If you’re a skier, no doubt the mind-blowing mountain views are one of the things that make your heart race when you look forward to your ski holiday…
So just imagine seeing that never-ending vista from a bird’s eye perspective… That’s the view that Courchevel’s paragliders have when they take off from La Saulire or Loze on a blue-sky day – using thermals to gently circle upwards with the mountain birds so that they can see hundreds of mountain peaks covered with snow.
Anyone who has skied Courchevel on a sunny day will have seen the colourful wings of paragliders floating high above the slopes. To anyone who likes to keep their skis on the snow, it may seem like a scary prospect, but the truth is that a paragliding flight can be a peaceful and gentle experience, and a truly incredible opportunity to appreciate an unrivalled view of the mountains.
3 reasons to try paragliding on your next ski holiday:
1) You’re in safe hands
The fully qualified tandem paragliding pilots will only fly in safe conditions so you can rest assured that it’s a very safe way to try this amazing experience.
2) The views
What can we say? White mountain peaks as far as the eye can see…
3) Fly like a bird
Exhilarating, uplifting, magical… For between 80-120 euros you will have memories that will last a lifetime!
For more information try ‘Atelier du Vent’ tandem paragliding Courchevel: www.atelier-du-vent.com – we can help you reserve your flight and find out the best day to fly during your week’s stay in one of our chalets, please ask your chalet host for more information.
Local knowledge: we talk to a paraglider
Tom, from Courchevel’s specialist boot fitters The Boot Lab learnt to paraglide (or parapente in French) and regularly takes to the air on his paraglider or a speed wing, depending on conditions.
What inspired you to try paragliding?
Since I was little I’ve always envied the way birds of prey soar in the skies and have had this idea in my head that I wanted to join them! After years working in Courchevel, I’d seen paragliders flying above my head while I was skiing and I wanted to get up there and see what it was like. I skydived from a plane after taking off from the Altiport which was amazing, and so I booked myself onto a course at Lake Annecy and I was hooked.
What is it that you love?
So many things! The sense of freedom, the thrill of flying and I also enjoy concentrating solely on staying up in the air – you can’t think about anything else. And I’ve flown alongside birds regularly, which is amazing (they’re much better flyers!)
Is it scary or peaceful?
Sometimes on a still day, hours can pass by and I just enjoy floating peacefully and enjoying the incredible views – everything looks different from so high up. It’s exhilarating being in control and on your own in the air. On some days it can be more bumpy than others, it all depends on the thermals. The experts who take the tandem trips know how to handle them and only ever take off when they are happy.
How high do you go? And how far?
Again, it completely varies according to the meteorological conditions. The highest I have flown is just over 4,000m. Some of the experienced paragliders from Courchevel fly to Chamonix and beyond. The distance record in France is 411km which is a pretty long way!
What’s a speed wing?
A normal-sized ‘wing’ allows you to soar or glide using the thermals to get lift. A speed wing is much smaller, so you get less resistance and a whole lot more speed! Have a look to your right when you travel up the chairlift Suisses and you may see speed riders flying around the off-piste area.
What kind of person would enjoy a tandem paragliding experience?
Anyone who wants to fly and who likes a new perspective on life! It’s a fantastic experience and the tandem paragliders here in Courchevel are extremely experienced and ask you what you’d like to do – you can choose to try the spins if you like, or you can ask for a gentle flight and just enjoy floating around. You can either land in the same place you take off, or further down in Courchevel Le Praz. I’d definitely recommend it!
Here’s Tom flying above La Tania’s Loze and Courchevel La Saulire: