DON’T BACK DOWN, BACK UP

One breezy winter day we had no chance of any usable thermal activity (this was the dark ages at brand X) and the only slope angled suitably for ridge lift seemed too far up a narrow canyon to safely approach nose first. What to do? Improvise of course.

First we flew across the canyon’s mouth, drifting sideways instead of crabbing. When we reached the opposite wall we turned into the wind and back the other way to begin a series of extended figure-eights at minimum sink speed, recrossing the canyon each way and turning slowly out at either side. It took a while (most things do, don’t they?), but gradually we drifted backward, downwind, up the canyon to its head without ever pointing our nose in that direction.

Common ridge lift in moderate wind seldom functions more than a thousand feet above high ground, but this venturi stuff tossed us almost twice that. High enough for courage to dive over the top and down the other side, through wicked sink and into well marked wave miles downwind. From there we concocted a neat little cross-country, returning home from the north after departing to the south – on a winter day that was otherwise ‘unsoarable’.

Just another one of countless delights that someone like YOU will never experience. Unless you try.