Euro 2011 - Day 2 - Bolzano, Austria and the Dolomites

Follow our flight with the photo journal below, however, to find out how Dan got on with his day off in Bolzano, click on his diary

The second day of the expedition started clear and sunny, yesterday's goal of staying ahead of the weather having been achieved. It was just becoming thermic over the plateau to the north of the airfield so we launched into a gentle valley breeze coming up from the south. There was nothing but fruit trees and vines over pretty much all the valley floor, so climbing up a bit in range of the airfield seemed like a good idea


The plateau above Bolzano was picturesque but the lift was fitful. After an age of grinding around, we found a thermal that eventually broke away from the side of the hills and followed a crankshaft profile into the upper layers

We could see the misty air from the Po valley being drawn up into the alps
To the north, clearer air was arriving, with a 13,000' base. We crossed over the Brenner pass, then headed east along the Zillertal

We passed Zell-am-See in good conditions and ran nearly to Mauterndorf, where it blued out

We headed SE towards Lienz and better looking clouds
With what seemed to be a convergence in the distance
Moist air from Italy was trying to get into the Notsch valley but there wasn't any real convergence, so we beat a retreat back into the higher alps
It took a bit of fiddling to get re-established, then cross over in front of the Grossglockner
The moderate N wind gave some interesting shear effects when crossing the ridges

We pushed back into wind and managed to get back on the sunny side of the Zillertal, which we ran as far as Mayrhofen, where the approaching front made its presence felt

The only bit of working sky was in the Dolomites, so we decided to investigate...
The evening sun was still gently warming the rock pillars
We could see that moister air wasn't far away but it hadn't come far into the mountains
The Dolomites looked spectacular but would there be any lift left?
We took a gentle climb off the first line of ridges, then progressed down towards Cortina
The Tre Cime de Laveredo looked spectacular with the alternating sun and cloud shadows
We found a good climb on the edge of the damp air
The climb went all the way to 14,000', with cloud almost on the ground not much further to the south
Cunims were beginning to build, driven by the increasing moisture
Most of the Dolomites stayed clear of storms, with only the lower hills triggering them off
We glid off our 14,000', taking a good look at the fascinating rock formations on the way down
The air was fairly neutral, with the odd bit of lift coming off rock that had spent the day heating up
Big cunims wer forming to the S of Bolzano but the northerly drift kept them out of the valley itself
By the time we arrived back near the airfield, the upper cloud from the disturbance to the W had spread overhead. There was an interestingly strong valley breeze, which required an approach over the hardstanding past some tall lights, which were looked rather close in a 28m glider!