Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Seasons Greetings

Seasons Greetings and a happy and healthy 2013.
We just got back from Mexico in time for the Christmas festivities. One of them is flying at Panorama as Santa.
What a great day flying as Santa and skiing with the kids. Live is good and we are looking forward to a great 2013.

all the best, lots of health and all you wish for 2013

Max, Penny and the kids

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Paragliding at Panorama for the 2012/2013 season

Panorama is welcoming paragliding pilots for the 2012/2013 season.
Paraglider day tickets (flyable days) will be again available for $20.
We do have a couple minor changes.
In short:
  • there is now a NO-FLY zone in the 1 Mile Quad chair lift area.
  • every pilot (even if you flew here before) needs to go through an orientation and needs to signed the 2012/2013 Panorama waiver.
  • stay at least 150 feet away from the lift lines.

More details about flying at Panorama is at 

Penny and I are right now in Mexico and will be back Dec 20th and plan to do some "Santa" flying on the 24th. Let us know if anyone is planing to come out for the Xmas days.

Season Greetings

Max, Penny and the kids 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

2013 RedBull xAlps

Penny and I are very proud to represent Canada and feel honored to be accepted in the race with this amazing select group of Athletes/Pilots (click here to see the list of athletes)
We are participating now for the 4th time and plan to use all our gained experience to make it to Monaco.
We will keep updating this blog in how we are preparing ourselves.
Stay tuned.
Max & Penny 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Nova Junior xAlps workshop and Nova Pilot meet

Steve Nash and myself were holding a xAlps workshop for "Nova Junior Pilots" to give them some insights of the xAlps.
First we planned to head to Chamonix to "hike & fly" from Mont Blanc south towards Monaco, but due the strong winds in this area we stayed in the eastern part of the alps.
The first day was a travel day ending with a one hour flight from the "Hirtzer" (near Meran). The day before it snowed down to 1800 meters and therefore we had to plan to stay lower for the next couple of days.
The 2nd day we "hiked & flew" from the Jaufenpass to Bruneck. This started with a 2 hour hike up to the Jaufenpass where we were able to fly to Sterzing. The interesting part was that we needed to find a launch site to take off into the west (due the west wind) and then fly to the east. This is typical in the xAlps and puts a different perspective of finding the right launch site then you normally do.

Following the flight, we walked for 6 km along the river and then hiked up to another pass followed with a long glide into the Valles valley. For a XC pilot, the day ends after you landed, but not in the xAlps, so we started to walk for an hour into the night to give them this experience as well.
Overall, it was a great example to display sections of a typical xAlps day, such as hiking to a launch and fly into the lee to get where you need to go, walking in the valley, crossing another pass and keep walking in the dark after a flight.
The next day we headed to the Dolomite's and wanted to take advantage of the good weather. We started with a hike up to the Belvedere followed with a flight to Canazei and then another hike up to Col Rodella followed with a extended glide into the valley.
For the last day Steve and I set a task to the "Junior Pilots" and we only followed them. The task was  from Feltre (south Italy) to our team meeting landing site at Lago (near Belluno). The team choose a save route, starting with a 5 hour hike and then a save glide to the goal. It feels good when you plan a hike & fly route and make it to goal. And even better when a lot of your Nova Team Members are landing with you at the same landing.
The annual Nova Team meet was a huge success with over 50 people coming from all over the world. We had a great time to socialize, party and get the latest news of what Nova is working on.
Thanks again to Robert starting this idea and for Nova to make it all happen and last but not least to the three Junior Nova Team members Moritz, Rico and Robert to make this such a fun week.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

SIV with Nova at Achensee

Originally the SIV was scheduled to be at the Gardasee in Italy but due the bad weather in the southern Alps, Nova was able to move the workshop to the Achensee (just north of the Alps). First it did not look very good as the Foehn (Chinook) was building up and we had some gusty and windy conditions in the morning. It still turned out we could do up to 4 flights on Saturday and 3 flights on Sunday, which was very surprising. Walter Holzmuller was running the workshop and did a great job as all the discussions and maneuvers were practice related.The interesting statistics about SIV (Simulated Incidence in flight/Vol) was that trthere is a huge percentage of experienced cross-country pilots (flying at least 10-25 years) have never done a SIV course. It seams like that the biggest percentage of SIV participants are flying for 3-5 year. The most what I got out of the workshop was the different types of methods to get down to the ground fast. Here are the different methods:
 1] The most common one is "Big Ears". This gets you down with up to 12 m/sec (only with 3 liners, not 2 liners). Keep in mind, going down faster does not mean gaining more ground speed/airspeed, if anything, you are flying slower. A lot of pilots use this method thinking they fly faster to fly away from something, which is not true. "Big Ears" work very well, but can not be used as an overall maneuver to get down. Sometimes it is better to fly away as fast as possible from big lift and then spiral down instead of staying in big lift with "Big Ears".
 2] "B-line stall" which is not recommend anymore as it can lead to a "kravatte"  and maybe gives you about 12 m/sec sink. Check your manufactures manual, some advice not to fly "B-line stalls" at all.
 3] A "deep Spiral" can achieve more then 20 m/sec, but it creates a lot of g-forces and can lead to black outs and can be rough to do in turbulent air.
4] The most interesting maneuver was the 60% asymmetric collapsed spiral dive. With this spiral dive you have less g-forces and a stable decent of more then 25 m/sec in turbulent conditions. I was very surprised to experience how stable and save this spiral is. My big worry was to get into trouble with lines getting caught in the canopy during this maneuver or when stopping it. But based on the experiences the SIV schools had, there are no incidents like that at all. The most important result of this workshop was learning about the asymmetric collapsed spiral dive and to be able to practice it over water.
Thanks again to Walter Holzmuller, Mik Brochard, Toni Bender and Nova to put this on for us.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Another week in the Dolomite's

After the Octoberfest I drove back to Sillian as I was guiding one more week in the Dolomite's for We were a group of 12 pilots including Lucille from Edmonton and the weather was awesome. The first day we flew at Monte Piano (next to the 3 Zinnen) and the rest of the week we flew at Col Rodella and Belvedere. On 2 days most people logged flights with over 2 hour.
Every morning some of the participants joined for a "hike & fly" before breakfast to enjoy the morning air. The last morning was very spectacular as we could watch and fly over the cold air (fog) flushing over the Corvara pass down to Arabba.
Now I am on my way to Achensee for the Nova SIV.

Photos by Lisa Reichholf

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Dolomites, Austria and Bavaria

After the "Flight with the Balloons"flight, we managed to get one more flight from St. Hilare and then headed to the Dolomite's. By the way, Mik's video had over 26000 views in the first 7 days, which I was very surprised by.
A massive low pressure system moved over Europe and the week for flying in the Dolo's did not look very promising. The tour started with a hike around the 3 Zinnen. The day after we could fly for hours at Col Rodella. Then we had a day of hiking at Fasso Falzarego and the Piz Boe.   Penny, Carrie and Dave spend one day in Venice which was a amazing trip on its own.  Even if you can not fly, the Dolomite's are spectacular and always worth a visit or just a couple hours away from other amazing places like Venice.
Before the tour finished, we still got one more day of great flying and some people managed to fly to the Marmolada and to fly back to the hotel in Arabba. All in all it was a great week.
After the Dolomite's we headed north and visited the main office from Nova near Innsbruck. Dave was very excited to help to get his Ion2 tuned with their computerized tuning system. The days after we flew at the Brauneck (bei Lenggries) and had a good time with our tour guide Mik and his family. Thanks again for your time Mik. The last 3 days we spend in the Allgaeuer Alps to fly and to check out the castle, ruins, food and the last day/night we had a very good time at the Oktoberfest in Munich.
Now I am back in Sillian to get ready for one more week in the Dolomite's.
In the mean time, enjoy the pictures below. 

Dolomite tour

Germany and Austria Tour

Venice tour

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Coupe Icare

For this years Dolomite/Germany tour we started at St. Hilare at the "Coupe Icare".
Wow, explains it all!!
Mik, Toni and Hannes from Nova organized tents and thermo-mats for us, and showed us around, showed us where to camp and gave us all the "inside" details of what to do and what was going, during our stay. Thanks again for all your help. The Coupe Icare is a must for every light aircraft pilot. I have never seen so many people attending a flying event. I heard that they had about 100.000 visitors. I am not sure if it is true, but the take off and landing sites were jam packed, traffic was blocked up for kilometers, and pilots of any kind were seen in the air for 3 days.
The flying expo was amazing and it was super interesting to see what the manufactures are offering and planning for the future. The parties in the evening were just awesome with some wild bands and performers. The evening light up was fantastic and we really loved the mini hot air balloons.
We also managed to get some flights in and the most amazing flight was in the early morning (with fog) flying around hot air balloons. See the video (from Mik) and pictures below.

paraglider meet hot-air ballons @ coupe icare 2012 from Mik Broschart on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fall flying in the Rockies and in Europe

Fall is one of my favorite flying seasons. This is the time of the year to give lessons as the conditions are mellow and way more relaxed then during the spring and summer season and great for "hike & fly" as it is not to hot for hiking and still having good conditions for nice x-country flights.

So far August and September (until mid September) just was a "blur" with all the activities we did. Besides flying, we did a lot like camping in the west Kootenays, Stand-up paddle boarding, multi-day canoe trip down the Columbia River, fishing, hiking, exploring, partying and so on.
Now we are getting ready for our "Fly the Alps" tour. This will be very exciting and fun. Penny and I will travel with a couple Canadians to St. Hilare to the Coupe Icare and then we will be guiding for in the Dolomite's.
After the Dolomite tour, we will be traveling to Achensee to visit Nova  to check out what they are working on and fly at their flying sites. After the Achensee we are traveling to the German Alps to fly over the fairy tale castle Neuschwanstein (see pictures and more info at This tour will be finished off with a visit at the October Fest in Munich.
After this I will be doing another Dolomite tour (also with some Canadian's) for and right after this I will participating at SIV course at Gardasee.
A day after the SIV, Steve Nash (UK xAlps pilot) and I will be holding a xAlps workshop for Nova junior pilots from Mt. Blanc following one of the xAlps routes.
The following weekend will be the Nova pilots meet in Austria to finish off the European trip.
All this will be jam-packed into a 5 week period.

I will be posting pictures and posts during the trip.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Lakeside Event

The Lakeside Splash down this year was the 36th annual event.
About 50 pilots came and enjoyed the "Sunny and Hot" weather. The wind was a bit strong from the NW and at the beginning it was harder to make it to the lake and a lot of pilots landed short on the way to the lake.  Saying that, we had some pilots flying to the beach 4 times this day.
The dinner and party was at the Lakeside Pub and was a lot of fun. The "Electric Squirrels" did a great job to keep the dance floor busy.
To get more update/results and to keep updated (click "like"), go to

Friday, August 10, 2012


Are paragliding competitions good or bad?

I used to hate paragliding "comps" (competitive events), but started to enjoy participating in them since I was at the"Serial Cup" last year in Slovenia.
The main reason why I did not like them is that you had to fly a hot glider and the guy with the biggest balls had the best chances. This statement can easily backed up with the accident statistics.

At the last years "Serial Cup" it was fun, safe and very educational as the tasks where designed for average pilots flying average wings.

Following are some questions which cover what I like and not like about competitions.

Why are we going to competitions?
I think to have fun, meet new people, measure your self (same category of wings, tasks and conditions), experience and share the same with your peers.

What do I not like about competitions?
Can easily push you flying in conditions you normally would not fly in. It also can make you use equipment you should  not be flying and can make you a nervous pilot.

I just came back from the Canadian Paragliding Nationals in Pemberton.
I only could join the event for a couple of days as I needed to head back to do my part for the upcoming Pemberton is a great site and has super nice people. Thanks again to everyone for your hospitality and kindness. I loved it and and I will be back again.

Now thinking about the Nationals a couple days after, the only part I did not like too much (and this has nothing to do with the site and organizers) is that the Nationals are advertised for everyone, but the tasks are designed that only by about 10-20% of the participants make goal. Less then a quarter of the pilots were using the high end "D" wings which do have a definite advantage to finish the tasks and a big part of the remaining pilots get discouraged. It was interesting to observe how many people measured themselves in what they fly and how a lot of others where not so proud to state they would "only" fly a "B" rated wing.

I think the overall concept of Paragliding competitions need to be evaluated.
Right now we do have a hand full of pilots training for competitions and using the best available equipment, then we have the "wana be" comp pilots flying wings they should not fly and then we have the average to good pilots flying "B" rated wings.
If I would compare this to the car racing world, this would mean our competitions are done by Formula 1 pilots, "wana be" Formula 1 pilots/wings, "standard sports car" wings and pilots.
Seeing it from this perspective, this does not make a lot of sense.
I am all for the "Formula 1" races (wings/pilots) and they should compete at the "Paragliding World Cup" series only and the rest should focus on the main group of people the organizers are advertising to.

With this statement, I like to stress that I am in full support of the organizers of the current Canadian Nationals in Pemberton, but I think we need to re-think to who we want to cater our only official Canadian Paragliding competition to, in the future. I think we have a lot of recreational Canadian pilots who like to go to a competitions to learn, have fun and maybe to evolve into the professional paragliding circuit.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Evening flights at Mt. Swansea

Here are some pictures of some evening flights from Mt. Swansea.

Canadian Rockies Paragliding Tour

For the last 4 years I have now guided several Dolomite Paragliding tours for Susanne and Stefan decided to offer a Canadian Rockies Paragliding tour this summer and within a short time the tour was sold out.

On June 14th Nathan and I headed to Vancouver to pick up the BlueSky group (15 pilots incl. Susanne and Stefan) from the Vancouver airport. The group was a mixture of couples and guys from any sort of life and varying from a wide range of ages (up to 72 years).

The first stop was Pemberton. The weather was not favorable for flying, so we  spend the 3 days doing the tourist thing in Whistler and checked out the new launch site Jim and Corinne (and local pilots) are setting up for the coming up Canadian Nationals.
The next stop was Vernon. We got some nice flights going from "King Eddy" (near Vernon) and at "Coopers"(in Lumby).
The 3rd stop was in Golden followed with an evening flight at Mt. Seven. Part of the group stayed at Hugo and Brandy's place and at Sandor Lake. We got one day of good flying conditions in Golden and spend then a day for Lake Emerald, Moraine Lake and Lake Louise and other attractions within the Banff and Yoho National Park.
The last stop was in Invermere with a flight from Mt. Swansea and other local activities.

It was a great 2 weeks, to get more details about the tour, simply check out the pictures below.

Click here for more pictures from

Monday, May 21, 2012

Amazing what the new beginner wings can do today.

Yeahhh,  Penny's new Ion2 finally arrived and she flew it last Sunday with a big grin in her face. Even this eagle (behind her) had to fly with her to believe what he saw.

We are very excited about the whole development Nova is focusing on.
Last October the kids, Penny and I had the pleasure to be at the last Nova-Pilots meet at Fiss in Austria. It was a fantastic place and we all enjoyed the area, people and the great service we had. Katia and I lucked out to win the first price (weekend in Fiss) by kicking the soccer ball into goal at our landing, see the pictures below.
Anyhow, a lot of people were surprised when Hannes announced during the meet that they are working on a new Low 1-2 wing (Ion2) instead of a new high end wing (Triton2). Hannes stated that the 2-3 wings are going through a lot of changes and he is more excited to show what you can do today with a low end 1-2 wing.

A couple month later, the result of the Ion2 (low end 1-2 wing) was enormous, the performance and handling in this class is outstanding. All the words and hype got now backed up with a 223 km FAI triangle flight last week. No one ever flew on a wings you can use to teach people on this far. Now to top it off, Nova released the new Prion2, which is a beginner wing which is used mostly in schools. Well, this wing is not only for schools, it has just about the same performance like the Ion2, which means you should be able to do a 200 km flight as well.
The very interesting result of this, is how students are now looking at buying wings. I was running a beginner to novice paragliding course the last 10 days and normally people are looking for cheap used wings to get started and once they have a couple hours under their belt to upgrade to a 1-2 wing and then start with cross country flights. This approach is now changing as you can skip the first step and get stated right away with a wing which is save to learn on with a great handling and the performance to fly far and long from the get go.
Well done and thanks to Hannes and his team.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

2012 Easter Meet at Panorama

Sunny and hot.
The weather was just awesome and sunscreen was needed every day.

Thanks again for everyone who came out and was there to make this such a fun weekend with flying, skiing, hanging out in the sun, "Tray" racing and boat racing.

Penny Powers took home the trophy this year and she is the first female on the trophy. Well done Penny.
The kids were not so happy with me as I did not land in the target with them tandem on our first flights.

Thanks also to everyone who dressed up, and came with their costumes. Karen had the best costume and I forgot the name of the character who she was....again, see in the pictures below who she was.

If anyone has some pictures they would like to share, please send them to me or contact me to give you access to this album.

Thanks to
Panorama Mountain Resort, Calin Comaneseu, Rick Cowley, Jason Chychal, Raul Sanchez, Brett Yeates, Dennie Shipley, Dannie Wolf, Sandor & Nikoletta, Stew Cabbledick, Andy Gamp, Dominic Hughes, Dave & Carrie Corbin, Janet Morris, Bob & Natalie Gardner, Karen Girouard, Chad Chudyk & Mary, Nathan Livingston, Mike Waddington and Sherie Kark, Chris and Kari Wilson, Frank & Tracye, Jeff Grieve, Jimmy, Max & Penny, all who helped
raise $800 for our buddy Stewart Midwinter.

Happy landings.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Paragliding meet is coming up this weekend.
Panorama is having a "Spring Carnival" and asked us to get creative with our outfits. We are planning to get a banner or flag going as well. I hear some people will have some fun costumes and I can't wait to see.
Depending on weather and wind, we will have some landings in the "tube park" just in front of the day lodge. So it will be great for spectators staying at the lodge as well.
Most of the landings and competition will be at the "Driving Range" (follow the Outrider run). We will have a target for the "Easter Eggs" (will be dropped at least 100 feet above ground) and target landing spot set up there as well.
We start Friday morning but most of the pilots will arrive during the day. Saturday and Sunday we meet at the day lodge at 9:00 am

Here are some pictures from last year.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Reserve clinic/repack in Calgary

It is already March and very soon the flying season will start. In April we will start to do our first xc flights from Panorama Mountain Resort and once the road is open to Mt. Swansea (beginning to mid May), flying will be at its strongest season.

To keep us up to date on Reserves and getting some reserve tossing practice in, we headed to Calgary last weekend and attended the "Reserve Clinic/Repack" with Muller Windsports.
They had a great turn out and it was super to see people we have not seen for a long time.

Something that came to mind when discussing what radio channels to use and how to react when someone comes down on a reserve, was my SPOT. I suggested to use a SPOT and to have the "Golden flying website" add a page where every pilot can register their public SPOT URL. With this system, pilots flying XC can be located and one can see where he/she is currently flying or hiking and their "OK" or "HELP calls. Strangley enough I received a very negative response to the SPOT, which left me a bit confused, as it seems to me, an obvious choice in locating pilots.
At the completion of the clinic, Bruce Busby, who was one person who thought it was a great idea, discussed this option further with me. He is considering presenting it to the HPAC board to see if this could be implemented on the HPAC website. The SPOT is great to locate someone for  a rescue, but how many times do we worry about others as to where they are and if they need help or not? Now if this gets implemented to the HPAC website, everyone could see where pilots are, if they are okay if they had to land way back in the mountains, or had to use their reserve, or simply need a retrieval after a long flight.

Thanks again to Vincene for hosting this great event and thanks to Bernand for repacking both Penny's and my reserve packs so quickly, in order for us to get back to Invermere so soon for another event!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Getting the Cessna 172 out for Discovery Channel

The DiscoveryChannel came to Invermere to report about "Gigantic" things. We thought that gives me some good reason to get some more airplane hour under my belt.
 The WhiteWay (19 km) is going for a Guinness record as the biggest maintained ice rink. Nick Bernzin and my self started the idea and and connected the right people to make it happen several years ago. Who would have thought it would get this big?

You can see the episode form the Daily Planet at
Here are a couple pictures we took from the air.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year / Einen guten rutsch in neue Jahr We wish you all a healthy and successful 2012. Wir wuenschen allen ein Gesundes und erfolgreiches 2012