MACEDONIA XC 2022
20 Years' of Excellence in organizing paragliding adventure tour worldwide
North Macedonia: Paragliding XC heaven.
The southern part of North Macedonia delivers amazing paraglider XC
potential, easy to understand weather, huge grassy take-offs, and
bountiful land-out opportunities
Paragliding XC adventure enthusiasts, welcome aboard the “Curious
Goat” 2022 Macedonian XC Adventure Tour.
Tour start. 10am July 23rd 2022 Skopje Airport Macedonia
Tour end. 4pm August 3rd 2022 Skopje Airport Macedonia
Flying area for the tour
The main area we’ll be exploring is the middle south west part of Nth Macedonia. It’s home to the
biggest flat-land area in the Nth Macedonia called Pelagonia Valley with the main cities of Prilep and
Bitola. Surrounding this flat land area to the north, west and east are three independent mountain chains. The Pelagonia valley runs south to Greece and is thus influenced by the mild Mediterranean climate.
July-August is the best time of the year with thermal activity starting at about 10am and going through to 5pm or so. At this time of year, it typically rains about 4 times per month (usually short sharp showers) so like neighbouring Greece, it’s quite dry.
While the main launch of Krushevo faces NE, and the prevailing winds are north-west, it’s very rare to be shut down by winds over the back as strong wind are generally not a problem here. Local anabatic east winds set up in the morning providing exceptionally dependable flying conditions for the main launch and along the mountain chain through the morning. As the north wind feeds into the flat lands later, permanent thermic cycles become established. Weather there is easy to understand and predict.
See images from ThermicMap.com which show the amazing potential of the Krushevo area in Macedonia. You don’t need to go very far to find a thermal in Macedonia.
This trip is open to all pilots but you’ll gain the most out of the tour if you are competent with your inflations/launches (both forward and reverse) and have some inland thermalling experience, although the latter isn’t a prerequisite. The launches we plan to use are mostly large and grassy (some Astroturf). There should be the potential to go XC every day, but as with all of our tours it’s really up to you when (and if) you launch and when you decide to land. Generally, whilst it is thermic, the conditions are very friendly and accessible for low-air-timers.
Nth Macedonia (and particularly the Krushevo area) is a very popular location for paragliding. This makes finding thermals as easy as looking for other pilots circling. But it also brings with it the need to stay vigilant (particularly close to launch) for other gliders in your thermal. Once you’ve left the immediate launch area, things become much easier. Where conditions and time allow, we will try to do some evening soaring flights (as long as you’re not too worn out from your big day of XC flying). The flying arenas in Nth Macedonia have lots of big flat easy landing options.
In this tour we will cover
Learn to assess general and site specific weather conditions.
Choose the best launch, choose the best launch time.
Plan a route based on the prevailing and expected conditions.
Learn to read conditions during the flight to make the most of your day.
Following drifting thermals.
When is a thermal worth sticking to.
Watching and looking.
When to leave.
XC flying techniques
Use your instrument.
Speed to fly.
High ground v Flatlands.
Getting to Macedonia
When booking your flights to Macedonia, please book flights to arrive at Skopje (Macedonia’s main airport) no later than 9am on July 20th 2022, and plan your departing flight no earlier than noon on July 30th to qualify for free airport transfers. If you arrive in Nth Macedonia prior to July 20th, you will need to make your own way from the airport to the city (about 20min taxi ride). We plan to collect everyone from the airport and travel direct to Krushevo, so if you are in the Skopje you will need to make your way back to the airport for collection on July 20th We will drop you off at the airport at the conclusion of the tour. If you wish to depart earlier than noon on July 30th, please let us know when booking Please wait for your booking to be accepted before booking flights. Please also let us know your proposed flight times BEFORE booking those flights. If you do want to spend an extra day or two in Skopje at the beginning or end of your trip. Again, please get in touch if that is your preference.
Pre Tour Paragliding Skills
Preparation Ground handle, Launch Practice, Flying currency. The top pilots in the world spend hours every month playing with their wings…on the ground! The happier you are with your ground handling, the better you will understand your wing (e.g. pitch, roll, yaw and pressure control), the safer will be your launches, the safer will be your landings and the safer you will be in the air. Those pilots good at ground handling also tend to spend less time “stuffing up” their launches and so tend to spend more time in the air. They also tend to be the more confident on launch and can therefore concentrate on the flying!! To maximise your safety and the safety of those in your proximity and to maximise your enjoyment – ground handle, practice launching, fly as much as you can.
Arrival in Macedonia
After clearing customs (a very simple process) you will exit into the main airport lounge where there is a seating area, which is where we’ll be waiting to welcome you. If you arrive early, find cash points, toilets and cafés and telco’s selling SIM cards in the waiting area.
Temperatures during the daytime are usually warm (above 30°C) on the plains but can be a bit chilly when you get up to base.
We will be staying in the magical mountain town and living museum of Krushevo. (BTW, there are numerous ways of spelling Krushevo, Kusevo, Krusevo and some other Macedonian spellings that are way too hard to write here).
By far the best hotel in town is the Hotel Montana Palace. It’s a fantastic hotel and most rooms have awesome views of Krushevo and is our recommendation for an excellent stay. Pilot can choose to stay elsewhere in town if either the Montana Place is booked out or you choose to stay elsewhere. Please let us know when you make your booking. And remember that the earlier you book, the better your chance is of getting the accommodation you want.
For most of the flying we’ll be using the local sites (located an easy ten minutes from the Hotel!). These are the best and most reliable sites in Macedonia. But we also want to see a little bit of Macedonia so we also hope to visit some other sites, for example, the site at Treskavec (Mount Zlato) and Lake Ohrid.
Lake Ohrid is without doubt one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe. Here, pilots regularly achieve XC flights along the mountains running north-south on the west lake-facing slopes.
Mount Zlato is home to another great site, where a recently paved road takes us all the way to the 1422m launch right next to the 13th-century Treskavec Monastery. It’s a great evening site and just across the valley from Krusevo.
We require you to have insurance that covers repatriation. Please make sure that your insurance is valid for Macedonia and of course that paragliding is covered! Please bring insurance documents with you. You will not be allowed to fly without proof of insurance!
Our recommended hotel accommodation is the Hotel Montana Palace. This is by far the best accommodation in Krushevo both in terms of standard of accommodation as well as the amazing views of the town nestled in the valley below. Breakfast is included in the price of the accommodation. The hotel also has amazingly fast free wifi throughout. Rooms available are twin share or singles. We leave it to the tour guests to choose their level of accommodation. We will supply you with all the details on the accommodation when your booking is received.
The Macedonian currency is the dinar. There are about 40 Dinar to the $AUD. Probably the easiest and usually the most cost effective way of obtaining local currency is via an ATM at Skopje airport on arrival. There are also ATMs in in the town of Kruhsevo. Prices for food and beer are generally half (or less) the prices found in Australia.
Safety and Medical Facilities
Safety is our absolute priority. We continually assess flying conditions in our passionate endeavour to keep you as safe as possible. However, please understand that although we will do all we can to ensure your safety, you should know your own level of ability and as a qualified pilot when it comes to flying understand that it is your decision to fly, and yours alone!
Ensure you bring all your medications with you on the tour as it is hard to obtain specialist medications in Macedonia.
You will need to bring the following:
• Passport (most people don’t need a visa but please check here)
• Paragliding insurance (required if you want to fly!) Bring insurance documents with you!!
• Certified wing.
• Certified harness with fitted and recently re-packed reserve parachute.
• Paragliding helmet.
• Sturdy flying shoes/boots.
• UHF Radio
We also recommend you bring the following:
• Mobile telephone You can get a Macedonian SIM at the airport without any problems.
• Sunscreen – It will probably be warm and sunny during the day!
• Sun-glasses – It will be sunny during the day!
• Hat – It will probably be warm and sunny during the day!
• Summer clothing – It will probably be warm and sunny during the day!
• Warm clothing for flying. It can get quite chilly up at cloud-base. It can also get a little cool in
the evenings in the town of Krushevo.
• Vario – very useful paragliding tool
• GPS – another very useful paragliding tool though not essential.
• Camera – Great photos assured.
• Personal locator device. (SPOT, In Reach etc). Not essential but useful
What’s included in your tour:
• Transfers from Skopje Airport to Krushevo
• Transport from the Krushevo to whichever flying site is used each day.
• Bombout retrieves. The timing of your retrieve will be dependant on the number of pilots who are
flying and the number and locaton of the others who are needing retrieves. (It’s relatively easy to
catch a ride back up to launch if our bus is busy gathering up others)
• Transport to other sites during the tour. (some of these other sites may require a walk up as the
bus is only 2WD)
• Morning briefing to discuss XC strategies for the day.
• Assistance and coaching with XC flying during the day. (The amount of “in-air” coaching and
assistance will depend on your location relative to the instructor)
• XC retrievals.
• Evening debrief
• Transfer Krushevo to Skopje airport.
What’s not included:
• Accommodation (A double room at the Hotel Montana Palace is around 35 Euro per night which
includes a very good buffet breakfast)
• Food (A very good traditional Macedonian dinner in town can be bought for around 13 Euro)
• Flying equipment.
• Lift passes, tourist attraction entry fees, side trips other than those conducted with our tour bus.