The pleasure of flight
I first learned to paraglide in 1989 while in Austria, teaching skiing. To be quite honest, I was terrified of heights when I first started. I think, in hindsight, I was actually more afraid than any of the 2000+ passengers I have since flown. It took me a few flights to trust that the lines were strong enough and the wing wasn't going to collapse. Once I gained this trust, I really enjoyed the sensation of flight. I actually used it as a means of transportation. After a day of teaching skiing, I would go grocery shopping then take the last gondola to the top of the mountain. From there, I would fly 7 km up the valley to my grandmother's house. It would save me a bus ride and packing the groceries 100 metres uphill.
With this somewhat nervous start to my flying carrer, I went on to represent Canada at the 1993 World Championship as well as a few other World Cup competitions. I briefly held the Canadian distance record in the early 90's and have pioneered some interesting new routes in the Selkirks and the Rocky mountains. I hope this year to complete a personal goal of flying every section between Whistler and Canmore. The 200 km section between Kamloops and Revelstoke still eludes me. It is an amazing and humbling experience to fly over a jagged and glacier covered landscape and know that I am the first person to witness this from a paraglider.
I think the most amazing thing about flying are the interesting people I have met, whether it be the passengers I have had the privilege of flying or other pilots from around the world. To date, I have flown in 12 different countries.
When I am not flying, I am trained as a massage therapist working in the heli-ski industry as well as out of my house. My other hobbies would include skate skiing, snowboarding, squash, ping pong and learning to play the harmonica. Due to my Scottish ancestry, I have a fondness for good single malt whiskey.
- Peter MacLaren