Thursday, March 06, 2008

Fearless Planet Shows

It's my week to spray about stuff I've done I guess... I've had a bunch of emails (well, mostly from people like my parents) asking where they can get DVDs of the Fearless Planet shows I did last fall for the Discovery Channel. They're finally for sale here. The show has run all over the world--except Canada. I guess we can't handle it or something? But now we can at least get the DVDs here, which is somehting. It's odd to do media with Asia one night and then have to say to a Canadian reporter, "Sorry, you can't see the show in Canada unless you have some sort of super satellite system..." I actually didn't see all the shows myself until last week!

The shows aren't perfect, but after actually watching them all I'm pretty happy with them. When I do my own shows I have a lot of control over everything from cameramen to locations (mostly I do my shows to have some fun in a cool place), but for a big series like this I was "just" the talent. I learned more about production and myself doing these shows than I have in years, it was intense. There's always a story behind every TV show; what you see on the screen is just the end product of a lot of tough decisions and bartering between the production company, the channel, the writers, the editors, producers, etc. Everybody I worked with on those shows from Impossible Pictures to the geologists to the heli pilots was a solid professional I'd happily work with again, and you can't always say that. The other night Peter Hausseler, the geologist I worked with in Alaska, was through town and we hooked up to go speed skating on the Calgary Oval. He's a dedicated speed skater who competes internationally in addition to being a bad-ass geologist; I'd never been on speed skates before. I was sore, but that's the sort of person involved in the show, and I'm proud to have worked him and everyone else.

And I'm continuing to climb and ski, it feels like the start of the season after so much time down with injuries, yeah! I hope everyone is getting out lots.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Cross-Country Paragliding Clinics in March, April and July

The schedule is coming together for a bit of a spring tour on the West coast. I've been teaching cross-country paragliding clinics for about ten years, it's a lot of fun and I always leave the courses excited to fly. I think I've become a far better pilot through these clinics; if you want to really understand something just try teaching it.

The clinics are two-day events, with a "get fired up to fly" show on the night of the first day. Each day starts with about two hours of discussion, then we go fly, then debrief in the evening. Just about anyone with the minimum of a basic PG license will get a lot out of the clinics. I help each participant develop a better "mental model" in his or her head for flying XC. The ideal mental model gives the longest possible flight on a given day with the least amount of unplanned risk. I start each clinic with a general overview of how the sky works, and how to stay in it, and then move to narrower and narrower topics until we're finally talking about how to modulate glider pressure on glide with the bar . I know these clinics work from the emails I receive from past participants--even years later. And I know they work because I'm a better pilot after every clinic too. Each clinic is planned around the people in the clinic; if one group wants more information on flight planning and one wants more on competing then I'll shift the focus around as desired.

I often get asked, "So when are you doing XC clinics? And how come I don't know about them?"

Here's the answer, hope to see a few people there! Please contact the schools directly to book a place in the clinics, I don't do the bookings. Do feel free to email me with any questions about course content or whatever, thanks.

April 5th-8th: two sessions with Jeff Greenbaum through Airtime. Clinics to be held toward Fresno. Contact info:

April 12-14: One session with Seattle's top school, Seattle Paragliding. Contact Info:

End of July: XC Clinic with Muller Windsports, Contact Info.

Fly safe enough,


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

An interesting read on risk

Check it out.

I don't completely agree with the author's take on why young men (and I think he dismisses the risk taking of young women far too quickly) engage in risky behaviour, but I enjoyed his perspective. Thanks to Rob Crowley on the PG Forum for the link.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Ice Mines Wins at Vancouver Festival

Last year Andreas Spak, Daniel Karlsson and a crew of characters went and climbed underground ice in Sweden. It was an insane trip for many reasons but also totally rewarding. We made a few cuts of the film for various TV programs (NBC, Discovery, Rush HD), but I was most happy with the film festival cut--that's the one we made for our friends in the outdoor world. I just received an email from the Vancouver Mountain Film Festival, that film fest cut for "Best Canadian Mountaineering Film," yeah! Nice to see the hard work from Dave Brown, Ben Pritchard, Christian Pondella, Emerge Media (editing, graphics and general Gadd-wrangling as usual) and other friends recognized, especially here in Canada. So nice work team underground!

For those who haven't seen the film, we basically found the largest concentration of insane ice I've ever seen anywhere. Unfortunately, it's underground, dangerous to access/climb and in Sweden. But the future of ice climbing in a warming world is for sure dark!