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A Mild Winter Boosts Business For Fly Sun Valley

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By KMVT News

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Snow is scarce across Southern Idaho this season, leaving skiers and snowboarders starving for fresh power.

One sport the blue skies benefit--tandem paragliding.

Charles Smith owns Fly Sun Valley. He says the mild winter is giving his business a boost. Smith explains, "I think after a couple days of skiing people aren't all that excited about skiing and they're looking for other things to do. So it's helping our business a little bit."

Smith says warmer temperatures this winter makes perfect paragliding weather. He says, "That's enabling the south aspects of the slopes and mountains to actually heat up in the sunshine and generate thermal activity for us, like rising air."

During the summer months, paragliders have the potential to reach an altitude of 1,800 feet. In the winter, paragliders just try to maintain the altitude they begin at, which is about 9,000 feet.

Tom Frazer is president of the Sun Valley Paragliding Club. He and his son, Colin, moved to Blaine County from the Bay Area so they could spend more time in the air.

Tom describes how it feels to be in flight, "To not be inside a cockpit but to be outside in the air feeling everything- sensing everything- it's really incomparable."

Colin started paragliding when he was just 13 years old. Now at age 17--barely old enough to drive--he's certified to fly solo.

Colin says, "It's a surreal experience to be in command of an aircraft and not knowing really what you're doing at first."

Tom weighs in, "Just be able to look out and see the views, see the mountain, see the town below, and just that experience of flying away from the hill, like a bird, is amazing."

Fly Sun Valley offers the chance to cross another item off your bucket list. Smith has taken people ages three to 93 tandem paragliding. For flight times visit www.flysunvalley.com.



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