A final check of the belts and straightening of the sunglasses, and then he’s off. A determined run towards the precipice. There’s no turning back now. Full speed. Closer and closer to the edge. Has he judged it right? The last metre approaches. And there it is! His colourful paraglider rises up behind him. It’s a perfect take-off: his feet lift from the ground right on time and he glides effortlessly over the mountains of Davos Klosters. Robert Giesch is addicted to paragliding.
Change of scene. Boom-cha-cha, boom-boomcha: Giesch opens his eyes. He is sitting at a drum kit. As a former musician in a band, he knows how a variety of instruments can come together in harmony. In the sky, those instruments are the paraglider, the wind and the thermals. A musician achieves harmony through passion, ambition and practice every single day. And it’s the same for Giesch when he approaches paragliding now. But it all started with a dare: ‘I was never one to throw myself off things. I used to be a drummer in a band, but I eventually reached the point where I knew that I had to do something different. My old roommates in Davos came up with the idea of trying paragliding. I swallowed hard at the thought,’ recalls Giesch.
Out of the entire group, Giesch was the one who approached the project with the most caution. Still, that could be precisely why paragliding fascinated him so much from the outset. The moment when he took off, could no longer feel the ground beneath his feet and was simply floating – Giesch remembers it like it was yesterday: ‘It’s like diving into a different world. The first time you take off creates a new problem, though: flying changes your life forever.’ Once he was in the air, he knew it was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Ultimately, that was also one of the reasons he moved to Davos.
In his job, he now helps people get to grips with flying through tandem flights. For many, it is their first time. What is someone thinking when they go on a tandem flight? ‘At first, my passengers are tense; they feel the adrenaline rushing through their veins – at least, until they feel confident that we’re not going to fall to the ground. Then the amazement sets in. They notice how quiet it is. You often hear nothing but the faint sound of the wind. And they enjoy the new perspective they get from the sky.’ In the summer, Giesch’s favourite jumping-off point for passengers is the Brämabüel. It’s often exactly what his passengers have been imagining. The launch site is open and provides a good view over Davos.
Unlike skydiving, the guide in a tandem paragliding flight can’t just push their guest out of a plane. The opposite is actually true. Paragliding requires teamwork and trust. In short: the passengers feel as though they are the ones flying, because they have to actively participate. Passengers can also often take control of the steering at times during the flight. Flying at sunset is a special experience for Giesch. ‘Flying towards the sun, when the last rays are bathing the landscape in warm colours: that?s a moment of pure happiness.’
7277 Davos Glaris
Tel. +41 81 401 14 14
Approx. 150 m to the right towards the north of the middle station of the Parsenn funicular railway at a height of 2220 m above sea level. This pad can be used in summer and in winter. The best wind direction is NE-S.
Just below the top station of the funicular railway by the Parsenn Rapid chairlift. Ideal wind direction: SE, Altitude of the starting pad: 2650 m.
At an altitude of 2820 m, the highest starting pad in the Davos Klosters region with wonderful views across the Grisons Alps. 5 minutes walk from the Weissfluh summit top station, past the restaurant, right along the ski run to the windsock. This pad can only be reached on foot from the Weissfluhjoch top station (approx. 45 min. to an hour walk). Start direction: N, Degree of difficulty: easy.
At an altitude of 2280 m, less than a 3-minute walk. Follow the path to the right from the Gotschna cable car top station. Wind direction: NW-NE, Degree of difficulty: intermediate to difficult.
At an altitude of 2250 m, a 7-minute walk. Follow the path to the left from the top station, where the starting pad is located beyond the Schwarzseealp-Gotschnagrat chairlift with the windsock. Ideal wind direction: SE-S, Degree of difficulty: easy.
Right underneath the top station of the Jakobshorn cable car (3 minute walk) at an altitude of 2560 m. Direction: SW-NW, Degree of difficulty: intermediate/difficult.
10-minute walk from the Jakobshorn. The starting pad is located just in front of the Jatzhütte at an altitude of 2530 m. Best wind direction is W-S. Degree of difficulty: easy.
The Brämabüel is a short 20-minute walk from the Jakobshorn in summer. It is worth going there especially if there is a strong valley wind and you will be rewarded by hour-long dynamic soaring flights. The ideal wind direction is NW-NE. The starting pad is at an altitude of 2490 m and is classified as easy.
Madrisa offers an ideal starting point in a dreamlike mountain scenery high above Klosters. The launch site is located about 200 metres from the Schaffürggli chairlift at 2380 m above sea level. The best wind direction is W-S. The level of difficulty is easy.