French Alps Paragliding XC Camp :: 12-16 May 2011 [FULLY BOOKED]

This will be a fantastic thermalling and cross country paragliding course based in the Chamonix Valley, in the northern French Alps, run in association with local paragliding experts Alpine Ascent. Take this perfect opportunity to hone your flying skills and go XC from fantastic alpine flying sites, with expert fly-guides and instructors! You will be staying in a luxurious alpine chalet situated in the beautiful Chamonix Valley for the duration of your stay, with absolutely stunning views of Mont Blanc!

Trip Dates

Thursday 12th – Monday 16th May 2011 


This trip is now fully booked. Book your place well in advance next time!

General Information

This will be a fantastic thermalling and cross country paragliding course based in the Chamonix Valley, in the northern French Alps, run in association with local paragliding experts Alpine Ascent. Take this perfect opportunity to hone your flying skills and go XC from fantastic alpine flying sites, with expert fly-guides and instructors! 


You will be staying in a luxurious alpine chalet situated in the beautiful Chamonix Valley for the duration of your stay, with absolutely stunning views of Mont Blanc! 

About This Thermalling & XC Paragliding Course

This thermalling and cross country paragliding course will be run by Gavin Foster of Alpine Ascent, assisted by a team of the most experienced alpine flying guides and instructors. The course can be tailored to your needs, and it's aims and goals adapted to pilot's ability and experience. This alpine course will enable you to fly the best sites in the Chamonix and Annecy area, where building airtime and XC experience is easy!

Group size will be a maximum of 6 pilots to 1 guide to ensure safety, enjoyment and easy communication between the group. Gavin will take the forecast each morning and assess the weather and conditions and the best site to fly from to ensure you are given the best chance of achieving a decent XC flight.

Before flying each day you will have a brief from Gavin on the weather forecast, the site from which you are flying from, the local area and the goal and route to be taken. He will also talk extensively throughout the course about thermalling techniques, forward launching, how to use your Vario to centre in the thermal, using ground features to find lift, valley flows and landing out etc. 

This Paragliding Course Is Aimed At: 

  • Pilots who want to learn to fly in alpine conditions safely and in controlled conditions.
  • Pilots who can already thermal and wish to improve and learn new skills and want to go XC.
  • Pilots who already fly XC and wish to fly higher and further.
  • Pilots who are looking for a challenge and the opportunity to fly in some of the world’s most beautiful surroundings. 

This course offers you the perfect environment to learn more about thermal flying in the Alps in relative security. 

Advance Paragliders & Harnesses

There will also be a special opportunity to demo Advance paragliders and harnesses during this trip, including the Epsilon 6, Sigma 8, Omega 8, Bi Beta 4, Axess 2 Air, Success 2+, Impress 2+ and Lightness. If you wish to try anything specific then please let us know at the time of booking so we can make sure it is specially arranged for you.

Trip Dates: Thursday 12th – Monday 16th May 2011 

Trip duration: 4 nights, 4 possible flying days* 

*Want to stay longer? We may be able to extend the course, so let us know the dates you would like, and we will see what we can do for you! 

Paragliding Chamonix

Paragliding in and around the Chamonix Valley offers anyone who joins the courses the opportunity to fly in one of the most beautiful areas in the world. 

Paragliding Flying Sites
Alpine Ascent will use the best flying sites available to them, from high mountain takes offs to lower alpine pasture take offs. They are fortunate to have a large variety of sites to fly in all wind directions within Chamonix and the surrounding areas. 

A Bit About The Paragliding Course
The course will begin with a brief on the first morning about the outline of the course, the weather for the next few days and the sites that will be best to fly. Gavin will then do a thorough check of your harness set up and reserve and make sure you have your Vario's and GPS set up correctly before we go flying. 

All flights are preceded by a visit to the landing field and a brief on valley winds and landing field etiquette. The first flights are usually done from either the friendly sites of Plan Praz in Chamonix or just down the hill at Plan Joux. Both of these sites offer a good sized take off area, landing field and are good warm up sites. 

For the rest of the course Gavin and the instructors will decide on the best site to fly depending on the weather and the overall goals of the group. Alpine Ascent will always try to make the best of each day, picking the site with the most XC potential and giving you a thorough brief on the site, route and best thermal sources.

Learn New Skills & Consolidate Old Ones
On the course you will learn a number of new skills along with consolidating old ones: 

  • How to master the alpine forward launch technique
  • Using your Vario to centre in the thermal
  • Ground sources and how to pick out where the best lift maybe coming from
  • Flying with other gliders and how to use them as indicators of lift
  • The importance of efficient gliding and use of your accelerator system
  • Psychology of flying and ways to motivate, reduce stress and prepare for a flight
  • Landing out and field choice 

Other Flying Areas

Alpine Ascent will always do their best to ensure they get you flying. If you are booked on a course to the Chamonix Valley and the weather is poor for that area then we will travel to other areas, as far north as the Jura to Mont Myon, and as far south as Laragne and St. Andre. They always take every opportunity to fly, and travelling to other areas in their vehicles is something that sets them apart form our competitors. They will not leave you sitting in the chalet if the forecast for poor for over 2-3 days, and will do their best to get you out to fly - within reason! 

Interlaken, Switzerland

Over the years Alpine Ascent have taken pilots to a number of different areas to fly. Some of the exceptional places they have been lucky enough to visit during the summer is the beautiful lakeside town of Interlaken in Switzerland. Benefiting from the legendary Advance paragliding team being based in the town, Kari Eisenhut provides our pilots with a detailed local forecast and all of the benefits of his wealth of local knowledge. 

Niedehorn, Schilthorn, Grindelwald & The Eiger, Switzerland

We have had exceptional flights from the take off’s above the lake at the Niedehorn and the Schilthorn enjoying the huge thermals and beautiful flying the region has to offer. We have also regularly visited Grindelwald and had some magnificent flights from the First take off at 2150m; flying in front of the Eiger is one of the “must do” flights in the Alps!

Southern French Alps

Travelling south in France we have spent time in the flying Mecca of Laragne, enjoying the warm climate that the Alpes de Haute Provence provide. Taking off on the legendary Chabre ridge and the other take off’s on offer in the region such as Mens. Mens is a small town tucked under the Col de la Croix Haute the watershed between the northern and southern Alps; this exceptional site offers a mixture of mountain and flat land flying. A friendly site relatively unknown and perfect in a northerly wind you can do an easy ridge run and fly out into the flats and even fly back over towards Laragne. 

Additional travelling time and expenses

Obviously there will be additional travelling time and expenses on accommodation and food to incur if we travel somewhere that requires an over night stay, which you will be expected to pay for. Alpine Ascent will make every effort to get you to fly and they assume you want to make the most of your stay. They will of course talk you through the options beforehand, and give you the chance to opt out if you want to. 

What's included & the cost?

The following things are included in the cost of the trip: 

  • 4 days of expert paragliding 'site & flight' guidance, thermalling instruction and cross country coaching with local paragliding experts Alpine Ascent
  • Weather, local area and flying information from local paragliding experts Alpine Ascent
  • 4 nights 'Bed & Breakfast' shared accommodation (twin rooms)
  • Continental-style breakfast included: Cereals, bread, croissants, pain au chocolate, yogurts, juice, tea, coffee and eggs.
  • One night with BBQ
  • One shared airport transfer from Geneva airport to accommodation
  • One shared airport transfer from accommodation to Geneva airport
  • Transportation from accommodation to flying sites (not including cable cars)
  • Retrieves from XC flights on the course 


Friday 23rd July to Monday 26th July, 2010. 

Minimum & Maximum number of pilots 

  • Minimum number of people/pilots: 4
  • Maximum number of people/pilots: 12 (maximum 6 pilots to 1 fly-guide)


The total costs will be worked out based on the cost of the accommodation plus the cost of the Para-Guide and vehicle costs. 

  • 4 nights B&B = £249.00 per person
  • Para-Guide and vehicle = £70.00 per day (split between 4-6 passengers)

So, if there are 4 people in your group:
£70 / 4 = £17.50 each per day
£17.50 x 4 days = £70.00
£249.00 + £70.00 = £319.00 per person 

If there are 6 people in your group:
£70 / 6 = £11.67 each per day
£11.67 x 4 days = £46.67
£249.00 + £46.67 = £295.67 per person 

What's not included in the price?

Anything not listed above as being included, isn't included! ;-)

For example, the following things are not included in the cost of the trip: 

  • Airline flights
  • Insurance
  • Meals and drinks
  • Cable car
  • Paragliding equipment 

Airline flights (not included)

The group will fly from London Gatwick to Geneva. Once we have received deposits from the minimum number of pilots required for the trip to go ahead then we will try to find the best price for suitable flights for the trip and then individuals pay for these directly themselves. 

It is always best if everyone is on the same flight, but we understand this is not always possible as people come from different places. All we ask is that, to minimize unnecessary delays, everyone is at the airport at the same time, or earlier than the main group arrival time for the airport transfer on the way out. On the way back (i.e. return flight) you should ensure your flight is at the same time or later than the main group's flight. If you book flights that do not fit in with the main group then you will have to make your own arrangements for airport transfers. 

Personal Insurance Cover (required, not included)

You will need to arrange your own personal insurance cover for the full duration of this paragliding course, including your date of departure and return. It is up to YOU to ensure that you have adequate insurance cover, but your insurance policy MUST specifically cover paragliding and should cover at least the following levels of insurance cover: 

  • Personal Accident
  • Medical Expenses. At least 5 million, ideally 10 million or more.
  • Cancellation & Curtailment. Enough to recover your costs for travel, flights, accommodation and course costs.
  • Emergency services, search and helicopter rescue
  • Emergency Repatriation
  • Passport recovery Assistance
  • Personal Liability (at least 2 million)
  • Legal expenses
  • Hospital Benefit 

Meals and drinks (not included)

Unless otherwise stated, meals and drinks are not included. 

Cable car (not included)

Cable car rides are not included. You will need to pay for these yourself as and when they are needed. 

Paragliding equipment (required, not included)

You need to bring your own paraglider (with speed system correctly fitted and adjusted), paragliding harness with back protection, suitable flying helmet, paragliding reserve parachute (properly and recently repacked), a suitable radio with headset and PTT, and an Alti-Vario. Although it is not obligatory for this trip, we also highly recommend having a suitable GPS, as they are extremely useful navigation devices. 

Suitable for me?

If you are wondering whether this trip is right for you, and whether you are right for the trip, then you should consider at least the following criteria… 

What pilot ratings do I need?

You will need to hold at least the British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association (BHPA) Club Pilot and/or FAI Para Pro Level 3 rating, or equivalent. We will need to see your BHPA and/or FAI International Pilot Proficiency Identification (IPPI) card as evidence of this. 

What 'level' of paraglider pilot do I need to be?

Although ideally you should have 10 hours airtime plus to make the most out of this trip, you don’t need to be an ‘advanced’ pilot or 'skygod'. More important are the following pilot skills and criteria, which you should feel reasonably confident about in yourself before signing up for this trip...

What skills do I need for this trip?

As a qualified paraglider pilot you should have good launching and landing technique, and be able to make your own flight plans and have good decision making ability. 

Take-off ability

Although there should generally be an experienced pilot on take-off to assist you with setting up, should you wish them to be, and to keep an eye on conditions most of the time, you will need to be able to launch reasonably competently in a variety of conditions, both forward and reverse. We will advise you on the conditions for the day as they develop, and give you our opinion on their suitability for you, but we will never 'order' you to launch. Remember, the final decision to take off will ALWAYS be your own! 

Flight plans and decision making

Although we will brief you about the area in detail at the beginning of the course, and the anticipated ideal flight plan before each flight, you will need to be able to follow your own flight plan independently, and make sensible decisions about where (and when) you choose to fly - or not fly! Never forget, you are the pilot in command, the one who is actually pulling the strings, at all times! 


You will need to be able to set up your own landing approaches into a variety of landing areas and avoid any potential obstacles. For any cross country flights landing areas will be, by definition, varied! Depending on how safety conscious you are, and how late you leave the decision to pick out a safe landing field, you could end up having to land in a small field with many obstacles in and/or around it. Of course you can avoid this predicament by choosing a larger field earlier on, rather than flying low over tricky landing areas! 

To book or enquire

Come on this trip to learn our cross country secrets and expand your XC horizons! 

To reserve your place for this trip we would need to take a 50% deposit. 

Places are strictly limited so BOOK NOW to avoid disappointment! 

If you have any questions or want to reserve your place then Contact Us