In my first blog entry "Paragliding in Winter" I tried to give a picture of how I can do my job as a paragliding test pilot also in winter.
The theme of this blog is again winter. Currently I am in preparations for the Red Bull X-Alps, the toughest paragliding race in the world, which will take place in June 2023. The Red Bull X-Alps is a hike & fly race that originally went from Salzburg across the Alps to Monaco. This year's route starts for the first time from Kitzbühel and goes through Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy and then ends in Zell am See, Austria. Around 30 athletes will try to be the fastest. In some cases, they will fly distances of over 150 km, run 100 km a day and overcome thousands of meters of altitude. I will tell you more about this incredible race in a next blog entry.
Here you will find out how my training looks like at the moment and in which elements I am on the road.
The preparations for the big adventure X-Alps actually started more than five years ago. At that time, I started to dream about participating in this race. Over the last few years, I have been doing more and more training in this direction, trying to improve my skills and techniques. As the days became shorter and the nights longer, I focused mainly on muscle building around the joints. During the competition I will have to walk several kilometers a day, which demands a lot from my body. This means that I have to prepare my weak points as well as possible for the big efforts.
Normally I often train in winter with a light pack on touring skis. However, since the snow conditions were very poor this winter, everything looked a bit different. So on my tours I often carried my paraglider up to the summit. In the upper altitudes I enjoyed the powder snow on my skis, as soon as there was not enough snow I unpacked my paraglider and flew down to the valley. Launching to fly with the skis is very easy and on the valley floor you can land even on little snow. So I saved myself the tedious meters of altitude with little snow.
Flying down with a small paraglider and skis is called speedriding. This sport looks very spectacular because you fly or ski very low over the ground at high speed. In winter, when the air masses are cool and calm, you can estimate the turbulence well, so the sport becomes more predictable. Nevertheless, at speeds of up to 100/kmh, you can't afford to make any mistakes. The feeling when "riding" is like riding on a roller coaster, which I can control myself.
I feel at home in the element of air, and combining this with the element of earth during speedriding is a special experience for me every time.
Kandersteg is an ice climbing Mecca and my home. I discovered ice climbing for myself not so long ago. I find the way you move up over the frozen wet very fascinating. This sport is also a perfect training for the way towards Red Bull X-Alps. On the one hand it's quite a body workout, but on the other hand it's also a workout for the psyche. During the competition I will often have to make decisions under stress, where I have to rely 100% on myself and my team. To have all the possibilities to train right in front of my door is a great privilege, which I appreciate very much.
Soon the snow will give way to the sun, and I can tell you more about my Hike & Fly trainings for the Red Bull X-Alps.
Stay tuned and see you soon.