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Stories from Hotel Jerome

Stories from Hotel Jerome

Do How to Soar Like a Bird Over Aspen

My wife Maggie and I are Co-Captains of the Banquets Team, where you will usually find us presiding over wedding receptions and corporate events, orchestrating all the minute details from setting up 12-piece place settings to making sure the procession of courses and wine pairings goes smoothly. But I also lead a double life. As many mornings as possible, I soar like a bird high over Aspen as a paragliding instructor. It’s the most exhilarating feeling to see the four ski mountains—Aspen, Snowmass, Highlands, and Buttermilk—and the entire valley from such a high vantage point.

I’ve been a certified paragliding instructor for more than 10 years, and have soared off mountains as far flung as Thailand, New Zealand, Nepal, and Vietnam (where I ended up in first place in an international paragliding competition). But my favorite place to paraglide is right here in Aspen, where I lead tandem sessions through Aspen Paragliding, one of the first paragliding schools in the country to get permission to fly from a ski resort.

It’s such a thrill to introduce paragliding to first-timers. I will give you a flight briefing just before launch and make sure you’re comfortably secured in the harness. Then with you in front (for the best aerial views), and me behind in a separate but attached harness, we’ll take a few running steps down a gentle slope off Aspen Mountain, and off we’ll soar. Our starting point will be nearly 11,000 feet above sea level, and we’ll glide through the air, making our descent slowly by 3,000 feet, catching heart-pounding thermals along the way. It’s an experience of a lifetime and I can’t imagine a better way to explore Aspen this summer. I hope you will come join me!Stories from Hotel Jerome