Woopy Jumping

Biggest air of all

Photography: Bernard van Dierendonck

Your next new alpine sport: half paragliding, half snowboarding, all action    

Combining the thrill of snowboarding with the adrenalin rush of para-gliding, woopy jumping is becoming an increasingly common sight on the slopes of the Swiss Alps. Heading down an icy incline at around 50kph on a board is thrilling; with a delta-shaped, inflatable wing strapped to your back, the adrenalin is amplified. What would have been fleeting jumps are extended into periods of soaring weightlessness. Big air gets really big; up to 30 seconds of flight time if you’re really good.  

“Decide what it is you want to do, ski or fly”
Emma Shore

 

“It feels like flying,” says Emma Shore, a snowboarder from Canada who tried woopy jumping at Schwarzsee in Switzerland. “The wing is really light and when you’re gliding, it’s like you’re weightless.” 

With the wing on their backs and the piste glistening beneath them, woopy jumpers enjoy the kind of serious airtime that traditional snow junkies only dream of. The sport is in its infancy, with only handful of resorts offering lessons and kit hire in the Swiss Alps, the sport’s birthplace. But with its fast take-up and unique rush, it won’t be long before its popularity, like its participants, soars. 
“I’ve done plenty of boarding and I’ve grabbed a lot of air,” says Shore, “but hitting a jump with the wing attached is something else; it’s a real buzz.”

 

Woopy Jumping

Big air

Achieve big air thanks to a paraglider wing

© BERNARD VAN DIERENDONCK​

The right direction

“To steer, there are two options,” says 
Laurent de Kalbermaten, inventor of the woopy wing. “One’s like hang-gliding where you shift your centre of gravity; the other is creating a ‘differential’ pitch, which means pulling each steering bar to warp the wing.”

And another thing

Swiss highs

Act up
Bungee jump off the Verzasca Dam in Ticino, Southern Switzerland, and recreate the opening scene of James Bond film Goldeneye.

getyourguide.com

Jump out
Take a helicopter tour over the Alps and then leap out at 15,000ft for a breathtaking tandem skydive experience.

helicopterskydive.com

 

Drop in
Abseil down crevasses deep into a glacier, then climb your way out again under the guidance of the most experienced ice-climbing guides in Switzerland. 

swissalpineguides.ch

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01 2015 The Red Bulletin

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