Xalps 2015 race diary – part 3

After a great flight across Switzerland I was no longer calculating whether I was on track to reach Monaco before the July 17th deadline – France was just around the corner. With a great weather forecast I was in a good position and things were going really well.


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Xalps 2015 race diary – part 2

Continuing on from the initial German / Austrian segment of the race, where I was silly enough to give the Europeans a big head start, I had a lot of catching up to do. With a bit more airtime I started to climb up the rankings.

Turn points 4-7

Turn points 4-7


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Xalps 2015 race diary – part 1

Author Nick Neynens (NZL) during the Red Bull X-Alps preparations at Zwoelferhorn, Austria on June 28th 2015 © zooom.at/Harald Tauderer

Author Nick Neynens (NZL) during the Red Bull X-Alps pre-race © zooom.at/Harald Tauderer

What a fantastic opportunity to be the first New Zealander to compete in the xalps, the pinnacle of hike and fly. A truly exciting format that I’ve been a fan of since I first found out about paragliding and its immense potential to independently explore the mountains. I’ve always loved sharing my experiences with friends and the public but xalps was different in that it was a team event, with my official supporter Louis Tapper remarking that it had become a bigger thing than just “put on your boots and go”. Nevertheless it was fundamental for me to forge my own style and complete a race that I could be proud of, particularly as I regard the event not as a competition but as a spectacle. I had an amazing adventure racing all over the Alps over ten days and of course there are some stories to tell. Continue reading

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A few flights in Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe was my little holiday before we went to the Alps for the month of preparation for the xalps. Tough life I know. Spring (May) offered some unstable weather as it usually does and we also were travelling around of course but I had a few really good flights where I got a good look at the countryside. The first was around Musala, the highest peak in Bulgaria (I came back the following day – why not?), the second in Vratsa (the first day we visited a cave but I had to return to fly), and finally the Polish Tatras (an absolutely brilliant day along the high peaks, one of my best ever flights, followed by a quick jaunt before storms rolled in).

Hike and fly Musala, Bulgaria

Hike and fly Musala, Bulgaria

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Vol biv in the Indian Himalaya

It’s been a tough pre-monsoon season in the Indian Himalaya. The weathergeek has reported rainfall of three times the average and for more than a week we struggled to get any flying in between thunderstorms. On the bright side, all the rain meant the visibility was the best I’d ever seen – although still poor by New Zealand standards! Initially intending to spend only a few days in Bir before setting out east to vol biv towards Nepal approximately 400km away, we kept delaying our departure date. Bryan was the motivating force behind the project and noted that we could fly in the hours before the afternoon rain, but he was the only one with a tent – Glen and I weren’t really enthused with our bivvy bags. Toby had been persuaded to join in but when the good weather finally came he was in bed sick and we could only delay our departure by one more day – we’d waited long enough, and Glen only had a couple of days before he had to return to work. So we set out finally with good weather forecast for a few days starting on 9 April 2015.

Bir, all too familiar - our final morning

Bir, all too familiar – our final morning

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