Kite Skiing: Tips for Beginners

A few weeks ago and kite skiing friend (Chris – not his real name) mentioned that he was going to sell his kite –
“Why” I asked, “kiting is an awesome sport, what’s up”

Chris, is an emergency room doctor and over the past few months had seen several patients with serious kite skiing related head injuries. For Chris, the thrill of kite skiing was gone, replaced with the fear of a head injury.

As an avid kite skier, I had to know what had caused these injuries, and why were so many people getting seriously injured. Without providing specific details, Chris mentioned that the four casualties were all relatively new to the sport of kite skiing. Thinking back to when I started kite skiing 10 years ago, yes, I did have more accidents. Some of those accidents were due to the sport being new to Yellowknife and the lack of experienced kite skiers, some accidents due to my lack of experience, and other accidents related to doing stunts (e.g. intentionally getting lifted). Also, the kite that I purchased on-line was a whopping 4.9m (square meters). At the time, this was considered ‘far too big, and I would get hurt’. Fortunately, none of my crashes were serious and I quickly gained sills and experience.

Ten years later, I am still using that same kite. The kiting scene in Yellowknife has changed dramatically; more kiters, there is a licensed kite school and the kites are now 12 to 20 meters in area. You can’t even buy a kite as small as mine anymore. Nowadays, the kites are very different in design than my now vintage kite. A suitable analogy would be, my kite as a 1950’s sports car and modern kites akin to a Ford 350; big, powerful and with extra features like cruise control and airbags. Really, those new kites are big and powerful and can actually be flown with one hand !

So, going back to why have there been four serious kite skiing head injuries during the past few months ?. I don’t think we will ever know exactly what happened, and it would not be fair of me to speculate on what happened.

Instead, I’ve created a list of 10 tips to pass on to beginner kite skiers. These are based on personal experience of 10 yeas of kite skiing, and conversations with other, experienced kite skiers.

  1. Always wear a Helmet: Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of brain injury when your head comes down hard on the snow.
  2. Watch the Clouds: Fast moving clouds are a warning that a wind pattern is imminent.
  3. Know your Wind Limit: Know your wind comfort zone and if the wind gets too strong, then pack up and go home.
  4. Watch for Obstructions: Keep your eyes on the path in front of you and do no watch only kite. Hitting a snowbank at high speed can be very painful.
  5. Stay Away from Bare Ice: The metal edges of skis (or snowboards) are not designed for ice. In a strong wind, they will slide out from under you.
  6. Use a Safety Harness: If you suddenly are overpowered by the wind and are out of control, a safety harness, connected to your break lines gives you the ability to completely let go of your kite and it will not blow away.
  7. Learn the Rules of Kite Skiing: Although the link refers to kite surfing, the rules and concepts are the same for kite skiing.
  8. Do Not Attempt Stunts until you have mastered the basic techniques.
  9. Icy Snow, epically after a thaw and freeze cycle is unforgiving. Sharp snow can shred your kite and you, and is really fast. I usually wait until the snow has softened. Your knees will than you.
  10. Get a lesson or two from a licensed instructor.

Have fun.

 

 

Canadian Museum of Civilization (Musée canadien des civilisations)

The Canadian Museum of Civilization (Musée canadien des civilisations) showcases human history and the cultural diversity of Canada. It is also home to the Canadian Children’s Museum, the Canadian Postal Museum, and an IMAX Theatre.

The Museum is located in Hull Quebec, in a architecturally unique building directly across the Ottawa River from the National Art Gallery of Canada.

These panorama and virtual reality images are of (1) the lobby area of the Canada Hall, (2) Canadian Postal Museum, and a (3) “streetscape” of a village in New France.

Click the image to start the virtual reality animation, then, click on icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Click the mouse and drag the screen to move around.

(1) Click on the image below to view the 360 degree virtual reality animation of the Lobby area of the Canada Hall.

(2) Click on the image below to view the 360 degree virtual reality animation of the Lobby area of the Canadian Postal Museum

(3) Click on the image below to view the 360 degree virtual reality animation of a village in New France

Camera gear: Nikon D700 and Peleng 8mm/3.5. Typically I use a tripod or monopod to reduce camera movement, the images for these panoramas were taken free-hand, and as such have more errors. Five pictures were combined to create the panorama images.

National Art Gallery of Canada

The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa houses some of Canada’s best works of Art. I can’t show you the works of Art, since visitors are not allowed to photograph in the exhibition galleries. These images are of the Great Hall.

Click on the image for a larger view.

To view the 360 degree animation click on this image

Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Click the mouse and drag the screen to move around.

This animation requires the Quicktime Player.

Camera gear: Nikon D700 and Peleng 8mm/3.5 handheld. Five pictures were combined to create the panorama images.

Interior View Greenstone Building

The Greenstone Building (also known as Government of Canada Building) was designed as a environmentally friendly building, and was the first building north of the 60th parallel to win a LEED Gold certification. Even from a distance, the four-story Greenstone Building in downtown Yellowknife can be recognized by its unique architecture.
Environmental “Green” features are incorporated at every level of the building, starting at the rooftop with a rain water collection for site irrigation and toilet flushing, solar panels and gigantic ‘towel rack’ (sun shield) on the entire south wall, together with various energy saving devices to decrease its energy demand, such as operable windows for ventilation instead of turning on on air conditioning, triple glazed windows, and high-efficiency mechanical systems to save on energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Materials used during construction include a many re-used materials, include by‐products from burning coal added to the concrete, and carpets created from old carpet fibres and recycled milk jugs and pop bottles.

The interior design is based on Yellowknife’s mining heritage, with stairs representing a mining shaft, and abrupt off-sets on the floor to represent geological faults.

Click on the image for a larger view.

To view the 360 degree animation click on this image

Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Click the mouse and drag the screen to move around.

This animation requires the Quicktime Player.

Camera gear: Nikon D700 and Samyang/Bower 8mm on a 7 foot pole. Four pictures were combined to create the panorama images.

The Yellowknife Dump

From the Legislative Assembly to the Yellowknife city dump.

Scroll down to see the Images

The Yellowknife city dump is probably the only dump in North America where you are allowed to salvage, meaning that what ever you see – you can take home.

On weekends during the summer months the dump can be a busy place with line-ups just to get in. Although there do seem to be ‘professional salvagers’ collecting items of monetary value e.g. aluminum beverage cans, salvagers include persons from all levels of society – the rich and the needy. On a warm sunny day, ‘dumpers’ are known to linger and chat with fellow dumpers and salvagers. The conversation may be interrupted when something catches their eye as it is tipped out of a pickup truck. As times, salvagers have even offered to remove items from your truck even before you get a chance to unbuckle your seatbelt !.

During the past few years, the Yellowknife dump has become more organized. Pay the $5 dollar tipping fee at the entrance gate, and you pass the standard Blue Box recycling bins (tin cans, paper and plastic), to where the fun begins. The paint depot (pick up a can or two of paint – perfect for finishing off that living room wall in …really, what ever color you want), then the ‘white’ appliance area (stoves, refrigerators, hot water tanks etc), the wood area (seriously depleted during the winter !), and the scrap metal area.

Following the road, it goes past the battery collection area up the hill skirting a huge pile of tires to the the main section of the dump. Until a few years ago there was one dumping area for everything else. Now, there is a rotating Three Cell System; Dump Here, Salvage Here and the third area is closed – undergoing renovation (fancy word for bulldozers are in-action making space for next week). The Dump Here area is where you can find anything, and everything; furniture, tools, clothing, musical instruments, building supplies, appliances, toys, TVs, computers, even boats.

To view a 360 degree animation of the Three Cell area click on this image.


Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Click the mouse and drag the screen to move around.

In the wreaked cars area there are piles of cars in various states of dis-assembly. Once sufficiently picked over by salvagers, the wreaks are squishied in square bales for shipping smelters in southern Canada.

To view a 360 degree animation of the car salvage area click on this image

Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Click the mouse and drag the screen to move around.

The Yellowknife dump is so popular, that there is a weekly article in the Yellowknife newspaper (Walt Humphries – Tales from the Dump), and it has been featured on several TV programs, such as CBC Wayne Rostad “On the Road Again”, and numerous magazines including UpHere (One Man’s Junk is Another Man’s Treasure), Canadian Living (Go green: Shopping at the Yellowknife dump), the Walrus (The last great city dump. Throwing it all away in Yellowknife), and the New York Times (Rush to the Garbage Dump: There’s Gold to Be Mined).

We leave you with a final image of the Yellowknife Dump, photographically distorted to resemble a planet covered with wreaked cars.

Camera gear: Nikon D700 and Samyang/Bower 8mm on a 7 foot pole. Four pictures were combined to create the panorama images.

Legislative Building of the Northwest Territories

It seemed like a perfect afternoon to wander through the Legislative Building in Yellowknife NWT.

The NWT has a unique form of government known as Consensus government. The Premier is chosen from elected Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs), and turn chooses the executive council (cabinet) that forms government. The remaining MLAs form the unofficial opposition.

MLAs were elected on October 3rd, 2011, and the process is underway to choose a Premier.

Click on the image for a larger view.

Main floor lobby of the Legislative Building…

Upstairs lobby…

Interior of the Legislative Assembly…

To view the 360 degree animation click on this image

Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Click the mouse and drag the screen to move around.

This animation requires the Quicktime Player.

Camera gear: Nikon D700 and Samyang/Bower 8mm on a 7 foot pole. Four pictures were combined to create the panorama images.

Circle of Friends

It is a tradition that a large number of Yellowknife women organize and participate in their own triathlon. It is not a typical triathlon with race officials, spectators, time clocks and fast transitions. The triathlon includes a 20km bike, canoeing and running events. Among other things, what makes this triathlon different is the lunch break – champagne, caviar, fine cheese, and of course the skinny dip in a secret location !. This photo shown some of this years participants at the start of the event. It is not my best panorama, the ladies were anxious to get going and back-light sun in one of the images washed out one of the photos.

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A circle of friends – ready to go biking…

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Camera gear: Nikon D700 and Samyang/Bower 8mm on a 7 foot pole. Four pictures were combined to create the panorama images.

Folk on the Rocks

These panoramas are from the Yellowknife Folk on the Rocks (FOTR) music festival, July 17th 2011.

Some people in the crowd might look a bit ‘ghosty’….it is because they moved while I was taking the pictures. Next time I’ll ask everyone to ‘Freeze’ while I take the photos ;>

Bird’s Eye Views of FOTR.
Main Stage:

Beer Garden

Fred Penner at the Children’s Stage (Ignore the black area in the top right corner)

Dancing to OKA at the Beer Garden. Click on the image for a larger view. Notice the guy in the blue shirt, black pants and baseball cap – he appears three times in the photo !

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To view the 360 degree animation. Click Here This requires the Quicktime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view.

Fred Penner…and the Cat came back the very next day…” Click on the image for a larger view.

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To view the 360 degree animation. Click Here This requires the Quicktime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view.

Ken Whiteley on the Mainstage.

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To view the 360 degree animation. Click Here This requires the Quicktime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view.

Camera gear: Nikon D700 and Samyang/Bower 8mm on a 7 foot pole. Four pictures were combined to create the panorama images.

Old Town Yellowknife

During a lunch break during a beautiful sunny day, I grabbed my camera and panorama pole and ran up MacEvoy Rock in Yellowknife’s Old Town. The view from the top of the hill includes downtown Yellowknife, and great views of both Yellowknife Bay (center part of panorama), and Back Bay.

 

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To view the 360 degree animation. Click Here This requires the QuickTime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view.

Camera gear: Nikon D700 and Samyang/Bower 8mm on a 7 foot pole. Four pictures were combined to create the panorama images.

Downtown Yellowknife: Corner of Franklin (50th Ave) and 48th Street

Early morning downtown Yellowknife on June 22, 2011. I am standing in the middle of Franklin Avenue. I would not recommend doing this during normal hours. At 5:00 am in the morning there were fortunately not too many cars.

The orange building is YK Centre, blue building is Northern Images (art gallery), and the white office tower is the Laing building.

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To view the 360 degree animation. This requires the Quicktime Player. Click the icon on the upper right corner of the animation to get a full view. Camera gear: Nikon D200 and Nikon 14mm/2.8, Nodal Ninja 5 panoramic head and Manfrotto tripod.

Click Here.