What is a Weasel Fart?

That question was asked of me last Saturday, and I just didn’t have a clue. I thought there might be others out there in the world struggling to find the definition, and that’s the purpose of this page, “To share my new found knowledge.”

During the Summer and warmer months, it’s easier to find strong thermals that can lift a glider higher. As the late fall and winter months arrive, the lower sun angle heats the ground and air to a lesser extent, and there is less thermal activity.

This is a time when Soaring Birds and those who wish to soar with them learn to make use of the ‘weasel fart’.

A weasel fart is a small and light thermal that is far more difficult to ‘sniff out’ or recognize. The larger thermals with their rough edges are easily recognized by bird and man.  Sometimes they are rough enough where gliders bounce off, they sometimes  make a 270 degree turn to enter the thermal ‘straight on’ in an attempt to ride the thermal higher.

Could it be that Mountain Ravens know the Weasel Farts best? They often winter over in their Mountain Retreats and they rely on covering a lot of ground to find food each day. They know when the Sun reaches a certain point in the sky that the Weasel Farts are there to ‘sniff out’ and by working them carefully they might gain enough elevation to make their winter rounds with far less work.  All Ravens know that when the Sun is sinking in the afternoon sky; it’s best to be close to home.  If you’re not, it may be a long ‘flap’ back to the roost.

Thanks to Mark Chirico at Seattle Paragliding for adding another new phrase to my rather limited vocabulary. Chalk Talk is a fun place to spend a Saturday morning.

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