Friday, August 22, 2014

xAlps or not

The application deadline for the xAlps is coming up soon and the big question is, are we going to apply again to represent Canada in the race?
It often crosses our minds, especially during the race, why are we doing this. What pushes us to train so hard, spend our "holiday savings" on it and dedicate so much time and energy in preparation and during the race?
There is something very special about the xAlps, and something that  no one will really understand unless they are part of it. However, one of the reasons for participating in it, is the adventure, which I share with my partner (Penny). The other is the mental aspect of the race, and to be able to do things you dream of. Many of which are hard to do on your own. Also the whole atmosphere of the xAlps, which includes everyone from the organizers, volunteers, supporters, sponsors and competitors. They are all like family or brotherhood, and everyone we have met over the years have played some sort of roll in our life, whether it be during the race or afterwards in a continued friendship or mentor.
We are very proud that we have been accepted/invited 4 times to this amazing race, to experience the adventure, and to meet and make so many new friends.
Since the 2013 race, many new things have happened in our lives. Last October, I started a new business ( with a good friend, Aaron Cameron, which has taken off in a big way. It has been a lot of work, but a lot of fun at the same time. Furthermore, I have decided to get back into Ultralight flying and teaching, and we are looking to get a float plane to explore the mountain lakes around here. Also on the agenda for next year is a holiday to Penny's "homeland", South Africa and experience the African life with the kids. Penny has recently also finished a refresher in open water sailing and she wants to go on a sailing trip with the kids for a couple months too.
As you can see, with all this, and focusing on the new business, we will not have the time and dedication for the preparation and participation in the 2015 xAlps. For this reason we have chosen not to apply to represent Canada in the next xAlps.
This decision was no an easy one, but in reality you only have so much time in day and instead of spreading ourselves too thin with all these plans and projects, something had to give.
Thanks again to everyone who has cheered us on and supported us over the years, and who keep following our adventures through the available social media.

Max, Penny and the kids

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Webcam and Wind meter at Mt. Swansea

Late last fall we already installed the webcam and wind meter at Mt. Swansea. for a test run. Over the winter the battery got drained and froze up and the webcam and wind meter went into hibernation.
A couple weeks ago I carried up a new car battery and the system woke up and is running fine since.

Thanks to Jan, job well done. Also, please see all the credits in how this project got established and funded at

We plan to have the webcam and wind meter running from mid April to mid November and shut it down over the winter
Besides the 2 webcams, we as pilots certainly enjoy the 2 wind meter links. One is to show the actual wind directions, speed and gusts and the 2nd with a 24 hour history to see what the overall wind development is.
Jan is also working to create a page to view more historic data over the month to come.

Check it out at


More winter flying in the Valley

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)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Flying to Powder King

Aaron Cameron, my business partner with, Chris Wiegert , home builder in Columbia Valley, and I did a business trip to Powder King (near Mackenzie) and rented a Cessna 172 from for the 680 km trip.

There is nothing better then flying in the pristine Rockies Mountain trench in the winter. There are no words to describe the beauty, vast, wild and untouched landscape and even the pictures are not doing justice either.

Skiing at Powder King was fantastic. Amazing hosts, super nice people and excellent snow.
Thanks again to everyone making us feel so special.

We had to change our flight plan on the flight back due unsettled weather and it turned out to be a very exciting and scenic flight back via Prince George, Williams Lake, Kamloops, Revelstoke and the Rogers Pass.

What a trip, can't wait to fly there again!

Click here for more pictures.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Are you still flying in he winter?

Are you still flying in he winter?
This is what I get asked every year, specially when it gets very cold.
I still hike up Mt. Swansea and do the odd flight in the winter, but most of the time we head up to Panorama and fly at the ski hill.
Panorama Resort is very good to us and they (and their guests) enjoy watching us playing in the sky.

At Christmas day Penny and I landed at the day-lodge with a good crowed of kids and adults while we landed as an Elf and Santa Claus, which was a lot of fun. (click here for more pictures)

Over the holidays, we had very good conditions and we could even ridge soar.
Our New Years flight was fantastic and I really enjoyed the footage and the picture Penny took when I flew with the Canadian flag.

We had several more flights since new years with a lot of other local and out of town flying buddies. If you have no plans for the next couple of weeks, consider to come for a ski & fly at Panorama. More information is at my website at 

P.s. if you have not heard about it yet, we will have our annual Panorama flying meet (usually during Easter) March 28, 29 and 30, if you have time, come and have fun with us.

Monday, September 9, 2013

New Paragliding and Hang gliding site in the Kootenays -Whitetale Mtn.

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. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The xAlps are finished

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 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.