Gone with the Wind in Aspen
Anxiety, fear, and wild excitement battled each other as my thoughts raced— a rollercoaster of emotions to match the uneven terrain. We were driving up Aspen Mountain. We meaning the 18 people that had been loaded into a single pickup truck, all of us experiencing each rapid bump and turn together as we cruised to the top.
I was about to run off the side of a mountain and launch myself into the air with a paraglide. For the first time.
As soon as we reached our launch spot, my heart still racing, the pilots began to lay out their brightly colored paragliders. My pilot placed his first, meaning I would go first. I would jump off the mountain first.
When you’re afraid, sometimes it’s best to run and jump — literally.
“Go!” The pilot yelled and we went, running for 20 feet before take off.
We caught air. I sat back. I was paragliding. Flying. I took in the surroundings. The green pines rippling up the mountains for miles and miles. The fresh, brisk air. The calming wind. All previous nerves vanished. I was at peace.
Paragliding is a combination of adrenaline followed by pure euphoria. I completely fell in love with the experience. The Aspen Paragliding staff make their guests feel safe and secure the entire time, making it easy to sit back and enjoy the freedom of flying through the sky. After a fifteen minute descent, landing was smooth. Though as soon as I hit the ground, I felt compelled to unleash my inner child, my insides yelling, “Again! Again! Again!”
WHAT TO WEAR — It can get cold up in the mountains. Layer! Wear a wind proof outer shell and footwear with proper ankle support. Hiking boots are a good call. As the sky can get pretty bright up there, sunglasses are also recommended. All the safety gear, helmet, harness and whatnot, are provided by the company. Paragliding is an exhilarating experience, but caution must be taken! Be prepared so you can enjoy the experience without worry.