Boulder Outdoor Center

Boulder Outdoor Center logo
Glider Rides over Boulder Colorado
Our 34th Year!

Used Stand Up Paddleboard Sale!
Stand Up Paddle Boards
When: Saturday, September 20th 10:00am to 4pm. One day only!
Where: Alpine Base and Edge, 2709 Spruce St., Boulder: click for map.
For more details, see our annoucements page.
New and Used SUPs and gear all on sale at clearance prices!
You can see some of our board prices on our website at: Stand Up Paddleboards on Sale.


Glider Rides

Soaring Over Boulder Colorado

Mile High Glider Rides over the Foot Hills of the Rocky Mountains and Boulder, Colorado


It's scenic!
For all rides except our Double Flights, you will sit in the front seat of a two-place glider, with your pilot seated behind you. The clear Plexiglass canopy allows an unobstructed view of the fabulous mountain and college town scenery surrounding you.

It's silent!
After an aerotow to a suitable altitude, your pilot will release the line from the towplane. You will soar effortlessly, free from engine noise. The enclosed cockpit seals out wind blast to allow easy conversation. With recreation the goal, the pilot is free of most radio, navigation, and air traffic control duties.

It's safe!
All rides are given in high performance sailplanes, which are as large as airplanes and not to be confused with small, lightweight hang gliders. Our gliders are certified by the FAA to the same high standards as engine-driven aircraft. Our ride pilots are FAA-certificated commercial pilots. We deliver over 1,000 fun outdoor experiences a year. For more information on FAA-certified pilots and planes, please see the FAA website.

It's soaring!
The glider's wings seem to sprout from your shoulders, and you feel yourself flying like a bird. You may even be lucky enough to find yourself exploring the air currents with a red-tail hawk or a golden eagle! On many days, nature provides the atmospheric engine for longer, higher, further adventure.

It's a glider pilot's dream!
We routinely gain Gold altitude (9,842') in Summer thermals, Diamond altitude (16,404') in the Winter Wave. We are among leaders in the USA for SSA and FAI badge legs claimed.

Introductory Scenic Flights

Soaring above the clouds The Mile High Flight
This flight has everything. You'll tow to 5,280 feet above airport elevation, deep into the mountains West of Boulder, with a great view of the 14,000-foot snow-capped peaks of the Continental Divide. After soaring free near Gross Reservoir or Nugget Ridge, you may wish to have your pilot burn up extra altitude flying roller-coaster maneuvers, or let you handle the controls for a portion of the flight. This is definitely an experience you'll remember forever!
- Our local Outdoor Adventure reporter's Video Clip [double ride in 2-32 (below L), thanks Ryan and pilot John]

Scenic Ride Constraints, Guidelines, and Hints
No flight training is required, just a brief pre-flight orientation on where and how to sit. The double ride in the SGS 2-32 works best for two small adults or an adult and child: Maximum combined weight of passengers is about 300 lb. and shoulder room is limited. Also, the passenger-cockpit control stick is removed for doubles, so that trial flying is not possible. The sailplane has neither heater or air conditioner and though outside air temperature may be up to 15 deg. F cooler at altitude, the Plexiglas canopy which blocks the relative wind also warms by the greenhouse effect, so the feel is about the same as on the ground. Accordingly, dress for being outdoors in season. Photographs turn out well through the canopy - cameras and small camcorders are welcome (hold firmly for takeoff-landing-turbulence). Anyone susceptible to motion sickness will easily avoid discomfort by looking at distant vistas instead of nearby objects (e.g. viewfinders or cockpit). Eating a snack before your flight may help your stomach to not feel queasy.

Winter Soaring over Boulder, CO Glider Ride Schedule
Rides run 7 days a week, year-round, 9AM to 5PM, weather permitting. High winds (greater than 30mph), low ceilings (less than 2,000' AGL), or extreme cold may be reason for us to cancel your flight to insure an enjoyable flight. Sailplane flying is fairly tolerant of weather. Please try to book at least a week in advance so that we can accomodate your schedule. We can ofter accomodate people on short notice as well. We'll do our best to get you flying as soon as possible. Morning is usually best for smooth air, afternoon for sampling soaring currents. Note that an appointment for an 11:00AM ride slot is not setting an 11:00AM "departure time". It means that we plan to deliver a 40 min. "Mile High" ride during the following hour. The excess time accomodates variations in ride length and towplane availability, and the seating and briefing of new passengers.

Glider Rides 30-40 min flight time 60 min flight time
Single Rides* $219.00 $299.00
Double Rides (Two Passengers)* $259.00 $379.00

* Single and Double Rides refers to the number of passengers on the Glider. One of our pilots will be on every ride. The price for the Double Ride is the total for both passengers.
* The maximum passenger weight for a glider ride is 300 pounds. This weight limit is for one single rider or the combined weight for two passengers riding together.
* Best suited for ages 7 and older. Ages 7-11 should go on our Double ride. Single glider rides are best suited for age 12 and older. We do not have a minimum age, but we do need a child to be large enough to seat belt into the glider. We can make some accomodations for elderly, please give us a call.

Please choose an Adventure
Book Now Online!



To see dates for any of these trips, choose a trip from the option box and press the submit button above. Once you are registered, you will get a confirmation email from Mile High Gliding for your trip.

You can search all the trips that we offer:


Search Trips

What to Bring and special requests:
If you wish, your pilot can demonstrate gentle aerobatic maneuvers or let you take the controls for a portion of the flight. You can also just relax and let your pilot take you on a scenic area tour. See the University of Colorado, the Boulder Flatirons, the Arapahoe Peaks, Long's Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, Denver... mountain lakes, old mining towns, ski resorts, nature preserves and trails, national research laboratories. Accordingly, dress for being outdoors in season. Photographs turn out well through the canopy - cameras and small camcorders are welcome (hold firmly for takeoff-landing-turbulence).

Meeting Place & Time
Rides run every hour from 9am to 4pm on the hour weather permitting.
Please see our directions and driving times in the upper right hand corner to get additional directions.
Mile High Gliding is on the NORTH side of the Boulder Municipal Airport. You cannot access the gliderport from the SOUTH side of the airport where the airplanes are.

From the South (Denver).
US Hwy 36 (Boulder Tpk) to Foothills Pkwy (1st Boulder exit, stay L). Across town 4-1/2 mi to exit R back to Boulder on 119 S just after bridge. First L (across from Sinclair) on Independence Rd., cross RR tracks and continue E 3/4 mi.
[Or, from in town: N on 28th St. to Iris Ave. (between Safeway & Gart), E 1-1/2 mi to just after bridge, R on Independence.]

From the North (Ft. Collins).
CO Hwy 119 (Diagonal Hwy) to stoplight at Jay Rd., just N of the City. E on Jay 3/4 mi to 57th St.. S 3/4 mile to sharp R at Independence. W 1/2 mi.

The Mile High Gliding office is a silver colored Airstream trailer (one of two, the one furthest East). There are signs and banners on the fences. Park in the large frontage space just East of the office.

How many rides do we run?

On a busy Saturday in late Summer, we may launch 24 rides in a day, using 3 gliders and 3 towplanes. Mile High rides are scheduled to go an hour apart. We enjoy treating visiting tourists as well as locals, and often host clubs and school groups. We are a signature Boulder area attraction registered with the Colorado Tourism office, local Chambers of Commerce, and numerous visitor centers and guides.

Yearly totals

1,000


Pilots

We have some 12 ride pilots on our staff, 2 full-time and the rest in rotation mostly weekends. All hold FAA Commercial Pilot Certificates, most are Flight Instructors as well. Experience ranges up to 35 years/12,000 hrs. A median is shown at right

Years Flying

Years at Boulder

Glider Hours

Glider Flights

19

9

1,700

3,000


Tows

We offer Aero-tows (only) and operate 3 towplanes: 2 260-HP Piper Pawnees, and 1 180-HP Piper SuperCub. All are radio equipped and monitor 122.725. The Pawnees feature multiblade props for low noise output, a technology we pioneered for the USA and market to other glider operations. At our high density altitude, expect climb rates of about 500fpm behind the Pawnees and 300fpm behind the Cub. A Mile High tow may mean a 20min. turn-around. Yearly totals

4,000

Soaring Conditions

Boulder is close enough (4 mi.) to a 3,000' ridge for occasional ridge soaring, and within easy reach of convergences and waves. Thermals go to18,000' MSL in the Summer, waves to 30,000' MSL in the Winter, we get lift all year. As our friends the eagles know, the air is unique here, this is a special place made for soaring.

Yearly days

Main Season

Thermal

250

Summer, Apr.-Oct.

Wave

60

Winter, Oct.-Mar.

Ridge

20

Spring, Mar.-Apr.


History

Systematic glider flying began with the Lilienthal and Wright brothers at the turn of the 20th Century. In the space of a few years starting in1920, German experimenters developed refined sailplanes and learned to stay up for hours. The Soaring Society of America has steadily fostered glider activity in the USA since 1932, with membership reaching 16,000 in the 1980s. The Cloudbase, Inc. was established at Boulder in 1978 by Bruce Miller, who had been an Instructor at Wave Flights, Inc. near Colorado Springs, a "destination resort" for exploring mountain wave currents over Pike's Peak. Boulder had been known as an excellent soaring location since the 1930s and has consistently been home to a club since 1959. Mile High Gliding shares Boulder gliderport with two such clubs, it is the most active soaring site in Colorado. The company is owned by David Campbell, a Diamond badge glider pilot who started soaring in England in the 1970s.

Refund Policy
Glider Rides may be rescheduled up to 48 hours or more in advance of the ride (subject to availability) without penalty. Within 48 hours of the scheduled start time, funds are committed and you will be charged for the Glider Ride. Glider Rides that are canceled due to weather will be rescheduled. If weather forces your ride to be canceled and you are unable to reschedule your ride, a refund for your ride will be an option.


Email this page to a friend