Flying the Continental Divide

After my last flight that ended up in a big OD (overdevelopment) Sun Valley has been flushed with serious wind. Beautiful for long mountain bike rides, swimming in the river, enjoying this insanely beautiful town, but totally shit for flying. The tandem boys have been jumping off the hill every morning and sneaking in some super nice evening flights, but going for distance in the daytime hasn’t been possible. I got to toss the new Niviuk F-Gravity around which was RAD, but this is XC season and I moved here first and foremost for the flying potential and going deep, so a little acro was nice- but I needed more.

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Rat Race

From Zurich I flew back across the pond to try my hand at my first Rat Race, an annual comp and fiesta held in Ruch, Oregon off Woodrat mountain by Mike and Gail Haley. This was the 11th year of the event and nearly all the best pilots in the US as well as global superstar Michael (Mickey) Sigel were in attendance. I flew to Portland, rented a car and drove to Redmond, Oregon where I found Nate Scales sitting on a bench outside the airport. He’d just driven in from Sun Valley with his motor home and had arrived about 3 minutes before I did.

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5 for 5 in Speikboden

On Monday, the morning after our flight from Scuol we aired out Bruce’s reserve and got it packed back up and came up with a plan. Much of the eastern Alps were now looking possibly very good for Tuesday, even “Hammertag” good, depending on what forecast you were using. A big heat wave was moving in from North Africa which meant the air might be more stable, but with the summer solstice only a couple days away, we had very long days to work with.

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Niviuk Peak 3 Review

We had two super windy days after the Riederalp/Interlaken flight so I trained down to Verbier to pick up my bags, spent a night with Mike and Stu and celebrated with their graduating group of new pilots, who were all pretty thrilled with their new-found sky skills. Then the next day I carried on to Geneva to meet with Patrick Roser, the Swiss Niviuk dealer who had a couple very special presents for me- the new F-Gravity 2 acro wing, and the Peak 3 X-Alps (ie light weight version). I tried to control myself from just ripping open the bags right at the train station.

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Chasing Chocolates Part I

Yesterday we finally got a chance. Bruce and I are about as hungry as you can get. And not for food, the Abazzia restaurant continues to blow our minds. Hungry for distance. It didn’t look like it would be a great day. Too much wind, too early over-development and rain. All of which were true, but maybe, just maybe we could squeak a chocolate (100 km flight).

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Rain, Wind, Pizza and Dicey Landings

After one short flight in Fiesch and a continued blurry forecast we hit the road in the Niviuk mobile for the only place in Europe that held any promise- Bassano, Italy. Many people are saying this is the wettest (ie worst) spring in history. Whatever the case may be, it has been dismal. But the flying forecast was for two good, maybe even great cross country days.

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What to Do, What to Do?

Cabrinha Quest on Instagram!
Arrived Paris two weeks ago with Nate Scales, my Sun Valley flying buddy with huge plans of massive triangles in the Alps. Spring flying in Europe is spicy, strong and when you get the days completely RAD, but the days don’t come often. Patience is the key. My flying partner Bruce Marks arrived in the middle of April, got three back to back days of 8 hours+ in the air in the Wallis area (Fiesch, Riederalp, Zermatt, etc.) but since then it’s been…challenging.

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The Mayhem Begins!

Gavin McClurgBeen thinking about getting a flying blog going for some time now. I’m sitting in Fiesch, Switzerland with my good friend and flying partner slash fellow addict Bruce Marks. It’s raining non-stop, it’s nearly June, the mountains are getting buckets of snow…and we can’t fly. So I can dream about things like our trip last fall across the Sierra Mountains. Hope you enjoy.

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