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Enjoying extended winter: Warren spends time kiteboarding in snow

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Wes Warren is kiteboarding on Wednesday in a field north of Dickinson.1 / 2
Press Photo by Royal McGregor Wes Warren folds up his kite after kiteboarding on Wednesday in a field north of Dickinson.2 / 2

The first day of spring was March 20.

Less than two weeks later, Dickinson and the surrounding area received more than a foot of snow.

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Not exactly the start to spring most people were expecting.

However, Dickinson resident Wes Warren isn’t letting the snow get him down. In fact, he wished for it.

Warren spent Monday and Tuesday kiteboarding north of Dickinson.

“I’m unbelievably stoked about this snow,” he said. “I was praying for this snow and here it is. It’s only going to get better too this week, because it’s supposed to get nicer.

“Everybody was sitting around, waiting for work. I went out and did something enjoyable. I took advantage of what’s out here while I’m here.”

Kiteboarding is when a person stands on a snowboard and either holds or attaches a harness to a kite. Wind lifts and pulls the kite to move the snowboarder down or up hills.

Though Warren has kiteboarded for many years, he took nearly a 12-year break after a near-death experience in 2002.

Warren was kiteboarding on Lake Ponderay in Idaho with a 17-meter kite. He was lifted with such force, it knocked him unconscious. He woke up gliding through the air.

When he landed, the downward force pushed Warren deeper and deeper into the water. He adjusted the tip of his board and shot back up out of the water. Warren shot up and down in the water multiple times before he was pulled the safety release from his kite.

“Somehow, after I went in and out, in and out, in and out, my board was skipping up to me and grabbed it,” he said. “I laid on it and swam to shore two miles away.”

Warren has been skateboarding, snowboarding or skiing since he was four years old.

He primary snowboards now and plans on snowboarding for the rest of his life. When the snow melts, he plans to buy a board he can ride around on the hills.

“I’ll get a dirt board and do it out in the field with big mountain board wheels,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to that. The winds out here are killer for that.”

The equipment Warren uses for kiteboarding is a 3-meter kite, a Sims snowboard and a harness, which he uses if his arms are getting tired.

The Sims snowboard is special for Warren, because it’s the final design from founder Tom Sims, who passed away in 2012 of cardiac arrest. The snowboard was given to a select number of riders. Warren was one of the first people to ride the newest board.

“This board is totally revolutionary in its design,” he said. “It’s just amazing. It takes out the stress in your legs. They worked on it for six years and they started making them after Tom died. This was the first run of the board.”

Warren believes snowboarding is dying.

He said it all about making a profit instead of riders have good boards. The Sims board Warren uses not only distributes his weight better, but it’s easier on all leg muscles.

“A lot of science and a lot of design went into making this board,” Warren said. “I’m pretty proud to be riding it. They put 30 to 35 years of design into it. It really is different than any other snowboard. You can ride all day and not feel the burn in yours legs.”

Before arriving in Dickinson two years ago in July, Warren came to southwest North Dakota with just the clothes on his back and a tent.

Warren had a flooring job lined up. He has worked in flooring for 19 years.

Warren has lived around the United States and Canada. He is from Revelstoke, British Columbia. He enjoys being in Dickinson and, as long as work continues to come in, he plans on staying here for a long time.

“At first, it was kind of drag,” he said. “When I was out snowboarding in January I was actually looking forward to getting back out here, because the potential for snow kiting.”