Going Airborne with Aspen Paragliding

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Going Airborne with Aspen Paragliding
Alejandro Palmaz of Aspen Paragliding with AspenRealLife's Bear Matthews

Going Airborne with Aspen Paragliding

Just under a week ago I was explaining why jumping off the diving board was a no go for me as my good friend, Javier De La Cruz fearlessly went through his double quadruple something or other back flip.

You see theres a rule in my world, or at least there used to be, that no matter what, — I don’t leave the ground. It’s not quite a fear of heights as people often wonder, but rather simply that once in the air, no matter what, you are coming back down ten times faster and harder than on the way up.

Now just yesterday, Jillian and I were having a sit-rep like conversation about everything that was going on with ARL. It wasn’t long before Aspen Paragliding came into the conversation as I had been on conversation with them for several weeks now.

“Well if they do want us to do an experiential review, would you feel comfortable being the one that goes out with them?” – JL

“Umm, haha I’ll have to think about that at the time it happens. It may take me a week or two to mentally prepare for it”.

Little did I know that just two hours later Alejandro Palmaz of Aspen Paragliding would be calling me asking if I wanted to join them on their jump that day at 10:15am. So much for those weeks of mental preparation I guess! Who was I to pass up paragliding off one of the most outstanding mountains in America, and through a valley whose name will forever be found in every travel enthusiasts magazine.

The remainder of the evening was spent playing soccer with my mates taking full liberty in spelling out every possible reason as to how the flight could go wrong. Needless to say that later defined my dreams the night before I was to fly. Nonetheless, I was in it to win it now!

As morning rose, I dug out appropriate clothing, {Long pants, sneakers, a windbreaker, sunglasses, and of course my ARL hat}, gathered together the GoPro and made my way through my loving friends morning Snapchat messages — of which at no point held back any chance to take the piss out of me for breaking my one rule.

10:05am — Finally it was time to get this party started! I signed the final forms and headed up Ajax Mountain with Alejandro and his crew, – a drive that would finally quite literally rock any last fears right out of me.

As we arrived at the top, everyone quickly jumped out of, or for the people in the bed of the truck, off of our truck and immediately got to setting up. It was no longer a staged aspen trip, but rather that of which made you feel like you were part of the Aspen Paragliding family. It was all hands on deck as everything was set up, everyone was strapped in, and final radio communication channels tuned in.

Every guest was paired with a professional pilot for our descent down, Alejandro being mine, — not that by then I hadn’t instilled my full trust in each of the other two pilots as well. Before I knew it Alejandro was soon running me through all the protocols of what to do and when to do it, and soon after that, the once conceptual idea that I may one day be out there paragliding was no longer! Three large forceful steps down the mountain slope, and we were up!

From that point, altitude irrelevant, the experience was breathtaking — and it had only just started. Aspen, Buttermilk, Snowmass and beyond were now right there with me. A view like no other. As we quickly glided above from one tree to another, the sensation was remarkable and weirdly relatable to that of when you quickly look through the gaps in a fence.

As we began to loose altitude and birds began appearing in our direct horizon, I couldn’t help but ask myself why I hadn’t ever thought of doing this before. And for all those who live in Aspen and have never been out for a morning with Aspen Paragliding, I sure know what you should be booking on your computer this evening.

I would like to put forward the most sincere and huge thank you to Aspen Paragliding, Alejandro, and the rest of the crew for what was quickly made to be an unforgettable morning, and the death to a once unbreakable rule. Just another addition of evidence that begs the question, why would anyone ever want to move away from our valley.

It is the countless experiences like this sitting on our doorstep that shall forever define the #AspenRealLife experience.

For the Locals, By the Locals.

Going Airborne with Aspen Paragliding
Credit: Bear Matthews

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