The weather has got much colder in the last few days. It has stayed dry though a high cloud layer and gusty N or E winds have curtailed flying. But today was predicted to be sunny. The Nice pilots had decided to head to their local site (Gourdon) and I was tempted to join them. The local forecasts didn't look too good, with an East wind, which is hard to exploit at St Andre.
But… , I have to leave for the States early tomorrow and didn't fancy the drive today. Then Meteoblue came up with a better forecast and I decided to risk flying locally.
No-one else bought into my logic; conditions seemed excellent but launch was deserted. It's a bit spooky to find a premium flying site deserted when you think conditions are good… I ate my lunch, layered up and took off - and conditions were as good as they seemed, if a little turbulent. I last flew strong thermals 10 weeks ago; today seemed bumpy (even by St Andre standards), but maybe I'm just a little rusty. But 6.5 m/s (1300 ft / min in old money) isn't bad for January!
Top of lift was around 2700 m (9000 ft) where the temperature was around -15C (5F). I headed N and got established on the ridge of Costa Longue. At this point I'd been flying for just over an hour but I was too cold. I could easily have kept flying but it was no longer fun and I didn't want to land somewhere with difficult logistics. So I landed between Thorame Basse and Thorame Haute (it's a lot harder to pick out a good LZ when they are covered in snow) and hiked part of the way home before getting a lift back.
I left a lot of flying on the table today, but it was very nice to have a mini-XC in January!