Sun Valley August 31

Another cold morning (I camped at the hotsprings!), and a long wait on top of the mountain while we waiting for cloudbase to lift high enough (fortunately we have the restaurant to hang out in).  Eventually we had a task set to Galena Lodge and then back towards Sun Valley (50km), but by the time cloudbase lifted high enough, it was windy over the back, and it looked to be too windy to launch off the back side anyways, so the day was cancelled.

Back at HQ it was free pizza and beer and then relaxation time with the foozeball table or watching DVD's.  I think tomorrow will be too windy, but we'll see what the morning brings.  Fortunately, Sun Valley is a place where, when it's not flyable, there's plenty to do otherwise!

I've got some pics up, you can see them here.

Sun Valley August 30

Well the first day of the comp has arrived, and it was a cold one!  Temp in the morning was right at 0C in the valley bottom, and there was frost on the offloading ramp at the top of Baldy.  Forecast was for OD and t-storms so it was a bit iffy that we'd actually fly.

Given the conditions, a quick 30km task was set north to Galena Lodge, just before the Galena Pass.  Since nominal distance is 40 or 45 km (I can't remember which), this would by definition result in a sub-1000 point day, but hey, a low points day is better than no day at all!

As I said before, it was a cold morning, and up top it was even colder!  Fortunately we were able to stay in the restaurant up top to stay warm.  Then it started to was ODing all over the place and snow showers were passing through.  It wasn't looking good for a taskable day.

Eventually, after pushing the start back 4 or 5 times, the organizers cancelled the day due to OD concerns.  Since it was only snowing slightly, and I had my glider unpacked already, I opted to fly down rather than pack up and ride the gondola down.  Most others had the same idea and the air was soon full of gliders sled-riding down to the LZ.

Of course it's now sunnier, but I'm sure the OD will return, and we'll have another session of rain (snow up top) before the day is out.  We'll try again tomorrow!

Sun Valley August 28

Looking up, it's mostly cloudy and kinda pinkish.  Yesterday while at Sky Ridge I noticed the smoke from a fire SW of Sun Valley, so I think the smoke is moving in.  You can smell it too.  The tandems were operating this morning, and later on some pilots went up for sled rides.  I ended up going to Frenchmans's Bend Hot Springs instead, about 30 minutes from Sun Valley.

The forecast for next week is looking good sun-wise; I'm actually glad we're getting all this weather now, so we can get it out of the way by the time the comp rolls around.  But the forecast is also calling for snow-showers (!) over the next couple of days and especially at night!  Gah, and I thought we had a few more weeks of summer to go; that's what you get for living at 6000'.  Fortunately I think I have enough hand-heat-warmers hiding in my harness from last winter to keep me warm if it's that cold while flying!

Sun Valley August 27

Too windy again today to fly, but a bunch of us went up to tidy up the launch area.  Usually it's a 2-3 glider launch in the cleared-off spot, but we widened it to about 8 gliders, with room for maybe 20 more if they are willing to lay out in the flowers and weeds.  So hopefully we won't have any launch lineup issues, and people will be able to lay out almost anywhere they want.

Later in the evening I went out to Sky Ridge; mostly to see if I could remember the way there, and also in case it laid down a bit wind-wise.  When I arrived at the LZ there were 5 speed gliders in the air, followed shortly afterward by a couple of comp gliders.  It looked strong at first and then appeared to mellow as the sun set.  I didn't go up though.  To the SW the sky was full of smoke from a nearby forest fire that started up last night.  Hopefully that smoke will keep it's distance!

Tenting in a Thunderstorm

It's been years since I experienced a half-decent thunderstorm (you just don't get much of them in Vancouver), so last night was a real treat.  For about 2 hours we had storm cells move through, all with their associated gust fronts, rain squalls, and lightening shows.  I was in the tent so got the full experience.  Being snug in a tent, knowing you're nice and dry, while it rages just on the other side of the nylon, is a pretty cool experience!

This morning heard there were tonnes of new fires started up by the strikes from last night.  Fortunately none of them are close, and so far the winds are keeping the smoke away from Sun Valley.

Sun Valley August 25

I didn't actually fly today...arrived in Sun Valley and had some things to do.  Ran into Pawel who had just landed after flight #2 from Baldy Mountain.  Apparently 5 or 6 pilots flew today.  Tomorrow is the beginning of the Intermountain League comp (a 3-day mini-comp, before the Nationals begin on the weekend), but I think it may be too windy tomorrow for flying.  We'll see.

Photo is of Sunbeam Hot of the many hotsprings in the area.  Some are easier to find than others; this one was pretty obvious from the road :)  See my Picasa site for more pics.

Bridal August 2

On the way back from Golden, passed Bridal Falls about that time of day!  Despite being tired I couldn't pass up a flight there, so did a quick flight to Elk Mountain, and then top-landed Upper Bridal for a nap.

Relaunched and top-landed Lower Bridal to drive a truck down, but all the vehicles were spoken for, so relaunched and flew down.  Nothing epic, just nice to fly locally again!

Heard it was windy in the Fraser Valley out by Deroche for the folks flying Benedict.

Canadian Nationals Golden August 1

The morning tandems and sledrides were rather entertaining for us watching in the LZ...apparently it was nil wind on launch, people launching off the north side etc, but it was super-windy in the valley.  We watched at least 3 PG pilots land in the swamp, while those that tucked in close to the mountain made it to the LZ and then parked their way down.  Not very encouraging.  In addition, dark grey skies to the south made us decide to cancel the day due to wind and possible OD concerns.  (In the end, it did storm about 5pm with a large cell moving through dropping rain, wind, and lightening).

So the results from yesterday will stand as the official overall 3 are Robert, Will, and Othar.  We had 5 valid tasks out of 7, which is pretty good for Golden.

People are now starting to leave for Calgary or points elsewhere; I'll be leaving in the morning for the drive back to Vancouver.  After 2 1/2 weeks on the road, I'm looking forward to some down-time in Vancouver before my next road trip and comp in Sun Valley (end of August).