a visual journey
Follow along with us as adventurers take to the skies for the first time on a tandem, learn valuable paragliding skills or even catch a glimpse of pilots just goofing around!
Time for some new gear? Check out our used gear page - pilots have been listing gear on consignment along with personal gear for sale and accessories too. We have an Ozone Rush 3 (intermediate/high EN B rating), Advance Sigma (Intermediate EN C), an Advance size 38 tandem (full kit), a size 38 hike & fly tandem wing among others. Contact us and make an offer...you'll be soaring the skies with your new-to-you gear before you know it.
Almost 10 years ago, HPAC (Hang gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada) Board members began the process of working with Parks Canada to allow us to legally fly in our national parks. After endless meetings and environmental studies, a two-year test plan was devised with Jasper National Park in Alberta and the inaugural flights scheduled for last weekend. The HPAC board contacted me a few days beforehand when everything fell into place and asked if I would like to join them as a representative from BC and as an HPAC Instructor. Of course I said YES! immediately, and so found myself on a snow covered mountain on Saturday morning.
Pilots wishing to fly or land in Jasper are asked to review the procedures on the HPAC website (link is here). Right now Jasper is the only national park we are permitted to fly/land in, but if we can show we can adhere to the rules and guidelines, then more parks will follow suit.
There was plenty of media on launch that morning, but while we wait for the pictures to be published I'll share this screengrab from my GoPro as I inflated my beloved Skywalk Cayenne 4 into the crisp morning air beside the Jasper Skytram. Happy Flying!
Fitting that today is Throwback Thursday, as I'm finally getting around to writing about last Thursday's fly day! As part of this awesome week/month/year I was approached by a girl who works for Red Bull about taking some photos for a special project she was working on. She asked me because Skywalk is a sponsor of the Red Bull X-Alps this year and I just happen to be a local Skywalk Team Pilot. She wanted some sunset shots if possible, which is perfect since the Bridal Falls flying site works best in late afternoon until the sun goes down.
She hasn't shared her shots yet, but I did get a screen grab from my trusty GoPro "shadow-bombing" her with my paraglider. You can't really see but she was laying on the rock right where my glider's shadow is. I flew for an entire hour back and forth in front of that rock at different altitudes trying to get her the perfect shot. It was a whole new style of flying - trying to stay at the same height for an hour was a cool challenge! That's one of my favourite things in this sport that keeps it exciting...you will never, ever know it all.
Last week was stellar...so stellar in fact that I'm just downloading pictures and writing about it now! Starting Monday after the workday was done, I met with Damian who is on his way to getting his HPAC P2 rating. He's the proud owner of a shiny new kit including a Skywalk Tequila 4 and Skywalk Cult harness, and within an hour he had gone from cautious to confident with his wing handling. I get so proud watching my students progress, and by the looks of Damian seeming determined to run right into the sunset, I think he's having a blast too.
Last weekend we had our instructor recertification course, so I went as a tandem passenger for the first time in a long time with my friend and fellow tandem pilot Andrew. It was a great learning experience as I "re-learned" how it felt and can better empathize with my passengers. Also, I learned that it's important to stick out your tongue to have a flawless launch ;)
The last 2 weekends have been filled with tandems, and with this nice weather May is booking up quickly too!
What happens on a tandem? It's up to each passenger - some ask lots of questions and it's quiet enough up there for us to chat. I talk with my hands a lot...it's no different when flying apparently!