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Review of Thermal Sky Sports

Thermal Sky Sports
Ranked #54 of 139 things to do in Reno
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Owner description: Come Tandem Hang gliding at the world famous Slide Mt or take a first time lesson. Just 20 from Reno&Tahoe Thermal Sky Sports is Reno/Tahoe's only full time hang gliding center! One of our instructors will take you tandem starting at $220 or a first time lesson $140! Come fly with us today!
Reviewed July 15, 2011

Had a great flight with Alex today. Excellent views, instruction, and set up. MIssed the lessons, but I'll be back to get them later this summer. Alex and Jeff were friendly, accomodating, easy to talk with, and the flight was amazing! Beautiful morning, mountains in the background, and soaring like a bird. What a memory. Thanks.

Thank doganabeer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (16)
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11 - 15 of 16 reviews

Reviewed July 13, 2011

My teenage son and I went to Reno for the Summer Nationals Fencing Championships and while there were looking for some exciting things to do. We could not have done any better than with Alex and Jeff and Thermal Sky Sports. I called one day, and had an appointment for the next morning. Weather and wind cooperated beautifully and the drive was only a short one from Reno (less than 30 minutes).

We met Alex on the mountain, about 3000 feet above ground level. My son has no fear and after signing some paperwork, he went first. There is very little to learn if you are doing the tandem flight; about all you have to do is RUN off the cliff directly into the air. Alex takes care of everything and is very confident and reassuring. I watched from above and saw them turn into little specks by the time they reached ground (about 15 minutes). It took awhile for them to disassemble and make the drive back up, and then it was my turn.

I am pretty afraid of heights, and debated with myself for a long while about whether I was actually going to do it or not, right up to the last minute. My joints (knees) are not in great shape and I was a little worried about whether they could handle the rocky terrain off the cliff, but in the final analysis I shut my eyes and ran! It only took about two steps before I was running in the air - I didn't have time to scream. Before I knew it, I had my eyes open and was absolutely marvelling at the view and the sensation of being airborne. It was AMAZING. Alex said afterwards that he enjoys taking nervous fliers the most because they end up loving it the most. I can totally see where that would be true. It certainly was for me. After a little bit, he showed me how to turn and let me fly myself (I'm guessing he let me think that, anyway). And after that he asked if I wanted to do some *tricks* like stalling and rolling. Of course, I said yes - it was exciting and the first stall was the only time I actually did scream. It was like tipping from the top of a roller coaster, really fun. I was kind of disappointed to have to set down, finally, but it was worth every penny we paid and then some. I still can't believe I found the gumption to do it, but if I can, then anyone can. I enjoyed the ride back to the top; Alex and Jeff were both super nice and offered a lot of great advice about other local sights and adventures.

About the only downside is that after it was over, my son stated that he is now ready to try sky-diving (over my dead body)!

By the way, if you've ever tried hang-gliding over the dunes at Kitty Hawk, you should know this is NOTHING at all like that (which is pretty low over the ground and a lot more work climbing the dunes over and over lugging around the glider). If you are weighing whether or not to try hang-gliding with Thermal Sky Sports, give it a try. You won't be sorry. But use the restroom before you get there - there are no facilities. Oh, and don't forget the sunscreen, the Nevada sun is hot and you will be outside for a couple of hours. Have fun!!


6  Thank A_Traveller_from_NJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 16, 2011

Undoubtedly one of the most exciting things I've ever done, and I consider myself pretty adventurous! My boyfriend and I had been wanting to hang glide for a couple years now and the perfect opportunity presented itself via a Groupon deal, so we each booked the Tandem Hang-Gliding Flight with Picture Package and one Introductory Lesson.

The one thing I would recommend if you live out of state and are planning on booking a hang-gliding flight while visiting Reno is to give yourself a few days just in case the weather doesn't cooperate. Luckily, we were in town for a week, and even though we booked to fly on a Tuesday, wintry weather decided to stick around a little longer so conditions didn't permit us to fly until Friday. Alex, the owner and pilot, did a tremendous job of keeping us informed of how the weather was looking throughout the week so we could plan accordingly. He is extremely easy to get in touch with via phone and email so we were never left to wonder what was going on and knew he had our safety in mind at all times.

The tandem flight itself was the neatest feeling - very surreal, calm, yet exhilirating all at once. You really do feel like a bird in free flight, and it's an experience I don't believe you can duplicate elsewhere. Alex is incredibly friendly and patient and takes the time to go over all the basics and safety as needed until you feel comfortable, and once we were flying, we didn't have a worry in the world. Just enjoy the flight to the fullest because by the time you start descending, you realize you never want it to end. :)

For anyone who may be afraid of heights or just the idea of hang-gliding, Alex is an extremely experienced pilot who has flown all over the world (his stories are amazing), and my boyfriend and I both felt completely safe on our respective flights with him. There's nothing better than flying with someone who not only has so much skill and experience, but is also passionate about and loves what he does. Oh, and I can't forget to mention how awesome the pictures turned out! Alex mounts a camera on one of the hang glider's bars which takes pictures every 10 seconds or so, and the views it produces are superbly cool and unique!

Due to some afternoon plans we had already made, along with the weather not holding up, we weren't able to do our introductory lesson that day, but needless to say, we cannot wait until we get the chance to go back to Reno, take our lesson with Alex, and add to our newfound joy and appreciation for hang gliding!

2  Thank ninjess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 16, 2011

"Stepping off of Slide Mountain"-with Alex on his hang glider, was an experience that my wife says she will never forget. Alex and Jeff met us up on Slide mountain at 8 AM one day last week.
We had to wait for a while for the clouds to clear, but before long, my wife was "stepping out
with Alex", right off that mountain side and into the clear cool air. Snow capped mountains added an additional backdrop to what was already a spectacular view.
We were very pleased with our experience with Alex. He did a great job staying in touch with
us from the time we booked until we met on the mountain. Thanks again.

Thank Packerdan14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 25, 2011

My girlfriend bought her and I solo lessons for hang gliding for my birthday. She spent over $300 on lessons that promised:

Ground Towing – multiple low and slow flights it makes learning how to fly the glider easy, as you progress the pilot starts getting towed higher and higher!
Training hill lessons – After learning how to fly the glider ground towing we go to the training hill for more air time!
Tandem training – The student takes a tandem hang gliding discovery flight with the instructor gets hands on flying with real time feedback by the instructor!
Solo soaring – Solo flying with radio assistance!

We did not get any time being towed in the air, the guy didn't even turn the tow machine on, he just said it's something they do sometimes but not today.

We went on the "training hill" which was a weed ridden 8 foot tall berm, however all we did was run down it over and over with a glider resting on our shoulders. I was told by the instructor that students only get off the ground on their second or third lesson, another $160 per person if you have a student ID, otherwise it's $180 per person.

There was no tandem flight, in fact the entire 4 hour session our feet never left the ground.

There was no solo flying, as I said there was no flying at all.

All that I took away from the day was how to assemble and break down a hang glider (the instructor made my girlfriend and I do it), and some very sore shoulders from carrying the glider around for 3 of the 4 hours. To top it off, my girlfriend spoke with the owner about the experience and his solution was to refund her $20 per person, so instead of wasting $320, she would have only wasted $280. I would NEVER recommend this company to anyone.

11  Thank davidkephart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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