Alternative sports |

Alternative sports

Tim Mutrie/Amiee White Beazley

Discover the experience of a lifetime while paragliding over the town of Aspen this summer. Aspen Expeditions and Paragliding is the valleys one-and-only paragliding outfitter, offering tandem flights with certified pilots from high off Aspen Mountain. Depending on conditions, flights last between 12 minutes and an hour, and they can take anyone interested older than age 5. No athletic ability is necessary, all you have to do is enjoy the ride with your own pilot.Tandem flights are available throughout the summer months, with launches typically slated for 7 a.m., 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day. For the less adventurous soul who might prefer a basket to a harness seat, hot-air balloon flights are available in the valley with the Unicorn Balloon Co. and Above It All Balloon Co. Limitless panoramas of 14,000-foot peaks make for continuous picture-perfect moments. The traditional champagne toast concludes the one- to two-hour experience.For more information, call Aspen Expeditions and Paragliding at 925-7625; Unicorn Balloon Co., 925-5752; or Above It All Balloon Co., (866) 606-0823.

Mountainboarding is a cross between skateboarding and snowboarding, where athletes ride downhill on a board outfitted with big wheels and shock absorbers along the jeep roads. Mountainboarding and skateboarding camps are also offered through Aspen Skiing Co. at Snowmass Ski Area for kids ages 6 and older.Mountainboarding takes the main stage in Snowmass Aug. 11-13 for the U.S. Open Mountainboarding Championships. This three-day event features both the mens and womens U.S. Open in events like Dirt Boardercross and Big Air. For more information on skateboarding, call Othellos Sk8 Shop, 544-8274. For more information on mountainboarding at Snowmass Ski Area, call 925-1220.

If you are looking for great exercise while getting competitive with friends, try one of three disc golf courses in the Roaring Fork Valley.Snowmass Ski Area has a great 18-hole disc golf course, with rolling hills down to the base of Snowmass Mountain, while Aspen Mountain is home to the highest disc golf course in the world, according to the Aspen Skiing Co. Aspens front nine is designed for novice players, while the back nine laid out to challenge even the most seasoned vets, the course is free to the public. Be forewarned that playing the back nine constitutes some strenuous hiking. The courses are open throughout the summer and are free to play (including score sheets and use of discs). However, the Silver Queen gondola ride to the top, where the Aspen Mountain course begins, will cost you. For more information, call Aspen Skiing Co. 925-1220. In Glenwood Springs there is an exceptional disc golf course at the Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley campus, located at 3000 County Road 114. This scenic 18-hole course is the site of many tournaments and its relatively flat layout is a welcomed alternative to the steep mountain play of the upvalley courses. For more information, call 945-7481.

Run & Gun Paintball has invaded Snowmass Village where there are several outdoor venues on two four-acre battlefields. Games are scheduled daily at 9:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. For $30 per person, players are outfitted with all necessary equipment guns, helmets, goggles, overalls, gloves, chest and neck protection, unlimited gas and one round of paint (150 balls). Participants must be age 7 or older. Reservations are required. Call Snowmass Village Outfitters at 923-8647.

Take to the water without a raft this summer. Think thats crazy? Think again. This is whitewater sledging, a water sport straight from New Zealand. Think of it as souped-up body boarding on the rapids of a river. The only company of its kind in the valley, Aspen Seals will provide guests with all the necessary gear (wetsuit, personal flotation device, sledge), as well as complete instructions. One doesnt have to be a good swimmer to participate, but must be 15 years or older in age, as well as extremely adventurous. Face-shots are guaranteed in a day of whitewater sledging, whether its on the Colorado or Roaring Fork rivers. For more information, call Aspen Seals at 618-4569 or visit