Today was the last day of the Southwest Snowkite Festival at Eagle’s Nest Lake, NM and we couldn’t be more pleased with the way things went. The wind was up every day, the music was bumping, burgers were grilling, and a record number of beginner and advanced kiters were out on the lake having a blast.
Friday opened a little cloudy but the day soon cleared and the wind picked up. Dave cooked burgers and the 10 or so kiters that showed up chowed down before heading out. The snow on the lake was a little thin but everyone had a great time. While intermediate plus kiters ripped up and down the lake on skis and snowboards, a small group of beginners learned to kite on the beach.
On Saturday morning we arrived to a dusting of fresh snow and a brilliant sunny day. Our expectations for turnout were low, so Stuart and I were thrilled to see the parking area fill up and the kiters flood in to the registration booth. The wind was slow to build so I took a group of 15 or more people out to the lake to demonstrate the basics of choosing a safe landing/launching/flying area, how to inflate and rig an LEI kite, how to launch and some wind theory. The group included some great students including the mayor of Albuquerque and his family. As the day progressed the wind built and a new Eagle’s Nest Lake record was set––17 kites flying on the lake at one time. As the sun set, an amazing steady 17 knot wind came up and a few of us got out for a sunset session.
Today we had another glorious sunny day with some solid wind in the afternoon. While John and Stewart taught some beginner classes and a handful of kiters hit the lake, I grabbed an Ozone foil and cruised the hills then tore across the frozen lake. I had been dreaming of a buggy session all weekend and it turned out to be everything I hoped it would be. Free, John and Françoise had an amazing time traversing the entire lake looking for some deeper snow. Our volunteer paramedics followed them down the lake on the wheeler. The sight of their bright kites rising and dipping over the steely blue ice with the peaks in the background was really something.
As the sun set, we headed over to the Lucky Shoe Saloon to catch the end of the Super Bowl and watch Th Damn Band play just for us. What an amazing group!
We’re sunburned and our throats hurt from talking but we’re OK with it because we know we grew the sport in the Southwest. It looks like about 70 people showed up from near and far to see what snowkiting is all about and we were privledged to be able to show them.