Europe, July/August, March/April, May/June, September/October, Travel Guide

Guide to Greifenburg, Austria

Sunday 9 February, 2014
Closed circuits are a good bet here. Photo: Burkhard Martens

Closed circuits are a good bet here. Photo: Burkhard Martens

WHY GO?
Great potential for XC pilots of all levels. Whether you are looking for your first 50km out-and-return, are an experienced pilot out for a six-hour day, or want to join the 200km club, this place has it all.

WHERE IS IT?

WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Greifenburg lies at 620m in the Ober Drautal in southern Austria, close to the Italian border. Due to its topography the area gets very little valley wind, producing reliable and comfortable flying. Lots of dairy farms provide large grassy fields to land in all along the Drautal and Mölltal, so it’s extremely HG friendly too.

Plan on one big flight a day rather than multiple short ones. The main launch of Embergeralm is at 1,740m. You’ll find nine-seater taxi shuttles at the LZ carpark on any flyable day. There is a higher launch at 1,840m for southeast winds, which requires a15-minute walk.

Most routes here are closed circuit, conveniently ending where they started. Unbroken south-facing ridges shoot off in all directions with very short crossings in between. This allows pilots to stay high and eat kilometres with more ease than other technical spots such as Zillertal and Kössen. Routes here are only limited by your imagination and tactics.

It’s not mellow, but definitely manageable for pilots who fly actively. Heading north to the Mölltal sees you in the midst of the main ridge of the Alps. Expect thermals to range from 1m/s to over 7m/s depending on time of day and time of year.

[youtube id=”apbs8Lp6wk4″ w=”602″]

WHEN TO GO
Best in spring or early summer, but XC possible from April through to September

ALTITUDE
Launch: 1,750m
Landing: 600m
Average cloudbase: between 2,200-4,200m

HANG GLIDER ACCESS
Very hang glider friendly. The Embergeralm launch is split 50/50 with paragliders. There is a small wooden ramp and huge set-up area. It’s extremely popular with hangies thanks to the drive-up launch and the countless out-landing possibilities.

The shuttle taxis happily take hang gliders.

MUST BE FLOWN
For beginners the 50km milk run around the eastern end of the Drautal can be comfortably done when base reaches 2,500m. Simple yet challenging and some awesome mountains to cut your teeth on. It finishes with a long crossing to the bridge over the Wiesensee, from where you’re slung-shot down the line to the LZ.

The highest mountain in Austria, the 3,789m Grossglockner is just a stone’s throw away from the most northerly turnpoint used for the classic 120km FAI triangle around this area. A lonely but inspiring jaunt through the heart of Red Bull X-Alps territory.

For those with stamina the 200km plus out-and-return to Brenner and back is mainly attempted in early spring when the valley winds are light.

DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES
There are some evil leeside areas that catch unwary pilots. It pays to have basic alpine flying knowledge here.

With a north wind the 20km crossing above Lienz can produce powerful sink and an ugly leeside climb at the end.

Stay high over the Mölltal to avoid its powerful valley winds, and don’t attempt any leeside heroics if you do get flushed into the valley.

ACCOMMODATION
Choose from budget farmhouse rooms to glamorous wellness spas. The camping ground at the LZ also has self-catering apartments.

GUIDES AND COURSES
Ex-British team pilot and longtime guide and instructor Kelly Farina has been based in the area since 1995. He runs XC courses and guides through www.austrianarena.com.

TAKE THE FAMILY AND RAINY DAYS
The swimming lake at the LZ and Jungle Gym will keep the kids entertained. Try a wellness spa for pampering, or pick one of the well-marked trails to hike, mountain bike and horse ride.

WEATHER
The area is protected from the strong valley winds that make other Alpine areas less comfortable to fly. Local flights can still be made with north winds that would blow out other southern Alpine sites.

Get the lowdown on foehn and storm warnings

The best for the Kärnten and Ost Tirol area is www.flug-wetter.at. It’s in German and free but you need to sign up.

Accurate soundings, weather stations and forecasting in German at www.zamg.at.

GETTING THERE
Klagenfurt is one hour away by car, Venice and Munich are three hours away. Salzburg is two hours by train.

CONTACTS
Schools: www.airtime.nl or www.bluesky.at
Club: www.drachenflieger.at
Campsite: www.fliegercamp.at


• Got news? Send it to us at news@xccontent.local

Buy and sell gear on Skyads.aero

Home

Never miss an issue

Our subscribers receive 10 issues a year, the annual Travel Guide and exclusive access to competitions and offers

Subscribe today
Back to Europe July/August March/April May/June September/October Travel Guide
Back to Europe July/August March/April May/June September/October Travel Guide

Got a story?

If you have news, great images or a story, let us know

Get in touch

Join the family

By subscribing, you support the only worldwide paragliding, paramotoring and hang gliding magazine and you get:

  • Ten issues delivered to your door through the year
  • A 100+ page Travel Guide to the world’s best flying sites delivered with the Feb/March issue each year
  • Plus: Win a paraglider in our annual subscribers’ draw each January
  • Pay annually or monthly with paypal or credit card
Subscribe today

Subscribe and never miss an issue

Print edition

  • Published since 1988
  • The highest production values
  • Gorgeous photography
  • Perfect-bound, collectors’ issues
  • Ten times a year each issue is airmailed to you

Digital edition

  • Read offline on your iPad, tablet, laptop or phone
  • The same content as the printed magazine
  • Delivered through award-winning Zinio software

Print and digital

  • Read the digital issues on your iPad, tablet, laptop or phone
  • Keep the print magazines on your coffee table!
  • Ten times a year, each issue is airmailed to you and sent via Zinio
News and special offers. No spam ever