April 14, 2024

Site Guide

Updated March 3, 2024

If you have not already, start by reviewing Requirements to Fly.

Any pilot (visiting or local) who is not approved to self-guide for a particular launch or landing zone (for more info read intro on our Guide Pilots page) must be accompanied in person at launch by a Guide Pilot who has the authority to approve or deny the guided pilot’s launch and landing zone plans based on skills determination and current conditions. Each pilot is responsible for their own decisions and flight if permitted to fly. TAF Guide Pilots are able to ground pilots from flying if they deem such action appropriate.

Top | Front Face/North Launches | Gold Hill Launches | Landing Zones


General Site Guidelines

  • All flights should be with 2M FM radio with receive and transit capability tuned to frequency: 151.925.
  • Access to Telluride Ski Resort (TelSki) launches are subject to Seasonal Access rules.
  • High desert conditions.  Thermals can be very strong (2000fpm mid-day mid-summer).
  • High alpine mountain launch sites – dry air can mean small turbulent thermals.  The high altitude means takeoffs and landings are at much higher speeds than they would be at sea level.
  • Hazards of a ski area flying site – buildings, lift towers, lift cables.
  • Weather can rapidly change, especially mid-late morning with changes from blue sky to serious over-development in under an hour.
  • Mini-wing use notes: recommend to only fly early morning and late evening.  Not recommended in thermic conditions.
  • Landings within the TelSki boundary are STRICTLY PROHIBITED and incur an automatic suspension from the club.
  • When upper-level winds are out of the North (300º through 60º), even when light, landing in the valley can be extremely turbulent and treacherous, especially with evening flights. These days should only be flown if planning to land before 10am in the valley or by experienced XC pilots looking to fly XC.
  • Landings in the valley are not recommended 12 pm-5 pm May-August.
  • Access to TelSki launches only by hiking, gondola, ski lift, or TAF-owned vehicles.  See Seasonal Access details below.
  • No commercial flights unless pilots show to a member of the TAF board proof of commercial insurance and proof of permission from Telluride Ski and Golf for commercial flights (currently only Telluride Paragliding meets these requirements).
  • Speed and mini-wing (MW) flights have the same requirements as paragliders and hang gliders and the pilot must have a minimum M-1 rating.
  • All landings made at the below listed Town of Telluride-owned LZs require TAF membership and adherence to all Requirements to Fly irrespective of whether the launch is being made from a TelSki launch site or not (e.g. hike and fly from USFS/BLM land).
  • Federal Aviation Administration regulations state it is illegal to fly above 17,999 feet ASL.

Top | Front Face/North Launches | Gold Hill Launches | Landing Zones


Drivers and Driving

TAF owns two trucks which we use to access our upper TelSki launches (Bushwacker and Gold Hill) during our Summer Access period.  The trucks are typically parked in the Shandoka parking lot at the southwest corner of town which acts as a meeting spot on flyable days at our upper launches.  All coordination to drive up to the upper launches occurs on Telegram.  We welcome drivers who are willing to ride up with us to then drive the truck back down and park it in the Shandoka lot.  Drivers must be registered with TelSki at the following link before being allowed to drive on TelSki property:

DRIVER REGISTRATION PORTAL

All Ski Lifts, Ski resort structures, and the Gondola Line have a No Fly Zone that extends 175ft horizontally and 300ft above any such structure. Under no circumstances shall a pilot fly into this no-fly zone. In the event that a pilot needs to fly over any such structure or line and is able to do so with at least 300ft clearance, they must take the shortest route across this zone without turning/thermal-flying until they are clear of the zone. The penalty for violating the Lifts No Fly Zone is a 3-month suspension of flying privileges for local pilots or one year for visiting pilots.

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Top | Front Face/North Launches | Gold Hill Launches | Landing Zones


Overview of All Launches and Landings

Top | Front Face/North Launches | Gold Hill Launches | Landing Zones


Front/North Face Launches

Milk Run
Summer & Winter Access

Cimarron
Summer Access Only

Lookout
Summer Access Only

Bushwacker
Summer Access Only


Gold Hill Launches

Gold Hill (morning) East
Summer & Winter Access

Gold Hill (evening) West
Summer & Winter Access


Landing Zones

Pearl Property
Year Round Access

Valley Floor
Year Round Access

Town Park
Year Round Access

Top | Front Face/North Launches | Gold Hill Launches | Landing Zones


Seasonal Access to TelSki Launches
(all of those listed above)

While our landing zones are open 365 days/year, and there are no restrictions on hike and fly launches on federal land, our TelSki launches listed above have seasonal restrictions.  There are two seasons which apply to use of our launches, defined as follows, with corresponding permissions for use:

Summer Access

All of our TelSki launches listed above are open during the Summer Access period.  Summer Access begins the day the Gondola opens for the summer season and ends on October 1, unless we receive permission from TelSki to extend to October 15.  TelSki usually grants this extension, but it is subject to re-approval each year.  If you are considering flying in the October 1 – 15 window, please check our Telegram channel or contact a member of our board for the latest on whether we have received the required extension.

Winter Access

Only Gold Hill East, Gold Hill West, and Milk Run are open during the Winter Access period.  Winter access includes times when TelSki lifts are open to the public.  In addition to normal requirements to fly, TAF members must have a valid lift ticket or season pass and use proper ski/snowboard equipment to access the Winter Access launches, carrying paragliding gear in a backpack/rucksack.  Hang gliders are not allowed for transport to the launches unless special advance arrangements are made through the TAF board with TelSki.  If our winter launches are not yet open for skiing/riding, we must get explicit permission from TelSki mountain operations or ski patrol to enter closed areas; please coordinate any such requests on Telegram. No launching is permitted after 3pm. It is critical that we not in any way interfere with TelSki mountain operations or skiers/riders on the mountain.

Top | Front Face/North Launches | Gold Hill Launches | Landing Zones


Milk Run Launch, Telluride Ski Resort (TelSki) – Summer & Winter Access

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  • Milk Run launch 37.932409°N latitude, -107.831924°W longitude
  • P3/H3 with Guide Pilot or approval of 3 Guide Pilots to self-guide.
  • P2/H2 with an instructor on the radio (not under TAF but under PASA-certified school Telluride Paragliding), or only if full-time local known to Guide Pilots or visitor with extensive experience flying with approving TAF Guide Pilot at another site.
  • Morning launch, suitable for HG, PG or MW.
  • Mini-Wings may be flown provided the pilot holds a minimum M1 Rating, in addition to P3 rating.
  • Danger of TURBULENT LEE SIDE CONDITIONS (NOT LAUNCHABLE) west wind rotor mid-morning through the remainder of the day. The time that this comes in changes throughout the season but generally between 10am and 11am.
  • Required Glide to Designated LZ: 2.5
  • High altitude launch (10,500ft) requires much faster launch speeds, very important when considering a low wind launch.
  • Recommended Use Parameters:
    • Wind Direction 75-105 degrees (thermal cycles)
    • Wind Strength (MPH)
      • HG 0 min, 8 ideal, 10 max, 10 gust factor
      • PG/MW 0 min, 5 ideal, 10 max, 5 gust factor

Top | Front Face/North Launches | Gold Hill Launches | Landing Zones


Cimarron Launch, TelSki – Summer Access Only

  • Cimarron launch 37.929472°N latitude, -107.831361°W longitude
  • P3/H3 with Guide Pilot or approval of 3 Guide Pilots to self-guide.
  • P2/H2 with an instructor on the radio (not under TAF but under PASA-certified school Telluride Paragliding), or only if full-time local known to Guide Pilots or visitor with extensive experience flying with approving TAF Guide Pilot at another site.
  • Morning launch, suitable for HG, PG or MW.
  • Mini-Wings may be flown provided the pilot holds a minimum M1 Rating, in addition to P3 rating.
  • Danger of TURBULENT LEE SIDE CONDITIONS (NOT LAUNCHABLE) west wind rotor mid-morning through the remainder of the day. The time that this comes in changes throughout the season but generally between 10am and 11am.
  • Required Glide to Designated LZ: 2.5
  • High altitude launch (10,500ft) requires much faster launch speeds, very important when considering a low wind launch.
  • Recommended Use Parameters:
    • Wind Direction 75-105 degrees (thermal cycles)
    • Wind Strength (MPH)
      • HG 0 min, 8 ideal, 10 max, 10 gust factor
      • PG/MW 0 min, 5 ideal, 10 max, 5 gust factor

Lookout Launch, TelSki – Summer Access Only

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  • Lookout launch 37.925673°N latitude, -107.828703°W longitude
  • P3/H3 with Guide Pilot or approval of 3 Guide Pilots to self-guide.
  • P2/H2 with an instructor on the radio (not under TAF but under PASA-certified school Telluride Paragliding), or only if full-time local known to Guide Pilots or visitor with extensive experience flying with approving TAF Guide Pilot at another site.
  • Morning launch, suitable for HG, PG, or MW.
  • Mini-Wings may be flown provided the pilot holds a minimum M1 Rating, in addition to P3 rating.
  • Danger of TURBULENT LEE SIDE CONDITIONS (NOT LAUNCHABLE) west wind rotor mid-morning through the remainder of the day. The time that this comes in changes throughout the season but generally between 10:00am and 11:00am.
  • Required Glide to Designated LZ: 2.5
  • High altitude launch (11,000ft) requires much faster launch speeds, very important when considering a low wind launch.
  • Recommended Use Parameters:
    • Wind Direction 75-105 degrees (thermal cycles)
    • Wind Strength (MPH)
      • HG 0 min, 8 ideal, 10 max, 10 gust factor
      • PG/MW 0 min, 5 ideal, 10 max, 5 gust factor

Top | Front Face/North Launches | Gold Hill Launches | Landing Zones


Bushwacker Launch, TelSki – Summer Access Only