High Hopes in the French Alps

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


As the weather is most definitely on the change, and we have had some snow settling on the Fiz, the Aravis, and of course Brevant, it shouldn’t be too long before the snow finally arrives and settles, so we will be donning our winter kegs, and sharpening up the skis!

This year, we have decided to include some ski-flying in our winter season!  If you quite fancy having a go at this please feel free to check it out on our website. Ski-Fly Paragliding, it saves trying to run off, and launch in the deep stuff!

November 14, 2014 Posted by | Flying, Guiding, Skiing | Leave a comment

Dell-boy and Aussies in Annecy.

So after all the problems with my old Dell ‘boy’ computer, I finally acquired a new HP one instead, and it’s silent and working and hasn’t crashed on me once! It’s great not having the thing seize on me every five minutes.

Dennis, went to Annecy, with two “Aussie Frenchmen!!” brothers; Earle and Dean, who flew with us last year, they had some stuff they wanted to sort out, like line changes and test flying a potentially new glider, so both jobs were accomplished there. It was an extremely stable day, and looking out the window I wasn’t feeling all that inspired so preferred to try to transfer stuff from my old computer to the new one and was quite happy to wait for a better day.  It was completely blue, an early morning flight out of Chamonix, would have been good, but it would have been difficult trying to scrape through the inversion here. Apparently, Annecy was no better, until very late in the afternoon when it switched on. Which was the same here, but there was a strong wind presence from what I could make out, that arrived later in the afternoon

They had a good day in Annecy, even though it started very late. I was surprised to learn that it was quiet, that is such a rarity, Annecy, quiet in July? never! Dennis flew two tandems one early this morning in Plaine Joux with Jordan, Dean’s young son, before going to Annecy, and then flew again later  with their grandad so everyone got to have a fly.

July 18, 2012 Posted by | Flying, Guiding, Tandems | Leave a comment

First Flight on Advance Alpha 5

Inflating the Alpha 5

So this morning, the majority trapsed up to Chamonix, it was looking windy, so it was not going to be an XC day, as the winds have steadily been increasing. I decided not to go to Chamonix this morning, and would prefer another day when it would be possible to XC without getting thrashed about! so I gave it a miss.


Dennis was meeting Gavin down at Bois du Bouchet to take possession of another recent acquisition for the ‘school’ a brand new Advance Alpha 5, – 26. Which I’d be able to fly, although I’d be on the light end as usual. Anyway, Dennis flew it in Chamonix, and had fun on it, so I was on the phone wondering what was taking them so long to come down here to meet me at Chedde, so I could give it a go.

I drove down to Chedde, where Hugh had been waiting patiently for us to drive up to Plaine Joux, but he said that after waiting for some time, not one person got above launch, and that it was so still, flat and stable he decided it wasn’t worth it so he went back to Annecy. Meanwhile I was quite excited to fly a new glider, and after altering my Kama Sutra, by taking off the pod, and re-attaching the stirrup, to make it an easy to play harness instead of investing in another harness purely for fun flying and fly downs after work 😉  I  decided to keep it for this purpose. I’ve sold my Kanibal Race, because it was just too heavy to carry! It was lovely to fly though, and I miss it…

Anyway, I attached my Kama Sutra to the once flown (by Dennis) Alpha 5, and prepared to have a swift flight. But what a lovely glider! I was so surprised, not expecting much of a glide for an EN-A (DHV-1) but it was as sweet as a nut! Beautiful climb characteristics, and a glide that I did not expect at all! It was just a delight to fly. It launched with ease, and I was up, off and above launch in no time.. (the first one, all day apparently). It’s so nice to fly light, with just a helmet vario, and no other instruments.  I had a delightful flight, on the new school wing, and remembered all about ‘fun!’ It felt just so solid, I may end up flying this a bit more than I expect! It leaves me feeling a bit reluctant to want to let a new student give it any rough treatment! It’s such a sweet natured thing…

June 28, 2012 Posted by | Flying, General, Guiding | Leave a comment

Road Works and Cloud Streets

Montmin, almost empty compared to last week at the Belgian Open!

So this morning I had an airport transfer to do to Geneva, whilst Dennis had a bus load heading off to Annecy, the plan was for me to join them in Annecy after the drop off, but I decided not too. The road-works were horrific in St. Gervais, on the road up to Les Contamines, and I wish I’d taken the back road, anyway suffice to say it was not the most pleasant drive for me…

Plan Fait, clouds were much nicer en route back from Geneva.

Then the airport police were out in force and I ended up losing my ticket in the parking machine so had imaginings of being stranded there for the weekend. I was so unprepared and didn’t have any Swiss Francs! I just thought it was going to be an easy run, but not so. Anyway, the woman working in the kiosk at the airport bluntly told me that she couldn’t change the Euro’s I had so I ended up buying a Twix just to get some change. It turns out I ended up having to go to the office to get an ‘out’ ticket anyway, as mine had been eaten by the machine. It was one morning’s frustration, after another, and it was enough for me to just get home and have a cup of tea!

Driving home the clouds looked gorgeous. They looked like flat land clouds, the type you get in England… quite low and almost touchable, they were forming streets very early, and it just looked beautiful. I scoured the cloudscape to see if I could see any familiar parashapes under the clouds but not a one! – Finally when I got home, there were some high cirrus moving in but the flying looked great! Apparently in Annecy it turned out really busy, a typical busy day in Annecy… and the conditions were much better here than there as it turned out.

June 27, 2012 Posted by | Flying, Guiding, Transfers | Leave a comment

It Was Not Just Me Then?!

Well it’s been all go here for the past few days. On Friday, we went to Annecy, where it was the final day of the Belgian Open, we didn’t enter it this year, but it was great to catch up with people. We had a couple of clients who had never flown in Annecy, and the conditions were looking ‘good’ for today. We arrived at Doussard for a briefing, where we bumped into Toby, who was checking out his wing. The wind was already quite strong early on, so the concern about the wind strength was already a factor. After a briefing and a bit of banter, we then did the Talloires shop route, incorporating a further briefing then onward up to  Montmin, to be greeted by a scene of bunched up gliders, and pilots milling about kicking their heels waiting for a task to be set.

It was great to see Stefan again, and to catch up with some other regular Belgian comp pilots, where friendships have blossomed over the years! As well as some familiar local faces. The wind was looking too strong with the valley wind funneling through, as well as an airmix of a strong Northwestly, it wasn’t looking great. It was flyable for those who wanted to fly, but not taskable, not at that time of the day anyway. I had the car keys, and Dennis flew, along with our two clients, it didn’t look that appealing, it was all a bit of a mess.

I drove down to Doussard, to pick them up, then we made a trip over to Plan Fait, where it was empty! So our clients had another fly there, with the whole of Plan Fait launch all to themselves! Whilst at Plan Fait, we saw a gaggle of gliders all heading out to Le Roc des Boeufs, and when they arrived a whole load of them got stuck there on the other side, scratching and scraping around for ages.. we wern’t sure if there was a task or if it was just a free fly, because whilst a gaggle had gone across, there were loads just milling around up to and near Les Dents du Lanfon, some getting pinned… and not looking like they were flying with a purpose.  Not the best conditions in Annecy this week, sadly. The last flight was another one from Montmin, and Dennis wanted to fly my glider to see what it felt like being on the top end of the weight range, always a good thing to check out a gliders reaction at different weight ranges, and today seemed like the ideal time.

Back down at Doussard, the competition pilots were coming in, in fits and starts… the Enzo, and Icepeak brigade were making their early arrivals, whilst the majority of the rest of the field where some were left feeling disappointed by having been made mincemeat of by the new phase EN-D’s. It’s all a bit controversial methinks… There had been a task set, as there was a ‘goal-line’ in Doussard, but not many made it, and most of them just decided to glide back instead of attempting the task.

It wasn’t easy to set a task in the conditions, so they did really well to get one at all!  A little bird tells me, it’s all change at the Belgian Open from now on.. but I’m not going to tell you lot about it! It remains to be seen, and it shouldn’t come from my mouth anyway!

*          *          *

So yesterday, Saturday we flew Chamonix in the morning, which was ok, cloud was quite low though and began to lift very slowly… I made the mistake of trying to get a climb out over ‘the Pump’ and then glide over to Le Brevent, but the Pump was all bits and pieces, it would have been better in hindsight just to have taken a straight glide over to Le Brevent, and hang around there for a while, and climb up as base lifted, but I didn’t, and ended up in Bois du Bouchet with everyone else who took that route! A few managed to just scrape over but no significant height was gained in the transition so it would have been a bit of a gritted glide over.

The air was lumpy, and not so nice either. After I landed and caught up with our clients, we had some Australians join us who had driven up from Chabre, having just flown at the Chabre Challenge where they said they had been unlucky with the weather there also, a couple of others, Hugh and Stewart, we all landed, and after the discussion of ‘what was it like for you?!’ the resounding chorus was… “O! It was not just me then!”

After Chamonix, we flew here in Plaine Joux, where we had arranged to meet some of our friends from the Belgian Open, having given them our address, for gps co-ordinates and phone numbers, it was great they had turned up and we had a lovely hours flying with beer and nuts at home later.  So it turned out a really nice day… It looks like deterioration is on the cards from now until Tuesday, and sure enough the wind has picked up and the day’s been binned.  Hence managing to update the blog.

Anyway folks, I’m sorry about the photos I took loads of photos, but since this computer keeps on wanting to update and is trying  to extract more dosh from me, in the form of an ‘update’ I had to try to upload the photos in a different way, and I thought they were all ‘saved’ but they weren’t and the whole lot have been deleted… so sorry no photos, and they were good ones too… drat!

June 24, 2012 Posted by | Flying, Guiding | Leave a comment

Plan d’Aguille for Some, Plaine Joux for Others

View from the Aguille du Midi

The wind was calm on the Midi, so the decision was to try to fly the Plan d’Aguille later this afternoon. Dennis and Rozi went up to the Aguille du Midi first, as Rozi had never seen snow, coming from the Southern Hemisphere.  I, meanwhile stayed here… believing it was actually going to be better flying here at home than the Plan today.

As it turned out by the time they’d got down to the Plan, there was not much to hold them aloft so they had landed after a somewhat short flight.. Taking off from the Aguille du Midi, without crampons, a stout heart and protection rope would have been a fools errand, an error  that would only have been made once, if you got it wrong!  Apparently it was precarious to say the least.

Anyway,  I was on my way up to Plaine Joux, and was rewarded with a lovely afternoon evening extended flight accompanied by friendly waving Ben again… we circled around and about, took some good glides, some close scratches and landed at more or less the same time. Dominic Guenard was having a great flight, before going off to St. Hilaire tomorrow. Dennis and Rozi arrived at Chedde to pick me up.  As soon as I’d landed, without further ado I was whisked into the bus and driven back up to launch so Rozi could have his last flight, as he leaves tomorrow, and I could drive the other vehicle back down.  All in all, it’s been a nice few days.

September 22, 2011 Posted by | Flying, Guiding | Leave a comment

The Doussard Downwind Dash

Dennis & Rozi, doing the Doussard Downwind Dash!

We went to Annecy today. Following a happy VW camper en route! Nice to have a trip out and a change of scenery.

This time of year, the charm of Annecy still remains although the pilot numbers are much fewer, the thermals much more scarce and the xc’s (today) were non-existent, well it seemed so. We went up to Montmin, they’ve done a lovely job up there now, it always was good but it just got better. With a terraced area, w.c’s, parking all very accommodating.  Conditions were stable and as it started to improve a high white cloud shield arrived putting swift closure on any hope of air acitivity. Dennis and Rozi had a desperate scratch to get some sort of anything, abandoning the challenge before completly running out of glide steam and headed for Doussard. Meanwhile, I had a nice walk with Tizzy then drove down.

The next stop was Plan Fait, where again the same scenario ensued, only this time more pilots huddled in little clusters around launch, going nowhere. They did manage to get a little above launch, but that was the extent of it. It just didn’t appeal to me, so I decided to give it up for the day so Dennis and Rozi flew again… they were already almost at touchdown when I arrived back at Talloires. So not much doing…

I did however get to sit in an Advance Impress 3… in fact, I didn’t really sit in it, I was engulfed in the the thing! more like a tent… could have fitted a kitchen in there with me! Admittedly, it was a large but I just wanted to have a play… Michel Ferrer showed up in Les Passengers du Vent, shop we had a little he was thumbing through this months action packed XC mag!

It was a day out… which is always nice.

More in Daily Pics.

September 21, 2011 Posted by | Flying, Guiding | Leave a comment

Weather Change on the Way

Today looks like it’s going to be the best day to fly, as the next couple of days are looking a bit iffy. Dennis and Alistair went out early to do some Spiral Dives, whilst I had the morning off and decided to potter about in the house until the thermals started to improve. It was looking mighty stable all day and as I looked over towards launch and checked the webcams the extent of the excitement was nothing more than a few float downs. I went out later in the afternoon banking on it improving around 3pm, which true to form it did. It turned out to be really nice flying and again climb outable which is good for this time of the year. Just some nice pleasant autumnal flying… before the change in the weather started to show.

A few more pics of the last couple of day in Daily Pics.

September 16, 2011 Posted by | Flying, Guiding | Leave a comment

a.m. Cham, p.m. PJ

This morning in Chamonix (there is a glider, if you look closely)

A morning in Chamonix was followed by an afternoon at Plaine Joux. Conditions were stable again, but enjoyable enough. Chamonix is always entertaining even if its not working particularly well. Just watching the speed riders coming in is one thing, and hearing them before you see them is another!! Yes, there were a few of them about today. Conditions weren’t enough to fly out, but certainly enough to maintain for a while. We decided to go to Chamonix this morning as the Brevant lift station is due to close on Sunday, so we thought we’d get a flight in beforehand. All is not lost though, as the Aiguille du Midi is still open so we can still fly there.

This afternoon, we relocated to Plaine Joux, it was quite busy with the military out as well as Annecy Irwyn, with some guests. Roland was flying his speed wing,  it turned out to be a merry throng up there. I was on driving duty, and Dennis was awaiting a delivery of winter fuel in the shape of logs to arrive. Alistair, our guest had a good flight, making the most of what he could muster out of the inverted air, mild thermals and cooling temperatures. He managed a prolonged flight though…..

Tomorrow is looking ok although, there is some deterioration forecast towards the weekend… we’ll see.

September 15, 2011 Posted by | Flying, Guiding | Leave a comment