News

Willi 2020 Cancelled

The Willi Team regretfully announces that we have decided to cancel Willi 2020, at least in the form it has taken for the last 23 years (see below). Community is at the core of what makes the Willi great, the community of pilots that comes together around our shared passion for XC free flight, and the community of Golden and the Columbia Valley that welcomes us to enjoy their home. In good conscience, we cannot expose either of these communities to unknown risks at this time.

This decision was not made easily. To our regulars, we will miss the best part of the Willi for us – spending time and having fun with you. For pilots who planned to attend for the first time, please join us in future for what we assure you will be one of the best comp experiences you can have. To our sponsors and suppliers, we truly appreciate your continued support.

I will be processing refunds in the next few days for all pilots who have registered and paid for this year’s competition. If you would like, let me know and we will carry your payment forward to next year.

We will be back next year in the usual format for the 25th annual Willi. John wants me to assure you all that there will be bigger prizes, even better breakfasts, and more beer.

There will be a Willi this year, different, but we just can’t imagine a year without one. We’re calling it Virtual Willi 2020. Participate wherever you are. Rules will be posted on our site soon, but here’s how it will work…

  • Register on our site by Friday, July 24 – go to: http://thewillixc.com/event-details/willi-registration/. (Note: If you have already registered, you’re in – no need to register again.)
  • Fly XC wherever you are during the usual dates of the Willi – July 25 to Aug 2. We recommend you fly with a GPS tracker, just as you would during the Willi. Obviously, Dannie will not be tracking you but trust me, he still cares.
  • Submit a Willi Landing Form for each flight – go to: http://thewillixc.com/pilotinfo/landingform/. We’d prefer you upload your flight to XCanada to get your points (see here), but will also accept a witnessed landing and trust your measured distance. Please don’t take a bonus for take-off from Upper Launch even if you do launch from Mt. 7. The Landing Bonus will still apply for a witnessed safe landing – we’re all about the safety.
  • Best 3 flights registered during the week for each participating pilot will determine final standings in each pilot category.
  • Winners in each category will receive a free entry to Willi 2021.
  • If you need help, Dannie and I will monitor the site and be available via email (flyfar@thewillixc.com) or chat on Facebook.

There will also be flying from Mt.7 this year – some are already launching from 5K. Muller Flight Park at GEAR is closed, but Doug and Karen Keller have announced you are welcome to use Keller fields as an LZ for solo flights – please be sure to sign their waiver before you head up the mountain. The restaurants and stores in the area will appreciate any business you can send their way. If you choose to visit, please respect any social distancing protocols in place and continue to do what you can to maintain the great reputation we as pilots have built in the community.

See you in 2021, in person, for the 25th Willi!

Randy
The Willi Team
flyfar@thewillixc.com

Early Registration Approaching

The Willi is getting closer, and we’re working on making the 2019 edition the best ever. The road to launch is open and the first XC flights have already been made. 67 pilots have already signed up (see who at http://thewillixc.com/pilotinfo/pilots/.

The deadline for Early Registration and refunds is just a few days away – June 15. Remember, price for registration after June 15 is $200 – pay now to save. Also, everyone registered by June 15 is eligible for the Early Registration Draw for a gift certificate to a local Golden restaurant. If you are already registered but haven’t paid, you can pay the fee at http://thewillixc.com/payment-page/.

Technical Signup will begin in early July, and other info about parties, etc. will be provided as we get closer to the comp. If you have any thoughts or questions for us, please send them to flyfar@thewillixc.com. Otherwise, we’ll see you July 26 to Aug 4 at the Willi!

The Willi Team

Sponsor Thank You

The Willi wouldn’t be possible without the support of great business people who donate to the cause, and Columbia Valley landowners who welcome pilots to their property. To thank them all for their contributions, we ran the ad below in the Golden Star, August 24th. Thanks again from the participating pilots and organizers.

Shade Hut Re-Stain

We got it done – Shade Hut, tables and pilot bathroom re-stained. Many hands made for quick work, and winds too high to fly kept everyone focussed. Thanks to: Stuart, Veronica, Rafa, Mieko, Hugo, Scott, Tim, John, and Randy (sorry if I missed someone).

Please Suppot Willi Sponsors

We have great sponsors who step up to support the Willi, making it a better event for all involved. An updated list of these great organizations and people can be found at http://thewillixc.com/sponsors/. Please check the list and be sure to reward them with your business.

Private Screening: Strong the Wind Blows – Aug 5

The Willi Team is excited to announce we have arranged for Ben Jordan, adventurer and filmmaker, to present a premiere private screening of his movie “Strong The Wind Blows” at the Willi, Saturday, Aug 5 at 8:00 PM. The movie chronicles his journey on a paraglider from ocean to prairie across the Rockies – see trailer here: http://strongthewindblows.com/.

Before the screening, Ben will share secrets he’s learned pursuing big dreams previously considered to be “Impossible”. A Q&A will follow.

If you are a Willi registered pilot, the event is free to you. Other pilots and guests are invited to attend for $20 – tickets at the door. Come fly Golden with us, then enjoy some one on one time with a guy doing what many of us dream about.

Early Registration Deadline and Rides

Early Registration Deadline – June 15

The deadline for Early Registration and refunds is just a few days away – June 15. If you are already registered but haven’t paid, you can pay the fee at http://thewillixc.com/payment-page/. If you haven’t registered yet, go to http://thewillixc.com/event-details/willi-registration/, sign up, and you will be offered an opportunity to pay before leaving.

Rides to Launch and Retrieves

We hope to make the Willi one of the best free flight competitions you can attend. The most frequent improvement suggestions we hear from participants have to do with making it easier to get up to launch, and arranging for retrieval. We are continually looking at options, and have put a lot more effort into it this year. Some realities we all must accept…

  • The Willi is purposefully designed as an open distance, XC competition. We believe that kind of competition best suits the site, our weather, and the pilots we hope to attract and develop, those with the desire to get high and go far in a challenging mountain environment.
  • The road to launch has improved tremendously in the last 35 years of flying at Golden. But it is still a tough drive that takes a toll on any vehicle used to get up there, and the mechanics and parts needed for inevitable repairs cost more now than they used to.
  • Our flying day is long, the flying area huge, and the XC options plentiful on good days. That’s what draws us to Golden. It also means though that, pilots can be spread up and down a 200+ km valley, up to 2 ranges away, and landing throughout the day. Unlike a race comp, we don’t all launch at the same time, fly the same route, and hope to end up in the same LZ within a specified window.
  • Our weather means that we fly far some days, while on others we need to be satisfied with staying warm and dry waiting to fly. Unfortunately, rental companies and bus drivers expect to be paid every day, rain or shine.
  • We want to keep the Willi affordable for a range of pilots, from those who might be excited to fly and land safely in the LZ every day, to those who plan to be as far away as possible every day. And, it seems unfair to charge everyone the costs of rides and retrieves when some come prepared with their own drivers and vehicles.

We did look at renting vehicles, even a bus, something that many have suggested. Renting is just too expensive, and comes with liability issues we are unwilling to take on. “Borrowing” vehicles from prospective sponsors also fell through because of the expense and liability.

So, here’s where we’re at for this year. The “Best Retrieve Driver in Canada”, Vincene Muller, will once again be doing our long retrieves. She has repaired an old favorite – Big White – and will focus on those who go farthest. For the rest of us, the best alternative we have is to get more vehicles on the highway, then make better connections between pilots and rides. Here’s how we plan to do that…

  1. The recommended “donation” for a ride to launch will be $15, up from the $10 it has been for the last 25 years. The guy who ran the ride service last year told us he could not compete at all with $10. Those of us with trucks know he’s not wrong. Going to $15 isn’t much of a change, but we’re hoping more people with vehicles will see their way clear to offer rides with a little more compensation. And, we’ll work on the guy with the ride service to see if he’ll come down to that price for a guaranteed full truck.
  2. The recommended donation for retrieves will be increased, to $15 for anyone north of Invermere (about 100 km), and $25 between there and Canal Flats (about 150 km), and negotiable after that. Again, we’re hoping that a little more incentive will get more drivers out on the road.
  3. We are looking for a Retrieve Coordinator, someone to work closely with Dannie (the tracking and safety guy), taking over from him when pilots are on the ground, then dispatching drivers who we’ll equip with Spot trackers to those pilots. This should cut down the wait time for rides, especially those who are closer in to Golden on the good days. This Coordinator will also facilitate the link up of pilots needing rides with willing drivers each morning.
  4. We will place public service announcements on the radio and in local papers, advising locals to be on the lookout for stranded pilots, and suggesting there may be something in it for them. Nothing like a few bucks to help a driver get over their fear of the scary people with the big packs.

So, what’s the bottom-line for you the pilot. If the weather sucks all week, you get out of Golden with lots of good stories of turning bad times into good, and most of the money you came with. If the weather and flying are stellar though, the Willi may cost you as much as some of the bigger comps because you paid a little more for rides and retrieves. But, are you really going to complain if you paid that money to fly from a great launch, along a spectacular range, to personal best distances, and had a great time when you weren’t flying? We don’t think so. See you end of July at the Willi!

The Willi XC Supports Our Nationals

The Willi Team knows how much time and effort it takes to organize a comp, especially a National Championship. So, we’d like to recognize and thank two individuals who have stepped up as first time meet heads this year…

Of course, you can’t run any comp without pilots. To encourage meet participation in our own small way, any Willi participant who competes in our National Championships will receive $20 in “Willi Bucks” redeemable at the Willi for things like Willi gear (t-shirts, hats, etc.), rides up, and retrieves. You can collect your “Willi Bucks” when you check in for the Willi if you’re on the score sheet for one of the National comps.

Now get out there and compete this summer.

The Willi Team

We’re Open!

It has taken some work, but we’re ready to go for Willi 2017 Registration! You can register at…
http://thewillixc.com/event-details/willi-registration/

Registration was opened a week ago for last year’s participants, and we already have 50 of the available 120 spots spoken for. Register early to be sure you are in, and to take advantage of the early entry discount. Register and pay by June 15 and the entry fee is $100. After June 15, the fee goes up to $150. Everybody who pays before June 15 also has their name entered into a draw for a $50 gift certificate to a local Golden restaurant.

The long weekend is late this year, so the Willi dates are as follows…

  • On-site Sign In: Friday, July 28
  • Comp Flying Days: from Saturday, July 28 thru Sunday, August 6
  • Awards Dinner: Sunday evening, August 6

You can see who is already registered at…
http://thewillixc.com/pilotinfo/pilots/

Also, the G.E.A.R. reservation system is now open, and we encourage you to make one soon – they are already filling up. More info on G.E.A.R., and access to reservations, can be found here…
http://goldenadventurepark.com/

We’re looking forward to flying with you this summer!

Willi 2016 Sponsors and Helpers Rock!

You can’t run a meet like the Willi without great help. Thanks from all of us to (if we’ve missed someone, our apologies)….

  • Great Sponsors – see http://thewillixc.com/sponsors/ and please frequent their businesses
  • Vincene Muller – sponsor and retrieve driver extraordinaire
  • GEAR Owners and Staff – Cathy-Anne, John, Trina, Warren, Brandon
  • The Kitchen Ladies – Nicki and Elyse of Kickin’ Thyme Catering
  • Tracking Service – Dave Wheeler at http://xcfind.paraglide.us/
  • Launch Crew – Glen Kowalski, Stephanie Vegotsky (with notable help from many fluffers and wire people)
  • Spot Landing Monitor – Sotir Popov
  • Merchandising Mavens – Jody Duffy-Osmond, Kim Parkin
  • Social Media Master – Mark Damm
  • Learning Session Leaders – Garth Henderson, Ross Hunter, Kyle Martens, Andrew Berkley, Max Fanderl

Finally, a big thank you to all the pilots who joined us. See you all back next year!