Paragliding and Skiing in France

Monday to Wednesday guides/instructors were available but it wasn’t flyable so had to ski instead. Thursday was flyable but no guides! I hadn’t heard from "Pierre" on Wednesday night (who was keen to fleece me and get out flying himself) so I collared him as he was taking my kids off for a skiing lesson Thursday morning (he also teaches paragliding etc etc).

He could see I was keen so he hooked me up with a pair of local surfer dudes in a beaten up old peugeot wearing baseball boots and cycling helmets with goggles on smoking rollups (get the picture!) who turned out to be local la Clusaz mad bad paracrobates with not a lot of english between them.

We met up with some more local "dudes" who all got free rides up the piste after much handshaking etc (no skis required at this stage which was good) for a lovely top to bottom after a difficult reverse lauch (no wind) between two ski lifts – nice!!  This was actually two flights for me and Roddi (their leader and Pierre’s mate) because due to a translation error I landed on the piste rather than at the village which they all thought was very funny particularly as we had to leave quicky – despite the goodwill of all the ski lift people – because we weren’t really supposed to use that particular piste.

On his way down to "pick me up" I witnessed some mad wingovers from Roddy – not seen this live before. We did an alpine launch on the piste to get down except we had to fly down the ski run for a way in order to get enough height over the trees on either side which was fun.

Then we headed off to Annecy.

When we got there we had 6 pilots and 5 gliders crammed into an old scratched citroen zx that was being used for getting us up to the launch area and retrieval.

I had five flights in all with only one fluffed launch where I nearly ran off the cliff and even managed to get nicely ATO on two occassions when the sun came out – great.

What a great day. My flying was very sedate ie big ears to lose height as opposed to wingovers but they didn’t seem to mind – nice bunch and much cheaper than Pierre would have been.

Today I flew on my own twice with skis on (which was interesting) from the place where they do tandem flights for 55 euros.


Skiing was good too!