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Kite U.S. Forums _ Kitesnowboarding _ Snowkiter killed in Edmonton Alberta

Posted by: newsman Dec 22 2004, 10:49 AM

The following is a report from a newspaper in Edmonton, Alberta. An experienced rider was killed in what can only be described as a freak of nature storm. Not clear weather or not he was wearing a helmet or not:

"""Dahle speculated that perhaps the man, who usually wears a helmet, had somehow been knocked unconscious. That would explain why he was unable to release himself."""

Be safe, protect yourself and make sure you are comfortable with your surroundings (weather, wind, area, etc..) before you ride. If you have any doubts about any aspect of snowkiting contact one of the schools listed on this site.

EDMONTON - A 46-year-old man was killed Sunday afternoon when winds topping 100 kilometres an hour picked up his snow kiteboard and slammed him into an abandoned church in Alberta

The accident happened just after noon on Lac St. Anne, a popular spot for kiteboarding enthusiasts year-round.

Louie St. Laurent didn't see the accident, but he saw the wind that precipitated it.

"I was actually out on the boat launch, overlooking a dark sky," he said.

"All of a sudden, I looked out on the lake, and could see kind of a rolling wall. It looked like water, but it was actually the wind."

At first, St. Laurent saw the kiteboarder moving slowly across the frozen lake, about 60 kilometres west of Edmonton.

"I thought, geez, I wonder if he'll be all right," he said.

St. Laurent and his two children didn't see the accident. They were forced inside for cover. From there, they watched signs, stray shingles and other debris fly past the window.

"It was the weirdest thing I've ever seen," he said.

Winds in Highvale, just west of the lake, reached 107 kilometres an hour around noon, said Chad Thompson, a meteorologist at Environment Can-


Exact details of the accident are still unknown. Witnesses told the RCMP the boarder appeared to lose control of his kite and was blown towards the buildings, which hug the shoreline.

St. Laurent talked to one witness who saw the man sliding on his back, trying to stop himself. She later saw him flying through the air toward the old church.

The man was declared dead at the scene and his body was taken to the Medical Examiners Office.

Andreas Dahle owns Pipeline Surf, a windsurfing and kiteboarding shop in Edmonton. He knew the man who died, and said he was an experienced rider who lived in Alberta Beach.

Dahle was at a loss to explain what happened.

"It was just a freak of nature," he said. "It's kind of like a tornado hitting and getting stuck on a golf course."

Dahle said accidents of this sort are extremely rare.

"The sport as a whole is going to have a good look at this to ensure that it doesn't happen in the future."

Snow kiteboarding, or winter kiting, involves two main pieces of equipment: a snowboard for skimming across the ice and an overhead sail for propulsion.

The sail is attached to the rider by a harness. All newer harnesses have a quick-release system to help prevent accidental fly-aways, but it is not known exactly what type of gear the man was using.

Dahle speculated that perhaps the man, who usually wears a helmet, had somehow been knocked unconscious. That would explain why he was unable to release himself.

Police will not release the man's name until his next of kin are notified.

Posted by: mika Dec 29 2004, 04:38 PM

shit man,
I hope you all keep your eyes open for squalls, and get your kites down before they hit. shit happens too fast sometimes to think twice about I shoulda done.... make sure you kite with quick releases shackels are not effective enough. Most kties come with effective quick releases and make sure you practice ditching your gear, we don't need this to happen to any of you now do we.
kite safely, and have fun.

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