After dismissing grand plans of travel, warm weather, and raucous New Year's Eve celebrations, I chose to celebrate the first day of 2000 the same way many other kite enthusiasts probably did: by flying kites. We'd had a very mild winter in Colorado, so I decided to drive up to Boulder and fly kites on the top of nearby Bald Mountain. For years, George Peters has invited friends to this scenic spot west of Boulder, to picnic, fly kites, and enjoy nature. He has had all the Colorado winter weather extremes in the last few years: from whiteout snowstorms to bright, sunny, 60-degree days.
Last New Year's Day dawned clear and warm, and as I drove to Boulder the beginnings of a weather front appeared to be moving toward the Front Range. Arriving at the Bald Mountain parking lot, I found bright sun, strong wind, and a hilltop decorated with banners, flags and kites (almost all by George Peters and Melanie Walker). I carried only one kite to the top of the hill; the same kite I had flown on the last day of 1999 (the day before), my 150cm (5 foot) Roloplan.
In the strong, updraft-interrupted wind, the cotton Roloplan proved to be a good choice. It flew high overhead in the updrafts and handled the strong gusty winds without a problem. After spending so many years as a "ripstop snob", making kites only with ripstop, this Roloplan, my first cotton kite, made me appreciate the building and design skills of kitemakers past. Not a soaring kite, the Roloplan flies "against the wind." much like a Japanese Edo or a flat barndoor. It has remarkable power in higher winds, a result of a comparatively low tow point on the bridle, but the porosity of the sail and the support of the bridles allow the kite to remain stable.