EDEN -- The Superfly Open is moving from Powder Mountain Ski Resort to Strawberry Reservoir.
The fourth annual snowkiting festival is leaving its host of the first three years without controversy, said Greg Greer, Powder Mountain general manager.
"No hard feelings. We wish them the best. It's not a big deal," Greer said, noting that Powder Mountain is still the only ski resort in Utah that sells a snowkiting day pass.
Snowkiting involves skiing or snowboarding assisted by a kite, allowing for short periods airborne, typically best done in areas away from traditional skiers, ski lifts, trees, peaks and other potential obstacles.
The Sunrise area set aside for snowkiting at Powder Mountain is too flat for regular ski use but accommodates snowkiters well.
The superfly event typically draws scores of the world's top snowkiters, according to a news release from Best, a company that manufactures snowkiting equipment. Best served as corporate sponsor for the event the past three years.
"Last year, the event attracted more than 50 of the world's best snowkiters with competitors traveling as far as Aruba and Russia," states the release. The open runs Feb. 18-21.
Greer said after last season's Superfly Open, as it has always been called, "we kind of had a little falling out with Best. A disagreement over some business terms, contractual stuff. But we're OK with that. We're still known for snowkiting."
The event amounted to little more than an exhibition, he said, and never made a profit.
"It was never about the money," Greer said. "There is no money. ... It's one of those fledgling sports we're trying to accommodate. It's still fun to do and fun to watch, but it's not even a small part of our core business."
He estimated one snowkite day pass is sold at Powder Mountain for every thousand traditional day passes.
The superfly is a sanctioned stop on the North American Snowkite Tour, according to the Best news release. It cited snowkiting's growth as measured by only two events on the national tour for the 2002-03 season compared with more than 20 for this winter.
In addition to the chance for spectators to see top kiting skiers and snowboarders, Best said, the fourth annual Superfly Open will feature free training clinics, as well as amateur and pro divisions for competitors in four categories: freestyle, kite races, free-ride and "big air expo."
Greer said the resort is considering a replacement event if sponsors line up, but it's not a big priority.
"I'd rather talk about the fact we're off to our best start in years, the first time we opened by the Thanksgiving weekend in maybe eight years," he said.
"The snow is fantastic, and people are feeling better about the economy. Our skier days are up 50 percent compared to this time last year."