Whenever the wind is blowing at moderate speeds and the weather seems to be perfect, I always see 3-10 people launching off the open ridge area above my house, soaring to great heights, hanging out like a bird in the air and then landing on one of the most beautiful beaches around Lake Tahoe. These guys are paragliding and to watch from the ground as they soar and then come in for a super smooth beach landing is one of the favorite past times of many a Kings Beach local. Being a kiteboarder, these big wings that these guys use are clearly the next step as it is a very similar setup to a foil kite that I use on the snow. After stopping by the shop a couple times, it was time to work out a deal and get up in the air for my first paragliding flight.
Luckily, this past Sunday night, a couple of their booked tandems dropped out leaving room for Ryan (the TMS hardgoods manager) and I to jump at the opportunity in front of us. It didn’t take more than a second for either of us to accept the invitation of a tandem flight.
After a 20 minute hike up to the launch spot referred to as Daydreams (named after a Squaw Valley 70s era Beck Bros. movie filmed locally with some hang-gliding footage), it was timed to get geared up, roll out the wings and get ready to fly. These guys sure knew what they were doing because within about 10 minutes of getting to the launch spot, wings were rolled out, lines were checked and the first in our group was ready for lift off.
It looked pretty fluid to be honest and it was a lot gentler than I imagined. After getting launched on a kite enough times, you start to understand the power of these forced air kite/wings, but because the Paraglider wing is so big, the lift off is a bit smoother and it just launches you right up. And then……………………………………………. you are airborne!
The winds were not too strong on this occasion so we did have a little trouble getting enough lift to really stay up in the air too long, but it was the ride of a lifetime and I can’t wait to go for another. Having lived in Tahoe for 12 years now, Paragliding is now on my Top 5 things to do whether you live here or are coming for a visit. Enjoy the rest of these pics and contact these guys if you are ready for the ride of your life!
For more information about Paragliding in Lake Tahoe, you can contact:
One of our Vholdr Contour HD customers, Mark Haase, recently sent us this awesome video of paragliding over Lake Tahoe. Look closely and you might see Tahoe Mountain Sports in the background, he lands on the beach right across the street from the shop. This file has been compressed quite a bit to keep the file size reasonable, the quality of the original high res version is stunning. This is the first of what should be many videos taken using this awesome new camera.