The Willi XC Challenge

28th Annual XC Flying Event in Golden, BC, Canada

July 27 - August 4, 2024

Take Off, Eh!

Known by the regulars as “The Willi”, this co-ed hang gliding/paragliding meet began in 1997. This will be the 28th year of what started as a side bet challenge among a small group for flying friends and has grown into an annual XC pilgrimage for many pilots from across Canada, the US, and elsewhere.


With The Lookout on Mount 7 as the launch point, the competition focuses on Open-Distance XC and Out-and-Return flights at one of the premier XC sites in North America. This is your best, safest and most fun opportunity to fly big distance in the mountains.


Don’t let the word “competition” deter you. Our focus is “fun”. While experienced pilots will pit their skills against their peers, it’s all done in the spirit of good fun in a relatively low-stress environment. For intermediate and veteran pilots, this is a chance to build your XC chops at a big mountain, big air site. Low air time pilots can gain XC experience while learning from more seasoned pilots. We welcome all level of pilots, even if you just want to hang out at launch, watch what more experienced pilots do, then take a glass-off sledder at the end of the day. In fact, our intent is to reward you for doing just that – safely and well.


And the Willi isn’t just about flying. Golden is a great setting for both adventure and relaxation. The local area features attractions and activities to keep keep pilots, drivers, and their families busy all week. Or, just relax and enjoy the splendor of our Canadian Rockies.

Event Overview

Our Goals

To run a meet where hang glider and paraglider pilots of all levels have an opportunity to…

  • Pursue their personal best in a competitive environment;

  • Meet and enjoy the company of fellow pilots;

  • Fly safely at all times; and,

  • Above all, have fun.

Essentials

Dates: July 27 - August 4

Location: Mount 7, Golden, BC, Canada

Headquarters: Golden Riverside Campground

Registration: On-line or on-site during the competition

Entry Fee: $140 before June 15/$180 after

Meet Head: Kevin Nemez
Safety Director: Dannie Wolf

The Willi is open to PG and HG pilots. The winners of this meet will be the registered pilot in each class with the best total points for 3 flights over the course of the competition. You may fly as many flights as you wish every day – re-launches are allowed. Only your best 3 reported flights during the competition will be counted toward your final score.
All pilots will require...
  • Liability Insurance - HPAC membership for Canadian pilots, or Out of country temporary insurance for visiting pilots (can be purchased on site - $40, valid for 60 days).

  • All Waivers Signed

  • Active GPS Tracking - SPOT, inReach or accepted equivalent with tracking enabled.

To Join Us...

Here's what you need to do...

Before the comp...

Click link above to do that right now.

Click link above when you're ready. Remember, the fee goes up after June 15.

  1. Stay Informed

You will find more information here...

4. Complete Tech Sign-up

Registered pilots will receive notice via email just before the comp to complete a survey collecting safety data and providing an opportunity to sign needed waivers, etc..

When you arrive in Golden...

1. Check-In at HQ

After 5:00 PM on July 26, and before you go flying, let us know you have arrived. We will update you on HQ location just before the comp.

2. Attend 1st Pilot Meeting

9:30 AM on Saturday, July 27, join us at Meet HQ for a briefing regarding safety procedures, weather, and other concerns before heading up for your first comp flight. You might also consider joining us for breakfast at 8:30 AM, just before the meeting.

3. Get High, Fly Far, Be Safe!

The Willi Team

Meet Head: Kevin Nemez

Kevin has been flying paragliders since 2009 and has been a participant in the Willi pretty much every year since. He has had many great flights off Mt7 and elsewhere but it's time he gets put out to pasture and what better place to put old, slightly senile pilots than Meet (Meat?) Head. Mmmmm.....beef.

Safety Director: Dannie Wolf

Dannie began paragliding in June of 2005 and counts flying above the Canadian Rockies he loves so much as one of the greatest experiences a person could ever have. Having loved competing in Willi XC’s in the past, he became our Safety Director in 2013 and has performed those duties faithfully since then. He is looking forward to helping make this year’s competition as great as it can be and hopes to see all his flying friends at the event this summer!

Dave Corbin

Once a dedicated Hang Glider pilot, Dave was seduced by the dark side and now mostly flies rags for glory. He believes that Fairmont Hot Springs is as far as any man ought to go down the valley from Golden. Currently he is enjoying sharing free flight experiences with others as a tandem pilot. Dave has consistently used his skills to set new records for short, thermal avoidance flights from far flung destinations such as Costa Rica, France, Italy and South America.

Jon Lovering

Jon, founder of Prairie Paragliding, grew up in Saskatchewan and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area for work in 2008. In 2011, he learned to fly paragliders in the south San Francisco Bay Area. After completing his novice training Jon was flying as often as he could, first from the local training hill (Ed Levin County Park), and then venturing further afield to other Northern California flying sites, such as Potato Hill and Dunlap California. These gave him a taste of cross country (XC) flying, and in 2013 Jon joined the newly formed Northern California XC Sprint League to hone his XC skills, allowing him to fly 100+km distances. After competing in the Willi, Jon joined our organizer group.

Justin Gullickson

We are still pestering Justin for a bio, but he's a nice guy just like the rest of us.

Cam Savoia

Cam came out of nowhere last year and really stepped up with lots of help wherever needed awarding him "most helpful registrant" and a brand new hike harness. Little did he know however, by accepting it he was now contractually obligated to join the Willi team and help till the end of days. Bwahaha.....Welcome to the team Cam!

Also organizing : Vincene Muller, Keith MacCullough, Kyle Martens

Willi Rules & Guidelines

The Willi is open to PG and HG pilots. The winners of this meet will be the registered pilot in each class with the best total points for 3 flights over the course of the competition. You may fly as many flights as you wish every day – re-launches are allowed. Only your best 3 reported flights during the competition will be counted toward your final score.

Airspace

While airspace restrictions in our flying area hasn’t changed much over the years there is an increased awareness, both of pilots and outside groups, of that airspace and any potential violations. These violations are increasingly brought to the attention of the Canadian government and can cause problems for the pilot, our flying site, and our flying community as a whole. As a result, If we are made aware of any flights that break airspace, (through XContest, Leonardo, any authorities etc) that flight will be not be scored in our competition and repeat offenders may be disqualified altogether.

We are working on maps that highlight airspace and its implications for pilots with and without Hagar but ultimately it is solely the pilots responsibility to ensure they are flying in a legal manor. Please see “Hagar” for related info and “Scoring” for info on how flights will be scored.

Hagar

Hagar is a rating administered by the Canadian Government that provides a legal framework to allow hang gliding and paragliding pilots to fly in Class E airspace. As there are multiple areas of class E airspace in and around the Columbia Valley we strongly encourage all pilots to get this rating. For those that don’t have Hagar however, there is still great flying to be had!

Please note for those that have a private or commercial pilots license (issued by any country) Hagar is redundant and not required.

Scoring

In short points are awarded (1 point per km) for distance flown with a multiplier for an out-and-return flight or a triangle. Your 3 best flights during the competition are tallied and become your overall score for the competition. 

We can calculate this distance in multiple ways. While typically a score on XContest will provide a higher score and is most peoples preferred method we realize that not everyone wants to have an online presence and there are other alternatives such as using an inReach/Spot OK pin or the live track from the day. 

XContest

We encourage the use of XContest online scoring in order to...

  • Encourage use of the online contest site.

  • Facilitate information sharing and learning about XC flying amongst pilots.

  • Standardize flight scoring and verification.

  • Encourage creativity in flight planning - the XContest system automatically checks for O&R and FAI Triangle qualified flights, and provides bonuses (1.2 points/km for O&R, 1.4 points/km for Triangles).

To use the XCanada/XContest World flight verification method, you must be registered at http://www.xcontest.org/canada. Pilots already registered for the 2024 contest are ready to go. If you are registered for the XContest World, please add yourself to the XCanada list by going to http://www.xcontest.org/national/, and choosing the Canada contest to register. This is important because we will use XCanada rules.

We also encourage you to familiarize yourself with the XContest Rules: http://www.xcontest.org/world/en/rules/.

Registration/Cancellation

Registration can be completed on-line and payment is required to be considered fully registered. Please be sure you are fully registered for the competition and have checked in at meet headquarters before you go flying. We will not accept flight claims for your flights unless you have done so, or made specific arrangements with either the Meet Director or Safety Director.

If you need to cancel your registration, please let us know via email to flyfar@thewilli.com. Until June 15, any registration fees you have paid will be refunded. After June 15, we reserve the right to withhold any or all fees paid.

Pilot Classification

Each pilot will be assigned to a Pilot Class at the beginning of the meet with the goal of encouraging healthy competition and in consultation with the pilots involved. Final decisions regarding pilot classification will be made by the Meet Director and Safety Director.

The Willi Team reserves the right to collapse or combine classifications appropriately where we deem a classification has too few pilots for reasonable competition.

Launch

Pilots may launch from the Lookout (drive to) or Upper launches (hike in) on Mount 7 in Golden, unless a decision is made by the Meet Committee to designate an alternative launch. Please mark your start point on your GPS prior to flying.

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Pilot Meetings/Information

There will be a pilot briefing at the Willi tent each morning at approximately 9:30 AM. Please plan to attend (door prizes drawn for all registrants in attendance), or check with someone who did. Standings and weather will be discussed. Please check with the locals if you have concerns about the weather. Contact information for meet officials will be provided to all registered pilots prior to the event.

Personal Decision Making

At all times, your decision to fly is your own. In the case of inclement weather or poor flying conditions, the Meet Director or Safety Director may decide to delay, suspend or cancel competition. These decisions will be made with the best information available, and to ensure a fair and safe meet for all competitors. However, with or without a decision by the Meet Director or anyone else involved with the meet, you must still decide personally whether it is safe for you to fly. Do not take any decision or lack of decision on our part as either endorsement of the flying conditions, or recommendation that you fly.

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Flight Tracking

You are required to fly at all times with a GPS tracking device (SPOT, Delorme InReach, or acceptable equivalent) actively tracking your flight and recording to the Willi tracking site. More info will be provided at tech sign up.

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Retrieval

Given the size of our flying area and nature of the competition, it is not feasible economically to include retrieves as part of the meet fee. The good news though is that on those great XC days there are generally vehicles, including meet vehicles, along the valley chasing pilots. Pilots are encouraged to make arrangements for their own retrieval before flying where possible, and to compensate their drivers directly. Retrieval communication and procedures will also be discussed at pilot meetings. Our goal is to get everyone home safely each flying day.

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Check-In/Landing Forms

Please be sure to check in each day as soon as possible after your flight. Check in procedures will be clarified at the pilot meetings. You must complete a landing form for all flights in order to ensure they are scored.

Landing forms can be completed in-person at headquarters or on-line. Please be sure you have your landing forms in by the end of the pilot meeting the following morning in order to be counted toward your points.

Scoring Bonuses

To encourage use of Upper launch, flights launched from Upper will receive a 5-point bonus if unwitnessed, and a 10-point bonus if witnessed by an on-launch observer. Please provide witness name and contact info when claiming this bonus.)

Any flight successfully landed (i.e. without injury or incident as determined by a majority of your peers observing the landing) at the LZ will be given a 10 point bonus. For example: a sled run with a successful landing at the LZ will be worth 15 points – 5 distance points plus the 10-point landing bonus.

Violations

You will receive a zero score for any flight that violates local site rules, enters restricted airspace, lands in a restricted area (including identified no-land areas in the National Parks), or results in an unresolved conflict with a land owner. Restricted airspace and landing areas will be provided and discussed at Pilot Meetings each morning. If you are unsure, please ask us for more information before you go flying .

Novice Pilots

P2/H2 pilots can compete in two ways…

  • Without a GPS (Super Sledders) – winner is the Novice with the most, safe take-offs and landings at the designated LZ.

  • With a GPS – winner is the pilot who accumulates the most points on 3 flights flown in accordance with the rules.

Final Standings

Unless otherwise announced, final standings will be posted and prizes distributed after flying on Sunday, August 4. Winners (except Super Sledder) will be the registered pilot in each class with the highest total points for 3 flights over the course of the competition.