Getting Stoked & Smoked in Golden…
The photo above was captured by Jeremy Fletcher as he completed a flight from Golden to Invermere, setting a personal best XC distance of some 110km. Jeremy, a Canadian who has been living in New Zealand for the past couple of years came to Golden in mid-July because he had heard that “big-distance” was possible here. On his very first attempt at XC from Mount 7, he achieved his goal of 100+ kilometers to Invermere. On this flight he also set a personal best for altitude gain. Given the great conditions and not content to rest on his laurels, Jeremy repeated the Invermere feat the following week. This, not-to-mention several other high fights boating around Mt.7 and exploring north across the Kicking Horse River towards the Blaeberry Valley. “It was beyond awesome” says Jeremy.
Over the last few days the wildfire smoke in the Columbia Valley has thickened substantially. Flying paragliders and hang gliders from Mt. 7 is not really viable now owing to the proximity of several fires, lack of visibility and bad air quality.
The conditions this summer were pretty epic up until the wildfires started messing things up. Just as the Annual Willi-XC meet was getting underway (first week of August) two fires near Parson resulted in restricting flights south to a maximum of 15km south of Mount 7. Participants in the Willi meet were forced to acquire points by flying triangles or out and returns to the North across the Kicking Horse Canyon.
Here’s hoping that the fire situation does not render the rest of August a bust.