weather tools for paragliding

When will the weather be good to fly?

On this page we have gathered some resources that local pilots use to make their paragliding decisions. There are sections with global, regional and local tools. The latter specifically for Zell am See Kaprun. For our current judgement based on these tools read our blog.

  1. What weather do we need for paragliding in the Alps?

    Good visibility all the way to the landing site. No rain or snow except a very light drizzle. Wind speeds between 0 and 35kmh. Wind not too gusty. No dangerous specific dangerously misleading local wind systems like strong Föhn etc.. That’s all.

  2. Where can I find the current windspeed at the Austrian high mountain weather stations?

    Check this page of ZAMG. Example below.

  3. What paragliding app is the best the evaluate wind speeds?

    Burnair is definitively the best app for paragliders. It shows the current wind and wind gusts for all stations on a map plus a graph with a log of the last 24 hours. Browser location of Burnair is here. App download here. Example image:

  4. Which webcam in Zell am See Kaprun shows the wind speed at Schmittenhöhe?

    It’s the big high resolution webcam on this page. Wind speed in the right bottom corner. Example:

  5. Where can I find the so called Föhn diagrams for Austria?

    Here the current Föhn diagrams for Switzerland and West-Austria

    Pressure difference between Lugano en Zürich

    Pressure difference between Bolzano and Innsbruck

  6. How should I interpret the Föhn diagrams and the danger of Föhn?

    The calculated pressure gradient in hectopascals (hPa) between Lugano and Zurich and Bolzano and Innsbruck, respectively, based on the MOS data from the ECMWF model is illustrative of the flow over the Alpine main ridge. If the gradient is negative – a higher pressure in Zurich than in Lugano, then we have Nordföhn or Nordstau. In the opposite case, we have the classic Föhn from the south. The intensity of the Föhn increases with the pressure gradient.

    Practice shows that only from 4 hPa the strong winds also break down into the valleys in the Alps. From 8 hPa we see the Föhn also breaking through into the surrounding low areas. The calculation was done using model output statistics (MOS) by Meteomedia and is refreshed every hour.

    Note: sometimes you have a kind of “mock Föhn” in the diagram when a deep depression moves over Europe. The pressure gradient is then not due to the regional thrust against the mountains but comes from the large-scale weather system. Thus, if there are strong westerly winds along the main ridge with a depression in central Germany, you can still have a high result of the Föhn diagram. In that case one does not have to fear the sudden increase of the wind at lower altitudes so much. All situations must be judged locally. Generalizing too much makes no sense.