Went through the ice experience and useful hints

Went through the ice experience and useful hints

Postby OttoB » 12.2.2011 13:53

I used to wonder how it is to snow kite when the ice gives in. And how to be prepared. Here I wish to share my experience from 2010, outside Lauttasaari, and what I learned.

Luckily I had worked out that it's worth keeping a wet suit underneath the normal snow boarding cloths when I go snow kiting. Also I had the step in boots and binding for the snow board. I have been imagining that if I go through the ice with the board first, when I would try to get out, the board could get stuck underneath the ice when I try to pull me out and I would have great difficulties undoing my bindings in the water. It was the first time in years I went out on the ice. The ice had very little snow on it. I took off and right away I had difficulties with the board slipping on the ice and me falling on my butt. After 100 meter a fell again and this time with my butt partly through the ice. This is the first thing to learn something from. The board was large enough to not break the ice, but not my butt. The other thing was that I did fall far through. The dry wetsuit and the thick water resistant ski trousers made me very buoyant. I got frightened of course and changed direction. The state of mind did not help at all. On my way back I went through the same way many times. Once back on safe ice I had time to calm down and think it through. As the kite session was finished and I had a warm car waiting I decided to find out more about through-ice-experience. I walked with the kite towards the closest hole I made. Then I dragged myself in the whole which slightly enlarged it self. I was properly in. I was floating like a cork. This time I was not frightened. And I pulled myself out with the force of the kite very easily. No problem. As I had my whole bod on the ice did not break. To my surprise not much water went in under the ski dress trousers plus jacket. Trousers where over the boots with inner water protection over the boot and tightly closed due to it's flexible edge.

The things I learned was mainly; Keep the wetsuit underneath. On top ski dress gives great buoyancy at least for a short while. Do not to be frightened and keep my head cool - less risk to drop the kite. And I would suggest that if you have the opportunity, go with a friend, with a rope attached to you in otherwise controlled environment, where the ice is weak and make yourself fall through the ice. This way when it's a real situation you'll have the experience and will not be frightened and risk dropping your kite. The key of getting out is of course to use your kite. Somehow my feeling was that the board getting stuck is not so likely to happen due to the buoyancy of legs and body which will aid to keep board on surface particularly if exiting in the body dragging position trying to keep the board a bit up. At least if one is half body up on the ice one can fold the legs backwards, I can imagine, and thus get the board free of the ice and up in the air. A thought I have when exiting in the body dragging position is to do it with weight on one hip as the harness hook is in the middle and might put point pressure on the ice and break it. Or get stuck at the edge of the ice. Does anyone else here have experience and advice to share?
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