It was a smoking hot summer…
The 2021 XC season in Golden BC was pretty much a bust. The lookout launch was vehicle accessible in the first week of June but the heat waves hit immediately. We flew in an increasingly hazy blast furnace for the month of June with the exception of several days that were sunny but blown out.
Predictably, by the end of June, multiple wildfires were burning out of control throughout BC including fires on Mount Hunter just a bit northeast of Mount 7, a couple of fires near Kinbasket Lake northwest of Golden and fires in the Parson area 25km south of Mount 7. Heavy smoke arrived in Golden in the first week of July and with the exception of a couple of days where the wind blew from the southeast we were basically smoked out for the entire month and into the first week of August.
The Willi-XC competition went ahead in spite of the awful air quality and poor visibility. Pilots were grounded for at least a couple of days during the Willi due to inadequate visibility. XC attempts were hemmed in by active fire restricted airspace and were limited to out and return attempts south to Parson or north/northwest toward Willowbank in the Blaeberry Valley. A few hardy pilots actually completed some decent out and full or partial returns despite the smokey conditions. Other pilots simply stayed around Mount 7 completing extended sled rides hampered by bad visibility.
Thankfully, some rain arrived in early August and continued sporadically throughout the month. Fires were damped down as a result and the air cleared up, praise be! There were a few good flying days but, again, several days were outright blown out or hampered by high winds at peak height and higher altitudes. Eking out some airtime became a waiting game for the wind to die down in the evenings and hoping for glassoffs. Next thing we know summer is over! Oh well maybe September will bring fair winds and clear days. One can only hope.