Red Bull X-Alps kicks off in Salzburg. The 2013 edition comes on the ten-year anniversary of the first Red Bull X-Alps.
Red Bull X-Alps is an adventure and paragliding competition for 32 selected internacional athletes from 21 different nations. The challenge is to cross the Alps from East to West and finish in Monaco as quickly as possible traveling only by paragliders or by foot.
The Red Bull X-Alps is the world's toughest adventure race, a bold claim, but one it surely deserves. The event has attracted and tested to the limit some of the world's top adventurers over the last 10 years.
Among adventurers, it's known as the ultimate race. It's an incredible challenge, demanding not only expert paragliding skill but extreme endurance. "The Red Bull X-Alps is the last real paragliding adventure and the greatest challenge out there — it's an emotional and gladiatorial event like no other!", Mike Küng, Team AUT2
Each team consists of one athlete and up to two supporters. No technical or outside assistance is allowed. The support team is just there to help with logistics, food and mental help. Athletes can race between the hours of 05:00 to 22:30. But in a new twist for 2013 that promises to make the race even more exciting, athletes can each pull one 'Night Pass' that will allow them to push-on through the night on foot. For the fans following the action live, the sixth Red Bull X-Alps promises to be an unforgettable spectacle of action.
The first Red Bull X-Alps took place in 2003 opened up a new dimension in adventure racing. For Hannes Arch, event mastermind the adventure race "is much more than just an Alpine crossing; it’s an adventure, an expedition and at the same time a competition". As the organizer behind the event, Hannes Arch proves that he has the spirit and capability to combine sports in the purest form with modern marketing and media strategies.
In 2003 seventeen athletes braved the 800km journey from Austria’s Dachstein glacier but only three managed to make it all the way to the finish in Moncao via three turning points at the Zugspitze in Germany, France’s Mont Blanc and Mont Gros. Kaspar Henny a 35 year-old Swiss grabbed an early lead and held onto it for the 11 days and 23 hours it took him to complete the course. David Dagault (FRA) was second, over five hours behind and Stefan Bocks (GER) was third.
For the next two editions (2005, 2007) the Swiss domination continued. Alex Hofer (SUI) beat Urs Lötscher (SUI) to Monaco in 2005, and Toma Coconea (ROM) in 2007. Hofer's superior skill in the air, solid fitness and extensive local knowledge fitted perfectly to the Red Bull X-Alps. His rivalry with Lötscher in 2005 and amazingly close finish in 2007 where he nipped past Coconea in the dying moments of the race made him a worthy champion.
Starting as top favourite in 2009, Hofer saw rookie Christian Maurer (SUI) romp away with a comprehensive victory, reaching goal in less than ten days – a record time for the event (Maurer flew 72% of the route, and walked 28%. In total, he flew 999km and hiked 380km through the Alps).
In 2011, Maurer sealed victory again in 11 days, 4 hours and 22 minutes, even after serving a 24-hour penalty for infringing a no-fly zone. The 2011 Red Bull X-Alps would be remembered for Maurer’s ability to handle challenging weather conditions, something which separated him from the rest of the pack.