High Hopes in the French Alps

Facebook Page!

Would just like to say that the Alpine Flying Centre, now has a Facebook page, yes; we’ve been dragged kicking and screaming into the hive mind forerunner, commonly known as Facebook.

It’s actually been a lot easier just updating facebook, than trying to find my way around the all new WordPress site, not only that, it’s been difficult trying to make more space for the updates. It’ll be easier to visit the Facebook page for a while, although we are working on new blog pages…

Will keep you posted

January 15, 2017 Posted by | Day to Day | Leave a comment

Hike & Fly II

Still got high pressure sitting over us, it’s been here for ages and doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere in a hurry, consequently, we’ve been stuck in a perpetual groundhog day scenario, weather wise. The lifts only opened yesterday, so today we did a St.Gervais, mini-hike & fly, it was another glorious day. The snow isn’t up to much though, so skiing doesn’t seem that appealing at the moment. They are doing their best to make pistes work, and they do… but more fun to fly when ski conditions are poor.  We’ve decided to wait for a decent snowfall before we don our skis again, that said, some snow is forecast for early next week “possibly…”  We tried the St. Gervais flight yesterday but the wind was too strong, so today we decided earlier might be better and it was, we flew! It was a lovely flight, tomorrow I may give the Epsilon a bit of an airing, it hasn’t been out for a while!

Incidentally, we did have a more demanding 3½ hour hike up to Plancerts, Les Houches, the other day, it was perishing cold to start with, with some very steep sections, on ice/packed snow, bit disconcerting, and finally at the top treacherous ice, then after a very civilised coffee and snack, we hiked over pisted artificial snow and precariously picked our way on the downhill on more uneven frosted snow/ice to finally finding somewhere to launch!

The flight over the valley back home was gorgeous, on both counts, cold but gorgeous! Sorry no pics of the Plancerts flight, but a couple from St.Gervais, thought the camera was, on, wrong! It was off… I’ll get used to it eventually. Some pics of the hike though.

December 18, 2016 Posted by | Day to Day | Leave a comment

A Bit of Spice!

Last week turned out to be a great week! We flew in Annecy, Chamonix and of course our favourite. and convenient home site of Plaine Joux!


Theo (our apprentice) on Epsilon 8

As well as XC flying, we threw in some task flying, to add another dimension for our flying clients. Also last week, I got to fly the Skywalk Spice glider XXS size, and I have to say, it was a real delight!

Couldn’t believe how easy it was to launch, like the Advance Pi, lightweight! Couldn’t believe it, such a light wing. I had a great flight settling into it, and after a while, I realised that it is what I would call a ‘silent’ glider. It’s not ‘chatty’ at all… doesn’t have much to say, I would say it is a ‘quietly confident’ wing. I really liked it!

It felt solid, and had a refined and dignified turn. On bar was nice, but perhaps it was the only area that was somewhat mediocre, but other than that a lovely glider. If I was considering a new EN-C glider, for next season this one would be a very high contender!

It’s presentation was excellent, with a substantial strap, and break handles that were very comfortable. I’ve never flown a Skywalk before, but was most impressed with this one!


Skywalk Spice – XC Mag pic




July 13, 2016 Posted by | Day to Day, Flying, Guiding | Leave a comment

Piste Basher Trax?

Freshly fallen snow? with piste basher tracks?!… at this time of year..?? Never!…20160708_065423

Not really…SKyTrax, more like.  Just an early morning sky just before the dawning of a new day! taken some days ago now, haven’t had time to blog for a while… been busy.


July 13, 2016 Posted by | Day to Day | Leave a comment

The Italian Job!


Dennis just launched

So the weather this side of the mountain was pretty poor, and had been the day before, with loads of precipitation and snowfall! Yes, more snow… so much so, that it had even settled on Plaine Joux launch! so Monday was all but written off …however…  it was all looking so much better through the tunnel on the Italian side, so we decided to venture into the Aosta valley in Italy for the day, and what a day it turned out!

Absolutely gorgeous! Lovely soft wind, and complimentary thermals, gentle grassy launch areas, and a neat little bar, where Italian hospitality, pizza and gelato were very much welcomed! It almost felt like a holiday day!

There will be no doubt to where we’ll be going next time the weather is disagreeable this side of Mont Blanc and that would be Monte Bianco!!


late afternoon/early evening flying Italian style!



Dave, deciding to give up chasing the con/chem-trails, and head for the bar landing field!


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Theo… our new apprentice in preparation mode.


May 25, 2016 Posted by | Day to Day | Leave a comment

Skiing Over? Not Quite!

14-04-2016 Grands Montets 1 So just when we were about to stow our ski boots, and hang up our skis for the season, lo and behold… more snow! Yea! (my preferred spelling)… extended skiing!  We ventured up to Les Grands Montets where there was no snow shortage! It was a glorious day, beautiful blue sky, a fresh covering of pure snow, and areas just waiting to be skied! As Les Grands Montets is located at the top end of the Chamonix Valley, it is considerably higher than other areas so the snow condition is maintained for much longer.

What a fantastic ski! Absolutely loved it! Most of my/our skiing has been around Les Contamines, St. Gervais, Megeve, Les Houches, and Courmayeur but skiing in Les Grands Montets just upped my game a whole gear! After having tackled the well skied tight moguls and attempting deep crud, with one face plant! (ha ha :-D) and some untouched powder areas, I’d felt like I’d done a full workout phew!

It was just an unexpected bonus ski day… so we haven’t quite put our skis away just yet.

The flying? – Isn’t far away, we’ve already started with our first fledgling EP/CPC pilot, so we’re already underway, the snow doesn’t usually stretch out this far, and it’s a shame to waste it, it will all be closed probably by the end of next week, so I’m in no hurry to fly (personally), when the snow is so darn good!!!

The flying is going well, and many are clocking up some good distances, in turbulent spring thermals, but we have been bothered somewhat by strong winds, and the foehn adding to the mix, so the flying although exciting, is not smooth by any means, which is usual for this time of year.




April 15, 2016 Posted by | Day to Day | Leave a comment

Spring is Settling In :)

2016-04-10 13.35.21Yesterday, we were skiing, or making a lame excuse for skiing, today the sun is shining and the blossoms are flowering on the trees!

Today, there are people flying! It’s a lovely spring flyable day, and we have our first EPC client.

Tomorrow, it looks like winter may yet be returning, but who knows?! Flying is on the verge now, time to sort out equipment and stuff!

April 10, 2016 Posted by | Day to Day | Leave a comment

End of the Ski Season :(

2016-04-09T12-37-26+02-00Really sad that the ski season, is coming to a rapid close.

We’ve enjoyed some lovely skiing, but not enough for my liking this year… and am already considering ‘bigger’ plans for next season! Can’t wait! – Looking forward to expand my ski repertoire, somewhat so hopefully if all goes to plan a new venture may be in the offing!

Courmeyeur closed yesterday, and everything is gradually on the shut down…

I was quite desperate to get out on the snow yesterday, and we finally decided to venture up to La Balme, as there was at least a 35% chance of some sunshine, after a light overnight snow dusting. The closer we got, the greyer it was, no problem parking! wonder why?! And we were also offered a couple of passes, for next to nothing from some people who were trying to sell theirs!

Deciding, that we’d come this far, we decided to go up anyway, and at least give our skis an all but final run, for the season, and this is what we were greeted with!

Really very depressing… the conditions were as you can see or not!

It was ok-ish, but we only managed one run down in the miserable but ‘laughable’ conditions, which was enough! Bit pathetic really, but it was just bof!


April 10, 2016 Posted by | Day to Day | Leave a comment

What else to do in the Alps in Winter?

Apologies for not blogging for ages… reason; we’ve been otherwise occupied with snowy alpine slopes and planks on feet!

We’ve had some excellent days skiing so far. The season kept coming and going, and never really settled into anything reliable, there’s been lots of heavy wet snow, then some lovely powder, but the snow has never really settled down valley at all so far, so no possibility of skiing back home.

Non-the-less we’ve had some excellent skiing, in Chamonix, St. Gervais, Megeve and Les Contamines. Surprisingly, although it has been the busiest couple of weeks being the main French Ski-Set, vacances we only had a bit of difficulty parking, but timed it perfectly. Just as someone was pulling out, in a prime position next to the lift at Les Contamines, we were on the verge of driving home to go flying instead, but were fortunate in that we parked! after driving ’round in circles for long enough, and then had a stroke of fortune in this space being freed up. So pleased, as we had a lovely time on and off piste skiing. The snow condition was just excellent! Not what we expected, and we didn’t have to wait in queues for the lifts either! We’ve had some beautiful days in the mountains, all blue and white… gorgeous.

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Les Contamines


February 20, 2016 Posted by | Day to Day, Skiing | Leave a comment

Brimming Over!

Seems autumn may well be here… we haven’t had this much of the valley filled with so much dense cloud this late in the morning… the temperature had noticeably dropped, time to dig out the thermals.  It did clear however, and a nice afternoon followed! There were a few gliders about, so some nice flying going on, quite short lasting though.

Full to the Brim

Full to the Brim

September 29, 2015 Posted by | Day to Day, One to One Tuition | Leave a comment