Insane! Infinity tumble on a tandem paraglider!

I don’t often post about stuff that isn’t related to the chalet or our lives here in Chamonix valley… but occasionally I come across something that blows my mind just a little… and I thought I’d share – especially as it concerns one of my passions – paragliding!

The “Infinity” manouver is an acrobatic paragliding trick where the pilot literally loops the glider in the vertical axis…  The wing loops the loop… It is called the Infinity because the pilot can actually keep the glider doing it ad infinitum… or until he hits the ground – whichever happens first! 

It is THE most difficult and dangerous acro trick in paragliding…

So… a couple of guys decided they would have a go on a supped-up tandem!!  Way to go!  Of course – sponsered by Red Bull!  They’ve got wings!

Paragliding and parawaiting on the Dune du Pilat

Taking a wee break from Chamonix – (I don’t get out of the valley much) – Tim and I set off on a bit of a ‘boys tour’ to go paragliding.. 

Our aim: to soar the Dune du Pilat.

The car loaded with tent, camping equipment, an assortment of paragliders and harnesses, and enough Pimms to last at least the first day, we headed out of the Chamonix valley – and arrived at the Dune du Pilat a mere 8 hours and 600 km later…

The Dune du Pilat – or sometimes spelt Dune du Pyla – is the largest sand dune in Europe measuring 117 metre high, 3000 metres long and 500 metres wide.  It is approximately 60km from Bordeaux on the Archachon basin – not too far from Cap Ferret.

We found a fantastic campsite – the Panoramic – with its own paraglider take-off, a couple of bars, swimming pool, a nice restaurant, and a pitch for our tent with a view of the sea!!  Superb!

Sunset over the Banc d'Arguin (view from our tent)

Sunset over the Banc d'Arguin (view from our tent)

 

So, the next ten days were a succession of waiting for the sea breeze to kick in enough to go paragliding… and then paragliding…   …cooking fresh crab, Pimms, delicious Bordeaux wine, sampling the freshest oysters, swimming in the Atlantic, and generally chilling out and enjoying the view!

They were paragliding until the breeze finished – long after the sun had set… and twilight had dimmed to darkness.

Paragliding in the dusk on the Dune du Pilat

Paragliding in the dusk on the Dune du Pilat

But it wasn’t ALL play…  for example, this next shot is of me hard-at-work eating out whilst simultaneously doing menu research for next winter season!!  Chateaubriand topped with pan-fried Fois Gras…  so, who said blokes were no good at multi-tasking?

Simply delicious...

Simply delicious...

Think I can see the chalet from up here!!

Just had my first paragliding flight of the year today…  Unquestionably, paragliding is one of THE most spectacular things you can experience in Chamonix.   Even now, after 10 years of paragliding here in the valley, I still get butterflies in my stomach before take-off!!  Every time!

There is nothing to beat the feeling of floating around the sky, catching the rising bubbles of warm air to stay aloft, looking down the mountains and the town far below….

High above Chamonix

High above Chamonix

Although only 45 minutes long, my flight was most enjoyable….  The thermals tight and punchy.  I soon climbed back up above take-off, and flew down the ridge…

Looking down on the town

Looking down on the town

 For a 20 minute tandem paragliding flight from Plan Praz, it costs about 100 euros.  Not cheap – but definitely worth it!  You can learn more about paragliding in Chamonix.