Wednesday, April 3, 2013

St Hilaire flying

Sunday night we drove north arriving back in Chambery late in the evening, after a quick bite, literally, at the fastest Pizza restaurant in the west, we checked in to the local Formula One hotel ready for a good nights sleep before the epic flying day that was promised for Monday, well at least that is what the internet told us. Alas the good night sleep was not to be as a fair percentage of the Polish nation seemed to be partying in the hotel and Monday, whilst dawning bright, did not immediately look as if it could be described as epic. Still undaunted we drove up to St Hilaire and after a fine breakfast at the bar near take-off we wandered across to the launch to assess the conditions. Not great, lots of pilots launching but few rising above take-off, still neither Jon or Tom are too good at waiting so when the first pilots did begin working weak thermals they decided it was time for the off. The intention was to attempt a crossing to Chamrousse but clearly these were not yet the conditions so the dynamic duo set off north along the ridge. Tom had decided to fly his Gradient Aspen and clearly in the still quite fierce north wind it lacked the performance so he managed to scrape back to the training field by the St Hilaire landing. Jon meanwhile pushed south to Grenoble seeking better weather but eventually scraped his way back north to take-off, finding some weak thermals and finally a couple of hours after taking off pushing east to attempt the valley crossing. Leaving St Hilaire at 1300m the glide took him to Brignoud but by now the conditions had deteriorated with little chance of working the slopes to Chamrousse so the players on the Brignoud tennis courts received an unexpected visitor.
By now it was clear that the internet had lied, epic flying was not to be had today so we decided to drive north to Allevard to take advantage of the last flying hours of the day. A half metre or so of snow covered the take off but Jon followed by Tom took off for what turned out in the flat evening conditions to be a glide south towards Pontcharra.

So some more of the route looked at and in addition to the flying some more paths checked and facilities noted.
Richard Chambers 
Pretty picture of a waterfall, scratching back up to take-off at St Hilaire!

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