Posts Tagged ‘Paragliding’

DSC_0370Merry Christmas and happy holidays from
Max, Penny, Katia and Erik,

We are having so much fun up at Panorama Mountain Resort and it is hard to do all the activities we like to do in one day.
Below is a short video of our annual Santa flying on Christmas day, followed with down hill skiing and than snow-shoeing which includes to shake as many trees as possible…
We call this now our Christmas Triathlon!

Seasons Greetings and a happy and healthy 2016!

 


DSC_0346

 

 

 

Winter in Canada, for most paragliding pilots, means to either dream about flying or going south to find warm thermals.

Landing on skisIn Invermere however, we are a bit different, as we are very lucky to have the great Panorama Mountain Resort, which offers downhill skiing, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, amongst other great activities, and also welcomes paragliding pilots.
January and February are super smooth months to fly due the cold dense air and it lets you enjoy the extra glide you are getting with it.
At the beginning of March, when the snow starts melting off the trees, you will see the beginning of the nice, wide and smooth thermals, and start doing your first XC flights of the year. The thermals are typically wider and smoother than in the spring and early summer months, as they generate from a bigger area (the trees), in comparison to generating from dry ground (the ski runs with no snow) and are great to work slowly into XC flying for the season.

panorama ski flyingFor 17 years we have been flying at Panorama in the winters, but it seems that a lot of pilots avoid coming as they are probably thinking of the cold, harsh winters of Alberta. Sure, it can be cold here too, but remember, it is usually about 10 degrees warmer on this side of the Rockies.

About 6 weeks ago Mark Damm, from Cochrane, asked me if I would run a Ski-launch workshop at Panorama, as he and a couple of his buddies would love to learn. We scheduled the workshop for Friday Jan 9th evening, and 2 full days of flying on Jan 10th and 11th.
Pilots came all the way from Saskatchewan, spending 11 hours getting here, and the others were from Alberta and BC. The evening session on Friday was held at the Station Pub. Thank you for the private room and the excellent meals and service.

We discussed different launch techniques with skis and reviewed XC flight planning. Saturday and Sunday brought fantastic mid winter weather conditions, and pilots had up to 6 flights a day. All in all we flew lots, had a lot of fun throughout the weekend, and watched 15 pilots flying and landing with happy faces and we all made new friends and meet some great new people.

I would like to share some tips here in my blog to help others who are interested, and who were not able to be here for this weekend.

Panorama offers 2 launch sites:

  • First choice. and most used launch site is 2/3 up the mountain at the top of Roller Coaster, below the outhouses. (870m vertical). This is where the Cappuccino Hut used to be for those who remember it! This is an easy, but shallow launch site and accommodates up to 5 gliders facing NW.
  • Summit Launch “Roy’s Run” (1200m vertical) is a steep, wide open launch (up to 4 gliders, strategically layed out) facing W to SW. This launch is only for good skiers. It can be a tricky launch site to set up your wing as the slope is steep and the wing tends to slide down while you get into your harness. As well if the wind picks up at all, it will slide down too. Do not set up your wing at the very top of Roy’s run layed out on the “easy way road”. This will be conflicting with the ski traffic.

For the two different launch sites you need to adjust your launch techniques simply due to the nature which they are.

At the Summit takeoff, overall, the wing inflates very fast and will have a tendency to overshoot due the steep terrain. The summit take-off site does not allow you to make any mistakes as things happen very fast, and you can end up in the trees beside the run very easily if you do not work with the wing at the speed required.

tandem ski launch on Rollercoaster run at PanoramaIf you are just getting used to winter flying, I do recommend to start 2/3 up the ski hill on the shallow launch. The tricky and unusual part at this launch is to lead the canopy for much longer than you are used to. Furthermore, you also need to be more patient and allow yourself and the wing to pick up speed for take-off. The takeoff process on skis at this launch site are way slower than you would do by foot. You should get into your harness as close as possible to the trailing edge and be a bit offset from the centre of the wing. This way as you turn downhill to start skiing you can ski (turn) into the position where you want to inflate the wing and be in the centre of your wing. If you start with tension on the lines, you might inflate the wing sideways as you stand sideways to the hill with your skis and might not have enough momentum to inflate the wing due to being sideways to the hill and with your skis on.

See the following 2 videos. One shows you when you do not guide the wing for long enough and not being able to get airborne, and the second video shows you how much you need to charge forward and patience you need to get airborne.

 

 

I want to thank Panorama Mountain Resort again for all their support to the pilots, for the sport, and allowing us to fly for so many years.
Please respect Panorama Mountain Resort’s basic rules so we can enjoy it for many more years.

  • Novice Rating
  • HPAC Liability Insurance
  • NO Speedwing flying, Paragliding only
  • All pilots to sign the 2014/2015 waiver
  • Pilots are required to get in touch with Max Fanderl (max@flyingMax.com) to get the waiver forms

Please respect the following points:

  • No flying over the bottom high-speed Chair (Mile 1 Quad) area at all.
  • No landings at the village. Only land on designated landing site or on Golf course if it gets to windy.
  • No launches after 3:00 pm
  • Stay at least 150 feet above lifts and ski runs
  • Pilots need to have skis or a snowboard to get a ride with the lift
  • Contact RK Heliski before you head up the Mountain at 250 342-3889.
    This is just to let them know we are flying as they will inform their pilots of the activities.

More detailed and current information about of flying at Panorama Mountain Resort is at https://flyingmax.com/area/panorama/

More pictures about the ski launch workshop at
https://plus.google.com/photos/107366320201211493303/albums/6104683265941420513 

Here is a video of a flight from Panorama to Invermere

 

Winter here in the valley is not boring at all,Here are some pictures from a flight off Mt. Swansea with the Canadian flag and landing at the start of the Winter Festival and the Annual Bonespiel.

Click here to see more pictures.

Check out this video about our Whiteway (right in front of our doors)

 

Brent and Tanya DuBois attended my last paragliding course and invited me to check out what flying potentials they might have from their property at Whitetale lake. Last Wednesday Aaron Cameron, Dominic Huges and myself made a little road trip to check it out.Whitetale Lake is south-west of Fairmont Hot Springs and north-west of Canal Flats. The DuBois property is on the north end of the lake with 2 duplex cabins (for rent) and a Paragliding and Hang gliding campground. The site has 3 landing sites, one right at the lake, one right at the campground (in the smaller green field) and one at a huge field if the winds get to strong or for hang gliders.
It takes about 25-35 minutes to drive a good gravel road to the take-off site which is on top of Whitetale Mtn (2125 meter). The glide ratio to the landing site is about 3 and the landing site is 1020 meters lower at 1105 meters. This will gives you plenty of height to find thermals or to fly out over the lake and practice some of your acro maneuvers. The lake is about 5-10 feet deep on the north end and will be up to 65 feet deep on the south end of the lake.
The top of the mountain (main ridge) is clear-logged which offers plenty of space and endless opportunities to create even more take off sites. For now Brent cleared one section for a nice take off area which can and will be expended once it gets more busy.

The take off is facing east and is an ideal morning to early afternoon site. The ride very well protected from the west wind as there is another ridge right behind at about 2500 meters and further west another ridge with 2700 meter high mountains. There is also some good potential of XC flights in the area and the terrain is spectacular.

Below is a Google map of the are and a picture and short video of the site.
We are planning to go camping coming up weekend, let us know who likes to join us.

 

           

The xAlps finished Friday July 19th at noon. This is 12 days after the start and was the minimum time set for the race. Crigel Maurer set a new record and finished the race in just under 7 days and it took more then 2 days longer for the next guys to arrive in goal. From the start, I felt pretty good and was very happy with my pace and performance until I had to do an emergency landing past Innsbruck (by Seefeld) into restricted airspace and I received a 48 hour penalty. I could have done a tree landing (in very rough conditions) on top of a ridge to avoid the penalty, but I decided to land 500 meters lower, and to my disadvantage, safely in a field. The good part was that Christa Vogel and Juergen Kraus (flying friends from the 80’s) lived near by and we could enjoy visiting them and were treated with their amazing hospitality. It got even better as the kids just showed up for a visit and stayed with us for the 2 days. It was fun to invite all the other competitors for a snack or meals while

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they passed us, or landed in a field close by. After 2 days of watching 13 pilots pass us, we had to refocus and get back into race mode. Thanks again for the mental support from Stewart Midwinter to be able to start my own race and adventure from that position. We came from the very back of the pack (only 1 hour ahead of the last person) and fought ourselves into position 23. I was enjoying being in a close pack with such a great group of people/pilots and I was always close to my good friend, Andy Froetscher, who finished 17th. I was hoping to finish the race with him or better. Overall, it was an amazing race with very good flying conditions. We experienced a lot of set backs due the lack of local “area” knowledge. It was very frustrating thinking you know where thermals “should be”, what ridges and terrain would work better than others, only to find myself flushed down from 3500m to the ground and ended up having to hike up very high mountain passes more often than the “locals” The good weather also brought a lot of windy and dangerous conditions as well. We had flights in plus 50 km winds, in rain and thunder storms, but at the same time we had some long flights (one over 150 km) flying over glaciers and very beautiful terrain. We had hikes in areas we never would have gone to and met such a wide variety of people along the way, some who we’re sure were the start of a long friendship. All this would not have possible to do without the support I received. Thanks again to Mik Broschart for all his technical support, and who drove with his “fancy” RV and made it possible that Penny could walk and fly most of the route with me. Penny did an amazing job as a pace setter, along the flats, up the mountains, and because she figured she needed more of a workout, she’d run back down to the valley!! My stats for hiking was, 6 km/hr, 471 km distance and 40 km elevation gain. I would say that Penny did at least 90% of that, plus going down, cooked dinners, cleaned most of the dishes, checked weather, and was up earlier than Mik and I everyday to have breakfast ready, and everything ready and prepared for the day ahead ….. she is more then living up to her name (Powers). I would also like thank everyone who cheered us on and supported us throughout our training and during the race, A photo gallery will follow soon.

Wow, where is the time going??

Last week I met up with Penny and the kids in Germany (Kempten) and just before I could even think about the blog, the race is in less then 14 hours.
We had a great time in Kempten and I had some very good family time with some training and flying, but since Monday, we have been in Fuschl am See, for the last meetings and preparations for the xAlps.
The whole experience here with all the athletes, supporters and the whole xAlps crew is just fantastic and hard to describe.
We have some great support here this year, and I’d like to thank Mik (our 2nd supporter) my family and friends who have come and joined us here for the start of the race, and others who have supported us prior and for the race. Dave who was scouting out the route, Thomas and Silke from Autohaus Fersch who gave us an amazing deal for the car we used to scout out the route and travel around with the kids, the Invermere people, companies and pilots, the Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada, Frank and Tracye, Chris and Kari and so many more I’d like to mention, but time is running out. We\d also like to thank the great and super helpful xAlps crew, you guys are doing an amazing job.
Please follow the links below or check out the

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video to see what we have done so far.

For the next 2 weeks, check out www.RedBullxAlps.com and see live what we and everyone else is doing and our current updates are at http://www.redbullxalps.com/athletes/diary/max-fanderl.html

Once we got to Interlaken, we could not believe how many tandem flights are happening there. I heard they have about 8 tandem companies with about 10 tandem pilots each. This town is insane with tourism, I would say it is about Banff multiplied by 10.
We hooked up with a couple locals and followed them to the Niederhorn. This time we did not hike as it got kind of late and the Foehn was supposed to come in pretty soon. So we took a bus to the mountain train and after the train ride with a gondola up to the Niederhorn. It was great to chat with the locals and to find out what can be done if the weather is very very good. For me, I got a very good opportunity to take it all in and get used to the area. Once we got to the top, some pilots and tandem pilots started to pack up to rive back down as the Foehn already started to come in. It was not to bad

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yet and we got ready

right away, took off and had a extended sledder to the landing site.

After that, we headed to the lake for a quick swim to cool off (it was very cold) and then headed to Kandersteg to start hiking up to the Loetscher Pass. On the way up, we met some hikers and they told us to turn around as there is to much snow on the pass. It seams that this year there is way more snow in the alps then usual. We took the advise, turned around and drove to Kippel. This was a interesting drive as we had to go through a long tunnel on a train (with the car). From there we decided to head up to the Loetscher Valley and stay up there (1768 meters) due the amazing views and the cooler temperatures. We heard that in Sion the temperatures got up to 36 Celsius and staying overnight there would be kind of warm.

The next morning we started hiking up to the Loetscher Pass from the other side (Kippel) and half way up we watched the Foehn clouds build in the valley. We decided to fly down as this might be the only chance we had as the Foehn will come again. We had a great flight and I could stay up longer and play with the thermals. This valley is very protected from the Foehn due the high mountains around it. After we packed up and drove to Sion, we could not believe how strong the Foehn was there, it must have been at least 50 to 70 km/hr winds.
From Sion we headed to Chamonix to check out this area and finished out day to set up camp in the Chamonix campground.
Here are some pictures of Interlaken.  

Floehn in Flims, just as the weather forecast stated. Dave and I still decided to hike up to Naraus to check out the area. Once we got up, we were able to sneak in a flight to get back down to Flims. The conditions were strong and it was no problem to get high over the rock face (just behind the launch site) We played around in the area, which gave me a good opportunity to take some pictures of my new harness in the air. After about 45 minutes of flying we landed in Flims and then headed to Interlaken (Meiringen) via the Oberalp Pass, Furka Pass and Grimsel Pass.

In Andermatt we stoped for a Coffee at a Internet Coffee and met “Banz” (owner of the shop), which turned out that he used to live in Invermere and is very well connected with Daniel Zurgilgen and Lusti. At the same time “Banz” gave us pretty much all the xAlps route info for this area we came here for. We found the best route from Chur to Interlaken and from Interlaken to Zermatt. Thanks again “Banz” we had a great time and really enjoyed meeting you.

More photos of the flight is at

https://plus.google.com/photos/107366320201211493303/albums/5890564439821573809?sort=7

Today we hiked from Davos up to the Strela Pass and once we got up there we could feel the Foehn (Chinook) blowing in. To bad as it would have been great to fly around the famous Davos area or fly to Chur. Dave hiked back down to Davos and I kept going to Chur and hiked for about 27 km for the day. It was good to practice these longs hikes with the new SupAir backpack, like everything, it all takes some time to change from

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what you are used to. It was also good to see how well my insoles from “The Orthotic Group” are working for long hikes and on the pavement. These insoles did not change anything on my posture or what ever, but give me support at my foot at places where I got week over all these years of hiking. During all the training and now here in the Alps, I really want to give them my thumbs up and thanks again to Chris Wilson who got me on those.

The poles do show some wear and tear now, they are great, but the handles wear off pretty fast as you can see and I hope I can get them exchanged soon. Tomorrow we plan to go flying from Flims, if the Foehn/Chinook is not messing up our plans again.

Today we checked out the turn point Sulden.
We explored the option in how we could fly out from there and shortly after we started to hike up Piz Chavalatsch. Dave flew from there back to the car and I headed

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to the OfenPass. This was my first flight with the new Supair harness and I was glad I spend the extra time yesterday to get it all set up. The harness felt great and all was working the way it should be. I was happy about that as the thermals were strong and in no time I was up at cloud-base (at 3200 meters). Shortly after I realized that I had problems penetrating to the south due the strong south wind.

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I lost about 1000 meters to gain about 3 km. I kept working to the south and drifted slowly to the OfenPass and then landed.
Once Dave caught up, we headed to Davos and plan our next flight from there.
I have some more pictures posted at
https://plus.google.com/photos/107366320201211493303/albums/5889805974819769297?authkey=CIXMuq2m87i-SQ