Skyline Drive provides plenty of fresh snow, steep slopes, open bowls, and wind. The Snowkiting complex is located up Fairview Canyon on Highway 31.
All you need is the wind, a snowkite, skis or snowboard, and an attitude for fun! Utah’s Skyline Drive, at an altitude of nearly 10,000 feet (3,040 meters), is a great place to snowkite. It offers plenty of deep snow, steep slopes, and open bowls. Wind Speeds vary between 5-20 mph.
The best access to the Utah Skyline Drive Snowkiting Area is from the Sanpete Valley. To get here from Salt Lake City, head south on I-15 and take Exit 261 at Spanish Fork and continue south on Highway 89 until you reach the town of Fairview. If you’re coming to Sanpete from the south, take I-70 Exit number 56 at Salina and head north on Hwy 89 to Fairview.
The main Skyline Snowkiting Complex is located up Fairview Canyon on Highway 31 at mile marker 14. This area is known as the “BIG DRIFT”. Parking and restrooms are located at the launch site(N39.61554 W111.30271, Elevation 9680). The map above shows various other locations as well. Snowplows keep Highways 31 and 264 cleared throughout the winter.
Snowkites can accelerate up to 50 mph. The lifting power of the wind allows kiters to jump to distances of up to 100 feet, making it the ultimate freestyle sport.
The UDOT wind station is located just minutes from “THE BIG DRIFT” snowkiting complex. Windzup reports that the wind speed at the Big Drift is usually higher than at the weather station, due to interference from a large hill.
SR 31 Mile Marker 10- Fairview Canyon
SR 31 Mile Marker 13- Fairview Canyon
The above Weather Camera photos will appear black after sunset.
Whenever you play in the backcountry be aware of avalanche danger! Always snowkite in groups, wear an avalanche beacon, dress warm, and never exceed your limits.
The New York Times highlighted snowkiting on Utah’s Skyline Drive and called it “Winters newest extreme sport!”
Esquire Magazine said skyline “may just be the best anywhere!”
Snowkite pictures and video courtesy of Ozone, WindZup, and Gus Schmiege.