No, your eyes do not deceive you. Yes, this video features skiers descending a snowy slope with parachutes on their backs. What is this crazy hybrid sport, you wonder? It’s called speed flying.
Started in the 1970s by French mountaineers, speed flying (also referred to as speed riding) has enjoyed a fervent 21st century boost in popularity among the extreme sports set. One part skiing and one part paragliding, speed flying allows skiers to traverse tough terrain with the peace of mind only a paragliding canopy cord provides. With just one yank, you’re able to swap sports and sail above rocks and ice patches at speeds of up to 60 mph. The Telegraph reports that, since 2005, numerous resorts dedicated to speed riding have popped up in the Alps and more Adrenalists than ever before are getting certified as speed riders with the French Paragliding Federation.
Despite the paraglide safety net, speed flying experts recommend new entrants to the sport be competent skiers. No sport is safe when you’re moving as fast as a car on the expressway. Especially not when trees are so intimately involved.