Ice sailing has long been a winter tradition at Indian Lake. Every year when the conditions are just right local, seasoned, gritty sailing daredevils strap themselves into their wooded sled/kayak contraptions with large sails and zoom around the lake hitting speeds of 60-100 mph. They claim it’s exhilarating and there’s nothing like it in the world, and I believe them.
Watch out guys, though, there’s a new kid on the block that you may be sharing the lake with in the near future – and he or she is called “the snow kiter.” “Snow kiters” are now utilizing area lakes to show off their fancy colorful power kites (also called foil kites or aerodynamic parachutes ), hip gear and x-game type aerial stunts. They claim it’s exhilarating and there’s nothing quite like it- and I believe them too.
It’s an unusual sport to say the least. It combines kite surfing with snow skiing. It’s sort-of a hybrid of cross-country skiing, hang gliding, parachuting snowboarding and flying. Yes, flying. These guys and gals go airborne and do high flying tricks, stunts and maneuvers from 10-to over 100 feet in the air and it’s very entertaining just to watch as a spectator.
Meet Sophia Sobolev, a young snow kiter from Columbus who regularly snow kites with her dad and her friends. On this day her dad and a group of other snow-kiters descended upon nearby CJ Brown Reservoir at Buck Creek State Park in Springfield. “I’ve been snow kiting for about 2 years now. We were up here last week at the lake also and had a blast,” said Sobolev. We all belong to a group, called Central Ohio Windsports,”she added.
Fellow snow-kiter Luke Johnson from Powell, who was snow-kiting with Sophia and the windsport group recently, was “catching some big wind,” as they say. “We can reach speeds of 40 miles per hour out here and go airborne doing aeronautical tricks and stunts,” added Johnson
Most snow kiters are kite surfers (kite boarders), basically doing the same thing on water. Kite boarding has been around for many years and then someone realized you could use that same kite for zooming around on a frozen lake and snow-kiting was born. Just strap on a set a snow skis or a snow board, add wind and the fun begins.
Show-kiting is a relatively new adventure sport in Ohio, with most of the active snow kiters residing in Columbus and central Ohio. Large open area frozen lakes are what these adrenaline junkies are seeking out as their playgrounds in the Winter. Indian Lake is on their radar and it’s just a matter of time before it becomes their next favorite winter playground to descend upon. It’s just a short drive from Columbus to Indian Lake via HWY 33.
So, watch out Indian Lake. The next time you see your homeboys out sailing on the lake in their wooded ice sailboats skipping across the ice doing 70 mph with the wind, be sure to look up in the sky. You just may see some of the new kids on the block flying high overtop the lake in their fancy aeronautical parachute looking kites doing aerial tricks and stunts.
Sounds pretty cool and I believe there will be not any problem with the old-school ice boaters sharing the lake with the new high-flying snow-kiters. After all, both groups are adrenaline and wind junkies and that’s a common bond and brotherhood.
Who says winter has to be boring at the lake?
Ron Brohm is a regular contributor to this newspaper.