Paragliding course "On dirait le Sud" 2023
Here's a short summary of this 3-day paragliding 'trip'. days, touring the Trièves, Dévoluy, Champsaur and Ubaye valleys, ...
The aim of this South course is to help people discover new flight sites paragliding for autonomous pilots (brevet init level if possible), discovering sites in the South of France if possible, but why not elsewhere if the weather forces us to. The Vosges, the Massif Central, etc. could be possible destinations for this course.
Personal progress in piloting, autonomy, discovery of new flying sites, first thermals, soaring, ... The programme is varied and the pleasure of flying is the driving force behind the whole course.
The two nights and the meals are spent together in places chosen according to the destination and therefore the weather.
First day of the course :
Departing from Talloires on Friday morning, the 7 pilots registered for the course, accompanied by their two instructors Cédric and Robin, set off for 3 days of paragliding in the southern French Alps.
A first stop at the Courtet flying site in the Triève after only a few hours on the road: 2 flights for all the pilots. After waiting for the take-off slope to see the sun and for the katabatic breeze to stop (tailwind on take-off), the pilots took off and did a few pitching and ear exercises to get to know each other and fine-tune their piloting skills, then a few laps in small thermals to try and slow the descent on the second flight.
A good hour's drive later we were on our way to Aspres Sur Buëch. Here, 15-20km/h of breeze awaited us on take-off, perfect for a soaring flight in laminar conditions (low turbulence), with a few large thermals for those who managed to make a few circles in them. For all pilots, the flight lasted between an hour and an hour and a half before reaching the landing zone at dusk. What a flight!
Then it was a bit of a drive again that day until we arrived at the accommodation we had chosen two days earlier: The "Centre de Vacances de la Ville d'Aubagne" in Saint Vincent les Forts. Simple accommodation, but very quiet and well situated for our programme.
The flight tracks from Courtet and Aspres are here.
Second day of the course:
After an evening in a restaurant together, and a good night's rest, the drivers and I decided not to do too much driving that day and to focus on the sites around us.
By 11am we were in place at the Mont Colombis take-off, heading for Gap over the Durance. A few thermals for some of us on the east face, a few in-flight exercises again and then a very nice picnic on the banks of the Durance.
Back in the early afternoon at St Vincent les Forts, we took advantage of the Montclar ski lifts to get to the take-off point on the ski resort plateau. A few more thermals for some of the pilots, who lasted 45 minutes in the air!
We then took the chairlift up again, and decided to climb even higher, to the Dormillouse fort, for a peaceful flight in the setting light. It was a superb hike, shared with a large part of the group, and with a golden eagle who was delighted to come and give us a fine demonstration of thermalling right on the edge of the path!
The tracks of the flights from Colombis and Montclar are here.
A long, leisurely glide later, and we're all back at the take-off point at St Vincent les Forts to enjoy the sunset over a well-earned beer!
Another evening in the excellent restaurant from the night before, and another night's rest in Saint Vincent les Forts.
Third day of the course :
For the final day we start heading north, and choose to make a splash with some flying exercises from Chorges.
We then head for Champsaur, to the Orcières Merlettes flying site on the southern edge of the Ecrins massif.
A first flight to discover the site for some, with the breeze already in place and cumulus clouds perched high on the relief of the Ecrins. A few pilots managed to work up a bit of thermalling on this flight, but didn't manage to stay aloft for very long.
We had hoped for a second flight with more thermals, but the breeze was a little too strong and made it too difficult to extract the site. After battling to stay airborne a few moments longer, we all landed.
As we set off on our return journey, we noticed a few very high sails in the skies above the Ecrins before leaving the Orcières valley. Probably the conditions were very good if we took off even higher up, or further into the heart of the massif (Vallouise?). Maybe that's for another time!
Memories, learning and great times shared, this Southern course was a great success on all fronts, with incredibly good weather.
Thank you to all the participants: Diane, Félix, Cédric, Laurent, Aureliano, Jean-Michel and Jean-Charles!
We look forward to seeing you again next season for another South coursebut not only ... our course schedule for the 2024 season is now available here. Course dates are still being added to the schedule, so stay tuned or contact us to find out more.
A short video montage is in progress and will be added to this page as soon as possible. To be continued ...
Robin and Cédric