How I Got Started
In December 1989 I was skiing in Verbier Switzerland, the snow was terrible. All week, as I rode the chair lift,
I could see these parachutes (or so I thought) laid out all over the slopes. I wondered how they got those chutes
inflated and flew off the mountain. Every time I turned my head, one would take off, but by the time I turned to look
they were already off and floating through the sky.
The next day I went by the paragliding school. The question of how to take off had been nagging at my curious side.
So I stopped in to ask at the school. It was the unsuccessful merging of my English and the instructor’s French that got
me signed up for my first lesson.
The simplicity and beauty of paragliding was irresistible to me. After two days of lessons I returned to the states
with a used paraglider. (I remember sticking my toe under the scale at the airport in Frankfurt to avoid be charged for
Back home in Wisconsin I climbed up the small mid western hills countless times for those few minutes of flying time.
I shutter to think of how little I knew back then, teaching myself how to fly. This was before formal schools and modern
paragliders had been developed.
I often reflect back to my early experiences when teaching.
"What would I have wanted to
know back then?"
"What can I do to make my students the best pilots, the safest pilots?"
Now, years later, I have flown over a thousand accident free flights.
It has been my inherently cautious nature that got me through the
“bad old days” of paragliding.
I have found the thrill of flying incredibly rewarding. I have
flown to thousands of feet above the ground to see clouds form around
me. I have found myself flying with golden eagles above the mountains
of Colorado. I have flown for both hours and miles. All this, while
still embracing a cautious attitude.