Red Bull X-Alps

Incredible winter destinations

Stop looking at the clouds and wondering wistfully when the thermals will return. To get your paragliding fix – and dose of adventure – book yourself on a flight to one of these incredible winter paragliding destinations.

© Sebastian Marko

Brazil 

Samba, caiparinhas, carnival – and bikinis. What’s not to like about Brazil? We hear the flying’s pretty good too! Quixadá is a really good place for flatlands flying. This is where you take off with the help of a winch. “It’s brilliant,” says Tom de Dorlodot. “You fly as far as possible with a tracking device and then when you land the car is waiting for you. Then the next day you take off and keep going. On good days you can get 8-10 hours of flying up to 4,000m. It’s really cool.” Fellow Red Bull X-Alps athlete Michael Gebert organises trips there

Cape Town

Cape Town’s an awesome place at this time of year for both hiking and flying. “Lions Head is one of the most consistent soaring sites in Africa,” says Ed Ewing, editor of Cross Country magazine’s guide to the world’s best paragliding destinations. It’s also where Stephan Kruger (RSA) calls home. “Our season runs November to April,” he says. “The winter flying is amazing.” And when you’re bored of that, go hike the Garden Route, one of the world’s classic hiking trails.

Roll into Roldanillo

Since the Paragliding World Championships in 2015, Colombia is now on every paraglider’s bucket list. “‘Rolda’ offers a beguiling mix of mountain and flatland flying which sees pilots fly for up to six hours a day,” says Ewing. Adds Tom de Dorlodot: “The flying is beautiful. It’s one of the countries where you fly every day. It’s an easy going place, nice nightlife. You land, you get cool drinks and now it’s quite safe.” Read more here

Bir, India

Host of the recent Paragliding World Cup Bir, India is another ace winter flying destination. One athlete who flew there recently was Pascal Purin. “Everything there was amazing, the thermals, the mountains, the food – everything. It’s also good for biwac (vol biv) tours.” One athlete who was there for the recent World Cup was Aaron Durogati. “It’s a huge playground,” he told us earlier this year. “The place is famous for xc flight.” Aaron made his own epic flight, which you can read here.

Manilla, Australia

“If you want easy access to hundreds of square kilometres of perfect XC terrain then you’ll find it in the small farming town of Manilla, New South Wales,” says Cross Country’s Ed Ewing. “The site is a small hill called Mount Borah. Hundreds flock here each year to take on the beautiful classic routes that stretch out from take-off like a web. The 100km Manilla-to-Bingara run is the biggest classic of them all and the first 100km flight for many paragliders.” Read more here