why austrian arena?
So why Choose austrian arena?
Unrivalled Alpine Knowledge
We have been based in the 'Main Alps' since 1995 & most of the paragliding experience we are able to share on our courses & in addition to our book, Mastering Paragliding, was learnt in the classic Alpine region of the Zillertal valley.
Zillertal is one of the most renown as well as respected XC arenas in the Alps, where I cut my teeth while calling it home for nearly 20 years.
We have been guiding & coaching pilots around the Alps since we started Austrian Arena way back in 2002.
Whilst on our XC courses we hope to give our pilots the knowledge needed to confidently plan plus execute routes safely around the Alps.
When booking a paragliding course, tour or holiday it's extremely reassuring to know that the course leader understands the area along with it's conditions inside-out. We have lived and breathed paragliding since becoming hooked by the sport back in 1995.
A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words
This picture on the left is extremely interesting; please take time to study it. It is a Google map image with an overlay of flights logged by 1000's of pilots over the years, using xcontest and Leonardo.
This image comes from "xc planner" with the coloured lines appearing as "Skyways". The more tracks logged the more red the area becomes, while the lesser flown areas are more blue.
We have only added the red stars to the map. These stars are the three locations we operate in. Notice how colourful these places are, this directly correlates to an areas potential.
No surprise to see why we are proud to offer our three areas of Bassano del Grappa, Dolomites, & Greifenburg.
Right Places at the Right Times
So whether your ambition & skill takes you XC through the Mighty Dolomites or perhaps you just want to take your first steps at thermalling in the ultra-reliable Bassano del Grappa, rest assured ALL our weeks are run at the most reliable time of year, wherever they are held.
Many of our 'Pure XC' courses are run in May or June. With the potential for long-haul flights up to 100km+. On good days the experienced pilot can double that, especially in Greifenburg.
Flying long distances in the Main Alps is simpler in Spring as the mountains are still cool and snowy. While the warm, grassy fields below act as the perfect thermal-generator.
The milk run XC tour in Greifenburg is around 60km and challenging enough for most recreational pilots. See our doarama page for tracks here.
Blasting longer XC's in Greifenburg will challenge even experienced pilots as with our guidance, long-haul flights become very possible. The South facing mountain chains are long and mostly unbroken, so pilots can fly fast with the next climb never far away. Some tactical jumps and 100km++ are likely.
Come see for yourself why the Austrian League hold more competitions here than anywhere else in Austria, mainly due to it's potential and it's South side reliability.
However, don't fret as we are not out to break World records. The aim of all weeks is to just have fun, fly as far as we can together and to get a good grasp of what is happening out here in the Alps, via some easy to remember concepts and theories. Many are in our book 'Mastering Paragliding'.
Long routes through the Dolomites are possible in Autumn when the 'Summer Madness' is over and conditions start to become more manageable. These 'XC Tours' are for pilots who already understand the classic alpine scenarios that are vital for safe XC in these mountains.
Bassano fits in nicely in our pallet for pilots of all levels to just challenge themselves without that high Alpine 'exposed' feeling. It's nearly always 'on' and offers huge & challenging potential for pilots of ALL levels. This is why we now call Bassano home.
Personally I think it is easily some of the most fun risk-free flying in Europe, it has a more Mediterranean feel than true Alpine. Pilots of all levels fall in love with this place and not just the flying as the cuisine is exceptional too.
Safety is Always Our Number One Priority
With over 10 years competition experience (including British Team member) I have flown almost all of the paragliding Meccas in Europe, some were fantastic & some not-so.
Technical launch sites with less-than-perfect landing areas plus the need to make sometimes edgy glides over un-landable terrain. Neither great for the mind or body.
So I was always happy to return to my home areas. The Zillertal, Greifenburg and especially Bassano del Grappa with their wide, open terrain with safe landing options.
Very important when learning to fly XC, as areas should enable pilots to concentrate on the task at hand and not worry about crossing dubious terrain. We have carefully chosen our XC areas for their pilot friendliness.
Wide open valley floors, large easy launch sites with each course held at a suitable time of year and, of course, the time of day at which we attempt routes is all taken into consideration. All our launch and landings are large grassy, uncomplicated areas.
Our sites are steep enough to allow easy escape to wide terrain below.
These same fields below are the perfect thermal-generators that allow our pilots to fly long XC flights in all of our flying arenas.
The high Alpine terrain of the Drautal (Greifenburg) & Val di Fassa regions feature many examples of classic Alpine scenarios. Knowledge is vital to staying safe whilst navigating these beautiful areas.
Our XC courses in Greifenburg & Bassano help arm pilots with the knowledge that may help them in the Dolomites area. Plus these concepts are universal so you can also take what you learn there to other Alpine regions too.
While on our courses we want pilots to understand the 'Do's and Don'ts' of Alpine flying whilst having fun flying as a gaggle around the pre-discussed turn points. Pilots are NOT just dropped on launch with a site briefing and then left to fend for themselves.
The Dolomite area has very fast, efficient cable cars taking us to launch in a matter of minutes. We have no hikes up to launch. Bassano and Greifenburg use asphalt roads to gain access to the sites. All rides up are in our courtesy 9-seater AirCon'd minibus.
Some very good reasons why, I think, choosing Austrian Arena for your next flying trip is an ideal way to hone both your thermalling & cross-county skills. Or maybe just relax and let us take care of the logistics while you enjoy a stress-free flying holiday in the Alps.
We'll also be running some informal theory sessions during the courses explaining the where, why and how to's of flying. Topics might include what makes the perfect day to recognizing lee-sides, up to finding efficient lines thru the mountains. Also we explain how the air mass will interact with the terrain, depending on it's stability. Extremely important in our sport.
I wish for pilots, of all levels, to come away with a better understanding of what's happening out here, rather than launching with no real plan/idea or just blindly following the guy in front.