Jeff Shapiro

Do you have a nickname that you go by?

Where do you live?
Missoula, Montana. USA

What do you do for work?
Professional climber / Pilot

What year, and how old were you when you started flying?
I started flying hang gliders in 1993 when I was a 17 year old punk kid, and paragliding in 2010.

Did a family member introduce you to paragliding? Does anyone else in your family fly?
I was introduced to flying by a climbing friend.  Neither my parents, nor my brother flies but, after being married to a pilot for 25 years, my wife just learned and loves it.

What other passions do you have, or activities do you enjoy?
Climbing rock, ice and in the greater ranges has been a lifelong love affair.  I also spent a decade devoted to wing suit BASE jumping and along with paragliding, am fascinated by all forms of human flight.  Additionally, I love to whitewater kayak and as a falconer, hunt with falcons and hawks.

Why is flying important to you, and what does flying mean to you?
It opens my perspective and allows for humility and gratitude to help me choose happiness.  I also love that it’s a never ending opportunity to experience and learn. Having a beginners mind before each and every flight, even after almost 30 years of flying, keeps my hunger and fascination with flying as strong as ever.

Flying accomplishment
It’s so hard to quantify the word “accomplishment”.  After competing full time in a hang glider for several years, representing the U.S. in both the ‘09 and ‘11 world championships, I didn’t have much interest in competing in my paraglider.  I was lucky enough to win the serial class at the ‘18 PanAms in a Zeno and although fun, have been more interested in adventure flying.  I competed in the ‘18 X-Pyr, did a 21 day VolBiv across the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) north of the arctic circle in Alaska’s Brooks Range but, one of my prouder and lesser known “accomplishments” has been to help form the Cloudbase Foundation and through freeflight, help communities with things like clean water, education and medication, around the world.

Do you have any goals, dreams or plans for the next 1-2 years that you want to share?
I’m currently planning new VolBiv adventures, which will also involve a lightweight packraft, in Alaska.  Soon after, I’ll be returning to Mongolia to try again on a VolBiv line that will take us from the high mountains to the desert.  I couldn’t be more inspired about both of these trips.

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