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Get really high and jump off

Ed Cesnalis

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The US Paragliding National Championships are coming to the Eastside for the Owens Valley Cross Country Classic Sept. 19-26. More than 70 competitors are expected to take flight. This race is the last in a series and will determine the national champion.

Racers will launch from a spot east of the Owens River, near Silver Canyon. They find a high spot and jump off. Event organizer Kari Castle said the launches are cool to watch and one of the few parts of the race that surface dwellers can really see. Once the racers are in the air, they become tiny colored dots. Competitors can legally go as high as 17,999 feet, Federal Aviation Administration limits.

The Owens Valley is a gliders paradise. There are two parallel mountain ranges framing one of the deepest valleys in the world with 10,000 feet of vertical relief creating lots of lift, Castle explained. The weather and conditions are consistent and the scenery is unmatched.



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