Paragliding is one of the cheapest air sports that almost anyone who has a desire to fly can opt during Summer.
Once you decide to fly, you will forever be engaged in it.
Pilots and competitions
Pilots are divided into beginners, recreational and professionals. Some paragliding pilots are literally heavenly birds because they can remain for several hours in the air and pass over several hundred kilometers. Recreational pilots are the most numerous group and they are a people with a minimum secondary school education.
As with every other sport, Paragliding pilots compete in several disciplines: Overflight, Precision Landing, and Freestyle competition. This is a list of the Top 10 Paragliding Events around the world:
1. FAI Paragliding Championship, Columbia
Roldanillo is the main center of paragliding in Colombia. The town is situated at an altitude of 996 meters above sea level, in the western Valle del Cauca, at the foot of the Cordillera mountain range, and has an average annual temperature of 23 °C.
Therefore, it is not surprising that the FAI Paragliding Championship held there about 150 pilots from 40 attendees in the competition. The conditions for the flight, which usually takes place during January, are just perfect – only a few competitions were pulled due to bad conditions in recent years.
The length of the flight is up to 120 km. Region Valle de Cauca is primarily agricultural, with excellent infrastructure and a lot of open space for a landing. The main highways run along the eastern and western side of the valley, connected by secondary roads. The foothills of the Cordillera in the west are characterized by a wide open valley and small grassy hills in the east. Landing is not possible only in vineyards, and military bases. These areas are marked on maps.
2. FAI Paragliding Pan-American Championship, Argentina
Loma Bola is a mountain sports center in a beautiful place in the province of Cordoba, Argentina, focused primarily on paragliding lessons. During the 20 years of its existence, Loma Bola has become one of the best centers for paragliding in the world due to its accessibility and excellent conditions for flying. This place is the host for the Pan-American Championship in paragliding.
Located in the stunning location of the Sierra de San Javier, the former Bio-park area of 14714 acres, Loma Bola is one of the best centers for paragliding in South America. In Loma Bola, there is enough space for the simultaneous rise of 5-6 pilots. It has a height of 800 meters, which makes it possible to reach 1200 meters during updrafts.
3. Ozone Chabre paragliding Open, France
France has many major Paragliding competitions and this event is one of them. Pilots fly in the most beautiful place – Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Friendly atmosphere competitions in cross-country paragliding attract both novice and experienced pilots. Everyone there can find something to their taste – flights, parties, and even awards ceremonies!
There are three regions for the flights – Laran, Chabrier, and Sederon Aspres. To the west – 100 km of the Rhone Valley, just 50 km to the northeast – is the mountain.
So the choice in flight locations for flight conditions is quite wide. 100 kilometers to the south, there is the Mediterranean Sea, which also adds some interesting starts.
4. Ali Dagi Open, Turkey
With competition in the air, and cross-country held around the world, it is one of the most spectacular and most important events.
The Ali Dagi Open, which is held in several locations across Turkey, is an international cross-country Paragliding championship. Previous contests were very popular, and it looks like it will remain just as popular in the future.
Mountain Ali is one of the most scenic spots for Paragliding and has been widely-known among Paragliders – there were two World Cups and dozens of minor events centered around it.
It is located near the town of Kayseri in Kayseri Province, in the central part of the country, in Anatolia. Kayseri is surrounded by mountains, and Ali Dag with a triple pinnacle height of about 1800 meters is the place where the competition starts. The dry continental climate of central Turkey and updrafts of warm air makes it an ideal place for paragliding.
The best conditions for flying are there, of course, in the summer, but you can fly there in the winter as well. The best month for flying XC is July, with upstream all day. It is recommended to start at 12:00, to enjoy the best temperatures.
The most favorable winds for flying are in the western and northwestern areas. When flying over Ali Dag you need to take the following precautions: above the volcano there is possible turbulence, the southerly winds are much stronger than the winds of other areas, also, it is desirable to avoid long-distance flight to the north, close to the military and the international airport.
5. XC-Open, Portugal
Celorico da Beira and Serra da Estrela, in Portugal, are hosts for the Paragliding World Cup. In order to ensure good wind conditions, the organizers have prepared three starts points that are between the towns Linares and Manteigas.
The highest mountain in Portugal, Serra da Estrela, is the best that the country has to offer for Paragliders. Many of the most famous athletes on the planet visit the mountain to enjoy the gorgeous weather and beautiful views and participate in different types of activities.
Portugal is a beautiful country, with the ocean and the mountains. The town of Celorico da Beira, headquarter of the World Cup, is located in the mountain range of Serra da Estrela. There are three different areas of operations, which allow you to choose the optimal wind conditions for a start.
6. X-Alps, Austria
The race happens in Salzburg, where the pilots are sent to the Dachstein (2995 m.) And then westward to southern Germany.
At one point, the route turns south to South Tyrol after which it changes directions west towards Interlaken. The next point is located in the south, near the Matterhorn, after which the race will go to the west of Mont Blanc.
The new route has added new items in the race. Instead of turning south after Mont Blanc, as it did in all previous Y-Alps competitions, last time the participants went around to the French Alps and finished in Monaco.
7. Tenerife open, Spain
Due to exceptional conditions for the safety and support from the authorities, Tenerife is often the venue for Paragliding competitions in a national and international scale. In addition, the island is a host to a variety of festivals and gatherings for Paragliders.
One of the highlights of the Spring Festival is the International Annual Flypa in Valle de La Orotava. It takes place in Los Realejos and gathers under its wing around 200 paragliders from all over the world. The aim of the Festival is to show the attractiveness of the local conditions. The Festival in Los Realejos involves a considerable number of top-level professionals, including world champions. They amaze the audience with stunts and rise to unimaginable heights (Ramon Morillas has set a world record here, rising to a height of 5414 m above the top of the Teide volcano), participating in the amazing night show.
8. Alto Hospisio Paragliding Open, Chile
The Paragliding competition Alto Hospicio Open is held in October. It’s been 25 years since the first event of this kind was held in Iquique, one of the best places for Paragliding competitions in the world, with an average of only 7 non-flying days a year.
Iquique is located in the north of Chile, in the Atacama, in 1852 km from the capital of Santiago. Due to the exceptional weather conditions pilots can fly there almost 360 days a year.
In October, November and December weather permits flying for 7-10 hours a day, thus creating conditions for such record flights as the 304-kilometer of Pal Takats. Landing sites are located between the two main beaches of Iquique (Brave beach and beach Cavancha) and they offer a wide space, good amplitude, and excellent orientation. Thanks to the good will of the authorities, the closed area of the airport Diego Araque, located 35 kilometers south of Iquique, is open as a flight corridor for the competitors.
9. Nepal Open Cup, Nepal
This the biggest international Paragliding competition, which is attended by experienced athletes from all around the world.
It takes place in the Nepalese city of Pokhara, which is located on a picturesque lake, offering an extraordinary view of the Himalayas.
In this city are some of the most popular Paraglider routes. The competition in Nepal is attended by more than 150 athletes from all over the world.
10. Russian open Cup, Armenia
The start of the competition is on the 5th of July, in Aparan. Depending on weather conditions, the event will last until July 11. If the weather is unfavorable in Aparan, the competition will move to Atis.
To participate in the competition, Armenia will gather about 100 pilots from different countries–England, the US, Russia and even Mongolia. Turkey had 4 athletes representing it, Iran had 10 pilots attending. The climate in Armenia, as well as the number of sunny days make it a very favorable country for this sport. There are several categories of winners – such as all the sports class, the fan and the women class and there are three winners for each category.