Speed riding has taken off across the world!
Our guest blogger Cookie, a highly experienced seasonaire and sports instructor, wants to introduce you to one of his passions – speed riding. You may be tempted to give it a try after reading this:
Speed riding is a high-adrenalin sport combining skiing and paragliding. It was started in the early 2000s by a mix of people from different backgrounds – basejumpers realising there were more options than just the jump and opening the wing, and paragliders getting lower to the ground and enjoying the proximity to the snow.
It’s been gaining popularity around ski resorts everywhere, particularly with the changing snow conditions and growing popularity of off-piste skiing.
Being able to fly between untracked patches of snow, and even ski the ‘routes that do not go’ (the runs that finish in cliff edges) offers so much more scope and freedom. But always follow the advice never to follow tracks off-pistes unless you know the route, as the person in front of you who left the tracks may have had the use of very different equipment!
The aim of an experienced flyer is to stay close to the snow, skiing where possible, touching down then taking off again, skimming and gliding through the chosen route and, when needed, simply flying off cliff edges and rocks before returning close to the ground.
Proximity to the snow as much as possible is important – not to gain height and soar or glide like a traditional paraglider would.
There are relatively few restrictions, rules or licences to doing it yourself, providing you’re not on a piste and making sure you are away from lifts/cables.
As a beginner you stay at relativity slow speeds and in full contact with the ground, learning how to control the wind through the wing. Within only a few runs you can begin to use the lift created through your increasing speed to pull you off the ground and begin to glide in the air and skim across the snow.
Usually schools will use radios to communicate with students through training runs – there is no double/tandem flights as with paragliding. You’re by yourself from the start!
Now you’ve had a taster of the sport, look out for Cookie’s next post on speed riding, to whet your appetite further! In the meantime, try out his backyard jump training technique!
My life couldn’t be more active! As a full-time instructor, coach & trainer, I thrive seeing others enjoy sports as much as I do.
My passions are windsurfing, skiing and snowboarding, and I love trying to inspire people to get active through social channels (and some polite peer pressure of course!).
I’m into all kinds of sports – basically anything that gets me outside and moving!
A particular love is speed-riding – like low-level parachuting with skis on, high speed skimming across the snow.
Find me a sport I haven’t tried and I’d love to give it a go!
My seasonal journey began straight from college, and is now split into two seasons.
Through the winter I live in Alpe d’Huez, working as ski and snowboard instructor and off-piste guide for the local ESF school. I teach everything from beginners to advanced and off-piste on both skis and a board. I started winters with the simple love of being in the mountain and riding.
I have done a wide mix of jobs over the years that allowed me to ski and board a lot – bars, hotels, chalets, repping and operations management. It’s amazing the people you meet through the years and opportunities that arise.
My skills were improving over the seasons, particularly in back-country and off-piste. I then became friends with the director of a local ski school while in the ski resort Flaine, who encouraged me to work for him the following year, to train and become an instructor with his school. The rest, as they say, is history (thanks again Theo!).
Through my winter life I’ve also been lucky enough to hook up with a number of brands as a sponsored athlete and brand ambassador. Huge thanks to Whitedot Ski, Planks Clothing, Cassette Optics and OLFI action-cameras for all your help and support.
The summer sees me working as a Resort Manager for Neilson Holidays. I’ve worked summers with them since 2006, across Turkey, Egypt and Greece in a variety of roles, leading me to now head up the operations in one of our Beach Club resorts. Our centres include windsurfing, sailing, stand-up paddling, biking, tennis, fitness, waterskiing & wakeboarding, and kids clubs. The last few summers I’ve been in the Cosmos Hotel, Vassiliki, a mecca for watersports with some epic biking and fitness facilities available too!
If anyone is looking for advice or to chat through options for work and overseas life, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via my Instagram feed at @cookiesport