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Our Alaska: Harnessing the wind

Alaska Dispatch

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Who says mushers and cross-country skiers get to have all the fun this time of year? YouTube user "ChrisontheLake" posted this video from a day spent snowkiting on Big Lake. Developed in Germany and Switzerland in the 1970s, snowkiting (in case you couldn't puzzle it out from the video) involves using a kite and a pair of skis (or a snowboard) to essentially paraglide on snow. As you can see from Chris's video, with a good kite and a bit of a jump, it's possible to get some pretty good air.

In an e-mail, ChrisontheLake (whose name in the non-virtual world is Chris Reynolds) told us: "One day I threw down my skiis and became a snowboarder, and then a wakeboarder, and then a kiteboarder/kiteskiier, and then on to paragliding, and paramotoring. All in progression to more and more time in the air. Flying is the ultimate goal, derived from every childhood dream of flying like a bird. (At least my dreams). Kiting allows you to harness strong winds and (boost) for big hang time, and if you got style, throw a trick. Also pulling you up steep terrain thousands of feet, with little effort, so you can turn around and decend by gliding in the air, back to the bottom of the valley. I live on Big Lake and in strong wind I kite (10-30 mph), and in light or no wind I paramotor (0-12 mph). In the video, I'm kiting with friends Tom and Steve from Alaska Kite Adventures. They are instructors and can be contacted at alaskakiteadventures(at)gmail.com. Like I always say, 'You haven't lived till you've flown.'"

While "Sarah Palin's Alaska" has finished its eight-week run on TLC, Alaska Dispatch continues to take a look at the Last Frontier as it's experienced by residents across the state -- urban and rural, young and old, from all walks of life. You've seen "Sarah Palin's Alaska" -- now welcome to Our Alaska.