02 July 2005

A quickie - Thollon-les-Mémises

We're all in a rush today, the promise to help my friend Dédé to move a piano he's just purchase is tightening what is usually a week-end schedule. There are few of us to participate today, so we don't have to wait for strays. Michael with his son Frank, and Maurice are already at the meeting point when I get here at 7:30. Maurice puits his gear in the truck and we're on our way. Our destination is Thollon, a small skiing resort overlooking Evian and the lake.
The climb is quite easy, as there is a wide path snaking its way to the top.
The group on the way up During the climb, we have a bird's view of the lake and the Swiss town on the opposite shore and we take short breaks to enjoy it. Pausing to admire the view It's a perfect day for climbing, overcast and cool.
It is indeed a short walk, and in no time we have reached the top of the slopes, right next to the ski-lift that starts as we look at it. 9:30, the start of the day for the tourists.
We have to go to the Eastern take-off, as the main one is encumbered by earth moving equipment. Some work is taking place to remodel part of the slope for the skiers. Ptuih...
A few minutes later, we discover the Eastern take-off. I start unpacking the wing and realise I left my harness in the truck. Damn!
Michael mocks the ecologic sign
It could have been worse, though: it could have happened in a place that was not served by a ski-lift.. So it is that I descend the slope in a plastic bubble, get my harness, go to buy a ticket and catch a lift up again. The day wasn't all spoiled after all.
I quickly rejoin the others and we lay our wings at the top of the slope. There is even a carpet, but it's not red, or the colour is really, really faded... There's even a carpet.. As is the rule, Michael and Frank, flying under the tandem, take off first. After they take off, it's my turn, and I only have to wait a few minutes to get a puff to help me inflate my wing. I want this to be a short take off, as there are very thorny shrubs just below the area where I'm going to start. All goes well, and I am soon installed comfortably to enjoy the flight and the sights.

Michael and Frank's departure This point of view is new for me, as this is the first time I come to Thollon.
I see yet another angle to the familiar mountains surrounding us. The view is novel, but the feel remains familiar.

I particularly enjoy flying over the water, and I look forward to the rest of the flight, that will take me over the shore of the lake.
The lake again
We fly over Thollon, where we left the truck, with a lot of altitude to spare. We won't need to put into action our spare plan to land in the fields below the resort, as the headwind we expected hasn't materialised. Overall, this is a very smooth flight, in calm laminar air. The landing comes far too soon, and I prepare the approach over the lake. Whe I've reached the correc altitude, I swoop over the houses with just enough altitude to clear the electric wires the border the landing field.Flying over the lake I follow the long edge of the terrain, leavign the road on my right. Michael and Frank have touched down a few seconds ago, on the left of the terrain. I touch down right next to Michael's car, as planned.
A minute later it's Maurice's turn to join us on firm land.
This flight too was a beautiful one, and I'm eager to come back to do some dynamic soaring when the conditions lend tehmselves to that activity.

Panoramique - Thollon
Technical data: Flight duration 0:15, Take-off altitude: 1700m, Maximum altitude reached: 1700m, Total climb during flight: 97m, Max rate of climb: +0.6m/s, Max descent rate: -3.4m/s, Landing altitude: 485m.


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