This is the Julian Alps: smaller than the French Alps but still mountainous and still very beautiful. Flying XC is easy and reliable here, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s only for beginners. Slovenia holds a major share of the world records on offer, particularly in out-and-return, with pilots covering 200km flying into Italy and back.
The Tolmin/Kobarid valley is the most famous flying arena in Slovenia, and encompasses a section of the world record route. The launches are Stol, near Kobarid, and Kobala, near Tolmin, at the other end of the east/west valley. Shuttle buses run to launch in season.
The valley is one of the most scenic and memorable in Europe, with its gently flowing river down the centre and a good retrieve road either side. You can see the Dolomites to the west on a clear day, but the region is dominated by 3,000m Triglav to the north.
Launches and landings are grassy and well maintained with good windsocks, clear noticeboards and local club members often on hand. To help keep everything nice, site fees of €3 or €4 are applied on some sites, with weekly and seasonal passes available. In case of emergency, mountain rescue is free in Slovenia.
Three of the current world out-and-return records were set here (Arduino Persello’s 280km in June 2012; Nicole Fedele’s 259.7km women’s record and Brett Janaway’s tandem 205.7km, both in August 2013). The record flights start from Sorica take-off. It’s high (1,470m) but short, steep and rough, so can be intimidating for beginners. Just 10km to the west is the much more user-friendly Kobala launch (1,080m). Kobala is big and grassy, and suitable for pilots of all abilities. Try an out-and-return, running the front ridge west towards Gemona or beyond, then drop onto the mountains behind for the return leg.
Italy – “The Dolomites”
This is the location you see awe inspiring photographs in paragliding magazines. The valley winds and thermals have calmed down in September and October allowing pilots of all levels to experience this inspiring location. The chair lifts allow easy access to launch.
We enjoy friendly launches, and if conditions are good we may fly to summit the Marmolada, which is the Holy Grail of the Dolomites. We take the 10 minute cable car takes us up to 2500m, and discuss the flight plan and possible XC route around the valley. Long XC tours are possible as you enjoy hours in the air flying above the huge rock formations in the Val di Fassa. As on all Eagle Tours, we Team Fly as a group.
Windward facing slopes in the lower sections allow you to frame some of the most spectacular paragliding landscapes on the planet in the golden fall light. Cloud base can get to 900-1000m above launch, which has you flying at 3000-4000m.
Thermal strength will be average (3-5+m/s) for the most part, but obviously changes with temperature changes and wind. Evening Glass off in the valley is very nice.
We recommend this tour for pilots with a fair amount of XC experience. Unlike our Colombia Tours, The Dolomites tours is not the place to learn the basics of mountain and XC flying. You need to be an experienced P3 or higher with over 100 combined hours of mountain thermal and cross country flying. This is not a place to knock of the rust. You are welcome to join us in Santa Barbara for a refresher course if flying the Dolomites has been a dream of yours. We can work to get you ready. Starting with the Colombia Tour will be a better option if you experience and airtime are not quite there for the Dolomite Tour.
The Fine Print -Tours
Deposits and full tour payments are refundable only if a qualified replacement can be found. Tour spaces are transferable to another individual. Eagle Paragliding reserves the right to modify, change, or delete any aspect of the tour programs or fees at any time. We strongly recommend that pilot have their own medical insurance, and travel medical insurance. If you have anything you feel may prevent you from having the physical or mental ability please contact us to inquire. There are no credits if we are unable to complete tour flying due to weather.