An Adventurer’s Guide to the Dolomite Mountains: Paragliding from Mount Grappa

Written by Phillip November 2, 2015

Getting ready for my paragliding adventure!

It was October 15th, 2015 – the day of my 20th birthday. This is the day I was scheduled to paraglide over Mount Grappa. I decided every birthday from here on out should be a memorable one. The company who took us up in the air was easy to reach and he even gave us free transport to and from CIMBA’s campus. We drove up the mountain at an alarmingly fast pace, enough to make Shannon and I nauseous before we even put on our paragliding gear. (For some reason, Italians seem to think they are invincible when they get behind the wheel.)

Once we reached the top, we got were treated to the view of dozens of little Italian villages like Paderno (CIMBA’s home). The amazing thing was being eye level with the summit of Mount Grappa and once we got in the air, I got to see the side of the mountain up close. Before I even left the ground, I was astounded at the sight before me. The man rushed us to put our gear on and in a matter of seconds we were ready for lift off. We were basically on a downward-sloping hill and I was facing the drop-off point. He told me to run and I remember running as hard as I could for the edge of mountain.

I started running and before I knew it I just started floating in the air above the mountain. For the first time in my life, I really felt like an adventurer. Someone who could conquer the world. Someone who could fly. After about 10 minutes we started floating toward Mount Grappa and seeing the side of the mountain up close was amazing but terrifying. We kept moving closer and closer and the man with me didn’t acknowledge it at all!

When we were closest to the mountain, he asked me if I wanted to steer! Steering was one of the scariest parts of the experience but it felt really empowering to be in complete control of the parachute. Out of the whole 30 minutes, the most intense part was the flying downward. With his steering he sent us into a downward drop for 40 seconds and it felt like we were free falling towards the ground. I could barely see in front of my face but it’s an experience that I will never forget. This experience was 10x better than any roller coaster ride then I’ve ever been on.

If you’re up for the adventure, I would highly recommend this experience to anyone!