Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ready, Set… Bid!

Ever been paragliding before? Want to go? Bid on's live auction item and many others at the Backcountry Bash and take a ride with the birds above Golden! Read how Sarah G., one of the women behind the scenes making the Backcountry Bash possible, had an experience of a lifetime. 

I’ll never look at Lookout Mountain the same way again. 

I’ve lived in Golden for over ten years now. I’ve ridden my road bike up Lookout Mountain dozens – if not hundreds – of times, hiked the Beaver Brook trail, and ran the Chimney Gulch trail up to Windy Saddle, but I’ll never see Lookout Mountain the same way again after flying high above it on a tandem paragliding flight with

Tim Meehan, the paragliding pilot and a certified instructor with the U.S. Hang gliding and Paragliding Association, has donated a tandem paragliding flight like the one I went on last weekend as a live auction item for the Backcountry Bash. He feels it is important to be an ambassador for the sport by giving back to the local community, and wanted me to experience the thrill of paragliding before the event so I could tell others what it was like. Why not, I thought! I’ve often seen the paragliders floating down from Lookout Mountain on warm sunny days.

I can tell you this is definitely one experience worth bidding on. It will be the first item in the live auction – so watch for it there! We’ll also have backcountry hut trips, a weekend of guided skiing near Marble with ski pro Donny Roth, a mountain bike trip for two on the White Rim of Canyonlands National Park, a two-day photography workshop with John Fielder, and much more. Check out all of our great auction items in our Auction Catalog

Let me tell you a little bit more about my paragliding experience. First we had to wait for the winds to be mild (between 3-10 mph) and blowing out of the east. We also wanted some thermals, so that rising air would keep us aloft for more than a few minutes. We drove up Lookout Mountain (also known as Mt. Zion) and parked below the big white “M”. Once up on the hillside, we spread the paraglider out on the slope above us and strapped ourselves into the tandem harness. All it took was a few steps forward down the hill and the paraglider filled with air and lifted us up, like being under a giant kite. In the air we turned left and right, watching cyclists on the road below, and then soared out above the houses and open space. I wasn’t sure what the landing would be like, but it was easy. It was a lot like exiting a slide as a kid - I had my feet straight out in front of me and at the last minute put them down on the ground and ran 3 or 4 steps forward. That was it! 

You can see in the video how we turned to the left and the right by crossing one leg over the other and leaning. The flight was smooth and the landing was easy. I was so happy and relieved to be on the ground. We did it!

Now every time I’m in Golden I look to the skies to see if I can see some paragliders floating down from Lookout Mountain. A huge thank you to Tim Meehan for this experience, and to all of our incredible event sponsors, including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Avery Brewing Company, Izze, Voile, Dynafit, Donny Roth, Aspen Expeditions, Backcountry Access, John Fielder, Planet Bluegrass, Tenth Mountain Division Hut Association, Shrine Mountain Inn, Western Spirit Cycling Adventures, Vagabond Ranch Huts, Glenn Randall Photography, and many more. 

We hope to see you at the Backcountry Bash this Saturday night. Be prepared to bid on incredible experiences like this one and others. You might just get to experience the place you live in a whole new way!