Red Bull X-Alps 2017 – Episode 9 Matterhorn

The main obstacle on day 12 was to cross over the highest part of the Alps and tag the iconic Matterhorn turn point on the way. Taking off early to ensure I was in the game, I had to land in the Matter tal (valley) and wait a little before having another go, carefully making sure I found a thermal to avoid the valley full of cables. Tagging the Matterhorn went well from there but I wasn’t lucky enough to cross the divide in the air, so Pal (HUN) and Basti (GER1) got a lead on me as I walked over flattish wet snow in the midday sun back to the Italian border. From there I was poised to fly back into France. 

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Red Bull X-Alps 2017 – Episode 8 Italian lakes

Day 10, hiking to regain the 1000 metres I’d just lost in the air

On day ten (yes, a rather long race this year), I needed to put some points on the board after the hit and miss diversion of my northern sojourn. I slept alone at a mountain hut, waking up in time to position myself to fly literally as the 6am curfew opened. I wasn’t waiting for thermals anymore, and in fact it felt quite good to be on the move.

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Southeast Queensland and the NSW border ranges

Looking back to Lamington and Border ranges national parks

Ten years after learning to fly in Canungra and I’ve come back to the nest. Lately I’ve been spoilt by mountain flying and exploring new places, and I’ve turned my nose up at flying the same tired old sites over a rather flat country. But having a fresh look at the map, I’ve realised there is some interesting country around, and living in Sydney it is very accessible for me to nip up for a few days here and there between shifts. See the 8 minute video, triangle flight on xcontest, doarama

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Red Bull X-Alps 2017 – Episode 7 northern sojourn

Up high bright and early, day 8

Day 8 and 9 saw me take a large detour, some kind of nostalgia for the 2015 route perhaps. Initially, on day 7, I drifted north off the route because I could not stay on the route without landing early (in the end storm outflow got me anyway). This route added distance, risk and weather dependence, but it also made things more interesting. In hindsight the weather was better suited to glides than thermalling, and I spent a significant amount of time waiting on a hillside while other athletes made steady progress along the course line past Sondrio, to my south. Eight minute video with subtitles

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Red Bull X-Alps 2017 – Episode 6 Garda

Brenta 🙂 #redbullxalps

A post shared by Nick Neynens (@nneynens) on

Day 7 saw me fly from the high cliffs of the Dolomites out to the Mediterranean air of Lago di Garda (the Monte Baldo turn point 5), and back into the deep mountains with the epic ridges and green lichen rock slabs of the Adamello massif. It was a classic X-Alps day with a variety of challenges and obstacles – time urgency ahead of building valley winds, scraping into land just above the bush line, delicate flying in some sections and just holding on in others, a beautifully stratified airmass and spectacular storms not so distant.
See the 9 minute video with subtitles

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