Spring is here in Slovenia this means it’s time to end Para-Snezinka. The forecast predicted sunny weather with little wind from the south.. Finally!
This annual competition is held in the Primorska region in Slovenia but this time there was a twist. We were going to have the final task set it in the north-east part of the country. Not your typical ridge flying, here we had bunch of small hills that we could use as well as some flats. I liked the idea, it meant exploring and adventure. I connected with one of the new hopes of the Slovenian paragliding scene and we went on to find the HQ. This league consists of tasks from October to March on every second flyable weekend, this means that not many people are attending because they can’t really plan this event due its flexible schedule and with this “twist” now, going to the totally opposite part of the country we were sure that it’s going to be a single digit participants. As we arrived a surprise was waiting. Not only that there were lots of pilots there was the whole national team of Slovenia. Names like Yuri Vidic, Jost Napret, Primoz Suza, Dusan Oroz, Marko Novak, .. What an honor!
We went to the take off by the name of Konjiska Gora (Cavalry Mountain) and yes there were bunch of cowboys on their huge horses riding on the mountain so no surprise about the name. When we got up, there was a nice narrow take off and a nice moderate head wind waiting for us, happy faces all around.
We got the briefing than the nervous beeping of the instruments while we were setting the route and then it was time to fly. We were 30+ pilots in the sky and climbing on the blue thermals. I have put myself in a good starting position which is very rare and flying just under Jurij Vidic who was on a EN-C glider. I caught the start with a big group and then two unnecessary turns in a week climb and the top guys became very small figures in the hazy sky.
I didn’t manage to get very high so plan b was to stay in a group, I spotted a glider climbing on the next small hill to the north so I joined him. We were joined by another pilot and we were a happy group of 3 by now. We climbed just enough to soar the next ridge and continued towards the next turn point. We were taking the safer line through the ridges unlike the top guys that took a more direct route. I never managed to climb above 1300m asl but It looked good as I was making progress without going very high, a totally different to what I am used to. By now I am approaching another takeoff site with many free flyers so I thought that now I will definitely climb with this many pilots in the sky. I soon found out that it will not be that easy. It was super difficult to really gain altitude and the weak lift was pushing me further back where landing would be a real struggle. Many pilots also didn’t manage to climb and just went for the next turn and then for the landing. I stayed in this area to climb but was unsuccessful and went for the landing in the village Klanec. I was soon joined by Timotej (3rd overall in the sports class) and two guys from Croatia, one of which had won the sport class.
This was as far as we could go on our EN-B gliders. There were 3 Enzos and one King in goal. Firsts sport class pilot was Jurij Vidic on the 35th kilometer on a EN-C glider. What looked like promising conditions turn out to be quite demanding which only made things more interesting. Small walk to the local village to get some hydration in the form of beer and off to the HQ.
Again like any flight there were things that could have been done better, maybe being more patient and work hard on every climb, or trying to fly together with the group instead of flying my own race, probably both. I knew this things before the race but it is never as easy as it sounds.
Para-Snezinkas next task will be in the fall when I am sure I will have bigger chances of a better result.