Snowkite growth prompts concern
summit daily news
SUMMIT COUNTY ” Snowkiting is gaining in popularity in Colorado, and the Blue River arm of Dillon Reservoir is one of the hotspots for the cutting-edge athletes who skim and soar above the frozen surface, using wind power to escape the “surly bonds” of gravity.
But as use of the area increases, the various agencies responsible for area are trying to get a sense of where the sport is going and how best to manage it, providing for growth and considering public safety and liability issues at the same time.
That discussion will continue today at a meeting of the Dillon Reservoir Recreation Committee (DRReC) at 10 a.m. in Frisco Town Hall. DRReC consists of Denver Water, the towns of Frisco and Dillon, the U.S. Forest Service and Summit County.
The meeting is open to the everyone and the committee is willing take public input on snowkiting, Scott said.
The committee has asked for some input from the county attorney on liability issues associated with the snowkiting activities, said Howard Scott, a Forest Service recreation manager. Scott said the Forest Service wants to see Rainold’s operation succeed. But the the agency also has some liability concerns, especially with regard to the man-made terrain features that have been installed in the area by users.
“With the growth of the sport, they’re looking to lease the area,” said Colorado Kiteforce owner Anton Rainold, who offers lessons at the site during the winter season. Rainold has been in business for two years, and he said everyone agrees the use in the area has exceeded the boundaries of what’s allowed under his current permit.
Rainold said there may be more than 100 snowkiting enthusiasts from the Front Range who come up and use the area at various times during the season.
Public safety and liability issues are obviously high on the list of concerns, Rainold said, explaining that, even though he doesn’t control all the use in the area, he feels an obligation to intervene as a good samaritan when he sees potentially unsafe activity.
Exactly how future use will be permitted is still up in the air, Rainold said, suggesting that one option could include the concept of day-use fees or even a season pass option. That’s part of what today’s discussion is about, he said, adding that the Forest Service and Denver Water have been very supportive of his activities thus far.
Bob Berwyn can be reached at (970) 331-5996, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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