Gliding (or soaring) is a sport based on the capacity to mantain flying a glider (sailplane), taking advantage of the aerodynamics and rising air in the athmosphere.
The gliders have no engine and should be tugged to some height. From this moment the glider is released and free, the pilot shoud use his habilities and atmospheric resources to stay airborne, ascent or land.
Basically there are three ways to stay airborne or ascent a glider:
Ridge lift: this kind of flight takes advantage of ascending air caused when the wind blows on to the sides of hills. To practice it, there have to be wind perpendicular to the hill. this flight can be done the whole year.
Thermal flight: Thermals are streams of rising air that are formed on the ground through the warming of the surface by sunlight. It is a tipical flight in spring and summer. The thermals can create cumulus clouds.
Wade lift: Typical in winter taking advantage of ascending and descending air near of big mountains, like Pyrenees.
Competition: Gliding competition are usually made during 1 or 2 weeks, each day a task. The tasks are like a race, going through prefixed points.