A paraglider is the most fun aircraft a pilot can fly!! It is the smallest & lightest of wings, is silent & nonpolluting and in our opinion, the purest form of flight. Keep in mind it is not a parachute or parasail. (They are designed and used for a very different type of application.) Technically a paraglider is a RAM air airfoil. Essentially it’s an airplane wing that doesn’t have a rigid frame. There is no “jumping” from a cliff or precipice. We use ski runs and slopes on the mountain as runways to launch the glider. With suitable meteorological conditions, paragliders can soar for hours, maintain altitudes thousands of feet above the ground and cover distances of hundreds of miles.
No. That is the beauty of tandem flying. As someone with no prior paragliding experience, you will be flying with a professional instructor on a tandem glider designed to accommodate two people. Our certified instructors have been flying for many years and are the best pilots in the industry. In fact, when flying with us, you automatically become a student pilot! We make the flight as instructional as possible for your benefit and enjoyment.
Like all active sports and forms of aviation, (skiing, mountain biking, rafting, etc.), paragliding has inherent risks. Those risks are minimized by exercising good judgment, maintaining a professional attitude, using modern equipment, studying micrometeorology and having a wealth of experience, (and skills), to draw upon. While nothing is 100% safe, we have conducted tens of thousands of flights without a single serious injury.
The physical demands are minimal. For launching, it is important that you are capable to run several steps to help generate the airspeed required to fly. As long as you can stay upright, support your weight, and obey the pilot’s commands, the rest is quite easy. Landings are generally easy as well. We come into the landing flying almost parallel to the ground. The landing “impact” is usually no more than stepping off a chair.
All instructors are certified with the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association and/or The Aero Sports Connection. All have many years of experience. In fact, some are former test pilots, top ranked national & international competition pilots, hold various flying records, etc. We are fortunate to have some of the best professionals in the industry as part of our team.
Fly Sun Valley, Inc. is an autonomous business entity. It is the only fully insured and permitted paragliding operation of the Sun Valley Resort/area. We operate with the cooperation of the SVC and through an exclusive commercial permit issued by the US Forest Service.
Flight times vary according to the season and the exact weather/wind conditions of the day. (Summer: mostly mornings and evenings. Winter: mostly mornings and mid-afternoon.) When reserving a flight, we will go over the specific times with you.
Because we are a glider, (and do not have an engine), we cannot guarantee a minimum time in the air. However, at this specific flying site, anything less than 15 or 20 minutes is very rare. From the launch sites at the summit of Bald Mountain to the landing area at the base, the vertical difference is approximately 3300 feet, (1000 meters). When lift is present, flights of over 30 minutes and even more than an hour are not uncommon! Regardless of length, the experience and views are spectacular! We can guarantee that with suitable conditions we will try to stay aloft as long as we can!!
Start to finish, your paragliding round-trip adventure will include, meeting at the base of the mountain, completing the required paperwork, getting to the top, setting up, launching & flying and landing back close to where we started. Because paragliding is such a wind/weather dependent activity, the time required varies. Considering the variables, one can expect the whole experience to require 1 ½ - 2 hours on average and on rare occasion, up to 3 hours.
There is no age requirement or restriction. We have flown people of all ages from 3-93 so far…and lots of kids! However, prior to booking very young children, we like to discuss details with the parents. For minors 17 years and younger, a parent or guardian can co-sign their paperwork. The weight limitation is determined by several variables including the exact wind conditions of the day and the discretion of the instructor. Generally speaking, as to not exceed the placarded weight limit of the glider, a participant’s weight limit is approximately 240 lbs.
While aerial discomfort is highly unlikely, if a participant is susceptible to motion sickness, we recommend taking the appropriate precautions and notifying the pilot prior to departure. Our staff pilots are the finest and most experienced in the country, committed to make your flight an exciting, comfortable, secure and unforgettable experience.
Yes, on most flights. Our instructors fly with GoPro cameras on telescoping poles, (selfie-sticks). We shoot numerous images and HD video during your flight. There is an added fee for this service and we have a full money back guarantee if you are unsatisfied with the results. (Examples of the service can be found in the “Gallery” section of this website.) The complete data of images and video are given to you on a micro SD card directly following your flight. It is a state-of-the-art ScanDisc Ultra Class 10, 8GB card with a SD adapter ready to reuse in any electronic device you may have.
During the summer season, we access the mountain one of two methods. For the early morning and evening times, we supply transportation up the mountain in our company 4x4. Any time between 9am and 3pm, we are obligated to use the SVC gondola. In the winter season, all access in via the Sun Valley Company chairlifts/gondola. Participants are responsible for gondola passes.
Our office is located at 160 4th Street West in downtown Ketchum, directly across the street from the Ketchum Post office. However, when someone has a tandem flight scheduled with us, we usually meet at the River Run Lodge or at our landing zone. (See maps on this webpage for locations)
Bookings can be made via here , at our office, email or by phone. When reserving a time we will need the names of the participants, their estimated weights, contact phone number and credit card info to hold the reservation. Payment is processed in the landing area after the flights are completed. Participants can pay together or separately. Checks, cash and credit cards are accepted.
Because of the nature of the business, we must have strict cancellation policy. Cancellations within 36 hours may incur a 40% fee. Cancellations within 24 hours, will be charged in full if we cannot fill the cancelled slots. There is no charge for cancellations with at least 36 hours notice.
Wind chill protection and proper footwear are the highest priorities to enhance the enjoyment and comfort of your tandem flight. Participants should be prepared for temperatures significantly cooler than what may be found in downtown Sun Valley/Ketchum. A thermal layer with a wind stopping outer shell jacket is most desirable. Athletic wear such as sneakers/tennis shoes or hiking/trail boots are required. (Tevas, sandals, clogs, etc. are unacceptable.) Long pants are also required. Sunglasses are normally recommended. In the winter, ski attire with a winter boot or soft-shell snowboarding boot is suitable.
Like all mountain flying sites, this area has complex weather. Meteorology is not an exact science and is dynamic. However we have decades of experience forecasting the conditions. We utilize numerous sources of information to help us make the correct judgment calls about the weather. There are many variables in the equation. Sometimes clear sunny days are not flyable and cloudy days are best. Other times, vice versa. Either way, the paramount concern is the safety of you and us. If the wind/weather prohibits us from flying at your scheduled time, there is no charge and we will reschedule for the next convenient time.
Over the years we’ve had the honor and privilege to support our disabled veterans and other similarly challenged individuals. Because of the occasional need for specialized adaptive equipment, sometimes specific wind conditions are required. In the past we have had access to adaptive equipment that makes the experience accessible to all co-pilots, including specialized wheeled “buggies”, (sort of like wheelchairs on steroids). We are currently working on obtaining new equipment that will meet these standards and needs. Contact us for more details and current status.
Yes! Giving the gift of flight to a friend or family member is easy. Certificates are great for all occasions including birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Contact us for details. We can arrange to mail the certificate to you, the recipient, or it may be picked up at our office.
Call our office at 208-726-3332 with any questions or send a message below. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can. We look forward to flying with you!
Fly Sun Valley is a full service establishment providing tandem flights, flight instruction, equipment sales & service. Our office is located in downtown Ketchum, at 160 4th West, across the street from the Ketchum Post Office. (N. 43o 40.763' W. 114o 22.018')