Soaring is flying in gliders. Gliders are aircraft with fixed wings (like an airplane) but no motor. They fly because the wind flowing over the wings creates lift.
A typical flight involves being towed aloft behind a powered airplane. The tow usually drops you off 3,000 feet above the airport. Once released from the tow plane, the glider flies at around 45 to 65 miles per hour through the air. It is completely controllable just like a regular airplane. The only difference is that it is slowly descending the entire time it flies.
Always descending... unless you can find lift and use it to climb! Lift can be thermal (a column of warm air rising - the warmth is usually caused by the sun hitting a dark object on the ground, such as a stand of trees, a parking lot, a roof) or orographic (caused by the wind flowing across terrain features, such as hills, mountains, slopes, or ridges).
When a glider pilot finds thermal lift (the only common kind in our area of Connecticut), he circles around in an attempt to stay inside the column of rising air. It is possible to get off of tow at 3,000 feet, find lift, climb to 7,500 feet, descend, find more lift, climb, etc. for upwards of six hours if conditions are ideal! My personal record is a flight of 2.5 hours on a good thermaling day at Springfield, Vermont.
Nutmeg Soaring Association, New Milford, CT
Other soaring locations: