On any given blue bird day atop Sun Valley’s Bald (“Mt. Baldy”) Mountain there are mysterious bright colors in the air: yellow, pink, orange, even purple. It may take you a second to realize that these large patches of color are parachutes sailing through air with people attached to them, but their constant presence in the sky can’t go unnoticed for too long by any skier.
It’s a pretty crazy sensation at 9150 feet to take in the 360 degree views of the Sawtooth Mountains, but to use Mt. Baldy as a launching pad to sail into the air is a whole other level of craziness. Paragliders like many skiers come to ooh and aww at the gorgeous views atop Mt. Baldy, only difference is that they fly off the mountain instead of ski down. Paragliding is so common for this Idaho mountain town that the US Paragliding Nationals were held at Sun Valley in 2010. On Mt. Baldy paragliders jump off the mouth of the bowls amongst the skiers. This is confusing and it is not until the paragliders are set up and about to jump off that you can put two and two together that these people are not base jumping off any cliffs with their skis on – they simply run into the air and set sail for a bird’s eye view ride to check out Sun Valley. The coolest part as a skier is to watch the foot-launched start where the rider literally runs to launch his or her wing (parachute) into the air.
It might all seem extreme, but you don’t need any training to give this flying sport a try. Pilots and instructors can ride with any beginner tandem to let you sit back and enjoy the view. After a long ski vacation paragliding can give your vacation that added boost and twist.
To learn more about this unique mountain sport experience check out www.flysunvalley.com!
– Laura Daly, Marketing Team