The Gratte Ciel Club



The Gratte Ciel  Club is a non-profit association created on July 21, 1987. Affiliated with the French Federation of Free Flight (FFVL) and approved by the Ministry of Youth and Sport (Agreement #3374), our goal is to promote the practice of free flight (paragliding, speed riding) for all in the Chamonix valley.

The Gratte Ciel Club is run by a board of directors, elected for two years, composed of 7 members, including a president, a treasurer and a secretary.

The current management office consists of:

    Nicolas SAVALLE: President
    ????: Secretary
    ???: Treasurer

The club has around 240 members, 90% of whom are licensed to the FFVL.

For many of us, the only relationship we have with a club is the renewal of the annual licence. It is this observation that motivated the "Skyscrapers" team to assume our responsibilities both towards practitioners and administrative bodies.

Site management (take-offs and landings)
The management of the sites is the main objective of our association which received delegation of the FFVL. Indeed, without take-off or landing, there is no free flight. These are:

◊ Meet with the owners of take-offs and landings in order to obtain or maintain their authorization to use the land for the practice of free flight. It is indeed thanks to their generosity that we can practice our passion. An agreement is usually signed between the club and therefore the FFVL and the owners.

◊ Inform users of these sites through information panels, a website. The Gratte Ciel Club has also published an information brochure: Vol au Pays du Mont-Blanc, available in French and English, gathering all the information necessary for the responsible practice of Free Flight in the Pays du Mont-Blanc.

◊ Maintain landings and take-offs to provide maximum safety to pilots while respecting the environment. This can include important work such as the Plan de l'Aiguille to remove dangerous blocks and obtain a more “healthy” aerological profile, but also “routine” maintenance such as planting a bit of grass on the trampling parts. remove small stones that are dangerous for our lines, dispose of waste etc...

Most of the time, this work is done by volunteers without whom nothing would be possible. Motivated but often too few, they are unfortunately almost always the same who give their time and energy to keep the club alive.

Events & Training
Each year we organize different types of events with the aim of:

For pilots, the initiation course is the key to access our sport.
But the Formation is a permanent process and the motivation of the club was again this year to increase our effort on the driving courses. Several pilots were able to understand other areas of flight with these courses organized in collaboration with specialized schools on the shores of Lake Annecy .
Improve the theoretical or practical knowledge of club members, such as the organization of a "pilot" training course or a "pilot certificate" session

Promote and recognize our flight sites by organizing competitions or “friendly meetings”. The club has organized more than a dozen competitions including the French Paragliding Championships in 2004, Flight and Ski competitions and Speed-Riding.

Enjoy in addition to the flight by organizing Barbecues, club outings and other festivities . Pilots are looking for improvement, the club must offer them effective and playful opportunities. Especially as these outings allow to create links between the pilots themselves and participate in the development of each one.

The more experienced have the possibility to transmit their knowledge and experience ...                                                                                                                 

the novice can benefit from the experience of others.                                                               

It’s kind of our third half, where we do the flights and sometimes paragliding!


Every year we set up a reserve parachute folding session, which allows all the pilots of the club to have properly maintained equipment!


We publicize our activity through the specialized or general press such as the Dauphiné Libéré, which has been following us for many years, or through this website, our Facebook page or Newsletter (e-mail).


The competition
The "Skyscrapers" club has always had many talented pilots.


List of club drivers:

Financial means
- Membership fees: each member pays a membership fee of 20 euros, 10 euros for young people under 25.

- Grants: they are generally granted to finance specific projects such as major works, competitions etc...

- Donations: rather rare...

Material means
The club has mainly hands and feet, some neurons and a lot of motivation!

But we also have a small mazeau, located on the ground of the Bois du Bouchet and which is used to store material (banners, rakes, shovels, pads, our BBQ, drinks etc...)

We also have two tandem wings, a brand new one and a lightweight canvas for the mountains. They are used to fly people who wish to discover the joys of flight. They are driven exclusively by pilots with a «bi-place» qualification.


Paragliding was born in the 80s, and has not stopped developing since. Its success is due to its lightness and ease of implementation. The magic of paragliding is simple: you can climb to take off with your equipment that you can carry on your back, prepare (10 min maximum), take off! Once you’re down, fold the wing in the bag and go for a beer...

A few numbers:

    Weight between 3kg and 6 kg for the wing. Between 4kg and 15 kg for a complete bag: sail and harness

    Area between 20 and 30 m2 depending on the wings

    World distance record: 460 km

    Record altitude: more than 7000 m

    Climb speeds: regularly between 2m/s and 5m/s sometimes more than 10m/s.


Speed riding
Speed riding consists of flying or skiing under a small wing to follow the slopes. It is practised exclusively on off-piste areas. Sensations guaranteed!