- A Spanish free-flying paradise on the edge of the Pyrenees
- Good for beginners and world champions too
- Long season – from February to October
- Hang gliding mecca
For the perfect combination of long rocky ridges, turquoise lakes, deep river gorges and flatland playgrounds, with the Pyrenees just behind.
WHERE IS IT?
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Ager has long days and a long season, which have attracted serious XC and comp pilots for decades. And indeed Ager has seen its fair share of top-level competitions – European Hang Gliding Championships and the Paragliding World Cup have all been fairly recent visitors. However, there is a lot here for all levels of pilot, including novices: you can go XC without even leaving the valley.
There are four main launches and getting to the main one is easy. A 30-minute drive on a good forest road from Camping Vall d’Àger gets you to the main Coll d’Ares launch, while a Land Rover taxi shuttle also operates from the camping for a few euros a head.
Once up on launch the valley opens out before you. Now it’s just a case of picking a route: crossing the gorge of Terradets to Vilanova de Meià and back via Mont Rebei, the western gorge, is the classic 55km milk run.
Flyable all year round. Thermic flying starts in early February and continues until the end of October. Cloudbase during the early and late parts of the year averages 2,000m with gentle conditions, but the spring sunshine kicks off some intense thermic activity close to the ridges.
XC season peaks during late spring and early summer with strong but manageable conditions for active pilots. For milder air, mornings and early evenings can provide relaxing local XC flying with plenty of opportunity to get high and see the amazing terrain. Base can reach 4,000m+ in mid-summer.
WHEN TO GO
Spring: Early spring conditions can be good with thermal flying from February on.
Summer: Flights of 100km and cloudbase of 3000+m are regular features of early summer, with increasingly strong conditions from May to July. July and August can be too strong at peak-hour but morning and evening will still be good for XC.
Autumn: September and October are known for good XC potential.
Launch: Coll d’Ares 1,586m
Landing: Campsite 606m
HANG GLIDER ACCESS
Loads! Space on launch for 150+ rigged gliders. Àger has hosted numerous successful hang gliding championships and it was a home to hangies long before paragliders could glide 10:1. The landings are generous even for Atos pilots.
MUST BE FLOWN
As well as the Vilanova de Meià milk run mentioned above you can jump over the back towards Castel del Mur, onto Tremp and Isona, then cross to the Pantà de Sant Antoni and land at the Chiringuito on the beach for a beer.
From Àger you can also reach ‘Muntanya Magica’ in Organyà and check out the acro pilots from above before heading back over the Col de Boixols to the Tremp flatlands for an easy retrieve.
Hangies and other XC-whippets can take on the classic 200km out-and-return to the stunning Sierra Ferrera.
DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES
The Col d‘Ares launch is in rotor in easterlies. Keep an eye out for the SIV tow-boat line when flying to the Chiringuito. Don’t be tempted to cross eastwards over the lake itself, follow the shore to goal. Local traffic police like to fine pilots so always wear a seatbelt on the road to launch.
Camping de la Vall d’Àger is a pilot focal point and is next to the main landing field. Includes bungalows, shady camp areas and more. For apartments and rooms www.flyager.com have options for 2-15 people.
GUIDES AND COURSES
Nicky Moss runs Fly Àger and is a fulltime guide in the valley. Schools Entrenuvols and Albatross Alsnuvols offer courses, tandem flights, SIV and acro training, some in English.
TAKE THE FAMILY AND RAINY DAYS
Àger is a small village with a few restaurants and couple of bars that can be lively at weekends and in summer. Outside the village you can go for a swim in the lake or mountain biking, rock climbing and quad biking can all be arranged through Àger Camping. The Montsec Astronomy is worth a visit. For a non-flying day Barcelona is two hours away by car. Paramotors are also widely flown and accepted here.
The site takes southwest to southeast winds. In light north wind the thermic wind up the face means that it is often still flyable. Weather links are on www.flyager.com.
Tarragona (150km), Barcelona (180km), and Girona (250km) are the closest airports. Renting a car is a good option but you can also get to Àger by taking a train to Balaguer or Lleida then connecting with a bus to Àger station 8km out of town.