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!
A few weeks ago now I got to experience this view for the first time, along with a group of pilots representing the Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada (HPAC). A nice newspaper article on the event just came out, check out the link here and for more info on flying at Jasper you can read the rules on the HPAC website.
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!
On a day that was far too windy to fly, I called my flying buddy Martin and asked if he'd like to join me on a small local hike. The strong outflow winds ensured a clear view all the way to Vancouver Island, and the sun glinting off Cultus Lake was an added bonus.
Tyler & Kirstie (my paramotor students from this summer who came to learn unpowered flight) spent their winter holidays in Arizona. They added another skill to their flying toolbox as they got to go towing with some locals! A neat way to get some height…when I was in Arizona the guys took us to a park where I got a two-minute flight off a small hill. I think these two got the better deal, ha ha. Here's a video clip of Kirstie launching…watch for more pictures & videos soon!
Living at the foot of the mountains means you never have to look far for stunning views or something to do outside. Tourism Chilliwack has launched a campaign to share this beauty and here's the first video. Share your own experiences when you come exploring out this way using #ShareChilliwack on whichever social media sites you like, and just maybe you'll see some paragliding on a future video ;)
Back in 2006 (?) I was visiting Bella Coola and got to ride a snowmobile around the little hills and found some cool spots to fly. As far as I know, I'm the only person ever that's been talented enough to get a sled stuck nose in pointing UP hill. Ya dog…hard core extreme or nothing at all!
A question I get asked a lot is, "What is your favourite flying spot?" It's impossible to pick just one, as there are so many wonderful spots that I've been lucky enough to paraglide at all over the world. One of my favourite experiences though is in Lienz, Austria. You meet early at the landing zone, then drive up and hike in to a mountain hut to eat breakfast and watch the sun rise over the Dolomites. Then you launch in the still morning air to glide across the valley and watch the town wake up below your feet. After landing back at your car, you are ready to start your 'normal' flying day...
According to the weather site recommended to me by a local, the weather looks fantastic for flying in Chelan, WA this weekend. Check out the Chelan weather link to stay in the loop and plan for your trip. And don't forget your flying costume! More info on the Chelan Fly-In here.
There's a beautiful spot in Chilliwack where you can hike up to a small hill top and gaze over the city. There are always birds soaring at the peak, playing with the thermals and circling for hours. Unfortunately flying by humans is not permitted here, so we have to settle for second best and simply watch and learn from the birds as they glide overhead.