Anyone who’s read enough of my articles can probably tell I’m outdoor-crazy by now. Trees? Give me ALL OF THEM! Mountains? I made a pilgrimage to Alaska just for Denali! When I stumbled across these speedflying videos, my head nearly exploded from the incredible amount of sheer badassery. How the hell have I never heard of this sport, and how does one begin training for what is essentially shooting oneself off of a mountain at high speed?! These videos are a must watch for anyone who loves skiing, flying, POV shots, extreme sports, incredible photography and breathtaking scenery. (What I’m trying to say is that everyone, ever, should watch.)
These Speedflying Videos Will Make You Wish You Were
Falling Floating Off A Mountain
Speedflying (apparently also called ski gliding) is a sport that entails using a small fabric wing to skim above a steep slope at ridiculous speeds. You can do it by running and launching yourself by foot on on a fair weather slope, or- like in this case- build up some serious speed on skis and let ‘er rip. Speed wing pilots are starting to proliferate all over the world, wherever there are giant mountains needing to be descended quickly with maximum amounts of exhilaration.
When I watched these videos, the first thing my mind snapped back to was Roger Moore and his infamous union jack parachute. Despite the fact that speedflying quite specifically requires that you keep your skis on your feet and your overall acceleration…accelerating, I got the same little thrill as when I first watched Bond head balls out towards a snowy cliff edge and launch fearlessly into the unknown. There’s a wild disconnect between sliding maniacally towards a precipice and the knife-edged precision of steering the speed wing, but somehow in combination speedflying becomes a beautifully dangerous choreographed dance. It’s seamless and fluid and incredibly awesome.
While these two speed wing pilots make this look like a casual pursuit (“Hey Brad, I was thinking of doing an aerial loop off the summit of a mountain through a needle’s eye pass on a bed sheet. You wanna come? We could grab tapas at base camp later.”) the level of athleticism required is high- conditions are cold and remote, the speed wing reacts almost instantaneously, and pilots can get flying at up to 90 miles an hour. More than twenty five speedflying pilots have lost their lives since 2006 chasing the wind over slopes; it’s surprising the number isn’t higher, but considering there are only a few thousand people pursuing the sport worldwide, it’s a testament to the training they do.
Speedflying isn’t a casual paragliding or parachuting hobby, but it’s something that’s grabbed my attention for the stunning vistas and unique view of the world that it offers. It’s one thing to summit a mountain, and to push yourself to discover what you’ll be able to see when you peer over the edge; descent, while fun, is often an afterthought and a requirement for hikers and climbers. Downhill skiers have lived for the feeling for ages but largely remain grounded. Speedflying enthusiasts have taken it even further by adding sustained glides and looping aerial stunts, and thankfully, are happy to take along a helmet cam so those of us who aren’t able to hurl ourselves off a cliff in Wengen every weekend can take a good look at how insane nature gives us the opportunity to be.
The pilot in the videos is Halvor Angvik- all of the pictures in this article are his as well. When he’s not speedflying, he’s usually traveling, mountain climbing or base jumping- no big. Want to see even more awesome video? Visit Halvor Angvik’s site (some of which is still under construction, though) to link to his youtube channel, or browse around to learn more about his story and speedflying.