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!
Fall is in the air...we can feel it in the cooler temperatures and the random rain days. As the season winds down we are still able to fly most days over the weekend, with bright sunny days mixed in with the days that clouds obscure our mountains. Diane managed to snag one of those beautiful days when she came to soar Mount Woodside and even got to take control of our aircraft!
Yikes! It's been too long since I've posted...must mean we've been having too much fun!
I got to take my old co-worker Kathryn tandem this last weekend on her birthday, we lucked out as the weather got squirrely afterwards and we postponed the next mystery passenger's flight. Here's a little video showing how easy it is to take the controls and how soft landing can be:
Celebrated last year up in the skies at Bridal Falls...will we get to do the same this year? Winds look iffy but there's always a chance!
You know it's been great paragliding weather when your house is a mess and your website hasn't been updated in forever (oops)! Coming up over the next few posts...pix from some tandems this past weekend and maybe even glimpses from some solo flights.
First up - my neighbor finally had enough of just watching me walk back & forth to my FJ lugging my gear around. He gathered up an entourage (we had 3 carloads drive up to launch!) had a great flight and even supplied champagne at the landing field. Glad to help check this one off Andrew's bucket list!
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.
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!
Saturday was an epic flying day, but of course I forgot to turn on my GoPro so no pictures. Sunday was forecast to be similar, and it was like a class reunion with over 20 pilots coming out to fly at Bridal Falls (which is a lot for our area!). We heard others on the radio across the valley flying at Woodside too. And even though the conditions weren't as nice as Saturday, it was still fun to fly with friends again and get back to exploring this lovely area.
I still can't believe this is "winter". My passenger came out after work and we nabbed this beautiful tandem flight, launching around 5pm and to enjoy the colours of the valley as the sun started descending for the day.
I was looking for some friends to fly with on Sunday, but the only pilots coming out were planning a hike & fly. Still nursing my tweaked knee (that I got from hiking! See? Flying is so much safer!) I couldn't join in so decided to go kite my student wings instead. Taking the long way to the training hill so I could pass Mt Woodside, I soon heard from one pilot already on launch looking for a ride up to retrieve after he flew, then another on his way out. Perfect! Hammer & I had to wait a bit for an uphill breeze and then we both got to fly.
Here's a GoPro screenshot as I do a quick shoulder check before starting my reverse inflation. I got to fly through a few wispies before they disappeared...one of my favourite things!