If you love snowboarding, then snowkiting can give you the same thrill without having to go to the top of a mountain or deal with ski lift crowds. The Sierra SnowKite Center near Lake Tahoe offers lessons on this hot snow sport, as well as offers freeride space. The Sierra SnowKite Center is California's only snowkite area and consists of 250 acres spread along the Sugar Bowl and Royal Gorge ski areas near Tahoe. Snowkiting in the upper Sierras — Photo courtesy of Sierra SnowKite Center
Snowkiting is a wind-powered sport that combines both skiing, wind boarding and snowboarding. Large kites are attached to each boarder by a body harness, and if hit with a good breeze, can skim riders across the snow, over hills and through the air to perform aerial tricks.
The Sierra SnowKite Center was started by American Snowkite Tour Champion Tyler Brown. Brown is a Tahoe native who has traveled the world competing in snowkiting events. He was named the Best Overall Rider at the 2012 Superfly Event in Utah.
The Center offers a wide range of snowkite lessons. For beginners, sign up for the 1.5-hour course, which will teach you the basic fundamentals of kite flying, safety and technique. The lesson is for all ages and will include mountain wind theory and training, launching and landing techniques, power management and steering techniques.
If you decide to try snowkiting on your next trip to Tahoe, then you will need a Sugar Bowl or Royal Gorge ticket or season pass, and you must sign a waiver form. If you are not enrolled in a lesson, then you must pay to complete a one-time $10 safety assessment lesson.