Paragliding in Zermatt | A view from above
A couple of weeks ago we started planning our holiday in Zermatt. This was not as easy as it looked, given the fact, there are so many things to do in Zermatt. After a brief search, we already realized our days would be fully planned because we found many things that deserved to be put on our to-do list. But one activity we saw was really top of our bucket list: Paragliding in Zermatt. Is there a better place to do this than with a view of Matterhorn and the entire Zermatt valley? We guess not.
First of all, paragliding is an adventurous sport where the pilot uses wind forces. If the pilot “reads” the wind correctly, he can keep flying or even move to higher altitudes. A proficient pilot can keep himself in the air for hours and cover lots of kilometres. The ‘commercial’ flights are in pairs, with one experienced pilot and the ‘customer’.
A few days before our trip we decided to take our chances at FlyZermatt and therefore we contacted Chris via WhatsApp. He responded very quickly and turned out to be the perfect local guide around Zermatt. He told us the do’s and don’ts in Zermatt, which made it very easy for us to schedule the rest of our trip. Instantly we had a good feeling about Chris and we were looking forward to taking our first paragliding flight ever with him.
The good thing about paragliding in Zermatt is that you don’t have to walk up the mountain as sometimes is required. You can just take a cable lift to the top of the mountain or the starting point. Pretty easy, right?
D-Day paragliding in Zermatt
On the day of the flight, we met Chris and Phil at the beginning of the afternoon in their office, from which we took a little walk to the Blauherd cable station. The original plan was to start off Rothorn (the station above Blauherd), but the wind was a bit too strong to start off at that high altitude. The fact that they changed plans on the spot already made me feel confident because Phil and Chris know exactly when and how to fly, taking flight conditions and the possible risks into consideration.
We arrived at the cable station and got a safety briefing while they were putting their wing into place. In the meantime, we were already enjoying the stunning views and small butterflies found their way into our stomachs. The necessary equipment is provided and explained, the GoPro is turned on, some quick selfies on the mountain to get in the mood, and ready for action.
The enthusiasm of the pilots is amazing and contagious. Even after all those years and the thousands of flights they have flown, they still engage enthusiastically with their customers. After a little warm-up dance on the mountain, we were ready to roll. The moment of truth had arrived and it was time for take-off. Without spending too many words on it, one could say that the experience is simply amazing. The only thing that came out of my mouth was “waauw”. …
It is unbelievable how your view of the world changes the moment you leave solid ground. The view is I N C R E D I B L E, especially seeing Matterhorn as if it stands only a few meters away. The feeling of freedom combined with these views made me speechless (and believe me, it’s not easy to shut me up). All you experience is purity and serenity while you’re high up in the sky.
The flight started off at a good height, but to maintain a proper flight scheme, the pilots need to catch the right wind circles, which they often find more easily at the side of the mountain against the cliffs. The wind was a bit bumpy today, which made it a major challenge for Koen because as expected, he took his camera with him on his flight to try and capture these moments.
After about 25 minutes we landed in a little field next to the village. The landing may be tricky because if something goes wrong, it is mostly during landing. You have to put your feet steady on the ground, and listen carefully to your pilot. After the landing, the pilots start packing their backpack. Unbelievable how small this sail will fit back into their backpacks, which they have to carry along the way.
Once we returned to the office, we had the videos and photos of the GoPro immediately transferred to our iPhone. Well… that’s what I call good customer service. Even though we had some great shots from Koen’s camera, the pictures and videos of the GoPro were amazing, seeing ourselves this high above the ground, with (of course) a big smile on our faces.
Practical info and prices
Irrespective of the fact whether this is the first or the 7th time you fly, we want to point out that when you choose a company to fly with, you will need to take into account the experience and the level of professionalism of the pilots. Paragliding is not without risks, and a bad pilot can hurt his passenger badly if something goes wrong. This is why we advise you to fly with an experienced team and a professional pilot, as we did with FlyZermatt.
P.S. Even with an experienced glider you can get seasick, so take precautions.
- Scenic: CHF 170
- Altitude 2600 m / 15 – 20 minutes
- Classic: CHF 220
- Altitude 3100 m / 20 – 25 minutes
- Elite: CHF 380
- Altitude 3850m / 30 – 35 minutes
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