Paragliding or Parapenting in Les Arcs
If you’ve never tried paragliding before (…..or maybe you’re not entirely sure what it is!) then Les Arcs is a great place to learn how to fly. Known as “parapenting” in France, today there are a great number of clubs and organisations in the area whose sole purpose is to get you flying. So, if it is something that you have always fancied trying, or if you would just like to know a bit more about what it involves and who can do it...
From the heights of the mountain tops one can glide down to the bottom of the valley on a tandem paraglider controlled by the instructor. He manoeuvres the parachute while the passenger enjoys the ride and fantastic views. Taking off is the only scary moment; once you have been equipped with a helmet and strapped to the instructor behind you in a rather intimate way, both of you simply point your skis (or board) downhill, and carry on getting faster and faster until the parachute lifts you into the air.
An early intermediate skier can manage the take-off, but for boarders a good technical level is needed. In summer one simply runs down a slope until you take off; no particular level of fitness is required, just the ability to sit back and enjoy the view! One then peacefully glides above the pistes for ten to twenty minutes, aiming to catch thermals to keep you up for longer. Landing is very gentle and no more of an impact than jumping off a step. Top tip: go on a sunny, warm day when the thermals will keep your airborne for longer.