Ahhhh… There’s nothing like being on a beach with a warm breeze, a drink in your hand and your best kite in the air. I know because kiting in the Midwest is nothing like being on a beach with a warm breeze. In fact, many of us non-coastals get our kicks in the middle of winter. (Check-out these winter kite festivals in 2023.)
So, why in the world would anyone want to go kiting in sub-freezing, even sub-zero temperatures? Well, here’s some insight from a few of us in flyover country:
Larry Day, Founder, Color the Wind Kite Festival, Clear Lake, IA – Winter flying is fun and peaceful. Colors in the kites pop with the sun shining in a clear blue sky and against the background of the snow-covered lake. There’s absolutely nothing like getting together with friends and flying kites year-round!
Bob Turicik, Kite Eye View Photography, Plymouth, WI – I love being out on the ice. The winds are clean and there’s always a big flying area for the entire Wisconsin Kiters Club family to fill the sky with shapes & colors.
Blake Pelton, Peter Lynn Kites, Draper, UT – I LOVE snow kiting, and use traction kites to propel buggies, wake boards, surf boards, mountain boards, boats, foil boards, etc. But my FAVORITE thing to power is a snow board! I often fly big single-line kites in sub-zero temps as well, whether I’m hired to put on a show or testing/tuning/finalizing kites fresh from the factory before they get shipped to clients.
Tammy Holmer, St. Paul, MN – Flying out on the ice offers some of the best conditions! Cold winter days many times provide bright cloudless blue skies… the kites always look amazing! We are tired at the end of a long day flying with friends on the ice, but it’s the best kind of tired.
Dale Bowden, Region 6 Dir., American Kite Fliers Association, Wisconsin Rapids, WI – Flying in a winter kite festival is a joy, especially watching kids playing in our ‘ground’ display of fish and/or cows, and when they react to seeing a huge cat, dog, gecko, or whatever catches their eye. Enjoying the day with so many friends keeps me warm.
Al Sparling, Naperville, IL, – I fly kites in the middle of winter for the opportunity to see friends that I wouldn’t otherwise see for months. In some cases, I’ve done so to help friends starting new winter festivals. With big kites, it’s often a pain in the lower anatomy as the kites often get wet and it can be difficult to dry them in the winter. But seeing friends makes it worth the mess.
Chow Chong, Owner, Unique Flying Objects, Founder, Kites Over Lake Michigan, Two Rivers, WI – Fly in or attend a winter kite festival and you’re instantly hooked. I love a frozen lake with snow and an all-white background, kites and color, spectacular ground displays and stunt teams doing aerial kite ballets. It’s an incredible setting that’s a feast for the eyes and a can’t-miss experience for friends and family.
Mike Gee, Jamestown, ND – I like to embrace the winters by getting out to enjoy them as much as I can. Whether it be ice fishing, snowmobiling or kiting. When out on the ice with kites, it adds a whole other element to our hobby.
Aaron, King, Minneapolis, MN – Living in the land of 10,000 lakes definitely has its perks. A fisherman’s paradise is transformed into a kiteflyer’s dream when the temperature starts to fall. There’s truly nothing better than a wide-open lake as far as the eye can see, and filling the sky with colorful kite creatures that float and soar amongst blue skies and the wintery white backdrop. This is why I love the art of ice flying and why it’s such a passion for me.
Mark Brandt, Clear Lake, IA – Flying on frozen lakes is great. There’s lots of room for everyone, no trees, clean wind, and the colors look great against the snow. It’s also good to get outside in the winter.