While some people may prefer paragliding with dog co-pilots, there's no refuting the fact that their safety record is abysmal once they've spotted an airborne squirrel. Soar alongside surer hands with today's Groupon to Cloud 9 Paragliding: for $59, you get a tandem paraglide (a $95 value).
Paragliding combines the mellower aspects of skydiving and hang gliding, suspending you from a half-moon parachute for long, smooth sessions of sky-surfing. Cloud 9's Draper school, the largest institution of higher-altitude learning in the nation, teaches people of all age and levels of athletic ability the art of floating. Above the facility stands The Point, one of the best paragliding peaks in the world, where the smooth, strong, predicable winds waft Cloud 9's gliders into the sky seven days a week, 368 days a year in both the mornings and evenings.
With enough skill and a friendly breeze, it's possible to stay aloft for several hours, though your tandem will probably last closer to 30 minutes. If you jump from the south side, you'll find a mellow glide off a 300-foot hill, but if you choose the north side, you might catch a mightier breath and soar as high as 2,000 feet into the sky. Since each launch area has drive-up access, you won't spend hours slogging up the hill and getting pesky exercise. Whichever side you choose, you'll be strapped securely and comfortably next to a certified guide and instructor. If the conditions are accommodating and you're feeling eagle-esque, your skysitter will let you take the reins and steer your two-person feather about the azure currents. If not, you'll be grounded at the factory-certified repair facility, with bunks and Internet access to keep you entertained until the weather corrects itself.
An appointment is required.
Cloud 9 Paragliding School
The nation's largest paragliding and speed-flying facility, Cloud 9 Paragliding School touts its complete repair loft and lessons held seven days of the week year-round. The facility also stocks a variety of flying gadgets and equipment and imports a variety of international brands of paragliding equipment, which it then distributes to more than 40 flying schools across the country. But above all, the facility sees itself as a big toy store, providing big kids with playthings such as kite tricycles, pogo sticks, and mountain unicycles.