Monday, December 27, 2010

Seasons greetings and a happy, healthy 2011

Seasons greetings and a happy, healthy and successful 2011 to everyone.

We are having a wonderful time at home in Invermere with family and friends with swimming, skating, x-country skiing, downhill skiing and paragliding at Panorama.
Christmas day Penny and I flew down to the day-lodge. Penny was dressed up as an elf (more like a present with lots of loose green and red tissue wrapper) and me as Santa.
What a great day to fly as Santa and as an elf and then go skiing after with the kids.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

xAlps training in Canada

We are now in full swing with our training and will slowly work to our peak by mid June.
As most of you know, my better half and supporter, Penny Powers (she does not just sound powerful, she lives up to her name) has worked out and written an x-alps training program for me.
The goal is to be able to do 4-5 hour hikes with full gear for 4 days in a row without getting tired during and after the hikes.
Besides hiking and flying, I have a weekly schedule to train on the Lakeview Meadows stairs, at our rec-center to swim, and in the gym to work on core strength.
Right now the lake is frozen which also gives me the opportunity to Nordic ski at least 3 times a week in the evenings.
I am very lucky to be able to do all this training right from our house. As I work from the house, it allows me to work 8-10 hours a day and still have fun with my young family.

The video shows a couple hikes with toboggan rides and flying over the ice.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Paragliding at Panorama Mt. Resort

The new owners of Panorama Mt. Resort are welcoming the Paragliding pilots for the 20010/11 season. This is now our 14th's season up there and we are getting again a special deal for pilots (if it is flyable).
Check out the guidelines at our Panorama page and get your wings and skis ready.

We are also planning to do some Santa flying over Christmas.
Anyone interested?

Seasons Greetings from Erik, Katia, Penny and Max

Friday, December 3, 2010

Nova Wings now available at

 At our last trip to the Dolomite's, we had the chance to try the new Nova Mentor2 and this wing is just outstanding. I think most of you know that the Mentor 2 was at least the same or better performing then the Omega 8 from Advance in a bet between Tom Payne and Hannes Papesch.

This is absolutely amazing to have a 1-2 wing with a smaller aspect ratio and such a performance .

We also met with Nova at the Team meet and we talked about Nova sales in Canada. There are only 2 dealers, one on Vancouver Island and one in Ontario but no one in the Rockies.

Well we changed this now.
If you have any interest in a Nova wing, send me an e-mail to

Saturday, November 20, 2010

xAlps preparations are on the way and still having fun with the family.

Since we got the news to be selected again for the 2011 xAlps, we are working hard on logistics and the mapping. This time we are working together with Steve Nash (Team UK). Steve and I are both Nova Team Pilots and decided to work together on the prep-work to get a good chance to be in goal with the others.

Besides working on maps and logistics we started already with some easy training on the mountain 3 times a week, Yoga 1-2 times a week and the odd time in the Gym.
Penny worked out a super cool program for me, which I am very excited about it. It is all about to be able to workout hard 4-6 hours a day for 5 days in a row without getting depleted.
Sounds impossible, but I am convinced with Penny's supervision it all can be done.

In the mean time I have tons to do with and still have time to enjoy my family with skating, hockey, bike rides, playing in the snow, reading with Katia and yes also with flying.
Have a look at the video I flew with Penny and Katia. Erik was kind of bummed  not to be in the video, but believe me, he gets his fair share of flying as well.

Monday, October 25, 2010

RedBull xAlps 2011

Today we got the news that we have been selected to be one of the 30 teams to compete in the 2011 We are super excited to be there again.
I sometimes wonder what it is that brings us back to this event? It is very time consuming and expensive to get prepared  for it and during the race, which takes about 2 weeks, it drains all your strength and power one has. But it's addictive and an experience and challenge like no other, and Penny and I are in it together.
I like to stress one important part, this all would never be possible without the help from Penny and the kids, they are the best I can ask for. And thanks for all the support and help we have from our community, family and friends.   

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fun with the kids - heading to the Dolomite's

Already September??? Man, time is just flying by here.

August was great and we had a ton of fun. Right after the event we spend a lot off time at the beach and in the air. I did a ton of tandems with the kids and friends. Flying x-country is fun, but very cool is if your own kids want to share your hobby with you.

End of August we headed up to the "Nation Lakes" (3 hours North of Fort St. James). We did a 9 day kayak and canoe paddle with the whole family and the Kubian's (Rick, Ange, Micheal and Adam). This was a true adventure to travel only by Canoe and Kayak over 130 km and not to see anyone.
Follow this link to see pictures, be warned there are a lot of pictures and they might get boring for you.

After we got back, the weather was not the best for flying so I started with my training to loose some of the accumulated weight. This involves about 4-5 Mt. Swansea hikes per week with and without gear and with yoga sessions. All feels good and it is amazing how fast you can get back into shape again.

Today we (Penny and I) had a intro to kite surfing at Cochrane. Pretty good fun and we love it. We think we are going to start this winter on the lake.

Another reason why we are in Calgary is that I am heading to Germany tomorrow evening. First we planned to go with the kids, but now with Katia going to school (yes grade 1) I ended up going myself. I will meet up with 4 other Canadians to visit the "Free Flight" expo at Tegelberg and after this we are heading down to the Dolomite's with This will be a bit hectic as I will have to keep on working during the evening hours with my daytime job for

I will keep you posted during the trip.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

34th annual

The 34th annual splash down was simply said amazing and magical. Friday we had huge thunderstorms and the weather forecast for Saturday was so so.
Saturday morning the valley was covered by fog and low clouds. We had 15 Hang glider pilots and 30 Paraglider pilots show up at the 8:30 am morning briefing. Once we got up to the launch (around 10:00 am) the south wind already picked up and the clouds and fog was breaking. See some pictures from Stewart's Photo Album.

Eventually the south wind got to strong for paragliding and only hang gliders where in the air. We had a lot of spectators on the beach and even Brewster come down with a full busload of spectator. While hang gliders where flying we did a ground-handling demonstration. One with a modern serial class wing and I had the opportunity to play with a 1989 Birdwing (I flew this kind back then). What an experience for me and spectators could see colored wings and activity. I think I even saw Jeff starting a hula-hop competition. Then just as asked for, the wind died down and we could start flying again.The wind shifted from south to north and eventually got to strong to land at the Lakeside Pub (around 5:30 pm). Everybody could get their flights in and some could log up to 4 flights. I did 3 tandems, one with my son Erik and his teddy, the second with the Columbia Valley Pioneer reporter Kate and the last one with Penny's sister's son Declan. Katia (my daughter) did not feel to good to go flying and the wind got kind of to strong anyways, so she enjoyed the beach and the many other kids to play with.
The is not a hardcore flying meet where pilots fly long distances. This meet is more to show all the non-fliers what we have fun with and to raise interest in our sport. This event is also a social event for all the pilots, friends and families to get together to socialize and have fun. And this is exactly what we did, after the flights, everyone enjoyed the beach and then headed to the Lakeside pub for dinner. They had a great buffet ready which was leading into a fantastic party and dance with the Electric Squirrels. The Electric Squirrels are a great dancing band playing just about anything, thanks again for playing until 1:30 am.
Before I forget, during a music break we had our boat race between Hang glider pilots and paraglider pilots. This was a close race and had to be done twice. This year the paraglider pilots will be on the trophy (sponsored by CJ92). Can't wait who will be on it next year.

All in all it was a great event, for everyone who did not come, you missed a good one.

Here are a couple thank you's to make this all happen. First I like to thank Frank and Tracey to run this event and to keep everyone inspired and more so to back it financially, meaning to somehow make this work with the needed cash sponsors. Also a huge thank you to all the volunteers for their time and efforts and to the Search and Rescue group who come up from Kimberly to monitor the top of Mt. Swansea.

Sponsors and supporters where:,,,,,
Inside Edge Sports (Invermere), Kickinghorse Coffee, Rocky River Grill (Invermere), Rona (Invermere), The Rainbow Dunky (Kids clothing in Invermere), Valley Foods (AG foods Invermere), Valley Hair Styling (Invermere), Oasis Gifts (Invermere),

Friday, August 6, 2010

Flying meets in the summer

Spring and beginning of the summer was not the best for flying. We had a lot of wind or it overdeveloped very fast.
July 17th (start of the "Willi") was the first opportunity to get a bigger flight in, I called Stewart Midwinter and Ron Ford and sure enough we got a flight from Golden to Invermere (110km). It must have been at least 5 years back that I flew with Ron this flight the last time. Steward landed at the Invermere airport and got a ride back to Golden to retrieve his car. I was not able to participate in the remaining week of the Willi due work.

The following Friday evening I watched Eric Oddy from Brisco when he did his kind of training and warm up for the Rocky Mountain thermals. Check out the video, he was not able to fly the day after as planned, but he flew in the Canadian Nationals.

On the last day of the "Willi" I tried to fly from Invermere to Golden for the big dinner party, but got washed down at Edgewater (40 km from Invermere) by strong north winds. Later this evening we (the family, Frank, Dominic and Jeff) drove to Golden for the dinner. What a blast we had to meet all the old friends and the many of the new pilots. Most pilots did not fly this day as the conditions where very strong and rough. Later this evening the pilots go further challenged with Katia's hula-hoop competitions. Just great to see that kids can have a lot of fun at events like this as well.

The next day (Sunday) we got in a morning flight with Penny and a tandem with Erik. I headed up again and got another great flight from Golden to Invermere (112 km)

Monday morning Stewart and I drove up to Golden for the pilots meet. I am not really a comp kind of guy as I like more x-country flying without watching how some people act and let things get into their heads due a competition. Yes, a comp is something to take serious, but you still can have fun with it to. I had a blast at the Canadian Nationals and really enjoyed to fly with over 40 people the whole week long. The best flights/tasks where the first 2 days, one was going down to Invermere (108 km task) and the 2nd was going north to Donald Station, back to Mobily and then land at Chris Mullers old place at the Blaeberry (I think 50 km plus). The other days where some times windy or the forest fires in the province shut down the thermals. Thanks to Bruce and all his volunteers to make this such a great meet. If you like to get more details, follow this link to Nicole's blog where she posted all the results.
Another thing what stood out was the new Ozone R 10.2 glider. Man, that things is very impressive and I have to say it certainly sets a new standard in performance. Even when it got windy and more tricky to fly, these guys where still finishing tasks when most of us where not able to finish the task.
These guys certainly made me think about to get one. At the same time I wonder when this knowledge can be used in the serial wings. Right now we have great wings to thermal but as soon we need some speed, we are done. Although, it is already impressive where we are today when I think back to my first flight in 1987.

The last week I was back at work and we are just getting ready for the 34th

Hope to see many of you there.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lumby meet

June 11th to 13th we took our VW Westfalia camper van to Lumby with the kids. What a great experience, the kids loved the camping, Lumby days with all the activities and the parties in the evenings. Randy Rauck did an excellent job organizing the event and what really made this event so great was that all pilots/friends/families could camp on site, party and share their stories.
Friday was very warm but still very unstable we only got a couple sled rides done late afternoon.
Saturday started great but turned to a stable day. Only one person (Claudio) made goal in paragliding and John McClintok in Hang gliding. The days where hot and I am certainly not used to wait for a long time on sunny launch sites without a hat. After 2 hours of flying I got a huge headache (due dehydration) which made me land (after a total of 2.5 hours flying time). I was kind of bummed as I knew I could have done better then 10th for the day.
Sunday was sunny and hot again with a strong wind in the forecast. After we where on launch at Copper, the task got moved to Saddle Mountain (across from Copper) we decided to follow Randy Parkin and fly at "Boldy" (by Vernon) After I launched I could sky out to over 2000 meters and headed to Lumby. The winds got stronger and the wind was blowing along the Lumby ridge, which forced me to land just south of Lumby.
Overall a great flight considering that really no flights could be done from Saddle Mountain and the comp ended with only one task.
Sunday was also the 1st day of the Canadian Hang gliding Nationals and there was a great crowed for Sunday night as well. We stayed one more night and again I could see again how much fun the social part of flying events can be.
My message is to not only see a Comp/Event as a serious competition and get stressed about it. See these Comps/Events as a reason for a good party, good flying and a great learning experience as you fly and talk to many people alike.
Our next meet we will attend will be at Wasa, BC for the fun XC meet on July 2,3 and 4 2010.
More details at 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

May had a lot of unstable weather - Equipment review

April started out great for flying, May had a couple good days but overall it was very unstable and not many flights were happening. In the mean time we have been busy with the canoe's (incl. camping), bike rides, kids' soccer and at the Skateboard park (Erik's favorite place to ride his bike).
Penny did a lot of training and got super fit for her 25 km trail run at Nippika. They had a couple hundred participants and Penny was 3rd overall and got 1st place in her age group. Way to go Penny!!!

In the mean time I'd thought I'd share some of the questions I. have've had. Several people have asked me about the harness/backpack and the MBT's I used during the race.

The Altirando XP from Supair was the harness I used and still use. This harness is excellent and I just love it. Here are a couple remarks of what I love most about it.

  • The backpack is very comfortable to carry and most outstanding is the ability to pack it flat and tall as this keeps the weight close to your body. The further you move weight away from your body, the heavier it will feel. My pack weighs about 14-17 kg depending on supplies (5.5 kg the wing, 3.9 kg the harness/backpack, 1.4 kg reserve plus helmet, clothes, GPS, Vario and water/food. 
  • The harness is very comfortable to fly and allows you to assist turns with weight shifting. The Nova Triton needs a harness which allows you wight shift in combination with break-line input as it can not only be flown by break-lines. 
  • The extra bonus is the leg fairing or pod you can attach (0.850 kg). This is excellent as it saves you from wearing extra pants or a flight suit (a flight suit alone is at least 1.3 kg). It is warm, streamlined and fits nice with the front-mount reserve. The front-mount reserve is also serving very well as a cockpit for your Vario and GPS.  
I am very happy with that harness as it is way more compact and with the extra packing space if needed I can add more stuff to go traveling with this pack alone.

In the video below you can see how the pack carries and a short clip about MBT sandals. MBT is not a good shoe for trails in the mountains as it an unstable shoe with far less traction than proper mountain shoes. But at the same time, I have to say that I would not have been able to walk these long distances (especially in the valley's) for this many days in a row and to be able to recover so quick with only a couple of hours of sleep a night, had I not been wearing the MBT's. I am still wearing MBT's every day as I have sandals, runners and dress-shoes.
Here are the reason what I like on these shoes the most.
  • The round sole virtually makes you walk and feels very soft. 
  • The MBT system forces you to have a upright posture and this is a mayor advantage as a upright posture will provide you with a good blood circulation for the organs and you will not get tired as fast as with a bend over posture. 
First I got told to use MBT only for training as it builds up your core strength but not to use them for the race. After all the experiences I had with MBT, I am training with them and would use them in the race any time again.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Picking up a VW Westy by air.

This year we are staying at home (Canada) and Penny really wanted a camper van. Well we kept looking on the net and came across a 1984 VW Campervan (290.000 km) and in good shape. There is some rust which needs some attention, but other then that it is a beauty.

The only problem we faced was to get to Vernon (6 hour drive) and back. The weather was great and we could rent a Cessna 172 from to fly to Vernon and get Calvin (from to fly back the plane.
So we started to get my check out "Touch & Goe's" in Invermere before heading to Vernon. The flight to Vernon was just amazing, blue sky, a couple clouds here and there.  There is still a lot of snow in the mountains and the glaciers looked magnificent. We flew from Invermere to Panorama Mt. Resort and crossed the Purcell's over Jumbo Pass. What a great view, a ocean of mountains and glaciers. We could see from the Kokanee Glacier up to the Bugaboos. We crossed over the Arrow Lakes (by Nakusp) to Lumby and down to Vernon.

I have flown over the Purcell's many times and every time it is like a new experience. All I can say to all the locals and who is coming to this area, go to and take a flight as words and pictures will not justify the experience. For all the Paraglider pilots, hang  glider pilots and people who like the no-motorized flying, see Trevor at and to take you up to the glaciers with his Duo Discuss.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Early start to fly XC in the Valley

Since we are back in Canada, we had a lot of good weather and great flights. Beginning of April I had several flights to cloud-base (+3000m). The thermals where big and easy to fly but my hands got cold very fast and I had no intension to go XC.
Now last Wednesday (April 21st) we had up to 27 Celsius at our yard and great flying conditions. Jeff, Dominic and I got ready around 1:00 pm to head up Mt. Swansea. The thermals came already through and we launched right away. The first 15 minutes in the air where a bit choppy with a SE wind drift, but soon I could get high enough to head north. It was a blue-thermal day which made things a bit more challenging but the conditions got better by the hour. I planned to fly to Golden and back, but once I got to Harrogate (about 4:30 pm), my ground speed slowed down to 10-15 km/h as the wind from the north got stronger, so I decided to turn around and fly back home. On the way back at Spillimachine I got up to at 4000m (with a small cloud) where I had a great view of the snow covered Rockies to the east and the Glaciers at the Purcell's in the west.
Flying home from there was easy going and I got back to our house with plenty of height. I could have flown at least to Fairmont Hot Springs of even to Canal Flats which would have resulted in a 165 km plus flight. But after 5 hours and 125 km in the bag it was much nicer to land right at my backyard watching my kids play and Penny getting ready to head up for an evening flight. After I packed up and we where just about to head up the mountain again, the North wind got to strong on the ground and we ended up drinking a "Landing Beer" with friends.

You can see the flight details at

Here are a couple pictures of the flight
just about 4000m looking south from Spillimachine

Same location looking north

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Fly-in Meet at Panorama

Photo by Stewart Midwinter

We think this year was the 13th Easter Fly-in meet. Our main goal was to come back from Europe early enough to keep on running this great event. Our prep-time was kind of short, but we still had 28 pilots show up, who came along with their families and friends. The main reason why we started this event was to have fun with family and friends. This is not just an idea I have now because I have 2 little kids (Katia 5 years old and Erik 4 years old), it already started 13 or 14 years ago. We don't often see a lot of family and friends come along on flying trips, as hanging out at launch or at the landing site soon gets boring for them. But at Panorama, the resort is ideal for everyone. If the family or friends aren't skiing, they can also go shopping, go to the spa, or swim in the great outdoor pool (and watch the paragliders from there) The best part of it all for the pilots is that there is virtually no "Para-Waiting". If the winds aren't right at the moment, we go for a run, check out the landing, and go back up to try again.

Because of all this, we saw more families and partners out this year. Bob and Natalie Gardener were here with 4 generations of their family (I think about 12 people) to celebrate Easter and having fun.

Here is a quick update of the event:
Friday we got one flight in the morning before the conditions got too strong for flying. Friday night we did an x-alps presentation and showed the RedBull 2009 x-Alps movie.
Saturday we set up in the morning. and all went to the launch with our wings, but it turned very quickly into a very windy day. So "Para-Waiting" turned into a ski-day and some of us had races top to bottom with our packs. Jeff Grieve was the outright winner!. Saturday night we had a great dinner at RK Heli-plex. The rest of the night we spent at the T-Bar, and of course had our traditional "Boat Races" (thanks to Frank, sponsoring most of the beer), but it resulted to some headaches the next day.
Sunday was a blue sky day and we started as early as 9:30 am to fly. The conditions were so good that we could sky-out around noon. Stewart Midwinter and Raul could not resist the lift and decided to fly out to the Lakeside Pup in Invermere, while we were still doing target landings at the resort. After we wrapped up the meet at Lustie's patio aropund 1:00 pm several of us headed up the mountain again and 5 other pilots flew out and landed at the Lakeside Pub. Some pilots decided not to fly as it seemed to easy as Raul flew 2 times to Invermere that day (I am a bit sarcastic here). The flight out was amazing, not too easy as it started to cloud in a bit. The clouds where not big and the cloud base didn't seem too high, but we could still get high. A few of the clouds were even dumping snow. It took a while to get enough height over the top ridge. Once you got up, there was tons of lift and some of us flew between 12.000 and 13.000 feet. It was spectacular when you flew into the Windermere valley over the valley clouds. I flew right over to Mt. Swansea and ended up in snow and decided to fly back to the Lakeside Pub.
What a great weekend.
Thanks again to all the volunteers, Panorama Resort for all their amazing support and donation of such fantastic prizes, and to everyone who come. Thanks also to Glenn Derouin (, Trevor Florence ( and Kootenay Coffee for their donation of prizes.
The winner this year was Glen Comfort, 2nd Glenn Derouin, and in 3rd place was Scott Watwood.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We are back home ...

ard to believe we are home already. We have been in Europe for 10 month and already back in Canada for 1 week. Now looking at this blog, we must have been busy as we did not update this since December. Well, this will change as I like to share so many ideas and new things I have seen and experienced.
Here is a short review of the last couple month. Starting with December. Like everyone else, we have been busy with Christmas and to start with the ski season. Skiing was amazing and we had most of the time very good conditions. The kids did very well on skies and started to snowboard (see attached video) as well. We did not bring our skies and run into some really good deals at one of the countless "Ski-Basars". Penny and I picked up a very good set of touring skies (binding, skins and crampons) for 100 Euro each. To get most our of the great skiing around the Allgaeu and Austria, we purchased a Season Pass (only 355 Euro) for about 20 ski resorts. Meaning we had had 580 km on downhill runs within a 45 minute drive from our home.
It even got better with the "Kindergarten" system we had the kids in. They spend 5 days a week from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm in Kindergarten and had a blast, learned to speak a better Germany then I do and we could go skiing almost every day. 3 times a week Penny was going to school and took German lessons and the rest of the time we had a very good Penny & Max time. I still could work full steam as I worked most of the time during the evening hours (from 6:00 pm to midnight or 1:00 am, which is daytime in Canada) and a little bit during the day. Everything was perfect, maybe a little tiering with the full schedule, but for sure a lot of fun. The kids had a great time with all the local activities and the Grand-Parents. It was great as they lived just one apartment below. So they could go downstairs any time and if needed we had baby sitters very close by. 
In January we run into a pretty sweet deal with MEC. We did a 12 day Mediterian Cruise for 798 Euro (the whole family with outside/balcony room and food) Starting in Genua/Italy, to Barcelona/Spain, to Funchal, Madeira/Portugal, to Teneriffa, Canary Islands/Spain, to Arrecife, Lanzarote (Canary Islands) / Spain, to Malaga, Andalusien/Spain, to Civitavecchia (Rom)/Italy and back to Genua/Italien. What a great experience and fun we had while I was still able to work.
We did one more weekend trip to Praque (also a must see City) and the rest of the time we enjoyed the great skiing in the Alps with our area seasons passes. 
Now being back for a week, we had great weather and I already had 4 hikes up to Mt. Swansea with 2 great flights right up to Cloud-base (3100m and once at 2800m) and one day of skiing at Panorama. Now we are getting ready for our Easter Fly-in Meet next week.