The 2016 World Championship in backcountry snow kiting took place in Alto Sangro, Italy and was based on the GPS formula, in other words on a system of evaluation of tracks that the riders perform in a defined time interval, in which a total score was calculated, which was determined by the length of the total track and the perimeter reached within the closed figure that the rider must fulfill. The event had 6 days of competition, Monday till Saturday. 35 riders were registered, from eight countries, including Russia, Czech Republic, France, Austria, with a large delegation of Swiss and French, the nations with the most followers in snowkiting.
On Monday the event had the best weather, with a northwest wind between 12 and 14 knots, which brought an acclimatization day for the riders, which they used to explore the total snowkite arena. Most went to Aremogna, the snow conditions were pretty slim there, because of the high temperatures. Stones sticking above and just under the snow created a major security issue, so the tracks had been defined in a much more restricted way than you would normally do in a freeride/back-country competition, but of course that was necessary for the safety of all!
On the second day there was no wind so the competitors had a day off. On Wednesday, the wind came back from the north western quadrant, a bit gusty at the beginning of the morning, then in the afternoon strengthened a bit which allowed for an afternoon heat.
However, a race of 30 minutes was carried out, their had been some problems in understanding the local rules for some athletes, which applied to the race. To ensure the safety of riders, the starting gate had been positioned wider then usual, although it had been said to each rider, to finish their total track, from where they had started and also finish exactly in the same place, some riders had taken advantage of the very wide starting gate and started at the top of the gate, go upwind, go downwind and finish their session, saving those 100 vertical meters that, in certain situations, can mean losing or winning a competition. These riders were a total of 5 and were penalized 30% of their points
The kites that were used in the competition were almost all closed cell foilkites from 12m to 17-18m in size, because the wind was not very strong. You could see many FLYSURFER kites in the air above Alto Sangro. The race course was mostly flat under the cable car of Monte Pratello, which offered a great landscape. With a good breeze, on the last day, at 12:00 a.m. began another race of 30 minutes and this time all riders have complied with the rules of start and arrival!
During the whole race, Lukash & Reinhold used their SONIC-FR 15.0m and 18.0m, all the other riders also used closed cell foil race kites. The wind was extremely low but thanks to the equipment, it was possible to finish in 1st and 3rd position. The SONIC-FR is a great kite you can also easily use in back-country, to go safe and fast.
World Snowkite Contest 2016 Alto Sangro Final Results
1. Felix Kernsten (DE)
2. Jonas Lengwiller (CH)
3. Florian Gruber (DE)
1. Lukas Vogeltanz – FLYSURFER (CZ) and Leoni Michele (IT) – tye
2. Luca Mastalli (IT)
3. Reinhold Gehrer – FLYSURFER (AT)