Archive | April, 2011

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28 Apr

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Stop the bus, I’m getting off here

27 Apr

Here’s a video clip filmed by my friend Mike Waddington while flying a passenger, Scott Watwood, on his tandem paraglider at the Revelstoke Mountain Resort on Easter Sunday.   I was following Mike from a short distance behind and got a different perspective on the whole event (and will pull together a video showing that story).    Scott must not have liked Mike’s flying style, for he decided to get off the bus early!

 

Long version:

Short version:

 

First flights on Nova Mentor 2

21 Apr

I took delivery of a new Nova Mentor 2 paraglider just before the final weekend of skiing at Panorama Resort near Invermere, BC. Good timing, because that weekend was our annual Easter Fly-In (a little early this year).  So, after a speed-wing flight to dust off the mental cobwebs, I was back at the Cappucino Hut launch location with my brand-new wing, ready to fly it for the first time. Conditions were ideal all day long, with light winds and a few weak thermals to add some excitement mid-day: on my third flight I was able to circle for 10 minutes in one location (see all those red circles?) :

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I’ve put together a short video bringing together elements of the three flights, hopefully giving you an idea of what it’s like to fly at Panorama.  Oh, the folding wing tip?  I was testing out the behaviour of the glider, simulating the kind of effect that strong turbulence could have.  The glider did pretty well: even with nearly half the wing folded, it showed little tendency to dive and roll. I like this! 

Bike Commuting in Downtown Calgary

20 Apr

I cycle to work every day through downtown Calgary.  My commute takes me under 10 minutes, as I live close to my office – less than 3 km – so this is clearly the best way to get to work.  If I were to drive a car, it would take at least twice as long, or longer, and cost me up $6000/year in parking.  Taking the bus would be cheaper, but again, much slower.   And neither of those two options are as much fun as riding my bike! 

Here’s a video clip showing my daily commute.  Now, when riding a bike I’m definitely paying attention to my surroundings, unlike some of the motorists I encounter. In the video I comment on some of what’s going through my head while I’m riding, and text captions indicate some of what I’m doing on the road. Your thoughts?

Speed-gliding at Panorama

18 Apr

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The Easter Fly-in came early this year, because Easter comes late – so late, in fact, that the Panorama ski hill will have closed by then.  So we had the fly-in (a huge thank you to Max Fanderl and Penny Powers for that!) on the last weekend that the resort was open to the public: April 9th and 10th.  Never has the hill closed with so much snow coverage on it, but that timing decision was set last fall, long before the management learned they were having the best snow year in a decade.  

 

It was a good weekend, with Saturday providing the most consistent flying conditions seen in many years.  Pilots were able to fly all day long, logging multiple flights (up to 7 in some cases, while I myself logged 5). Normally the wind comes up in the afternoon, ending the flying, but that didn’t happen this year.  No one was able to climb out above the peak on Saturday (that happened on Friday, with Frank Kernick getting out the Lakeside Inn on the beach at Lake Windermere), but there were a few thermal bubbles to be worked – on my fourth flight on my new Nova Mentor 2, I managed to hang in one spot for what seemed like a very long ten minutes. 

 

Sunday, the winds were forecast to pick up strongly by noon. A few pilots made one paragliding flight, but Mike Waddington and I grabbed our speed wings and were able to get in three flights.  By the third flight, the wind had definitely picked up to 25 km/h aloft, but our heavily loaded little wings had no problem dealing with that wind. We had a great time blasting down the sky above the ski hill, trying to follow each other and stay low (but not too low) to the terrain (on request of the management). Here’s a collage of our flights that day, with Mike flying a Sky Country Descent 15, and me flying a Little Cloud Spiruline 18:

 

Fresh snow in Calgary

14 Apr

A little surprise awaited me for my morning commute: 25 cm of fresh April snow. 

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via Seesmic

April Fool on Hawk Ridge

13 Apr

Well I must be some kind of fool to be going back-county skiing only 3 days after an invasive surgery procedure, but with winter coming to an end, time was of the essence.  Plus, I had an invitation to check out a new line in the Kootenary Park burn.   So on Friday April 1st, I met up with ACC Calgary Section member Julie Muller and we drove out to the park, stopping just north of the Vermilion Lodge.

The snow on the lower slopes of the mountain was fairly baked and crispy in the early morning, but the higher we climbed (slowly), the better it got.  Near the top of the range we found caribou tracks and knee-deep powder – too deep, in fact, for the shallow slopes there, and we had to pole our way over to the steeper slope of the main face.  That was so nice we had to do two laps of the upper mountain!

Then we located a clear “ski run” down the mountain which was untouched. From mountain-top to road-side was about 1000m, so, lots of turns were to be had.  And thankfully, the weak sun had softened up the snow at the bottom for our cruise back out to the car.

Here’s a video excerpt of the day’s skiing: