First Time Paragliding: Safety Tips & Her Experience in the Alps (My 12 year old)

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First Time Paragliding Experience

This was my daughter’s first time paragliding. I have to admit, it was bribery.

One of the best ways I’ve found to get my tweens/teens into long distance hiking is bribery.

Yes, you heard me right. Bribes…I’m not playing.

A little sugar (like tandem paragliding or riding alpine coasters) will hook these kids into something a little less exciting, like hut to hut hiking.

When my daughter expressed interest in paragliding, I was initially hesitant. However, after researching how safe paragliding is and checking the weather conditions, I decided to sign her up for a session with a skilled pilot named Ebi who operates in the Bavarian Alps. Despite my initial reservations, I felt confident in her safety and was thrilled to see her enjoy this exciting activity.

It ended up being a new favorite family activity and the goal is to try all the best European paragliding trips.

first time paragliding
Sage paragliding even though it’s scary and insane, why would anyone do this to themselves?

🔥 ➡️ Related Reading – Comfortable Adventure Travel in Europe

Tips for First Time Paragliding – Go Tandem

So, you’ve decided to take the leap and try paragliding for the first time or you’re buying tickets for your kids (like me).

But wait, hold on tight! Before you get all giddy with excitement, let’s go through some important tips for your first paragliding experience.

  • First, make sure you choose a reputable paragliding school or instructor. Don’t be shy to ask around for recommendations or check online reviews. Safety should always come first, especially when you’re hundreds of feet up in the air and they provide the equipment.
  • Second, dress appropriately for the weather. You don’t want to be freezing or sweating excessively during your flight. Layers are your friend here. Also, don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes with good grip.
  • Third, listen to your instructor carefully. They will give you instructions on how to take off, land, and maneuver the paraglider. Pay attention and ask questions if you’re unsure about anything.
  • Last, take a deep breath and enjoy the ride! It’s okay to feel nervous, but remember that paragliding is a safe and exhilarating activity when done correctly. Embrace the stunning views, wind, Nature and the freedom of flying like a bird.

With these tips in mind, you’re ready to have a fantastic first-time paragliding experience.

is paragliding scary? (It depends…)

I asked her how scary is paragliding? She reported that it was not scary at all. It was a very calm day however and her landing on the ground was perfection. 😍

I’m pretty sure I would be scared even though it’s pretty safe. I watched safely from the ground with Ruby.

If you want to ask how to start paragliding, then I would fully recommend a tandem flight because you just show up and they do everything.

My daughter thought the hiking was more scary. I keep assuring her it’s safe and to embrace the elevation gain as a friend.

We also went parasailing in Portugal. While statistically parasailing is very safe, I was a little too afraid to try but she loved it.

12 Year Old Experience Paragliding

This is the first paraglider in our family. 👎🏻

first time paraglding girl walking to end

Girls, mountains, dogs….

What can go wrong:?

What can go right on a first time paragliding experience?

Why we went paragliding

Sage and I went hiking hut to hut for 3 days in the Bavarian Alps with our sweet golden doodle Ruby. (Ruby-girl for long.)

We hiked with everything on our backs from one hostel/hut/hotel to the next. The last night, I got tired of finding dog friendly places and we bought an exped megamat duo air mattress and slept in the back of our 7 seater SUV! In a parking lot in town. Baller!

She was a mountain goat and in reward … the adventure of paragliding sprung up.

I mean, really?? Teens and pre teens love thrill so why not go for a paragliding first time experience?

Paragliding equipment and gear

I’ve included all the things you want to know for a first time paragliding experience and what to know before tandem paragliding.

The Paraglider Wing

Choosing the right paraglider wing is important for beginners. Gliders are rated based on their ability to recover from collapses without resistance while flying. Collapses happen when flying in air that has turbulence caused by thermals.

Flying early or late in the day can reduce the chances of turbulence, but flights will be shorter.

How to do Start Paragliding With Confidence in the Gear

  • Gliders with an EN “A” rating are easier for beginners to recover automatically from collapses, while those with higher EN letter ratings (B, C, D) require more pilot input to recover.
  • Pilots choose wings that require more input to fix problems because they generally have higher performance.
  • The price of a glider varies based on its performance and quality.
  • The class of paraglider to choose depends on the area where you will be flying. Coastal areas generally have less turbulence, while mountainous areas can have the most turbulent air in the world.
  • If you are a beginner, it is recommended to fly on the coast before buying your own equipment. However, if you decide to purchase your own equipment, it is important to choose a paraglider according to the area where you want to fly, regardless of price.

Helmet Types

When it comes to choosing a paragliding helmet for the first time, there are a few crucial factors to consider.

Open vs Full Face

There are two types of helmets: open face and full face. Open face helmets are similar to traditional bike or motorcycle helmets, while full face helmets have an extra bar across the chin.

Open face helmets provide a wider range of vision and create less burden, while full face helmets offer more protection to the head and face in case of a collision, but can be heavier and reduce peripheral vision.

The choice between the two is a matter of personal preference, but it is important to ensure that the helmet has good quality and does not reduce peripheral vision excessively.


Size is the most important factor to consider when choosing a helmet. If the helmet is too small, it will be uncomfortable, and if it is too big, it will move during the flight and may interfere with vision.

To determine the right size, the helmet should be worn and the chin strap fastened. If the helmet feels tight or there is continuous pressure on the head, it is too small. If the helmet falls over the eyes or slips off when looking down, it is too big.

Some helmets have removable fillers that can help adjust the size.


It is important to ensure that any helmet purchased conforms to EN 966 standards. These standards specify how flight helmets should stand up to impacts and how to test for that.

EN 966 applies specifically to flight helmets, and other sports have different standards. Using a helmet not designed for paragliding can be dangerous and will not provide proper protection in the event of an accident.

Material The helmet should have two hard coatings: an inner and outer shell. The inner shell is designed to absorb most of the shock in case of an accident and is usually made of expanded polystyrene.

The outer shell is typically made of thermoplastic, composite fiber, Kevlar, or carbon fiber.

girl hiking with dog

How does it feel paragliding for the first time?

After making a reservation by phone, we were told where to show up at 9:00 am. It was pretty easy to find because there were already quite a few paragliding people getting out of their vans.

Pilots are easy to spot in the Alps. They are tall, tanned, wearing reflective sunglasses and baseball hats.

And they wear this massive backpack with a huge wing in it. 🥹

I handed my 12 year old to the 21 year old pilot who was a twin named Ebi. His brother is also a pilot.

They told me where the landing strip was and they headed up the gondola to the top of the mountain. Ebi told me the colors of the wing and the approximate time it would take for them to get back.

So Ruby and I waited in a big grassy area and when I spotted them I had my camera trained and ready to catch some fun shots.

It was a smooth day, and Sage is prone to motion sickness so they took it kind of easy. It really looked quite peaceful and fun.

They landed really easily and Ebi showed me some gopro shots he’d taken in the air. We chose not to buy, but probably should have. I paid by credit card and that was it.

Sage said it felt really easy, not so much motion sickness and that it wasn’t scary.

I still don’t believe her. Ha ha!

hiking in the alps
Hiking up an alpine peak is not teen perfection but paragliding is!

FAQ Paragliding First Time

How to do paragliding for the first time?

To do paragliding for the first time, it’s recommended to take a tandem flight with an experienced pilot, wear a properly fitting helmet, and make sure to choose a reputable paragliding school or instructor.

How do I prepare myself for paragliding?

To prepare yourself for paragliding, you should do research and choose a reputable school, maintain a good level of fitness, dress appropriately for the weather conditions, listen carefully to the instructions of your instructor, and mentally prepare yourself for the experience.

What to expect when you are paragliding?

When paragliding, you can expect to experience the thrill of flying, breathtaking views, and a sense of freedom, while also being prepared for the physical demands and potential risks involved in the activity.

Can you paraglide solo first time?

It is not recommended to paraglide solo for the first time as it can be dangerous and requires proper training and experience.

What is the best age for paragliding?

My daughter went at 13. There is no set age limit for paragliding, but most schools have an age floor and you’ll have to check; however, as long as an individual is physically fit and meets the weight requirements, they can learn to paraglide at any age.

Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.

This article was all about our first time paragliding in Germany!

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