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French Alps Paragliding Tour

The 2010 French Alps Tour is from June 19-28 at a cost of $2500

We arrived in Switzerland a few days early for our next stop on Eagle Paragliding’s Follow The Sun World Tour. We did North America in January, South America in February, and are hitting Europe this summer, specifically the French Alps.

We arrived jet lagged and adjusted on Thursday as the rain came down. We woke up Friday and were treated to some nice post frontal flying. We toured the peaks around Lake Annecy here in France. It was one of the most beautiful flights I have had in my life. This place is amazing.

Our biggest climbs were 800 to 1,000 a minute up, and we topped out at 6,100 feet. They get to 9,000 on really good days here. We managed to fly a 51km course which included a peak hopping excursion around and across the lake, and a semi committed crossing to get back to our chalet. I had one low save that made making goal super sweet. Here are some pictures Jamie and I took of our flight.

Paraglider Launch Ramp in Annecy, French Alps

This is the launch at Lake Annecy. Cloud base was really low early on, and it didn’t get soarable until 1pm as cloud base started to rise.

Eagle Paragliding Tour in the French Alps

That’s me in the burgundy and grey UP Trango 3. This wont be the last time Jamie is above me on our flight. We end up climbing up to base here and heading off to the right along a ridge with some nice peaks.

Ridge Soaring near the French Alps

Jamie looking back at me as we glide away from launch after our climb out.

Thermal Flying on Eagle Paragliding's Frech Alps Tour

This shot is actually later in the day, but it shows the transition we make after we made another climb to base. We came in just above the small little open field on the bottom right of the image. We ridge soared along a bit then connected below the big rock where it came together nicely. This was on the first go round. Once we had done our lap around the lake we came in about the same spot them climbed up above the big rock on the right and flew about 14km to our chalet. While on our tour of the lake we climbed out at the first big rock, jumped to the second rock you see in the middle of the picture, and then made the transition across the valley to the mountain you see on the left side of the image. We didn’t get any shots of the glide over or us thermaling over there.

Jamie Messenger paragliding in France

Here is a shot of Jamie gliding away from the mountain you just saw in the distance on the left in the last image. He took a line over the spine, and I saw a little cloud street over the lake which proved to be a good line.

Paragliding Tour in France

After taking the picture of Jamie I get on course in an attempt to intercept the spine across the lake.

Getting low in a paraglider

I came into the spine with decent altitude, and managed to hook a thermal then it got a bit sinky and the trees weren’t shaking that much so I skirted along trying to maintain altitude looking for a thermal. You can see Nick up ahead getting in tight. I got deep and stinking low.

cliff soaring in France

I pushed away from the ridge and headed out to the left. You can see a little dirt road which leads up into the trees. I ran out to the edge of the tree line where this road meets the fields and found a little bubble that got stronger every few hundred feet. The thermal lifted me from the spot next to the little dirt road to where you see Jamie coming in over me.
This thing turned into one of the strongest thermals of the day for me. I was stoked to get back in the ball game and join up with my homies. Nick saw me climbing and decided he wanted some too.

Paraglide Annecy with Eagle Paragliding

We played around on top of this ridge and thermalled once we were established. You can see a good shot of the route we took across the lake from right to left.

Paraglider over a lake near the French Alps

We topped out and put it on glide back to launch, and I had to throw out a shaka.

Nick Greece Paragliding in Chamonix

We missed some shots between getting back to launch and climbing out and then getting up and going over the back. Some of this was a little committed and we were in the lee so it was more active than any other part of the flight so we opted not to take pictures. Once we got out of the deepness we came into this ridge line and cruised up toward that peak with the big cloud above it in the distance. We had to get right up next to the rock on that peak to hook it, but the air was really sweet.

Gliding into Goal on the French Alps Tour

Once we got up to base above that peak in the last picture we went over the back and glided into the valley where we are staying. I had some time to take in the beauty and trip on all the huge peaks covered with snow everywhere. Look at the mountain which is sort of centered at the end of the valley in this picture and you will see where we landed. My finger is pointing to the field next to the place we are staying.

Landing a paraglider in the French Alps

Here is our LZ; it was actually like top landing. It was poppy coming in and we could have kept going but we were tired and thirsty for beer.

JAmie Messenger performing acro in France

Jamie funking it down since we had some extra altitude to burn.

Paragliding over the last valley in France

Nick cruising just over the town where we are staying as we look down valley from where we came.

Rob Sporrer performing acro over the LZ in France

I had some altitude to funk it down as well.

So I’m here at the airport picking up the pilots who are all arriving today. I imagine I will be busy and may not have time to post more stuff anytime soon, but check back in a week, and I’ll try to have some fresh stuff.

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