Story Ideas

Best of: Kite-powered sports really taking off year-round

Roll with the breakers kitesurfing off BC, or strap on some skis and let the winds pull you across frozen lakes in Québec – it’s a rush

11 March 2013

Feel the wind in your face and the snowflakes or sea spray on your cheeks as you zoom along a sandy beach in a buggy, ski or board across a frozen lake or ride the waves – fun sports made even more exhilarating when you slip into a kite harness and let the wind do the work.

In breezy outposts across Canada, year-round kite-powered sports are taking off. Many of the best windy spots like lakes are kite-able summer and winter: on surf-style boards in summer or on skis across ice and snow in winter.

Although kiting is increasingly popular from Prince Edward Island and Ontario to Alberta, British Columbia and Québec are the hotspots. In Squamish, BC’s sport Mecca near Vancouver, grab your first taste of soaring across a lake or surfing ocean waves at the Kiteboarding School in Squamish where instructors are certified to IKO (International Kiteboarding Organization) standards with an emphasis on safety. Once you’re up and flying, you can hone your skills with Vancouver’s skyline as a backdrop at Ambleside and Spanish Banks beaches.

Nitinat Lake, 2.5 hours from Victoria on Vancouver Island is a legendary, remote summertime getaway for beginner and expert kiteboarders who camp out to catch the renowned afternoon thermals on the west coast fjord. Every August, Windfest offers lessons, competitions and demonstrations. Prefer more extreme wave kitesurfing? Head to the roiling winter breakers that crash with gusto onto the beaches near Tofino on northern Vancouver Island.

In Québec, the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are magical sandbar-isles renowned for persistent winds. Scoot across the sheltered waters of the lagoon or strap yourself into a beach buggy and experience wind power on wheels across hard-packed sand. Local outfitter, Aerosport, also offers classes in the Laurentians and Eastern Townships near Montréal as well as in New Brunswick where the Dieppe International Kite Festival has been taking place for more than a decade.

In winter, strap on skis or a snowboard and feel the kite pull you across frozen rivers, lakes, and snowy fields, even ice shelves! Whistler, BC’s Green Lake is a popular spot as is Québec’s Lac St. Jean and Saguenay Fjord area. Kiteskiing is so efficient that polar adventurers are increasingly using it. In Iqaluit, Nunavut, learn from experts how to use kiteskiing on your next trip to Polar Regions.

Follow us on Twitter @DestinationCAN / Suggested Tweet: Kite-powered sports taking off year-round @TourismBC, @QuebecVacances

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