Paragliding / Parapenting
Want to try something new, tired of having your feet firmly on the ground, want to see things from higher up........ discover the Meribel valley in its three dimensional geometry. For the ultimate exhilaration, soar above the ski runs in another dimension, experience the silence, taste the freedom of flying in perfect safety.
|Paragliding - Parapenting - Operation times|
|Flights available daily|
|0930hrs - 1630hrs|
|weather permitting and if the conditions allow|
Paragliding is a daytime mountain activity this means it can only operate when the weather conditions are right for flying and during ski lift opening and closing times. The first flight is around 0930hrs allowing time to catch the first lift in order to get to the departure site on time. With the last flight around 1630hrs allowing enough time to get back to Meribel after the flight has finished or even later if the flight ends in Meribel itself.
|Paragliding - Parapenting - location / ACTIVITY SITES|
|Meribel > Saulire|
|Meribel / Courchevel > Col de la Loze|
Paragliding is a very popular activity with many different companies operating not only within Meribel but also the Three Valleys as a whole. There are many different takeoff sites that in turn also have many different landing sites all of which are very accessible from Meribel. It is one of the only activities that Whitetracks cover which is entirely down to your personal preference that should be based not only on what you wish to see whilst in the air but ultimately how long you wish to stay up in the air for!
The Paragliding takeoff sites from Meribel in accessibility order are; the top of the Saulire, the Col de la Loze.
|How to get there from Meribel|
From La Chaudanne Meribel's main lift area you will need to travel up the Burgin Saulire bubble lift (cable car) to the top station. Once out of the bubble you will walk down the the rubber matted slope to where everyone puts their skis on. This will be where the Paragliding pilot will meet you to then take you to the take off site. The Paragliding takeoff site is below the top of the Grande Rosiere chair lift just above the ski run that takes you towards the direction of Mottaret. The takeoff site is situated near a little wooden hut with a small wind sock attached to its side.
- COL DE LA LOZE
From La Chaudanne Meribel's main lift area you will need to travel up the Rhodos bubble lift to the top station. From here you will need to put on your skis or snowboard and head straight. travel past the restaurant on the left and ski the top part of the Altiport beginners green run. As the Altiport green run bends around to the left and then straightens up you will see the Loze chair lift tucked in by the trees on the right hand side of the slope a bit further down the slope. You will need to catch this lift to get to the top of the Col De La Loze as if you were going to ski Courchevel. At the top of the Loze chair lift you will need to turn directly left. The pilot(s) meeting area is next to the Roc Tania restaurant.
|Paragliding - Parapenting - Duration and Format|
|5-20 minutes organisation of equipment and brief|
|Flying time - dependant on flight chosen and conditions|
|Return time dependant on landing - will involve lifts & some cases skiing|
|5 minutes handing in equipment|
You should arrive to meet the pilot 5-10 minutes before the requested time. The pilot might keep you waiting but PLEASE do not keep them waiting. If you need to catch lifts to in order to get to the meeting point please allow time for lift queues and time to travel up on the lift.
When you arrive at the takeoff site the pilot will get you set up with your necessary equipment this will include a helmet and the all important harness. The pilot will take a few minutes to help you into the harness making sure that it is all correctly fitted and comfortable for you. Once you are in the Harness the pilot will then sort the glider out with the glider laid out flat and the strings in the correct position you will then be called over carrying your skis or snowboard and be told where to stand. From this position it will be time to put your skis or snowboard on.
Once ready the pilot will then move into position behind you placing their skis either side of you - one ski to your left and the other ski to your right. The pilot will then attach your harness to theirs. When the pilot is ready and the conditions are right you will both start to edge forward until you both start to slide down the slope in front of you. Once you have traveled just a few meters the glider will fill with air, rise above you both and you will gently lift off the ground and into the open skies ahead.
- SAULIRE > MERIBEL - £118
15-20 minute flight time, this is the best flight if staying in Meribel. This flight flies you near Rond Point des Pistes where you will be able to see the 'Ronny' the Aprés Ski bar of the alps. It will also fly you over the Domain de Burgin and the lower end of Meribel centre La Chaudanne, the main lift area before landing in a field just of La Truite - the beginners green run that joins Mottaret and Meribel. This Flight is perfect for the end of the day 'the Last Flight' as you will then not need to catch the lift back to the top.
- COL DE LA LOZE > LA PRAZ or COL DE LA LOZE - £118
15-20 minute flight - NOT officially a Meribel paragliding flight Col De La Loze is classed as Courchevel and La Praz is Courchevel 1300m. Still the scenery on this flight is still pretty spectacular you will travel over snow covered slopes, mountain restaurants and trees. At the end of the season March time when the conditions are right, plenty of thermals, it is possible for the instructor to land the paraglider at the takeoff site. If landing in La Praz there are several lifts to catch to get back up to the top. When staying in Meribel this flight is only suitable during the mornings and mid-afternoon if landing in La Praz.
- SAULIRE > BOZEL OR BRIDE LA BAINS - £118
40-45 minutes the longest flight in the Three Valleys. From the top of the Saulire this flight pretty much takes you all the way down to the valley floor. This flight will take you straight over the top of Meribel getting what is possibly the best birds eye view of Meribel available. The extra cost involved in this flight also includes car transport back up to the resort once the flight has finished.
|Paragliding - Parapenting - Operation|
When securely strapped to a qualified instructor and ready to go. You and your instructor will run, ski or snowboard off a mountain with nothing more than what looks like a winged parachute - a glider.
To take-off the pilot will pull the paraglider off the ground, as it rises, like a large kite, it fills with air to form an aerodynamic wing. As the airflows over the wing surface - the necessary lift required for flight is developed and within a few strides or short skied distance you and the pilot will gently lift of the ground as you are both launched into the open skies in front of you.
Once in the sky a paraglider is highly maneuverable - by the subtle manipulation of the control surfaces situated on the trailing edge (rear) of the wing.
If there is no lift, the pilot simply glides down safely to a pre-determined landing spot. However, should the pilot successfully locate rising air, the paraglider can gain height and land where it took off!
Lift is found either where wind has been upwardly deflected from the sides of nearby hills or where air has been heated to produce rising currents (thermals) and is used for soaring by the flyer.
When landing the pilot will maneuver the glider in a figure of eight formation and glide in at a 45° angle to the landing site. Once lined up the pilot will glide in and then when ready will pull hard on the steering toggles to slow the glider down as you both touch the ground and land.
|Paragliding - Parapenting - lEVELS / Restrictions|
|Nervous > Thrill Seeker - gentle flight > acrobatic flight|
|Maximum weight - 95kg (15 stone)|
|Epilepsy, Fits, Heart deficiencies , Vertebral problems or Pregnant women|
The pilots will adapt each flight to the excitement threshold of each individual passenger. If you are confident the pilot may perform some aerobatics and may even let you take over the controls during the flight if not just ask.
|Paragliding - Parapenting - equipment Supplied|
Every paragliding pilot doing tandem flights will have their own harness for the passenger to use. They will make sure that you are properly in the harness before they attach it to theirs at the top of the mountain. Each pilot will also issue you with a helmet in which it is compulsory to wear in order to take part in the paragliding activity.
|Paragliding - Parapenting - Suggested items|
|Ski Clothing - Jacket, Ski pants, gloves, sunglasses / Goggles|
|'NO' ski poles|
Due to the Paragliding being a daytime mountain activity you should already be correctly dressed to take part. Unfortunately if you are on skis you will need to leave your poles at the top of the mountain at the takeoff point. If you are skiing with friends and don't wish to come back up the mountain to collect your poles it is advisable to get a friend to ski down to the bottom with your poles. If a friend takes your poles to the bottom you will be free to continue skiing from where you landed without the need to go back to the takeoff site this gives you the flexibility to be able to ski somewhere different for the rest of the day.
|Paragliding - Parapenting - Numbers|
|One passenger per Glider|
Tandem paragliders are only able to carry one passenger at a time. If there is a small group of you wishing to take part in the activity at the same time it is possible for Whitetracks to get a number of paragliding instructors with their own gliders to take off simultaneously one after the other meaning that you will all be in the air at the same time.
|Paragliding - Parapenting - EQUIPMENT SPECIFICATIONS|
Certified paragliders are rated under a common standard into different categories according to their stability, maneuverability and their recovery from unusual flight situations.
Generally novice or standard gliders are very stable and easy to fly, whilst performance and competition gliders have less inherent stability, which require more control to fly safely but have superior performance and feel.
- Approximately 40 sq. metres of surface area
- Weight range: 140 - 230kg
- Tested to 1.5 tonnes +
- Weighs less than 20kg
- Can be stored under your bed
- Takes minutes to get ready for flight
- Packs into 100 litre rucksack
Under certain conditions a Paraglider can take you as high as 4,470 metres and as far as 280 kilometers
|HARNESS FOR PASSENGER|
The passenger is firmly strapped to the instructor by means of a harness. The instructor uses toggle strings to control the direction and angle of the ascent.
Paragliding - Parapenting -PARAGLIDING LINKS
- The British Hang-gliding and Paragliding Association