2022 Season Turned Out to be Memorable.
Photo courtesy: Guus Luijten
The 2022 flying season in Golden was off to a slow start in June with a fair amount of rain and sketchy conditions. Most of the decent June flights occurred in the evenings after conditions settled down and the overdevelopment cleared. Come July the weather improved quickly with consistently nice days and rising temperatures (high 20s and low 30s).
Despite the hot weather the fire season (and attendant smokey air) was thankfully delayed this year. With the jetstream hovering over Golden for the first couple of weeks of July, the main issue was strong afternoon winds on most days. Despite this, several evenings in early July offered up some incredible conditions with great lift and high ceilings. The above picture was shot on one such evening.
Toward the end of July and early August particularly during the annual Willi-XC meet/competition we were treated to exceptional XC conditions. Many of the participants in The Willi-XC achieved personal bests. The afternoon conditions were strong but made for several +100km flights. This year the formerly “ultimate” downrange goal of 140km to Canal Flats was pushed out even further with the usual high flying suspects making it to Fort Steele at 200km downrange from Golden- a new standard is set!
The first week or so of August saw a few smokey days start to appear. This year however, the smoke wasn’t nearly as bad as 2021 and before long the wind direction kept the smoke out of the Columbia Valley around Golden. We were also lucky that fewer fires started locally this year so flying from Mount 7 continued uninterrupted right through the summer. Toward the end of August seasonal stability began to set in. Though the days remained nice right through September and October, pilots had to content themselves with scratchfests around Mount 7 and extended sledders owing to lower lift ceilings. Still, it was possible to remain airborne for hours even if you didn’t go anywhere and a few diehard XCers still managed some short out and returns.
All in all, a great summer for piling up the hours and distance.