Canaan Valley Site Guide


{Last Updated: Jan 2024}


Minimum Rating: P2

Site Direction: SW

Flyable Directions: WNW to SSW

Glide Slope to main LZ: about 5.2:1

Vertical:  1400’

Type of Launch: Grassy steep slope in medium slot

Type of LZ:  Grass field

Soarable: Ridge, thermal


Location: At top of the Canaan Valley Ski lift

Turnaround: Time: 20 Min drive

Launch Coordinates: 38.999001, -79.434348

Parking at launch: Unlimited at Ski Resort

Parking at landing zone: 10 cars near Church

Owner Launch: Canaan Valley Resort State Park

Owner LZ: David Miller

Setup/Breakdown: launch unlimited /LZ unlimited


WARNING: The descriptions of typical flying conditions listed in this site guide reflect the experience of the authors of the guide. The conditions that you encounter at the site may differ, sometimes substantially, from those encountered by the authors. The descriptions of their experiences may not be relevant to the likely experience of any other pilot, particularly one who is relatively inexperienced or new to the site.

A decision to launch is always that of the individual pilot. When deciding whether or not to fly, a pilot may wish to take into account the descriptions in this site guide but must also consider numerous other factors including the pilot's training and experience, familiarity with the site, equipment, physical and mental condition and the specific weather conditions in existence at the time of the decision along with what the conditions may change to.


  USHPA membership required.

  Seek a site introduction and walk the LZ to be sure you understand the preferred landing approach.

  Ball up your glider and move off the LZ as soon as possible. 

  Be aware of severe sink if the wind is from east of south.  Fly out of the slot before getting into your harness!


Emergency Help

       Canaan Valley Fire Department  (304) 866-7450

       Canaan Valley Resort State Park (304) 866-4121



Directions to Site

       Rt 32. Look for the Canaan Valley State Park, Ski Hill

General Description


The Canaan Valley State Park paragliding site is located atop the Canaan Valley Ski Hill. The site is accessed via the ski lift by purchasing a single lift ticket. A view from the launch is shown below.



First Flight Preparation

Before the first flight, new or visiting pilots must get an in-person site briefing and walk the LZ to identify various potential issues and obtain an explanation of the landing approach.

Acceptable Flying Conditions

The Canaan Valley Launch faces SW and is flyable from WNW to S wind directions. Thermal activity can be present starting mid-day. This site is acceptable for pilots with a P2 rating and have sufficient experience with thermic conditions.


The normal wind speeds for flyable days are between 4 to 15 mph. The site allows for both ridge soaring and thermalling and is known for good glass off conditions. Weak gusts may exist as mild thermals pass through. Flying is not recommended if gusts are higher than 10 mph differential.


Launch can be very turbulent on a West cross due to the spine to the right of launch.


The launch is surrounded by tall trees and is considered a typical East Coast slot launch.


The LZ is open. The site allows for an S-pattern landing path into the prevailing wind direction and when with enough altitude a standard airport approach landing is recommended. The site is within glide of launch. If a pilot encounters sinking air, two bail out landing zones are available on the way to the primary LZ.



The site can have spectators due to the ski lift and the Red Creek Valley overlook located adjacent to launch.  The spectator area is plainly segregated from the launch. As a result, spectators do not conflict with pilots.

Glider Control

Pilots are advised to have their wings balled up with their harness on top of it when not in use. Space is available for only one wing to spread out and launch at the site.


At the LZ the pilots should take their wing to the side and pack it up.


Site Images


A view from the Canaan Valley Launch is shown below.  




Engineering drawing

Description automatically generated with low confidence


Recommended Landing Approach

Do figure’s 8 or S-ing is depending upon altitude. If enough altitude, proceed to the E side of the field for a Standard aircraft approach landing. Otherwise, you may proceed to the center of the field for an aircraft landing approach.


The recommended landing location is at the East end of the field adjacent to the Church.


Hiking Up info

If the ski lifts are not in operation (or if you prefer), you may walk up to the takeoff area. The standard route for hiking up is to follow the jeep road up to the launch area.