by Eric & Sarah Mc Nair - Landry
Sarah and I have been quite fortunate to be able to kite in such awesome area’s such as Greenland and Antarctica, and have lots of stories and pictures. But what we rarely talk about, is the year prior to our expedition filled with planning, logistics and training which make the expeditions a success.
Planing and preperation
Planing and preparing for an expedition can be critical, the work can often be more relevant to the success of the expedition than the actions taken on the expedition. Many people fail due to a lack of training, or the failure of an untested piece of equipment.
The first part of any expedition, its conception, starts with a dream. And its generally here where you lay out the main goals of the expedition. You decide where you want to go, and how you want to get there. Dream big, and don’t let your dreams be restricted by your skill level. The point of an expedition is push yourself outside of your personal limit.
After the dream has been established the long process of research begins, here you determine if your dream is physically possible, how much training will be required, how much money will be needed, and possibly if any political documents, such as visas, passports and permits, should be applied for. If at this point it becomes obvious that your original dream is no longer possible, go back to the drawing board and try to re-work the dream. There is absolutely no shame in this, its much better than attempting an over zealous dream and failing.
At this point it becomes all or nothing, you say your vows and mentally prepare and dedicate your life to training, securing media and sponsors. Test all of your equipment, plan and execute smaller training trips, and send out hundreds of e-mails to potential sponsors. Do not become discouraged if only a few of them of them get answered. Acquiring sponsors is part pitch and part persistence. Training is very critical, don’t be afraid to spend a bit of money to train, generally this will show sponsors that you are serious and it may help you secure funds later on. Also keep fighting for till the last minute, often funding comes in just a few days before you depart.
Travel and Navigation
The wind sock outside is laying flat on the ground and a dense ice fog has settled in. The four of us have spent a relaxing day catching up on sleep, reading and sitting around drinking the remainder of our scotch.
But the windless days are all part of kite-skiing expeditions. We’ve learnt to stop stressing about not travelling, and instead learn to travel on the winds schedule. Regardless of the time, as soon as our tent starts flapping, we crawl out, strap on our ski boots and kite till the winds die or we are to tired to continue.
There are many different travel styles, of course depending on the number of team members, the area where the expedition is taking place, and the skill level of the team. But regardless of these differences certain things are similar.
Firstly during a long kiting day, hydration and a constant supply of food is necessary, and we often divide our travel days into a series of 2 hour sessions, taking breaks in between to have time to drink, eat some snacks and rest before continuing on.
Of course travelling, it is also important to have adequate navigation equipment and skills, to be able to get to you’re destination.
If you’re heading out on a kite-ski adventure, you’ll need to chose the best way to navigate depending on your location. Here are some different tools to help you:
- GPS (Global positioning System)
- natural elements such as sun direction, star configuration, land marks, and wind direction
But most importantly, get out there, be safe and have fun!