Finally winter arrived in the Rocky Mountains, although later than expected. Will Taggart, Pascal Joubert, Charles “Chaz” Symons and Wayne Philips, aka the “Jackson Hole Kiters”, plus Noah Poritz, tested the Ozone 2015 snowkite range. This is what they came up with.
Watch their video here: https://vimeo.com/113207983
“We, the Jackson Hole Kiters, have had a few weeks of riding all sorts of conditions now with the full 2015 line of Ozone snowkites. The Contact bar with push away chickenloop, depower clam cleat, 300kg outside lines and 500kg center lines all carry over from last season working as smooth as ever. With the reverse landing strap and the re-ride release, there are now 2 ways to set the kite down. The kites themselves are flying great with some improvements in stability, bar feedback, and release.
The 2015 Ozone Summit is flying great with the same platform as last season as there’s really nothing to improve. The Summit continues to be a high performance mountain foil kite design and while the Chrono boasts such perfection through efficiency, the Summit continues to be more practical for mountain conditions and has a good balance between efficiency and ease of use. It has a high aspect fast flying design, turns fast and creates lots of power on the upstroke. It’s very stable and rides unhooked fairly well for a high aspect kite. This is unanimously JHK’s light wind and backcountry kite of choice again for this season because of the flying speed, turning speed, and stability. These qualities make the larger kites feel smaller. If you chose the Summit last season because of performance you’ll want to stick with it again this year and consider the Ultralight version as an upgrade. We tested the Ultralight version as well and it’s a step up in performance and feel, making the larger size Summit Ultralight feel smaller while performing even better with less weight. They float in the air and fill up with the tiniest puffs of wind. Win-Win right there! We can’t say enough good things about the Summit Ultralight flying characteristics.
The main addition for 2015 is the all new re-ride release that comes on all 2015 Ozone Snowkites which we’ve now put through the ringer and it’s undoubtedly a massive improvement on the old release system. It kills the power of the kite completely when you let go the bar (release the chickenloop) and is ready to ride again after reassembling. If you only want to land or pack the kite you can pull the 5th line through the chickenloop – without releasing it – for about 2m and the kite will come down half inflated yet almost without any power. We now use it regularly and enjoy the full power kill and stable resting position.
The 2015 Frenzy is an all new design and has changed compare to its predecessor in flying and turning speed. It’s still a Frenzy but you will realize a difference in turn and speed. It also has more grunt, performance and overall pull making it a better choice for snowboarders and intermediate riders while the Summit remains as the ultimate fast turning mountain climbing propeller.
A lot of what the designers at Ozone have learnt and developed over the last 2 years especially from the Chrono can now be found in the Frenzy. Lightweight plastic rods on the leading edge profiles, internal – span wise – strapping, performance yet stable profile and in case of the Frenzy open leading edge cells.
The plastic rod reinforced leading edge profiles enhance the stability and inflation holding the profiles open even without constant air flow. Further on they also help keeping the kites designed shape when de-powered – that’s when stability is very critical. Actually the first thing we all said after trying the 2015 Frenzy was how stable it felt. The change to open cells instead of the mesh covering is to the advantage of faster inflation of the kite. This increases the ground handling, inflation and packing. As the plastic rod reinforced leading edge profiles, the internal structure of the Frenzy is also very similar to the Chrono. Internal straps running span wise from tip to tip along the bridle line attachment points again help the wing to create its designed shape and spread the load more evenly through the sail.
On one light wind day the 14m Frenzy Ultralight was the only kite we could get off the ground and flew the entire session without setting down beating out the standard 15m Summit that we couldn’t keep in the air in the same conditions. The 14m Ultralight is going to be a light wind machine.
This is the first season the JHK have had a chance to try the Ultralight versions of these kites. The concept for the Ultralight versions of these kites comes from paragliding. Some modern fabrics have been tested and now are being used to make more lightweight, pack friendly wings in the paragliding world. This technology is now being passed down to kites.
The Frenzy and Summit Ultralight are made of 2 base fabrics on the top and bottom. The top is 34g weight and the bottom is a 27g Porcher fabric. This is compared to the standard 45 gram fabric on the regular versions.
We cannot emphasize how well the Ultralight versions work and it’s really quite amazing. They pack faster, smaller, weigh drastically less, and perform even better in the air. The one thing we’ve noticed is that people have neglected to talk about how well the light versions actually fly. In Ozone’s case the Ultralight versions are a pleasure to fly and I’ll tell you why. The large size kites feel like smaller size and fly so efficiently with less mass. They generate more power on the upstroke and race to the top of the window faster with less wind. In lulls they just float there as though they’re full of helium just hovering there. You can whip the kite around in almost no wind from just leaning on it saving it from a luff here and there. When on the ground the light fabric fills with air and wants to fly with almost no wind. Technical moves in light wind where you have to fly the kite and step around obstacles are easier because the kite is so resistant to back stalling.
The 2015 Ozone Access is a great kite. It’s the most classic design of all the kites pulling all the traditional kite technology into one easy handling kite. We all tested out the 6m Access side by side the 7m Frenzy and found that while the Frenzy has a great feel in your hands, the Access felt more confidence inspiring when climbing steep technical hills. It’s a chubby little kite and that feel really makes it easy and consistent. It maintains more even power than the Frenzy in a loop and doesn’t spin if you force a full sharp turn. It’s stable and instantly comfortable to fly. We had a chance to fly the 12m and it has the same easy flying characteristics with consistent pull in the loop, hard to spin and is a very predictable kite. I think all of us will be getting a 6m Access for strong and gusty wind
3 different packs come with the kites this year. The Access has the same simple yet practical, voluminous back pack as last year with a zippered top. The Frenzy and Summit come with a beautifully designed technical back country pack. I’ve now not only used my pack for kiting but I’ve taken it in the Tetons back country skiing. The size is perfect to fit 2 foil kites, a bottle of water and some snacks. When you take a kite out you’ll be able to fit your skins and poles in there perfectly. The full length zipper lets you get in there quick and easily pack a kite. There are a number of straps on the outside that can be used for anything, but they’re designed perfectly to carry a snowboard, skis, poles or another kite. The Ultralight versions of the kites come with a Ultralight version of the packs. These are the same cut as the regular ones but made with lighter materials. Not as light as the kites but there really is a substantial weight savings. The Ultralight version seems to be less durable. The durability of the standard packs seems to be substantially greater with such a heavy weight fabric. This year ozone also offers this awesome Kompressor bag. If you are ordering your Snowkites as a “kite only” option you’ll get your kite with that bag and it’s also available as an accessory product. It’s like a rope bag for rock climbing and you can easily throw your kite in there and cinch it down to make it as small as possible for packing.”