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Freedom Of The Flight: Paragliding

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By KMVT News

Sun Valley, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Snow in Sun Valley is scarce this season.

Skiers and snowboarders are starving for fresh powder.

"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," says Charles Smith of Fly Sun Valley.

Lack of snow on the mountains means it’s perfect weather for paragliding...

"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," Smith explains.

During the summer months, you could reach an altitude of 1,800 feet while paragliding, but during winter months we're just going to try to maintain the altitude we're starting off at, which is about 9,000 feet.

"To not be inside a cockpit but to be outside in the air feeling everything- sensing everything- it's really incomparable," points out Tom Frazer.

Frazer is president of the Sun Valley Paragliding Club.

He and his son Colin moved to Sun Valley from the Bay Area so they could spend more time in the air.

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

Colin started paragliding at 13.

Now at 17- barely over the legal driving limit- he's certified to fly solo.

"You just gotta trust the Bermuda principle- trust physics," Smith advises.

Physics weren't on our side this day- light wind making it difficult to take off.

Finally soaring over Sun Valley... It's easy to see why these guys are hooked.

"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," Tom explains.

“The freedom. Freedom of the flight," Colin adds.

People from ages three to ninety-three have gone tandem paragliding with Charles.

He says he even took his mom-and she came back for more!


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