A few dozen kites flew under sunny, blue skies Saturday, towing their skiing and snowboarding counterparts across the frozen ice and snow of Dillon Reservoir in this year's low-key version of the Dillon Open.
In the absence of sponsors and with professional kiters opting not to attend the official race because it has no cash purse, Colorado Kiteforce owner and Dillon Snowkite Open coordinator Anton Rainold decided to key his event down a notch this year. It also didn't help that the weather leading into the early March event was questionable. Rainold wasn't sure there would be good snow to kite across, so he was hesitant to pour time, energy and finances into an event he wasn't sure would happen.
So, this weekend became an opportunity for local and regional kiters to get together to sail across the lake, demo new gear and playfully compete against each other in an informal regatta-style race.
Ozone team rider Jon McCabe sailed up on a snowboard and plopped down into the snow, saying he's usually on skis.
"I wanted to beat Anton," McCabe said, a smile creeping onto his face as he watched other kiters whiz by. "If I was on skis, it would be too easy."
McCabe and girlfriend (and Naish team rider) Raquel Lima flew in from Maui to do demos and ride in the race.
And with their arrival, so too did the snow. About six new inches greeted kiters as they set up their rigs Saturday morning in the sunshine.
Looking out over the kites on the frozen water, it's a serene scene. To the riders, though, it's action-packed, particularly when the wind picks up. But it's not hard to get a moment of silence.
"You hear snow, you hear the wind whistling by," Rainold said. "As soon as you jump - it's silence."