Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Paragliding in Mexico

Valle from 11,000

With the poor snow pack and frigid temperatures in the Wasatch this January there was only one thing to do… head south to Central Mexico for a week of paragliding and bask in the sun and warm weather!

A group of about 10 pilots from the Salt Lake area went down to Valle De Bravo, Mexico with Two Can Fly Paragliding at the beginning of January. Valle is located about 80 miles west of Mexico City on the shores of Lake Avandaro. The landscape is hilly with thick pine forest at 6,500’ and the town itself is very picturesque with cobblestone streets, terracotta roofs , and luscious courtyards. The town square hosts a beautiful church which serves as the focal point for the locals.

The morning routine would include getting up when the church bells rang about 7:30, wander down the street to a small café and have a great breakfast with freshly squeezed local oranges and pineapples. We’d then head to the launch site several miles away where we’d sit with close to 100 other pilots waiting for the day (i.e. the thermals) to build.

Sometime between 11:00am and 12:00pm, when the skies developed and the thermals were starting to produce enough lift to climb, everyone Big Gaggle
would rush to launch creating a frenzy of activity on the ground and some large gaggles in the air.

While there were numerous landing areas around the launch, cross country flights back to town were a daily occurrence for the experienced pilots and the mark of success. The routine continued after the first launch, with lunch at a small roadside café and prepare for the more gentle evening flight landing in front on the launch site to a waiting van to drive us back to town. All we had to do for a week was, wake up, fly, repeat. What a great way to fight the winter, stay current on those important flying skills and escape the cold and snow-less Utah temperatures !

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