Wednesday, 29 April 2009

A Great Time in the French Alps

Yours truly in restitution with Mont Blanc behind. Photos by Tom Payne

So after Austria we drove to France and met up with James and Joe who that night persuaded us to 'Ninja camp' in Annecy which involved my drinking a load of wine and sleeping on the ground, not so great for a 40 year old with a recovering back injury. Again Adam and I were a couple of days early for the course so we did a couple of flights one at Planfait in Annecy and another from St Hilare du Touvet.

Tom Payne (2009 X-Alps competitor!) was the organiser of this weeks mountain masterclass and as soon as I met him I realised that he had put a lot of effort in and that I was going to learn a lot from him. He brought along two helpers Toby Colombe (a very experienced local paragliding guide and XC pilot) and Quentin King another XC hound local to the area. We spent considerable time going over maps of the Northern French Alps learning about valley winds and convergence areas and generally getting a good understanding of the aerology of the entire area. The meteo winds were not ideal but they managed to select some great sites to fly from. We did a great little 40km XC from Montlambert which was hard won and very rewarding as well as visiting new sites to me such as Chamoux and Verel. We also flew from Planfait and St Hilare again.

Quite a wierd experience for me was an evening flight from Chamoux where I took off at 7PM and landed at 8:30PM struggling to get down! It was of course restitution or magic lift but I've never had it so strong and smooth; climbing to over 2000m in 2-4 m/s lift without really having to turn was a quite strange experience for me, especially as it was so smooth you could feel the wake turbulence from other gliders.

A fantastic weeks flying and more importantly it has given me the knowledge and confidence to plan some big XC's in the mountains. Thanks to Nicky Moss of Axis Paragliding UK for organising the trip!

Posing again for a Tom Payne photo ...

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