I am standing on the peak of Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain on a breezy summer afternoon and, despite the postcard view, I can only focus on my feet for fear of stumbling. “Start running downhill,” yells my pilot, Herman Cordido, who’s attached to my back with a full-body harness. I manage three strides before Cordido pulls up the canopy, which was laid out on the slope above us, and we’re soaring skyward.
We catch up to two other tandems that left moments before us and glide like birds alongside them. Sitting back, with my legs dangling in space, I finally relax and take in the view—the Coast Mountains to the north, the Pacific ablaze in golden light and beautiful Vancouver in the centre of it all. Then Cordido asks if I’d like to try some wingovers. He pulls us into G-force, inducing spiral dives that make me feel like I’m on an roller coaster. I opt to go back to gliding and, 20 minutes after launching, we set down gently in a park 1,000 metres below.
If you’re up for a bird’s-eye view of Vancouver, North Shore Paragliding runs tandem flights from late June through September. ($199)