Official xalps blog (courtesy Louis Tapper): kiwiparagliding.co.nz
About paragliding in the mountains
A wing that fits in a backpack. Ready to fly in minutes and the possibility to find your own launch and make several flights in a day. With an understanding of the weather and good wing handling skills you can use natural sources of lifting air to travel far and fast through the mountains. Multi day mountain adventure trips known as vol biv (fly camp) are possible for physically fit, well equipped, and experienced pilots.
The X Alps is a by invitation race across the European Alps by foot and paraglider. Every two years selected athletes are chosen to compete in a non stop autonomous race across and along the length of the Alps to finish in Monaco. Since 2003 it has evolved into a very demanding competition between high calibre entrants. Xalps has captured the imagination of adventurous pilots and become legendary in the paragliding community, as well as attracting the attention of a wider audience.
Red Bull manages and promotes the event while athletes and their supporters are responsible for their own preparations and strategy.
Red Bull has provided information about the xalps audience demographic, live tracking and other race promotion, which I can forward. The race started on July 5, 2015.
- First xalps pilot to climb out from Turn Point 1 (Gaisberg). Named “the bravest one” by my girlfriend. Overtaken several kilometres down the course when landing to clear a knot in my lines. Caught up. Then it all went wrong.
- Climbing the rankings from dead last. In last place for the entire second day, a determined use of the night pass to Turn Point 4 (Lermoos Zugspitze) and some flying in difficult windy conditions got me back on track.
- Sneaking past the Matterhorn. After a booming flight covering most of Switzerland, I probed deep in the lee of high glaciated mountains to sneak through a 3600 metre col, to fly the furthest of all athletes (xalps statistics) two days in a row.
- Hiding from the wind. While other athletes were blown off their feet in the Rhone valley, I used the high mountains around Mont Blanc to forge a path by air in unlikely meteorological conditions. I love learning to understand “non-classic” days
- Best Sportsman Award. Reaching Monaco and making the top ten was terrific but the highest honour was being named the Best Sportsman – the most important thing for me was the style in which I completed the race.
|Tarquin Cooper, Red Bull (zooom) Communications: “your flight over the col video was the highest performing video from an athlete during the race by about 2,000 views and yours were some of the most popular posts.”|
- International coverage
- Local coverage in New Zealand
- Adventures published on sharemyjoys (blog, facebook, youtube)
About Nick Neynens
Born in Southland in 1982, I was introduced at an early age to the backcountry of New Zealand and have explored it and many other places around the world by foot and (since 2007) by air. Graduating in 2003 as an aerospace engineer, I spent eight years working with lighthouses and navigational aids, developing technical and management skills while seeing beautiful and remote parts of Australia. In 2013 I brought this background to Antarctica with the weather bureau where I was able to consolidate my strong interest in meteorology. I then devoted 2014 to travelling the world with my wing, including X-berg and X-pyr events and various solo trips.