Greg Hemingway on Whistlers in Jasper
In late June, as our officials allowed some travel with precautions, I decided to accompany my wife to the lovely town of Jasper. She was there on business so I decided to bring my paraglider and tend to the business of flying in a national park! All perfectly legal thanks to the work of Margit Nance and Will Gadd, as well as countless others.
After checking the Parks Canada website for areas open to paragliding, as well as the weather forecast, I found Whistlers Mountain to be the logical local launch. In the spirit of really earning my flight and minimizing close contact with strangers during this pandemic, we skipped the tram ride up and both my wife and I hiked 1400+ meters to the launching area above. While she retraced her steps on the trail, I took the easy way down.
Winds were looking perfect so I launched into a nice cycle and soon found myself a few thousand feet above, enjoying a view that few visiting Jasper have ever experienced. It did start to cloud over so I headed out to the valley only to be surprised by some thermals in the middle of the valley! I flew to the sunny side around Grisette Mountain to get some amazing views of Edith Lake and Maligne Canyon.
After scratching around on the sunny side of the valley and not having too much luck, I decided not to push it and headed out to land in a field just to the west of the townsite of Jasper and conveniently along a trail heading right back into town. You can look up my little valley tour on Leonardo (where we are required to log our flights) for an idea of where to launch and land.
Jasper National Park is truly a gem, and I can’t wait to get back there and truly explore the X/C potential that the area holds. Just make sure you check the HPAC as well as the Parks Canada website for the latest information as well as detailed maps on permitted flying areas.
Hope to see you in the sky soon!