frequently asked questions
What week shall I choose?
This vastly depends on a pilot's experience and aspirations. In an ideal world pilots should think first about honing their thermalling skills before venturing on an XC course. This would be the first step to real progress. We run thermal and XC lite courses throughout the whole summer. These weeks we concentrate on 'carving' and 'mapping' to a high level. Many of our concepts and ideas can be found in our book 'Mastering Paragliding.' XC lite weeks are an opportunity to learn thermal techniques first hand, straight from the horse's mouth. Also we'll discuss some simple 'understanding aerology" ideas.
However, should a pilot already feel confident in their technique wishing to just fly XC, then I would first recommend joining us in the ultra-fun and ultra-reliable area of Bassano for the 'Pure XC' weeks. Once a pilot can stay with our moderate speeds in this forgiving area then it may be time to increase your ambition to some more Alpine surroundings. On the other hand, many of our regular pilots choose to fly in Bassano time and time again due to its fun factor.
If a pilot feels their thermal technique is up to scratch, have some moderate XC successes under their belt, then why not join us in Greifenburg. These Alpine XC courses are designed to take the guess work out of the where's, why's and how's of Alpine XC. Principles from 'flow of the day' to 'Bridge principle' to 'understanding aerology' are all explained. Though we don't touch on the thermal techniques these weeks as we prefer that pilots have this in hand. Hence the first step to progress is to get our 'carving' & 'mapping' dialed in.
Once a pilot understands what is happening in the Alps and has joined us in the past they could think about enrolling on our high-end 'Dolomites XC Tours'. Held in the Val di Fassa since 2007, these are the most technique and awe-inspiring weeks we run. Though we cannot stress enough that this is NOT a place to be taken lightly. Pilots must understand to a high level the classic alpine scenarios. A pilot's safety relies on this knowledge; without it a pilot is relying on the roll of a dice. These alpine techniques are taught on our XC Courses in both Bassano & Greifenburg.
What is the difference between 'Pure' XC and Thermal & XC 'Lite'?
The main differences between the 'XC Pure' and Thermal & 'XC lite' are not only the length of the routes we'll be attempting to fly but the immense content diversity of the courses.
The XC 'lite' courses run back to back with the thermalling courses. We mainly concentrate on thermal technique, from simple rules of thumb to enable pilots to turn the glider efficiently. Once achieved we then work on a concrete mapping technique.
Much of my time during these weeks is spent on the radio helping our pilots get the most from the concepts discussed. We focus on when to open & close the turn whilst mapping, in addition to the subtle use of the brakes needed to keep their turn efficient.
Pilots can then practice these concepts as we fly short fun XC routes, mainly along the Bassano ridge and flats in (or out) front. XC routes are excellent for lower airtime pilots but also fun for experienced pilots to just have a relaxing flying holiday, plus tweak there thermalling skills under our coaching.
The 'Pure' XC courses in Greifenburg & Bassano assume pilots can thermal to a reliable level as these courses are more XC orientated. If pilots need some help we are always on hand to explain the rules, but after in a debrief. The theory discussed in these weeks includes Flow of the day, Magnet and Bridge principles. We help pilots picture the day and understand why the routes we are flying have been chosen. Not to mention an in depth look at how to understand the aerology in which we fly.
Read about these topics in past magazine articles here.
What happens in the event of a 'Bad Forecast?'
All our sites now lie on the South side of the Alps, so we've done our utmost to avoid the bad weather patterns that plague the Northern Alps. The reason why, sadly, after many years we abandoned the Zillertal.
In extreme cases we may relocate to an area that is less affected by the weather, usually Bassano del Grappa. There is NO extra charge for relocation, however we may still have to pay the accommodation in the original hotel. Unfortunately that is the small price of being 100% flexible.
How many pilots do you cater for each week?
The maximum number of pilots on any given week is 7; this is partly due to logistics but mainly due to our wanting to maintain a quality of service. Small numbers means each pilot receives more attention. Progression is faster and pilots are happier. Simple.
Also to maintain flexibility in case of bad weather it may be in our interest to move elsewhere. Bassano & Greifenburg are "drive ups"to launch, so we need a driver/start help. Our mini bus holds 9 persons. Again some simple maths, 2 + 7 = 9.
Do you cater for non-flying partners?
Non-flying partners are welcome with lots of stuff to keep the family entertained whilst you're out flying all day. The cost of accommodating your partner or friend is only the price of accommodation in that area.
Bassano is particularly great for those with wives who like to shop. The area has many outlet stores from well-known brands. Plus now with the outdoor swimming pool and indoor spa resort it's perfect to allow non flying partners to relax while you learn the finer points of paragliding with us during the day.
How much does it cost to get up the mountain?
All transport to launch in Bassano is included in the price.
For the Dolomites XC Tour in Autumn there is the possibility of buying a 3/6 day lift ticket for around 44€+/-.
Getting up to launch in Greifenburg is quite simple as we'll be staying in the hotel next to launch. We'll be using our aircon'd minibus however to get back up to the hotel at the end of the day.
All transport around all resorts is complimentary and offered as a courtesy service, excluding transfers to Greifenburg.
Is there a refund if bad weather?
There is no refund due to bad weather as the weather is out of anyone's control. However in the unlikely event that the week is totally unflyable over the whole alps (Bassano not an option either) then we'll offer a reduced price on a course in the future, at our discretion.
How do deposits work?
There is no refund of deposits due to a pilot cancelling their trip with us. However in extreme circumstances we will hold the deposit until the following year. There may however be a percentage of the deposit used for any costs incurred due to the cancellation, ie hotel room charges, especially when late notice.
Is there a single room supplement?
There is a single room supplement on rooms on all weeks.
Please see the Booking page for all details as prices differ from area to area and scroll down to the accommodation part.
What shall I bring with me?
Please bring with you your insurance details plus BHPA or governing body's Paragliding license. We check on the first day that all pilots flying with us have repatriation and 3rd party insurance.
Plus a suitable EN certified glider for your level, harness with back protector, reserve parachute & 2m Radio, our frequency is normally 147:400Hz are required.
What other activities are available if not flyable?
There are heaps of activities to keep you busy should it become wet or windy. Although, as previously stated, we rarely lose a week's flying due to bad weather as we are extremely flexible and can relocate very easily. This is why all courses are limited to 7 pilots.
Rafting, Hydro Speeding, Canyoning, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Climbing wall & Swimming pool and Wellness Spas are available. There are many mountain huts which I like to hike up to when not flyable. And of course there are lots of superb restaurants around the areas we fly.
How do retrieves work when flying with Austrian Arena?
Whether you are on our Bassano, Greifenburg or Dolomites we'll be providing full retrieve back to the LZ or rides up to launch which are included in the price, except Cable Cars.
Retrieves are done via GPS co-ords, just send our driver your Lat and Long in DD MM SS format. He'll come and collect you from anywhere along the set route.
If you have any other questions regarding retrieval or anything else on any of our weeks please use this contact form.
Updated: 8th February 2017.