Its been one whole week since I arrived in Nome to spend time with my wife who took a job working at the hospital. Usually I would be bitter leaving the Chugach behind this time of year but this winter has been mess in the Anchorage area – from early season cold and lack of snow, to extreme snowfall, warm weather and high winds. Avalanche danger has been outta of control and the skiing void has been replaced with hockey for the early season.
When I found out Riley would be taking this job in Nome for a couple years I needed to get her into a sport that would work for Nome. Although I hear that there is skiing here I cant imagine it is similar to what we have become accustomed to in the Chugach. I decided to buy her a Kite trainer Christmas. Nome has amazing wind stats too! (she also needed a wind sport that she could be out while I am windwindsurfing!)
Knowing full well that she would be working and I would be hanging out in Nome I needed something to do too!!! FIrst impressions of kiting are 1) incredibly easy to learn on land 2) hard to control overpowered kite when wind picks up 3) much more fun when on skates so you can use the kites power.
A quick note about the video: I had been kiting on the frozen ocean for the past 3 days on well over 24″ of ice with locals commuting past me to the bar on snowmachines and ATVs. On Riley’s day off the wind had significantly picked up to about 30 knots plus. I got the kite out naively expecting to teach her how to fly it. As soon as I launched the kite I knew it would be trouble. I was able to manage the twitchy kite for about 5 mins until the wind picked up even more. Before I could park the kite I was suddenly pulled to the ground and sliding. I made it back to my feet only to get bossed around by the wind a few more times. My hat almost blew away, my elbow was bruised from hitting the ice, and minor whiplash from hitting the ice so hard ensued. I learned my lesson for the day – respect the wind!
We decided to take a 20 mile ATV ride to look for musk oxen and Qiviut ( which we did not find) and tour some of the roads out of town. When we returned back to coast rd. we could believe our eyes. The ice had pulled away from the shore about a half mile. Some friends had left messages on Riley’s phone to make sure we were alright and on land because they had seen us earlier and told us to call the cops because they were looking for us. Turns out the cops were looking for another guy that wasn’t so lucky!