50 contestants from Norway, Russia, America, Poland, Czech Republic, Italy, Belgium, South Africa and Denmark are ready for the VAKE, while the other teams are on the waiting list, hoping that one team may withdraw their spot.
– “We will now go through the list, to make sure that all the contestants are qualified to compete. We demand the best physical strength and endurance besides excellent kite experience and winter survival training,” says VAKE organizer Bjørn Breivik Several of the signed up teams have competed in VAKE the previous years. The participants must be in extremely good physical shape, have excellent kiting experience, and must know how to survive out in arctic winter condition. Out of the 50 contestants, there are only two women competing.
What is VAKE?
VAKE is a long distance snowkite contest where two-man team together kite over three stages from Berlevåg via Vadso to Vardo (Smelror). Participants must bring the necessary equipment to survive outside in arctic winter for a minimum of 5 days. Each team must navigate from the leg’s start to the leg’s finish line via the established checkpoints. If the participants with their own gear or equipment cannot kite to the finish line within the stipulated time, they will have to get to the road / snowmobile track for transport to the finish area. The three-day event is a 200km distance race brought up by the Varanger Kite Club, the Norwegian Kite Association and the International Snowkite Association.
There is an entry fee of approx. 1500,- NOK (approx. 200 Euro) pr. pers. This covers bus Kirkenes – Berlevåg, Berlevåg accommodation which includes breakfast, transportation to the starting area, bus with driver available during the event and finally the banquet expenses.
Facts about Snowkiting?
Snowkiting, or skikiting as it is also known, is the latest craze in adrenaline soaked sports in Norway. A pair of skis or a snowboard, a helmet, harness, kite, some windproof clothes and some practice are what you need to reach speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour.
The sport is similar to kitesurfing, but with the footwear used in snowboarding or skiing. In the early days of snowkiting, foil kites were the most common type; nowadays some kitesurfers use their water gear such as inflatable kites. Snowkiting differs from other alpine sports in that it is possible for the snowkiter to travel uphill and downhill with any wind direction. Like kitesurfing, snowkiting can be very hazardous and should be learned and practiced with care. Instead of riding a chairlift to the top, snowkiters can use the wind to power them up a mountain and deep in to the untouched powder.
Varanger: A Paradise for Snowkiters
In Norway, Varanger provides a truly exotic snowkiting experience far up in Northern Norway. Located next to the powerful Arctic Ocean, Varanger offers the unique opportunity to snowkite whilst watching out over the sea – an unbeatable combination. The heavy and pretty constant wind here gives you tremendous speed.
Another unique feature is the openness of the landscape – there is hardly a tree in sight. So it is not surprising that Varanger has been hosting the Snowkite Championship since 2005.