Soaring, strong thermals, & morning tandems with amazing views
Aspen is a high alpine area with thin, dry and occasionally very active air. Launches are about 3000 feet vertical from launch to landing. Thermal conditions are common in the summer and some ridge soaring is possible.
Conditions at high altitude can change quickly so parameters for flying vary depending on wind speed and direction. In general we look for wind gust not to exceed 12 mph with gusts no higher than 18. A southerly component is normally not a good direction so these numbers are reduced because the gust factor historically increases rapidly. Aspen’s valley winds are also a concern due to the Venturi effect from the multiple valleys so we make sure winds at the airport stay below 15 mph. Flying is highly discouraged when the winds increase to these levels. All pilots in the air are requested to land when conditions reach these levels.
There are 2 launch sites Walshes (East Facing) and Ruthie’s (West Facing). Access to both launch sites is available via the Silver Queen Gondola when operating in the winter and summer season. Further access is available via a 4x4 road, when open to the public, in the summer. The local school and tandem operation, Aspen Paragliding, has special access in the early season before public access is available. Parapente Aspen members can ride on the school truck for a fee provided space is available.