We got a voucher in our wedding for spending one night in Igloo hotel in Zermatt. We have been dreading this for long, but now it was the last chance to do it. We both aren’t big fan of winter, snow and coldness, so we waited as long as we could.
Short resume of the evening, the night and the morning after.
We arrived well in Zermatt and had a small walk there before we took the Gornegrath train up to Rieffelberg. We had a walk in the mountain and we also had little time play in the snow before we met the guide for the Igloo hotel.
The guide explained roughly what the plan was and how to get there. We took the train further up and had a small walk down to the Igloo hotel and resort, which was on 2700 m. The guide showed us the hotel complex, the suite, the Jacuzzi, the restaurant, the bar, the cinema, the hot bedroom etc. And we had a welcome drink in the Ice bar. We all preferred hot tea, for some reason…
Outside we had panorama view of all mountains in the area and of course Matterhorn (the one and only). It was just amazing beautiful moment!
Inside the hotel, the guide made some snacks in the bar and then prepared the fondue (real Swiss-cheese-fondue). Ready to eat. Sitting in a snow and eating fondue and freezing like an idiot. Oh man the warm tea was good!!! To get some heat in the body we went out again for snowshoeing, up to another igloo and further up in direction of Gornegrath. The winter night was stunning; all the stars were visible and it was so quiet. Outside it was more than -14°C and inside the hotel about 0°C.
After walking it was time for the highlight of the evening, Jacuzzi (varm boblebad). What an amazing feeling to jump into a warm bath full of bubbles. The temperature difference from outside and in the bath was huge. After a while it got too hot in there and I had to swim into the snow for cooling me down. Well, it was more to impress Alain (he-he-he).
Then it was time for bed, and we both hoped for not getting up in the middle of the night for peeing. Two sleeping bags attached to each other, so we could sleep close together. Even if it was completely quiet it was very difficult or impossible to sleep. Inside the sleeping bag it was too hot (sleeping bag was made for -40°C) and outside the bag it was too cold. The breathing was also very hard/cold, so you could say it wasn’t my best night in this hotel (I also remember my sleepless night in the desert last year in 50°C)
Finally morning arrived and the guide also arrived with hot tea! Yeah, it was time to get up and down to the warm hotel below for breakfast! We were ready quickly, but we had to wait for the other guests. The guide had a small surprise for us; a very small sledge for each for getting us fast down. Oh yeah, it went fast down. To brake I had to put my two feet in the front, that meant also huge amount of snow directly into my face. Woow, that was a cold ride! BUT but, finally back to civilisation and eating breakfast in a normal warm hotel.
It was a very nice experience and we had a perfect weather, but we both probably will never sleeping in an ice hotel again.
Here are pictures from the trip, need to log in. Only our family and best friends have got login detail and if you have forgotten it, please let us know.
I don't think they can be very proud of the decision taken in CIVL plenary meeting last Weekend in Lausanne. "NEW COMPETITION CLASS IS BORN, for 2015". Two more years with disasters of having EN D certified gliders in competitions! Disasters for us as test house and pilots worldwide. I will remind you that ONLY 0.15% of worlds pilots flying CAT 1 competition. Why the h... CIVL wants to destroy for us leisure pilot? Pilots who should be the future competitors.
It is something here that doesn't feels right. After two dead accidents in World Championship in Piedrahita, CIVL changed the rules within few months. And now when trying to save our sport, it is not possible for CIVL to do a change fast! I wonder what kind of excuse they will have in 2015 to even postpone it further?
Yes we want comp class; we want it now. And not based on EN test, + including pilot inputs. There is no-way you can measure pilot inputs correctly. -Anyway, lets see what the details says when it will be published, before any other discussions.
Also if CIVL wants to review "this new comp class" every two years, I tell you then EN is not the solution. EN can be reviewed every 5 years. And in practice, even longer. For example the last review of EN 926-2 it took 8 years and it is not published yet (?!). This EN "stuff" in competition comes from EHPU, they wants absolutely EN certified gliders in competition. They should know about EN process because they are already involved in WG6. Read newsletter from Air Turquoise here.
"Endless discussions"; I believe that the real "mess" just have begun, and I think we will see much more "mess" the next years. -I just hope that I can still fly "standard" paraglider in 5 years !
Well, I was very optimistic to flying in Verbier yesterday, cause of all bad weather lately you start to feel you need a flight at the first opportunity....and Verbier can have nice winter thermals.
I arrived early yesterday morning and I saw nobody in the sky, this is not very normal in Verbier. Well, I was very determined to fly and I checked again with the weather forecast to be sure it was flyable. No wind and sun, just perfect! I arrived at the take-off Ruinettes with cable car and I saw huge amount of snow...and nobody were there. I was completely alone at the take-off, but of course many skiers on the slopes beside. Some places I walked with snow above my knees. It surely was that I was not expecting to miss the take-off in all that snow. So I started to make a "runway". After about 15-20 minutes I was finally satisfied about my work and anyway I was too exhausted to continue. Warm and full of sweat I was ready to take-off. Nice, calm and concentrate; "don't miss the take-off". I didn't, it was very satisfactory to be in the air. But very soon I felt how cold it was. "Oh man it was cold!" My eye-lashes were full of ice, my face was incredible stiff and my foot started to hurt really bad just after few minutes in the air. My feet were probably already frozen at the take-off, but I was too busy with my runway to feel it. I pulled my jacket over my chin and nose and that helped a lot. The glide to the landing was long; wow so much altitude I just wanted to land quickly. I tried spiralling down, but the wind-speed just made me even colder. Then I start thinking about a "Technik" that helps; to think about something very positive for example nice, warm and sunny day and you flying beside the beach with bunch of nice friends. That technik really helped me and I had a really nice flight down to the landing.
After all the work I did with the "runway", I decided to take at least one more flight. I picked up extra socks and sunglasses from my car and up again! BUT NOOO!!! When I arrived up again it was a huge cloud which was covering the take-off and it was snowing. What the h..l, it was sunny and nice at the landing (almost warm) and snowing at the take-off! The forecast didn't said anything about snow! I went to the café and drink some tea, and waited and waited.... The weather seemed not to change. I went down to the sunny valley with the cable car !
So much effort for just one flight !!! BUT the flight was fantastic and I couldn't have lived without it!
Doing rescue opening in tandem it's a kind of fearful feeling but in same time very exciting. I knew that it will be very hard on the brake pressure and impossible for me to pull them down. This point makes me fearful because I will not be able to change the behaviour of the descent, meaning I have no control!
With this in my mind I asked several pilots if they wanted to be my passenger when opening a rescue for Parapente Mag. Everyone of them said "no" except Ida. She almost screamed "YES" and then she asked "when". Thanks for your enthusiasm and involvement; it makes me full of pleasure to dealing with this kind of person like Ida. Ida is a pilot her selves and she loves the free flight.
And then the excitement. How will the rescue and the paraglider work together, what about my sensation? Will my passenger follow me all the way? Obviously after throwing the rescue she will not be able to return.
In the morning we (Parapente Mag's pilots) checked the "André Rose" system for tandem. There are some possibilities for mounting it wrong, but I got good help from a professional and I was sure my "stuff" was good. While on Gaël's tandem it wasn't possible to mount the system cause of the glider. Thereafter Kti, Gaël and me as pilots were ready to throw the rescue from the tandem, with our "horrifying" passengers. Except that the polish president was visiting Villeneuve that morning and all airspace around was closed. We had to wait 3 hours before we could take-off from mountain Sonchaux.
Finally we started, Kti and Philippe first and then me and Ida. Kti explained at debriefing that it was a difficult situation after throwing the rescue. Kti and Philippe felt the descent was high even with "André Rose" system and they tried to pull the brakes for to bring the glider to them. BUT it was impossible, they were two persons who pulled the brakes and they hardly could move them. The glider went into a down-plane. So they felt they landed pretty hard into the water. Kti and Philippe also had a instrument which measured a sink rate far above -5.5 m/s which is the limit for EN certification. They weren't at maximum load.
So, me and Ida were finally ready above the water and several times on the way I asked Ida if this is what she wanted. And she were absolutely sure to do it. Ok, on the right position I grabbed the rescue handle and the rescue container hung beside me and then Phuff, I throw it. I really had time to grab the brake handles "just in case" and I kept my arms close to my body to avoiding hanging up in rescue bridles. I heard the rescue started to open and I felt the tension in the bridles. At one moment the main paraglider tilted forward in front of me and Ida. I saw the effect of André-Rose-system which pulled down the B-risers. During the descent I felt very comfortable, the paraglider and the rescue were stable. Ida was fine, but a bit disappointed because she thought the feeling would be much stronger - like free fall.
The feeling was good, no need to do further actions. Anyway, I wouldn't be able to do a thing with the paraglider. We landed softly in the lake and the boat arrived quickly and picked us up. Thank you guys. We were at the minimum load.
Then it was Gaël's turn to throw the rescue. He didn't have the André-Rose-system, so he had to use his own muscles to stabilize the paraglider. Right after he throw the rescue, he pulled the brakes so that the paragliders stalled. The descent was stable and the sink rate was OK. He also had the instrument to measure sink rate. Then they were "flying" against the shore and he released the brakes to go to lake direction again (changed the direction). At one point he tried to pull the brakes again, but it was too hard pressure and he couldn't do anything. The paraglider started to fly in down-plane. They landed little hard as the sink rate increased. They were close to maximum weight.
-We all flew with same model of tandem rescue.
We had a long debriefing afterwards and we all agreed on that we shouldn't throw the rescue in tandem. It is much harder to maintain the paraglider in tandem as in Solo.
We should consider to fly with a knife, to be able to cut away the main paraglider in case of throwing the rescue. Or a good advice would be to pull the brakes as soon as possible before the pressure gets too hard, that meaning before paraglider tilting too much in the front.
I have seen some pilots connecting their rescue bridles to the harness of the pilot (shoulder). I wouldn't recommend that. Imagine how the passenger would be hanging just beneath you and when the passenger touch the ground, the pilot will fall on the passenger. OUCHHH!
The rescue bridles should be connected to the spreader bar.
Here I have scanned the article in Parapente Mag, if you don't understand French, here was a small resume of what happen. The picture-series in the article are me and Ida.