alps

Red Bull X-Alps – briefly mentioned yesterday, more in-depth today

Another challenging extreme adventure race to keep an eye on… The Red Bull X-Alps (redbull). Thirty of the world’s best endurance athletes and paragliding pilots, specially selected for their skills, stamina and guts will be invited to take part in the 2011 event.

The race begins in Salzberg, Austria and finishes in Monaco in the South of France – from the mountains to the Med.

In between are eight turnpoints in Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France that force the participants through 864km of treacherous mountain terrain.

The athletes can either fly with their paraglider or hike, carrying their equipment with them. The race goes on day and night, sun or snow, until the first pilot reaches goal.

Motorised transport is absolutely forbidden apart from a back-up supporter (only one) who can help provide food, equipment and information. However, your paraglider, harness, rescue parachute, helmet, emergency signal rocket, reflector belt and tracking device stays with you  at all times and are not  allowed to hitch a ride with your supporter!

There are a few more rules and regulations that competitors need to be aware of:

  • Athletes may chose any route they like, but must pass all turnpoints.
  • Each athlete has only one supporter to look after them.
  • Travel through tunnels that connect valleys are prohibited.
  • International Visual Flight Rules (VFR) air regulations must be obeyed.
  • The race stops 48 hours after the winner arrives in goal.

Chrigel Maurer and supporter Thomas Theurillat (Team SUI3) made an unbeatable team in the 2009 event taking the lead early on and completing the race in under 10 days. They will undoubtably be the team to beat in 2011. Although Chrigel claims that it was a rather nice relaxed adventure for he and his supporter he did admit that “we have never been as exhausted as during the final days of the race and we had to learn to deal with that.”

On July 27th 2010 applications for the world’s toughest adventure race opened, and budding athletes have until September 30th (2010) to register their intent to participate. The Red Bull X-Alps 2011 will be the fifth edition.

Potential athletes must prove to a selection committee that they have outstanding paragliding skills, top-level endurance and extensive Alpine experience. Only 30 athletes will be chosen to participate in the 864km race, which begins in Salzburg on July 17, 2011.

Applications must be made via the newly re-launched official website, www.redbullxalps.com.

Good luck with your applications… We’d love to know if you were successful.

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