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!