Western Washington flying offers spectacular views of volcanic mountains, the Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula, from sites such as Blanchard, Tiger Mt, and Whidbey Island. These sites are greatly influenced by coastal weather, and offer both cross-country and ridge soaring flight.

As with any mountain site, you will need to be tuned into the micrometeorology of each site. The coastal humidity and abundance of trees create wonderful, generally smooth thermals and late afternoon soaring, however can also be windy, have strong thermals and turbulent if you pick the wrong conditions.

The ridge soaring sites such as Whidbey Island and Blanchard can be wonderful when they’re working, but your kiting and high wind skills need to be dialed in.

Weather to look for in the mountains will be current and forecasted winds, winds aloft, and thermic potential. For the ridge soaring sites, wind direction and speed will be your biggest concern. As with any site on the west side, look out for rain!