The Ecrins massif to discover and fly over by paragliding

Exploring an exceptional territory based in Hautes-Alpes (South Alpes) in France.

Published on 11 May 2023

Whether to discover paragliding, improve your skills or fly over a 4 000 m summit, here, everything is possible ! 

The Vallouise valley is perpendicular to the Durance’s valley which allows a more moderate breeze. It’s possible to fly in calm conditions for pilots at the beginning of the progression. It’s also a great site for learning how to fly thermally. Vallouise is a cross-country start for long distance courses and also a gateway to fly over the big peaks of Les Ecrins (some at 4 000 m), from 1st July to October 31st. 

Here, you will be able to spend your vacation with your families and friends in summer and even in winter because ski resorts of Pelvoux-Vallouise and Puy Saint Vincent offer you an accessible take-off by chairlift ! 

In case of trouble with your material, you will found a repair shop at l’Argentière-la-Bessée

Beginner or advanced training

If you are self-employed you can inquire from 2 locals schools that also offer internships for beginners and confirmed such as :   

  • Cross training Ecrins with Loïc Lefèvre, from 5 to 7 july, by “Esprit Parapente” and from 10 to 14 july 2023, by “Pollen Parapente” 
  • Training flying hiking in roaming, from 9 to 13 september, in Cerces massif by “Pollen Parapente”
  • Training course “Perfection1, autonomy”, by “Pollen parapente” on several dates
  • Training course “Perfectionnement 2, thermique”, by Pollen parapente” on several dates
  • Training “Thermal initiation and mental management” by “Esprit Parapente” on several dates 
  • Training “Cross level 1 and mental management” by “Esprit Parapetne”, from 11 to 15 september
  • Training “Cross in Ecrins and mental management” by “Esprit Parapente” on several dates

Flight sites in Pays des Ecrins

Puy Aillaud is one of the most beautiful flight spot of Alps

It’s easy to access and ist renowned for the fact that it’s protected by wind. This take-off site is accessible to both beginners and experts.

In the early morning, the aerology is relatively calm, while the ascents are known to become established and more sustained as the day progresses. Thus, beginners are advised to fly in the morning before 11 am, while the following flights are recommended for experienced paragliders. Puy-Aillaud is also known for its access to the 4000m over the Barre des Ecrins in July August, as well as being a spot with the most days passable, with more than flying days a year ! 

Ski resort of Pelvoux-Vallouise in Parapente

This site has 1 000 m of altitude accessible by chairlift and allows pilots to fly in calm conditions early in morning to a very long flight until Vallouise. 

It also facilitates thermal flight for pilots with more experience who want to make the pleasure last.  It then becomes easier to access at the top of La Blanche (3 000m) and even to fly over 4 000 m  and their glaciers when the regulation allows it.

Pelvoux’ site is one of the most rare paragliding’s sites of the French Alps, which allow an access by chairlift to a flight of a difference in altitude of 1 000 m. All the family can access the top and take a trail back down to Pelvoux’ ski resort before having a swim at the foot of slopes. 

Flying-Hiking Paragliding in the Ecrins

One of the particular things of the Ecrins massif is the power to combine hiking and paragliding. Here, there are 4 itinerary flying-hiking known and practiced every summer.

It’s about : 

  • "La Condamine" at Vallouise-Pelvoux
  • "La Croix de la Salcette" at Saint-Martin-de-Queyrières - Les Vigneaux
  • "La Blanche" at Vallouise-Pelvoux
  • "La tête des raisins" at Freissinières

Find out details of those itineraries (in french) on this link.

Paragliding contest 2023

Every year, Pollen Parapente’s school organizes in June, a fly distance contest, and more precisely of cross.  The principal objective is to realize a course of approximately 40 km as fast as possible. 

During autumn, Pollen Parapente’s school also organizes a contest “ Walk and Fly”. The objective is to realize a flight going back and forth from Vallouise to Nevache Valley faster as possible by rotating fly and hike. What a great dare ! 

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