December 18, 2017

Interlaken, Switzerland – Paragliding

Paragliding in Switzerland

309806 2420652599959 1360740268 32690690 627628853 n 400x200 Interlaken, Switzerland   ParaglidingWhether you’re afraid of heights or not, Paragliding is one of those activities I insist you try at least once in your lifetime. Ironically, I am petrified of heights, and yet when I found myself in Switzerland looking up at a sky filled with hovering parachutes, I figured what better way to see the countryside than from the air. Plus, how many people can really say they got to paraglide through the Swiss Alps?

Interlaken, Switzerland is famous for paragliding, and it seems to be an activity that runs year-round. I booked my ride through Paragliding Interlaken, located at Hoheweg 115. When the big day arrived, a van picked me up outside of my hostel. They drove us 20 minutes up a mountain to an area called Beatenberg Amisbuhl. We were told this starting area was 800 meters above Interlaken. Yeah, my nerves were definitely a bit jittery at that point.

The crew gave us our backpacks, and we walked a little further up the mountain to reach the parachutes. The sun glistened off of the snow-capped Alps, and a light set of clouds calmly settling above the city.

IMG 41191 1024x768 Interlaken, Switzerland   Paragliding

Once I got my helmet on and was strapped into my parachute and to my instructor, I was ready to go. He counted down, we ran as hard as we could, and once we caught wind we were off.

IMG 41311 1024x768 Interlaken, Switzerland   Paragliding

It was absolutely one of the best experiences of my life. Initially, I was scared to let go of the measly string that was holding me to my parachute, and I refused to look down. But once I stopped thinking about the height and my fear, it was amazing to feel how calm and quiet everything was.

It was Thanksgiving weekend, and surprisingly it hadn’t snowed, making it difficult for some of my fellow travelers to do the crazy snow sports’ they had anticipated doing. Locals told me I had made the best choice by going paragliding because I had the perfect weather to do it. As the cold air nipped at my face, I couldn’t help but smile. Between the iced-over lakes and rolling green hills thousands of feet below me, I felt like it was all just utter perfection.

IMG 41352 1024x768 Interlaken, Switzerland   Paragliding

After my instructor answered his phone, while steering the parachute (who knew you could get reception above the clouds? I definitely need that network.) he pulled out a camera on an extendable pole, and snapped a few pictures of me floating in the air.SDC138221 768x1024 Interlaken, Switzerland   Paragliding

Later he took a video of me, but with the wind blowing into the speaker it is a little difficult to decipher. Halfway through the video, (when I start squealing) that’s when he decided to flip my parachute into loop-de-loops. I had him stop after the first one, because I wasn’t sure my stomach could handle it.

SDC13821 1024x768 Interlaken, Switzerland   Paragliding

As we got closer to the open meadow, my instructor told me I would need to start running once my feet hit land again. Although it was somewhat complicated to run while my parachute was still filled with air, my instructor and I managed to land in unison.

Paragliding in my opinion is absolutely worth the money (170 francs). Even though this may be a little steep for the average backpacker like myself, the views are undeniably beautiful, and the ride is a once in a lifetime experience. I honestly believe it is the best way to see Interlaken. It’s one thing to see everyone floating down from the sky, but it’s even better when you decide to take the risk and ride yourself. Carpe Diem!