Opening Day for Paragliding on Smelter Mountain

5/3/2021

Jeremiah St. Ours talks about the importance of the winter closure on Smelter, Paragliding Safety, and the joy of free-flight for the community. Sponsored by 2180 Lighting & Design Studio and Carver Brewing Company. Filmed and Edited by Tucker Cocchiarella.

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I'm Jeremiah St. Ours and I started flying here on Smelter Mountain back in 1988. And today's opening day, which is pretty exciting. Well, opening day for us is after the Colorado Parks and Wildlife opens up Smelter Mountain to the public for dawn to dusk use after the winter closure for the wildlife habitat. Mostly big game like mule deer and elk. They leave them this space for the winter months between December and April. And today's April 16th. So the closure is now over and we're able to fly again. Sure, it's definitely a morning ritual. The great thing about Smelter is that the wind blows in the right direction and the right speed first thing in the morning, like right at sunrise. There is a hike up with your backpack and everything that you need to fly off. The North side, we land down in the dog park below and it gives us a chance to get a good workout. First thing in the morning get a flight in and still get to work on time. Even if you have to be there at eight o'clock you can still get a flight in before you have to go to work. What's special about Smelter is that it's close to town. It's easy to get to, and-

Whoo-hoo!

It's free flight, you know so there's no engine involved. There's no exhaust, there's no smoke, there's no noise. It's a very environmentally responsible and clean and we just really enjoy the opportunity to fly with the various birds of prey and whatnot that are up there at the same time we are. It's close to town, it's a thousand vertical feet so there's a, a whole lot of time to play around before you have to land. But I always tell people that even if it was only for 30 seconds I would still hike up the mountain with my backpack and fly off because, it's a glorious 30 seconds. We really try to foster safety first. We don't want to see anybody get hurt obviously and we certainly don't want to lose our privilege to use the state wildlife areas as our launch zone and the city dog park as our landing zone. So we're very safety oriented. Everyone has to go through a rigid certification process with the United States Hang-gliding and Paragliding Association. Once they're certified, we take new pilots under our wing the ones who have been flying here longer and give them the information they need to fly this site safely because it's, it's not without risk and we try to minimize that risk every step of the way. So everybody can have a great time and nobody gets hurt and us coming into the dog park-

Hey, puppy!

land with big grins on our faces.

Whoo-hoo! That was awesome.

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