Free flying

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Free flying

Paragliding, speedriding, wingsuit, and base jumping in the Chamonix valley

FREE FLYING/ FLYING TOGETHERSelected free flying sports are allowed in the valley.

You can find all free flying information in the book “ Vol Libre au pays du Mont Blanc”, strongly recommended to learn about local regulations. Access to take-off/landing sites and authorisations depend on users’ behaviour.  


Important: free flying in the Chamonix valley is restricted from July 1rst to August31rst by ministerial decree. as also by a NOTAM on the italian side of the mont Blanc massif.

Please refer to existing regulation.


Weather radio frequency for free flying FFVL : 143.987,5 MHz 


Refer to radio frequencies for free flying on the balisemeteo.com website (cell phone compatible application available). Voice server: 08 25 150 289

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Paragliding

DESCRIPTION

The complexity of the local geography is undeniable. Deep narrows glacier valleys surrounded by high peaks create challenging flying conditions. 


Strong thermic contrasts, expansive ascending airflows can result in extremely strong and rough turbulences.

Generally speaking, it is not recommended to fly in this area with altitude winds stronger than 20km/hour at 2000m, resulting in very technical conditions to fly under.

Plein Joux ends up being a safer choice as it is a rather protected flying site.

TAKE OFF SITES /AUTHORISED TAKE-OFF SITES 

(IN THE CHAMONIX VALLEY)

  • Planpraz
  • Flégère-Index
  • Plan de l’Aiguille
  • Merlet
  • Grand Prarion


Paragliding in the Mont Blanc range is very specific because of the type of environment: it involves flying in high altitude also referred to as “paralpinisme”.

Not only extremely demanding, it usually entails difficulty to access very high take-off sites, thus involving major safety precautions. Paralpinism requires good mountaineering skills. 

Before setting off one should make sure that climbing and flying conditions are optimal. In any case, walking back down should remain a possible option. 

AUTHORISED LANDING SITES

  • Bois du Bouchet landing site: main authorised landing site in the Chamonix valley 
  • Savoy landing site: closed and forbidden in winter
  • Landing site of the « Cachat gravel pit”


Information regarding the valley takeoff/landing sites and flying characteristics are all in the book “Vol Libre au pays du Mont Blanc”.

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MAIN HIGH MOUTAIN TAKE OFFS AND FLIGHTS

  • Les Grands Montets
  • Aiguille du Midi
  • Dômes de Miage
  • Mont Blanc

Speed riding

DESCRIPTION

Both speed-riding and snowkite activities are both approved in the Chamonix valley. In practice, and as of 2008 the rules are under municipal by-law

If in doubt regarding: authorized zones, avalanche conditions etc. please consult the ski patrol area office.


A suitable behaviour from free flying amateurs and professionals will guarantee the continuity of free flying activities in alpine areas.

REGULATIONS

In accordance with the French flee flying organization FFVL, rules of practice are applied around ski areas (access has to be located downhill from the top of the lifts) and also in remote off-piste areas not included in the convention. Some ski areas do not allow these activities by municipal by-law.


  • Approved 3rd part liability insurance for free flying activities is obligatory: contract subscription available from FFVL, the only legally recognised insurance, for speed riding (including paragliding liability insurance) and snowkite. 

  • A helmet must be worn.
  • Snow kite and speed riding is tolerated on selected off-piste areas.
  • All activities (inflating, launching, skiing with the glider inflated, and landing) are completely forbidden on the pistes regardless of the pistes being open or closed. 
  • Pistes may be overflown with no less than 50m altitude (as a general rule, the pilot must always be able to land away from the pistes).
  • Skiers have priority and must always be given a separation of 50m. 
  • Structures / Obstacles (ski lifts, power cables etc. :
    - In flight: Minimum 50m horizontal & vertical. Skiing with glider overhead: minimum 20m horizontal & vertical. Forbidden to fly under structures or obstacles.
  • Use of ski lifts :
    - he wing must be carried in such a way that it cannot inflate or cause any nuisance. A stuff sack or rucksack is strongly recommended.
  • Visual Flight Rules :
    – Take off is illegal after the official sunset time. Minimum visibility of 1500m (4’950).Illegal to fly in clouds.
  • Priority rules between speed riders :
    The pilot situated lower down the hill has priority.- The pilot on the right has priority.
    - Overtake on the right.
    - The pilot being overtaken has priority.
    - The development, rules and future of these disciplines are in your hands.

Wingsuit and Base Jump

Wingsuit jumping is forbidden by municipal decree until further notice. Consult by-law.



Learning how to wingsuit is considered extremely difficult, entails major risks and requires a very long learning phase. Every little detail is fundamentally important. Please visit the French base association website to find out more about the necessary experience to try yourself at this extreme sports activity.


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