Looking to take in a weekend of fun, probably unlike anything you’ve ever experienced or seen before? How does a world-class event in your backyard sound? Red Bull Kite Farm, returning to Regina after its successful inauguration in 2015, is a phenomenal event, which showcases the sport, local athletes and the city to local and international visitors.
Last year, Regina welcomed over 100 competitors to face off in this endurance snow kite race - the first of its kind in North America. This year, Aaron Hackel, event director and owner of Explore Sports Inc., anticipates they will welcome 150 riders. A team of 35 dedicated volunteers will be on hand to ensure everything runs smoothly.
[caption id="attachment_11161" align="aligncenter" width="677"] Photo from Jenn Smith Nelson[/caption]
The event isn’t just for spectators; it’s an actual endurance race with international competitors and a slew of homegrown talent who will go head to head. The overall winners in both ski and snowboard divisions will be vying for an all-expense paid trip to Norway to represent North America at Red Bull Ragnarok in April 2016.
Red Bull Ragnarok will draw 330 European athletes for a 100km endurance race, all looking to crown themselves king. Simon Gill from Quebec (ski) and Peter Martel form Alberta (snowboard) were the two Kite Farm winners in 2015. Last year’s world competition at Ragnarok in Norway saw Gill place 13th overall and Martin on the podium clenching an impressive 3rd place.
[caption id="attachment_11159" align="alignleft" width="231"] photo from Explore Sports[/caption]
Kite Farm will take place in the same spot as last year, just outside city limits. The site is three kilometers north on Highway #11 “renowned among Saskatchewan kiters for its rolling prairie terrain and 20’ cliff of powder leading into a frozen creek bed.” From the highway, it’s near impossible to miss all the bright colours of the kites in the sky.
Kite Farm will now begin Saturday, Feb. 27 with Sunday, the 28th reserved as a weather day.
In 2015, the first day of the event greeted riders and brave spectators with 80 kph winds and a complete white-out, making it not only impossible for people to see but for the kiters to ride safely. This thereby forced the competition to take place on day two, when they were blessed with just the right amount of wind.
Though there is almost always wind in our lovely province, the unpredictability of how hard it will gust makes the event planning process a tad difficult. So, if possible, keep the weekend open and hope for just the right wind gusts.
Never heard of kite racing or snow kiting? Well, as mentioned above, we are lucky to have all the elements and conditions here that make for ideal snow kiting. With copious amounts of open space, snow and wind, there are few better places in the world for such a sport. Regina is an absolutely prime location to hold such a race.
[caption id="attachment_11160" align="alignright" width="285"] photo from Explore Sports[/caption]
So who should come to such an event? Everyone and anyone. Besides being completely free of charge, there will be a heated tent and fire pits to keep people warm, food and beverage services and obviously, an exciting race that unfolds across a scenic winter prairie panorama.
Dress in layers as you know just how predictable Saskatchewan weather can be. And, lastly, don’t forget your camera – the skiing/soaring action of the kiters on the open prairie makes for great pics!
Watch this page for race updates closer to the event. Hope to see you there!
Think this is a sport you want to try? Be sure to contact Saskatchewan based Explore Sports Inc., which offers certified PASA (Professional Air Sports Association) and IKO (International Kiteboarding Organization) kiteboarding instructors’ available in Regina and Saskatoon to introduce you, your friends and family to this exhilarating sport. Group lessons are available for up to 20 students.