Tag Archives: Invermere

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?) :


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! 

Speed-gliding at Panorama

18 Apr


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:


Mining for White Gold in Toby Creek

9 Mar

There’s a precious mineral to be found along Toby Creek, and I’m not talking about that yellow rock… I mean white gold, the kind that, in its powder form, drives skiers mad (and I’m no exception).    On Sunday, a kindly local named Gina took me to an out of the way slope far up Toby Creek. The further we drove, the narrower the road got and the higher the snow banks, until they were as tall as our car.   Good place to stop and explore! So we did, climbing 500m up a nice, safe slope.  With sunshine, warm temperatures around -4C, and plenty of daylight, we just had to do two laps on the pristine powder snow.  Here’s an amalgam of what we found:

Swansea Hook XC

5 Feb

A short little cross-country flight on my Niviuk Hook paraglider from Mt. Swansea last July: 

A friend captured my launch off the summit of Mt. Swansea at Invermere, BC,  just before 14:00 on July 9th, 2010.  The air was a bit more dynamic than I expected, and I over-controlled a bit on the first correction after inflation. Fortunately I got it a bit more stabled out before lifting off.  I climbed out in a thermal to 2700m ASL, then tried to fly upwind to the north. After a couple of tries I made it to No.1, the next peak north, but it was a struggle.  Trying to get to No. 2, I started to get low, so I gave up and headed out downwind over the golf course to get under a low, circling glider.  I got in that thermal and climbed from 1500m to 3000m (nice view of Assiniboine to the ENE), then pointed straight down the middle of the valley following Highway 93.  Just past a low rocky knoll with a radio tower on it, near Lyttle Lake, I squeezed out a top-up to 2500m and went on glide toward Fairmont Hot Springs.  Heading toward the airfield, I called in my approach on my aircraft handheld and made a left-hand circuit to a grassy touch-down beside the mid-point of Runway 33.   



The subsequent exchange with the aircraft manager sitting in the shade in the sweltering heat went something like this: 

“Where’d you come from?”

– “I just landed on [runway] 33”. 

“I didn’t hear anything.  Where’s your aircraft”

– “Right here (pointing at my large bag)”.  

Long silence, raised eyebrow. 

– “It’s a paraglider.  And I’m a licensed pilot.” (So relax already). 


The 3-D GPS tracklog of the flight is on paraglidingforum.com. 


Seconds after launch:


Looking north toward peak No.1  (lower right)  and No. 2 and No. 3 (middle):


Mt. Assiniboine rises above all in the distance to the ENE:


Heading south, with the Fairmont airport way in the distance:


Getting low… I might have to land in one of those fields ahead of me:


Thanks to this rocky hill and knoll for triggering a thermal for me:


Ahh, that’s better, now I have a chance of making it to Fairmont:


Happy boy!


“Fairmont traffic, this is hang glider Sierra Alpha Mike, 1 mile to the north at 5.0 (thousand feet), inbound for landing, any conflicting (traffic) please advise.”






Powder Day at Panorama

14 Jan


Waiting for Ski Patrol to open The Zone, at the summit of Panorama. We were amongst the first down into the glades. With 25-30 cm of fresh powder, locals were saying it was the best day in 6-7 years!