Sandia Classic

June 16-22 2013 (if the WX cooperates)


For information contact:


Andrew Vanis




Drought, Fire, and Funding


So the Sandia Classic is unlikely to happen. :( 


The last straw was the current drought indications the forest is almost certain to be closed a month before the event days.  We will open registration if the forest will be open.


Advance apologies to those that wanted to join us this year. If the forest is open we’ll do our best to have the sanctioned R2G event but will have a flying/racing event anyway even if it’s not sanctioned.


Please feel free to contact me with any questions.


Andrew Vanis





If you wondered why the event has not been advertised or that registration has not opened it has been because we have been trying to get certainty for some key items.


1) The main permit - The local SSA Chapter, the Sandia Soaring Association, has been working on a permit renewal for over a year now.  Due to changes in the process and due to litigation in other USFS permits any permit process now is much longer and the rules and procedures are being clarified as permit applications go through the new rules. 


Thanks to those that sent the USFS comment of support for our permit.  It was very helpful.


Our permit was due to be renewed at the end of 2012 but that was not possible so the USFS did a 3-month extension thinking that would be enough time.  That extension expired 3/31/13 and we’re still not done.  With this lapse we currently don’t have access to our Crest launch.  Luckily we still have access to our Peak (Tram) launch which is more majestic in some ways but also less usable due to a more limited wind direction.


We have great support with our local USFS folks and they are doing a great job with the limited resources they have.  We hope this is resolved shortly.


2) The event permit – To have an event that involves an entry fee (it’s considered a commercial activity) needs a commercial event permit.  The USFS is so short staffed here that they are not doing any of these for anyone this year.  We have our limited federal budgets to thank for that.


We’ve had offers of support from the local tourism bureau with volunteers and local pilots said they would like to help to make the event happen so it might be possible to do it on a volunteer basis but there are still costs to consider such as sanctioning and insurance fees.  Might it be possible to do it with donations…. maybe.


One of the things that may be a surprise to those that have never planned an event is the importance of a pre-paid entry fee.  For organizers it’s a big deal.   Will we have enough folks show up to make the event a go?  How many resources do we have to commit and how many folks do we have to plan for – 5, 15, or 50?  What level of services and what amenities can we afford to provide?  It’s not like one can throw this together on a Friday afternoon for Saturday.  So the attendee’s commitment is very important part.  Might is be possible with a registration fee what is credited when the person shows up?  Maybe.


3) Drought – The current moisture levels at this site have never been this low at his time of the year according to the USFS.  And no moisture is expected. The fire danger is so great in a situation like this.  The moisture level now is usually not seen until June.  This is 2 months early.  Typically the monsoons start in July.  It is a precarious position to see this forest with no rain for so long.  We hope that moisture comes our way.