X-Alps 2017 route


Right now in the lead up to the 2017 Red Bull X-Alps, my facebook feed is starting to get busy with posts from athletes reconnoitring the new route. Most are heading over early to get several weeks of flying under their belt. Myself I’m arriving only days before the latest allowed arrival, and I have never flown the (z-alps, or zeno) wing I’ve selected to fly for the race – hopefully it will arrive from Ozone soon! As Honza (past USA competitor and meteorologist) says, “you can’t brute force your way through the xalps, you have to think your way through” – there are many ways I can prepare myself mentally.

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Choosing a new wing

The objective is to get a good deal on the best wing available – for the purposes of the 2017 edition of the Red Bull X-Alps, and vol biv thereafter. As such I need to be confident on the wing, it needs to be suitable for a wide range of conditions and situations, and it should be a joy to fly.

Nick Neynens (NZL)

Monaco 16th July 2015 © zooom.at/Kelvin Trautman

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New Zealand multisport

New Zealand is not known for its reliable weather. After two amazing summers the norwester returned to dominate. There was a treasured handful of good long flights but if you didn’t have anything else to do, times could have been tough with only one decent cross country during my last fortnight (first half of January 2017). Still, I love the fact that I can put down my wings and be a mountain goat for a day, or take the pack raft and float down rivers. Flying is still the choice way to get around though, and a few encounters with the wind resulted in a scary wave flight and a ride on the “yellow glider”.

Kea in very strong winds

Kea in strong winds

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Last week of 2016 in New Zealand

Some rain today so a chance to catch up on sleep at last – it’s been a pretty hectic first week of my summer holiday in New Zealand.

Shadows in the Shotover

Shadows in the Shotover

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No train no pain

I wrote this nearly two years ago in the lead up to my debut xalps (2015), but decided it was too controversial to publish! So many people would ask me about my training and then give me a really worried look when hearing my response. Losing any sense of humility after a good run last xalps, and not seeing much change to my attitudes since, here it is…

This blog is supposed to be about the adventures I have flying in the mountains, but since being accepted, the xalps has never been far from my mind. When I’m introduced as the crazy xalps guy the first thing I am invariably asked about is my training. In time I’ll whittle down the word count of my response to save my breath, but here is the long answer to what I think about training – without mentioning that horrible word again until the conclusion of the article.


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