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Silvaplana gives new meaning to kite flying

Snowboarding provides an adrenalin kick on the slopes or on frozen Lake Silvaplana (picture: swiss-image)

The European championships in "kite sailing" - which involves being pulled along by a kite while on skis or a snowboard - are to be held in Silvaplana from February 28 to March 4.

Hundreds of athletes are expected to take part in the competitions on the frozen lake.

Entrants in the freestyle and racing events harness themselves to sails similar to those used by paragliders, and let themselves be pulled on skis or snowboards across Lake Silvaplana in the Upper Engadine valley, reaching speeds up to 80 kilometres an hour.

The sport was only invented about 10 years ago and is practiced mainly in Switzerland. But it's no surprise that it was developed in the Upper Engadine, where strong winds are common. The lake has long been a windsurfing mecca.

The promoters of the event say kite sailing is suitable for anyone, and that the basics can be learned in a day.

Lying at 1,800 metres above sea level, the Upper Engadine resorts host several sporting events to help pass away the long cold winter. St Moritz is home to the world's last remaining natural bobsled run, and horse races in the snow and the world's largest cross-country ski marathon are two of the more popular events.

swissinfo


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