Mark Sedon is an IFMGA mountain guide living in Hawea. When he’s not guiding or organising the New Zealand Mountain Film and Book Festival, he can be found kite-skiing on the Pisa Range. “When I go kiting, I hope to be out for an hour or two and travel 30-50km,” he says. “But I need to be prepared to be out for most of the night if the wind stops, or goes ballistic – or I break something.
“Travelling at 35-40km/hr across the mountain tops feels surreal and impossible, but you can travel a long way very quickly. While crossing Antarctica last year, we sometimes did over 200km in a day using kites and towing sledges that weighed over 180kg.
“On the Pisa Range, I always take the following gear.”
I carry an emergency muesli bar and 500ml of water in a Nalgene bottle.
I wear The North Face ski pants with a pair of soft shell pants underneath. I’ll wear a t-shirt with a wind jacket and if it’s cold I’ll put my ski jacket on, but you’re often really warm kite-skiing because you work so hard. I also have a down jacket and wool beanie.
I use The North Face Snowmad 34 with a back zip entry so it’s easy to grab what you need quickly. It holds my snow shovel and I can mount my Lumix camera on the waist strap. It’s easy to access while kiting and snaps good photos.
Earphones for listening to music, a small sling and a carabiner so I can attach my kite to my skis to stop and have a rest, or relaunch after a ‘kite-mare’ or tangle. Smith ski goggles just in case I lose my sunglasses or the weather gets really bad. Spare Ozone Hyperlink 6m foil kite. Petzl headlamp, lip balm and sunblock.
Navigation and safety
I carry a Black Diamond snow shovel which is good for building an emergency shelter, or shovelling snow onto a kite to hold it down in the wind. I take a personal locator beacon and my iPhone for backup. I also use my phone for navigation.
I wear a helmet and sunglasses and ski on Völkl BMT 109 touring skis and Scarpa Maestrale touring boots. If the wind dies and I have to walk home, I attach Black Diamond Ascension Climbing Skins. My Petzl Aspir climbing harness attaches the kite to me. I also have a pair of Black Diamond Dirt Bag ski gloves.