With the 2023 Red Bull X-Alps quickly approaching I thought it would be fun to sit down with Chrigel “The Eagle” Maurer to take a walk back through his 7 winning campaigns. No one in our sport has been and continues to be more dominant than Chrigel. He won his first X-Alps in 2009 and hasn’t lost since (2023 will be his 8th campaign). He’s won everything (many at least 3 times)- Bornes to Fly, X-Pyr, Dolomiti Superfly, EigerTour, Dolomitiman, VercoFly (which he won flying tandem too!), and of course dominated for several years on the world cup, is a test pilot for Advance, heads up the X-Alps Academy and is without rival as the best mountain pilot on Earth.
Steve Bramfitt was a rookie in the 2021 Red Bull X-Alps (GBR1) this year and had a phenomenal race, and like everyone this year- experienced plenty of harrowing and wonderful moments. In this episode we talk about his physical and mental preparation, dealing with the unknowns going into such a huge endeavor, how he assembled his team, some of the crazier (and hysterical) moments in the race, his scary accident in the UAE Hike and Fly championships and his rather nasty accident on the last full day of the X-Alps.
Ovcharov hails from Sofia, Bulgaria who’s background is in acro but he’s about as all-purpose as you can get in the realm of free flight. He’s passionate about wing suit base jumping; he just competed in the UAE Hike and Fly Championships in Dubai; he won the overall XContest this year chasing huge distance in Brazil and around the world; he competed in this year’s World Championships in Argentina and still holds the world record for Infiniti tumbling. We talk in detail about his amazing year, the art of chasing huge distance, the craziness and accidents that happened in Dubai, Chrigel’s continued amazingness, his incredibly forward-thinking 3RS acro harness, how we really can follow our dreams and a ton more.
Want to listen to some crazy stories? Eduardo Garza (Team Mex 1) competed in his second Red Bull X-Alps this year. Eduardo has also competed in two X-Pyr’s, and he’s done all of it while working full time in a very intense and demanding engineering job. Most X-Alps pilots are full time, sponsored professional athletes. Their work is flying paragliders. And most of those who do well in the race also live in and regularly compete in the Alps. How does Eduardo go about finding an edge against the best in the world given limited time and resources? Eduardo takes us well beyond the live tracking so we can see, feel, and hear about some of the madness of the 2021 race.
In all my years of flying I’ve never been so excited for a new wing to arrive. With the 2021 Red Bull X-Alps getting close I’ve been thrilled with what I’ve heard from Niviuk’s test pilots and their lead designer Olivier Nef; and the photos I’ve seen on social media have displayed an extraordinarily profile, but you never know until you have it in your hands and take her for a spin.
Laurent Borella began flying in 2001 and very quickly afterwards changed his entire life to accomodate more free flight into his world. Eleven years ago his passion for cross country and hike and fly lead him to create the VercoFly, an annual 4 day hike and fly race/adventure in the Wallis region of Switzerland that is simply brilliant. Using 8 mountain huts around Laurent’s home town of Vercorin the athletes hike and fly without a supporter and stay in the huts at night.