By Mukunda Lorenzo

Speed Flying (the summer version of ‘speed riding’) started around fifteen years ago, but significant advances in design over the past few years has made the sport safer and more spectacular then ever. The wing flown in this video is one of these modern high-performance wings.

Mukunda Lorenzo descents from Mount Mackenzie above Revelstoke. Photo: Jacque Kelsall

Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR) has long since been a destination for paragliding and speed flying. It is one of the few resorts in North America to allow flying within its boundaries. The vertical decent of around 1,800 metres gives speed flyers a roughly six-minute flight, which is considerably longer then most flights in Canada. We run shuttles up the roads and launch beside the top of the Stoke Chair.

On behalf of the paraglider and speed flyers of Revelstoke we would like to thank Rob Elliott at RMR, with out his continued support flying would not be possible.

Revelstoke has a small but enthusiastic group of speed flyers that are always keen to show people what the sport is about.

Generally people start their flying career on paragliders, then move to the faster speed flying setups. It is also possible to learn on the snow with skis on. Speed riding requires only an intermediate skiing ability, starting on a mellow slope doing small flights. The best thing to do is to get in touch with Revelstoke paragliding and try out one of their two-day introductory courses.

Author _____ gets ready to fly on _____ . Photo: NAME
Author Mukunda Lorenzo gets ready to fly at RMR. He’s using an 11.5-metre Swing Mirage wing, with an average glide speed of around 50 km/h Photo: Jacque Kelsall

I started flying in New Zealand about five years ago. The sport has grown a lot in recent years, and has been gaining popularity worldwide.

I have lived in Revelstoke since the beginning of last winter. I have flown speed wings almost exclusively but also really enjoy paragliding. The biggest draw to speed flying for me is the direct carving feeling, which is different to the more lofty and floaty feel of paragliding. Speed flying gives you the ability to interact with the terrain, as you skim above the terrain rolls and thread between the trees. It’s like a perfect pow run every lap, and the view from the air is always amazing.

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Speed flyers descend down Mount Mackenzie at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. For perspective, that’s the Stoke Chair on the bottom left. Photo: Jacque Kelsall

Because of the more aggressive glide angle and shorter lines, speed wings allow you to fly much lower and faster without having to fly aggressively at the ground. It matches up with the mountain really well. You can also fly out really high and have a mellow flight.

NAME___ above Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Photo: _______NAME_______
Andrew Worthington above Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Photo: Jacque Kelsall

The sport is inherently dangerous, but like anything a measured and conservative approach can make it relatively safe. A good understanding of air behaviour and weather conditions is essential to safety; not respecting the weather can be fatal.

The cost of the equipment ranges from $1,500 to $2,500 making it the cheapest flying sport you can do.

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