Paragliding off Mount Grappa!
28.03.2010 - 28.03.2010 70 °F
I jumped off a mountain!!
Yesterday, one of my professors offered to take us paragliding off of Mt. Grappa, a mountain near campus. We decided to go ahead and try. OH MY GOD, what an experience. We pull up to the place and they basically give us work boots and send us in this van to the top of the mountain…. No safety videos…. No lesson….. no waiver…. Like pull up and go!
So we are driving up the mountain and there are 22 zigzag turns, so basically when we get to the top I am already nauseous because of the car ride! The driver pulls over a few times, looks off to the side, and finally decides on his destination. “should we jump here? Ehhh fine.”
We look out of the window and see a steep steep hill leading down, a patch of trees, and then a free fall. We immediately regretted our decision to go paragliding haha. We got out and started walking down the hill when the driver yells out the window “don’t you guys want helmets?” Needless to say, the safety procedures here are a litttttle bit different than the US.
So one of the instructors asks “who wants to go with me?” I figured because he spoke good English, it would be a good idea to go with him. Jumping off a mountain is not a time you want a language barrier. So the other instructors start giving safety instructions and he goes “you come over here, I do things a little different.” He puts my harness on, tightening all of the strings. One of them pops open and he says “Oh don’t worry, that strap pops open only because it is broken.” I am terrified. My professor gets all of this on film.
So he says we need to take a big step back, then three running steps forward. He tells me to start when I feel a light breeze against my face, that would be the best time to go. I feel like a light breeze is completely a matter of opinion, and therefore do not move. He finally takes initiative and tells me to GO! So I followed his instructions and literally ran off the side of the mountain.
The take off was really smooth, we were really lucky. Off we sailed into the sky. We were able to go up pretty high. It was sooo beautiful. There were mountains as far as the eye could see and the beautiful Italian country side. A few other students got in the air while we were up there, so we flew around each other. The instructor let me drive and showed me how to do some maneuvers. Turned out he was very nice and gave me a really unique experience! He had been paragliding since he was 4, spoke 5 languages, and has been instructing people from all over the world.
He told me the location we paraglided from is world-renowned. People come from all over Europe because it has unique air temperature that allows you to paraglide longer and higher. We ended up paragliding for about 20 minutes and had a smooth landing. I watched from the bottom as the other students came down. As the day went on, more and more people came to paraglide. There ended up being hundreds of paragliders off the mountains, it looked like birds there were so many!
It was such an amazing day, I have a video link for a quick view of the scenery!
Next up… sky diving with Uncle Gregg ☺