On the snow, this new sensation is called Speed Riding - a blend of paragliding and skiing that lets you ride/fly the slopes at incredible speeds.
Adding the flight manouverability of a glider to the turn of your skis adds a whole new dimension to coming down the mountain. It's an exhilarating sport that will excite and fascinate both participants and spectators.
For years, pioneers have been using skydiving parachutes, modified kites or paragliders to descend from mountain tops. Now with the new speed riding technology of incredibly light materials, coupled with the knowledge of aerodynamic performance used in paragliding, descending is taking on a whole new meaning!
What's the best way to get started in Speed Flying? Come master the Art of Paragliding first, so you know how to fly! Learn the proper inputs you will need to operate the wing and keep it flying.
Learn about NOFCON's (Non Optimal Flying Configurations). Find out how the glider stalls, what produces a spin, and how to handle a surge. Explore why the glider is subject to possible frontal or asymetric collapses from turbulence or inproper control imputs.
In Speed Flying and Speed Riding, everything happens VERY fast.
It makes sense to build a solid foundation of glider control skills in a slower, more forgiving aircraft before you move to the big time. Even a single day lesson will teach you valuable lessons about our incredible aircraft and you will experience the magic of flight for the first time. To get started just visit one of the speed riding schools in Chamonix, and go fast!!!
Read the rules & enjoy Speed Riding and Kite Surfing in Chamonix.
As of January 2008, the rules for speedriding are as follows:
- Appropriate 3rd part airsports insurance cover is obligatory.
- A helmet must be worn.
- The activities are only tolerated on certain off piste areas.
- All activities (launching, skiing with the glider inflated, landing or inflations) are completely forbidden on the pistes regardless of the pistes being open or closed.
- Pistes may be overflown with no less than 50m altitude (AGL: the pilot must always be able to land away from the pistes).
- Skiers have priority and must always be given a separation of 50m.
Structures / Obstacles (ski lifts, power cables etc)
- In flight: Minimum 50m horizontal & vertical.
- Skiing with glider overhead: minimum 20m horizontal & vertical.
- Forbidden to fly under structures or obstacles.
Use of ski lifts: The wing must be carried in such a way that it cannot inflate or cause any nuisance. A stuff sack or rucksack is strongly recommended.
Visual Flight Rules:
- Take off is illegal after the official sunset time.
- Minimum visibility of 1500m.
- Illegal to fly in clouds.
Priority rules between speed riders:
- The pilot situated lower down the hill has priority.
- The pilot on the right has priority.
- Overtake on the right.
- The pilot being overtaken has priority.
In case of any doubt regarding: authorized zones, avalanche conditions etc. please consult the ski patrol.
The development, rules and future of these disciplines are in your hands.
The lift companies & local councils have the right to forbid the above activities on any sector accessible by gravity from the ski lifts. Your behaviour on the authorized areas of off piste in the ski resorts and the large areas of off piste will influence the future of our sports.
The ski areas must be open and It is:
- Forbidden to fly less than 100m over the lift cables
- Forbidden to fly closer than 100m to any building or cable
- Forbidden to fly less than 50m over pistes
- Forbidden to fly closer than 50m to the pistes
Speedriding beginner learning areas:
- Glacier du Rognon slopes
- Combe de la Pendant (left sector) with the landing either down the bottom close to the alpage chalets or in Lavancher away from the cross country tracks.
Le Tour / Balme
- To the left of the Piste du Chatelet, with the landing between the Charamillon home piste and the Vormaine ski area.
- To the right of the Posettes piste, away from the draglift piste, with the landing below the draglift.
- Brévent / La Flégère
- West face of Brévent
- Ensa couloir
- Belin couloir
- Hotel face, with the landing to the left of the Blanchots blue piste
- Combe Lachenal, starting at the bottom of the Combe, and with a landing under the Aiguille Pourrie
- Le Tour / Balme - Only allowed in the Posettes sector