Monday, September 14, 2009

Aloha from Tirol Alps

Aloha from the Heart of Europe. After reading Doug's story about Sun Valley, I thought you guys might be interested in hearing about another mountain destination. I'm sitting at my temporary "home" in Prague, and getting ready for another season of flying tandems in Nepal. I just came back from the Austrian Alps, and thought I'd share some info for anyone that might be interested in flying there.

I spent a little over a month of flying, mountain biking and hiking in Stubai Valley, Tirol Alps, Austria. The closest city and airport is Innsbruck (Austria), about 15 min drive, closest major airport is Munich or Frankfurt (Germany). The flying season starts in June and usually ends in October. The flyable weather seems to be almost every day, with some close by fun sites in Italy and Austria to go to, on the occasional rainy day.

Stubai Valley has 4 lift served mountains, 3 of which are suitable for paragliding, and 2 of which are flown daily.

The first one is Schlick 2000, a high speed gondola, which takes you up to a little over 2000m MSL. The second one is Elfer, also a high speed gondie, which takes you up to about 1700m MSL. The valley floor is 980m MSL.

Schlick 2000 is typically a morning to early afternoon site. After about 11 am some reliable thermals start to form, making it fairly easy to get established and start making your way up or down the valley. Conditions usually get fairly strong on launch after 2 pm, with some gusty thermals blasting thru the launch. Still doable though.

Elfer, on the other hand, seems to be flyable pretty much every day, all day long. In the late summer, when I was there, conditions were usually super easy on launch, with a nice light breeze blowing straight up the hill. The morning flights are usually 20 min sled rides, until the thermals start to form and work from around 2 pm until sunset. The lift takes about 5 minutes, followed by a short hike up the slope, where anyone can pick an easy spot to "jump" from. Most local pilots seem to prefer rather shaky looking forward launches, although the perfect light breeze makes a reverse launch super easy and safe. I was flying mostly tandems and didn't have to forward once.

Once in the air, you have about 800 meters to burn, fast or slow, depending on your personal choice. After 12 pm it's usually easy to find at least a little bit of lift, to get either a little extension on the flight, or to have more altitude to practice your infinite tumbles.

Launches and landing options are nothing like I've seen before, wide and grassy gentle slopes for take-offs, huge moved grass fields for landings, all the way up and down the valley.

The main LZ for Elfer is a soccer sized field, about 2 min walk from the bottom of the hill and many apres options for a thirsty pilot - no Black Butte Porter or Sierra Nevada though, sorry Alex. Half liters of Pilsner Urquell are about 70¢ in the local supermarket.

There are plenty of accommodation options everywhere, the good and cheap ones filling up fast though, so early reservations are recommended. I stayed at a place called Appartements Aufwind, which is affiliated with the local paragliding school and run by 2 of my good buddies. They offer 4 fully furnished apartments, with fully equipped kitchens and hot water showers. Depending on the size of the group willing to squeeze into the apartment, prices are between 16-20 Euro, per person/night. The place is about 20 min walk from Elfer, or a 5 min drive. More info on .

I should be back there for the next summer season. If any of you wants to come out, I'd be happy to show you around. It would be awesome to see the HPA crew again. Please feel free to email me, if ya'll have any questions. Also, if anyone's interested and Alex won't mind, I can post similar info on flying in Nepal.

Hope everyone's doing great, the new pilots trying to catch up to Dave, Alex, Reaper and the rest of the big dogs; and all the big dogs are trying to catch up with Doug, Dave, Jorge … And Jorge? Who is Jorge catching up to?

Aloha, Czech Peter


JeffMc said...

Sounds amazing, Peter! But... no Sierra Nevada?! That's a deal breaker. :)


Doug said...

Good to hear from another paraadventurer. Keep us posted!

Thom said...

I just sucked down a few Urequell's yesterday so funny you should mention them. But I bet they would taste alot better after a few flights there. Keep the stories coming and maybe you'll spark an Oahu Outbreak.

Alex said...

Hey Czechski, feel free to submit an article anytime - about Nepal, or anything else. You certainly lived here and shared the air with us long enough to be a lifelong expatriate member of our flying monkey association. I just realized I had misread the paragraph about your returning to Austria for the summer season next year - somehow I thought you meant you'd be returning to Hawaii for the summer season, and I was super stoked. But I guess there are paperwork complications with that idea. Anyway, hope to see you again one day soon, in Europe or Nepal or wherever our paths cross.

firedave said...

Peter: It is great to hear you are living the life of the tandem skid, not much money but a wealth of fun.

Are you sure you don't want to clean windows again? I am sure Brian in Jackson is having as much fun as you, right?

Keep the stories coming. You are always welcome here.

Nick said...


Great article. Man you can count me in next summer, I'm going to go on a Formula 1, paragliding blitz next summer in Europe. My best friend will be living in Ramstein Germany, which makes for a perfect launch point anywhere in Europa. We'll chase the Czech girls around. I envy all the adventure you're having now.


Anonymous said...

hey guys, glad you're interested. i'm leaving to Nepal in 2 days, and will post another article on flying there, once i settle in a bit.
Alex, not really paperwork complications, but there is just so much to see out there, once you leave good ole US of A. although HI is very high on my list of places where to maybe settle one day.
Dave, you pretty much nailed it, as usual. although Brian is actually thinking about coming to join me again, right after his december window rush. but i'd wash the windows on Diamond Head with you any day.
Nick, that would be awesome to see you out here next year. i might buy a van and tour the alps for the part of the season, they are so beautiful, diverse and fun !
would be great to see as many of all of you as possible out here !!
aloha, czech

Gatogarto said...

Hey czech

My and my wife are going to Prague for the first time in Oct the 5th. We're trying to find out if there are any flying sites close to Prague and if there is somebody we should contact in advance or once there.

Any advice will be highly appreciated.