but I decided to take a chance.on my first day I took a Metro to a spot where I had seen videos of people snow-kiting.
After exciting the Metro at Strogino (on the Blue line) I had a beautiful walk through the snow covered landscape towards the frozen lake. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the familiar sight of kites in the air!
I now knew where to kitesurf – all I had to do was get myself a snowboard.
Only in Russia – look at what was parked near the lake!
Back onto Google, and I found the name of a outdoor sports shop. I seen on a Google maps mission through multiple metro lines and around 30 mkintues walking until I found the shop:
Just walking around in Moscow to get ones destination is an experience
You will notice I am wearing my outfit chosen by Tracy from a clothing shop in Moscow.
That shop didn’t have snowboards to rent, but with the aid of Google Translate (no one speaks a word of English here) they sent me to the other side of the city. These I found a snowboard that I could rent for around R300 per day – I was all set. Now just to wait for the wind.
I woke up the next day to some wind ratteling the tree outside our apartment. Today was to be the day!
I left the apartment and took the Metro to the board rental shop. I had all my kiting gear on my back, and got some strange looks from the other Metro users. The guy at the shop was in a bad mood and started shouting at me in Russian. He then demanded my passport to ensure I would come back with the board. A little shaken from that experience, I boarded the Metro with all my equipment and my newly rented snowboard.
After a 45 minute ride including changing lines a few times (with all signs in Russian) I arrived at the lake. It was cold, snowing and windy. I was feeling a little nervous.
After walking down to the lake I started to set up my kite. It is very hard to set up in -5 degrees. Your hands freeze as soon as you take them out your gloves.
My gear was set up, a nearby kiter helped me launch, and I was off! It was a beautiful feeling to be carving through the snow and ice. The wind was gusty, but I am used to that from Muizenberg. The technique is almost the same and it is a lot of fun. It was quite scary as the snow and ice is actually quite hard. Much harder than water! I was worried that a bad fall could result in injury. On the snow you also have less ability to provide resistance to the gusts by digging in your edge. Once you are going though, the clean white snow provides a surreal experience.
All in all it was an experience of a lifetime.