The Skies of Idaho: Paragliding in Sun Valley

Idaho is a beautiful state, and that’s a big part of why you moved here. There’s beauty all around you, whether you live in the bustling city and capital of Boise, or out in the country. But you can only see so much of the beauty of Idaho from the ground. For a truly incredible experience, you’ll have to take the sky, and it’s not as hard as you might think.

Imagine soaring high above the forested mountains. You sail silently through the air as the rugged Idaho landscape passes far below you. With the wind singing across your face, you feel it for the first time. Real freedom. The skies of Idaho are yours to explore, and you don’t have to view them through the windows of an airplane or helicopter. You don’t have to listen to the roar of engines as you glide through the open blue. You are paragliding in Sun Valley, and this is an experience that will stay with you forever.

Fly Sun Valley

If you want to paraglide with the best in Sun Valley, Fly Sun Valley is your go to. They are the only insured and permitted paragliding outfit in the resort town, and their pilots are among the best. The company is owned and operated by a veteran paraglider. His paragliding career began in 1987 in Switzerland. Since then, he has gone on to earn numerous awards for paragliding, including a 5 Diamond Safety Award. His exceptional credentials don’t stop there, however. He has flown in over 4,500 tandem paragliding flights, and all of them were done safely.

Flight Locations

The main launch and flying sites are all on Mount Baldy, which is the top of the Sun Valley Resort. It’s a high altitude location, at a little over 9,000 feet. There are a multitude of launch sites, each one tailored toward a specific wind direction. You’ll head up the mountain on the high-speed ski lifts, and the launch sites are typically right next to the top of the ski lifts. The landing zone is also close to the bottom of the ski lifts. Over the course of your paragliding flight, you’ll descend almost 3,500 feet.

In May and October, you’ll also be able to reach the launch sites by way of Fly Sun Valley 4x4s. And when winter comes, that doesn’t mean that the paragliding season is over. Fly Sun Valley’s winter season overlaps with the Sun Valley Bald Mountain ski area. You’ll use the ski lifts still, but with the mountain open to skiers, you’ll most likely have an audience.

During the spring, summer, and fall seasons, you’ll also have access to four different paragliding locations around Sun Valley. Greenhorn is just outside of Ketchum, and it’s a great place for riding thermals. Sky Ridge is just outside of Hailey, and a is great place to paraglide in the autumn evenings of Idaho. Sun Peak is right next to the Sun Valley golf course, and it’s best for afternoon flights. The final location is Mindbender, which is about 10 miles outside of Ketchum. You can only paraglide at Mindbender in the midsummer until October.

Tandem or Solo

More often than not, you’ll be paragliding in tandem. That is, a skilled and experienced instructor will be doing the flying, and you’ll just get to hang on and enjoy the flight and the views. If you want, you can even try flying for a bit, and the instructor will let you pilot the paraglider. Don’t let your age hold you back, either. Fly Sun Valley has had paragliders from 3 years old, all the way to people that are 93 years young.

Fly Sun Valley also offers lessons, if you’d like to learn how to fly solo, and the mountain is open to solo pilots. Of course, before you decide to fly solo, you’ll need some experience because alpine paragliding can be tricky. You’ll also have to be a member of the USHPA, the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, with at least a P3 rating. You’ll also have to join the Sun Valley Paragliders club. If this is your first time flying solo at Bald Mountain, don’t worry. You’ll just need to have a local pilot or instructor go with you, in order to acquaint you with the launch sites, conditions, and protocols.

Either way, tandem or solo, you’ll have a great time soaring over Sun Valley after you launch from Bald Mountain. It’s a fantastic experience. No matter if this is your first time paragliding, or your 4,500th, Fly Sun Valley will ensure that you have a great time, while staying safe in the capable hands of skilled and certified instructors. What are you waiting for? Take to the skies of Idaho and see this great state from a completely different point of view: yours.

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