Tips to take flight in speed riding
In the second in his series of speciality sport speed riding, our guest blogger Cookie gives advice on what you need kit-wise and tips to take flight!
I started it when I saw some locals doing it in the Alps many years ago. I did a little research and found there was a local school offering taster mornings, full days or even week-long courses.
The first run had me hooked, picking up speed and feeling the harness pulling me into the air. I immediately started looking into buying my own gear.
It’s not cheap to buy, but worth every penny! Set ups to get you flying consist of a harness (usually with a bag built in) and a wing, with costs starting at around 1,500€, increasing depending on performance. It’s a lot of money but, providing you look after them correctly, store them and service them as you should, they last a long time.
My new gear arrived only a couple of weeks after my first taster day, and immediately I took it back to the training zone I’d had my first taster on.
I ran through the checks I’d been taught not long before and began lapping the area. I bumped into my old instructor a few times who’d seen me from the lift, and he was keen to offer a few tips whenever we crossed paths and I continued to develops both my skills and confidence.
Within no time I was getting higher with each flight and, despite numerous close calls, I was getting better at landing and continuing at speed to take off again. I was hooked!
I’d already learned the local terrain well through a love of off-piste and, by watching many locals on their regular routes, I knew the good spots to continue to explore and fly.
It’s actually really easy to glide and fly on the wings – the aim isn’t usually to go high but it’s pretty fun to do; simply point towards a cliff at speed and let the wing take you off the ground. The hard bit is coming back down and landing softly where you want to, hopefully still with some speed to then take off again!
I’d recommend everyone giving it a go! Wherever and whenever you’re next hitting the snow, do a little searching and there will be a school you can give it a go at! You need no experience of paragliding to begin, just a reasonably good level of skiing.
For a background on the speciality sport speed riding and what you can achieve, read our article on how to take to the wing on the slopes!