Sunday, January 29, 2012

Snow - At Last...

The weather has been good for so long here I've forgotten the last time the sky wasn't blue. But the long run of sunny, clear, cold and somewhat windy weather ended this weekend. For the first time this winter, it snowed in St Andre.

It was a gray and miserable all weekend, with snow falling gently almost all the time. I had a couple of monochromatic hikes, trail breaking in the snow. The forecast for the rest of the week is a bit more interesting - more snow and colder, clearer weather during the week. Maybe some nice skiing or snowshoeing or even a snowy hike and fly?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Today's flying forecast looked very similar to yesterday's and - while I enjoyed yesterday's flight - a repeat didn't exactly turn me on. I had a lazy little hike in relatively flat countryside in the warm afternoon sun. I tried not to, but I couldn't help noticing some interesting little clouds over some of the peaks...

A few pics

Saturday, January 14, 2012

First Decent Flight of 2012

I've had a couple of hike and flies this year, but Saturday's forecast was the first that was good enough for me to take my "normal" gear up to launch. Last year at this time, snow had blocked the road up to launch and flying was a very solitary experience. Today was hardly busy, but there were around 10 so pilots up on the launch throughout the afternoon.

Conditions seemed promising, if very cold, as I got ready with 4 other pilots on the W launch. When conditions are at all good here, you launch and go up. But in the very dead of winter you often get a reality check; promising conditions can be deceptive.  I launched at the back end of the other pilots and struggled about 50 meters below launch in small, rowdy thermals. I went from slowly losing height, to maintaining, to slowly creeping above launch height - and then it was easy. The other pilots weren't so lucky and had sunk out almost immediately; we probably should have waited another 20 minutes before launching.  

Conditions slowly improved - the thermals got bigger and less sharp-edged - and I got nearly 600m above launch. It was very cold and I didn't want any retrieve hassles, so I didn't do anything very adventurous. More pilots arrived - including the early launchers coming back for a second flight - and everyone enjoyed the good conditions. I landed just short of 2 hours as the batteries in my gloves gave up. Hardly epic flying, but lovely views and not too bad for 2 weeks into the year.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Snow Shoeing Weekend

The weather continues to be dry, sunny and clear. It's wonderful, but I would like a bit more snow! I bought snow-shoes just before Xmas and have been waiting for a chance to use them. Since the snow hasn't come to St Andre, I decided to go to the snow. So I drove my little car into the bigger mountains just to the North and had a couple of nice hikes over the weekend.

It was a lot of fun. A bit slower than XC or randonee skiing (or even walking in the summer), but easier and with less messing around with gear. I was impressed how easy it was to tackle relatively steep slopes. I really enjoyed myself and I'm looking forward to doing more. The snowshoes should also make some higher hike and flies possible. 

PS Can we have some snow please? Preferably delivered overnight!