As home to Alta, Snowbird, and Park City Mountain Resort just to name a few ski area’s local to the Wasatch mountains, the range is mainly know for being a world class destination for skiing and snowboarding. A lesser known fact is that the range is also an international destination for Paragliding. If you live in the right spot you can almost fly out your back door! As a resident of the east bench of Salt Lake City it is a common sight to see paragliders silently arcing earthward after taking off from the summit of our neighborhood peak; Mt. Olympus.
If you want to fly off Olympus you better be ready to earn it as you have to hike 3.1 miles and several thousand vertical feet to launch the summit. If you are a paraglider pilot possessing certain qualifications and you don’t feel like the hike, Snowbird allows year round flying off the top of its world famous tram. The tram tops out at just over 11,000 ft and flying off of it in the right weather conditions allows a skilled flyer to hover endlessly above some of the most spectacular mountain terrain anywhere. Of course paragliding is a very serious endeavor that one can’t just get into without some serious instruction and training.
If paragliding sounds like a good time and you’re ready to put in some work, quality instruction is available in an area just south of Salt Lake City known as Point of the Mountain Flight Park. This area is an international paragliding destination and is unique for the fact that you don’t have to hike for your flights. The wind currents in this area allow for take off’s right out of the parking lot! As for getting a lesson, Cloud Nine is the exclusive instruction/training service based at the flight park. These guys will get you airborne!
Paragliding is yet another killer outdoor activity readily available here along the Wasatch front. It can be done in winter, spring, summer, and fall and is just one more reason to come check out Utah!
Words & Photos by: Dan O’Connor
Producer: Patrick Howell