30 tips for successful cross-country flying
#11: Concentrate on the crunch points
There are particular crosscountry routes that are particularly suitable for flying really long distances. Longstanding XC pilots will think of places like Fiesch, Mornera, Fanas, Scuol, Stoderzinken, Stubnerkogel, Grentealm or Hochfelln. All these classic triangle places have long stretches where you can “boot it“. Where bits of the route run along mountain ranges that are very favourably oriented towards the sun. Mostly there are house thermals and it is unusual to sink out there. And then there are transitions where you can be on the ground fast and involuntarily. Observe the sky gods when they make these transitions, because they know where to get up again.
For example at the Grente: select the longest flights from this site in the XContest. In the list you will see the same names coming up again and again. These guys know how to fly this area. What line do they take over the Staller saddle and into the Defreggen valley? How do they cross the Tauferer valley? How do they get over Sterzing? And in particular, how do they cross the Lüsener Alm? In which wind do they fly to which point during the transitions? When you are doing your planning, concentrate on the crunch points that connect the easy bits. This will give you the best chance of getting around the course and you’re not standing on the ground prematurely.