Saturday, July 18, 2009

Grouse Mountain July 18

XC Skies was saying both the Fraser Valley and Pemberton would be blown out, so I opted for Grouse Mountain today to get some more airtime on my new ship. I didn't get out there until later (arrived at Guest Services at 4pm), which is good as according to Todd et al, it had been spicy all day.

Up on launch your typical cross cycles, and quite strong thermals coming up the slope. Not my idea of a fun launch, so Fedja and I sat on launch for about an hour or so until it started to look calmer and the cycles were a bit straighter. The First Flight crew showed up about then with tandems so all of a sudden it was busy.

I waited for a straight cycle and launched, and immediately went straight up. Not forward...up. I continued in this fashion for about 300' over launch, still not even over the chairlift yet, and slowly inched my way over the chairlift and into the gully. The whole time I was going up.

The going was slow at times (there was a fair bit of wind aloft) but the lift was huge. Fedja eventually got off launch too, as did Bill Nicolai who showed up after I launched. They both reported spicy air right off launch too.

But once out in front of the gondola and out of the gully it was a totally different story...nice smooth easy lift all over the fricken place. Lots of wind but smooth lift ranging from 0.1-0.8m/s, everywhere we went. I got to 5300' without turning (and the CYA's ceiling is 6000'). With such gobs of lift all over the place it was easy to just boat around and enjoy the view.

After 2 hours of this my feet were starting to get cold (I was just wearing my mesh runners and not my usual hiking boots, and my non-pod open harness) and I was still at 5000', so I flew to the Upper Levels Highway (and the southern edge of our CYA) and back. Landing was uneventful as it was 7:30pm by now, and Fedja and Bill were still in the air. And then the First Flight crew came out over the LZ on their solo gliders, so in the end there were 4-5 of us with huge grins on our faces after that amazing glassoff.

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