Red Bull X-Alps

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The Red Bull X-Alps is one of the world's toughest adventure races in which athletes must hike or fly 1,000 km across the Alps. It first launched in 2003 and has since taken place every other year. Around 30 athletes take part and must navigate their way via a predetermined set of turnpoints that vary each year. Every kilometer must be covered either on foot or by paraglider. Teams consist of one athlete and one official supporter, whose role providing technical advice, mental and nutritional support is almost as demanding.

The route traditionally covers the Alpine regions of Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France before ending in Monaco. The exact route is normally unveiled in the spring before the race start.

It's a formidable undertaking in one of the most breathtaking and unforgiving environments. It requires expert paragliding and mountaineering experience and a high level of endurance fitness — it's not uncommon for athletes to hike up to 100 km in a day. The next race will start on July 5, 2015.

The Race[edit]

The concept for the Red Bull X-Alps was developed by Austrian pilot Hannes Arch who saw a TV documentary in which German pilot Toni Bender crossed the Alps from North to South by paraglider, carrying all his equipment, sleeping rough and hiking parts of the way.

“I thought it would be cool to base a paragliding competition on this format and developed a basic concept for it - and the idea was born! Together with Red Bull, we have developed it over the years to be the Red Bull X-Alps it is today - the toughest and most extreme endurance and outdoor race in the world. Its simplicity is what makes it most appealing. We start in Salzburg and whoever arrives in Monaco first wins. That's it. It's about body and soul, not about hundreds of rules and regulations," Arch has said.[1]

When conditions are good, athletes use paragliders to fly, and when they are not they must run or hike, carrying their paraglider and other mandatory equipment. No other form of transport is permitted.

The first edition led from Austria’s Dachstein Glacier to Monaco via Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze, Mont Blanc and Mont Gros in France. Seventeen athletes and their support teams covered a distance of 800 kilometers as the crow flies. Over the years the route and the turnpoints have changed. From 2009 the race started off in the Austrian city of Salzburg. At 1,031 kilometers, the 2013 course was the longest in the history of the race and athletes had to pass 10 turnpoints: Gaisberg, Dachstein, and Wildkogel in Austria; Zugspitze in Germany; Ortler/Sulden in Italy; Interlaken, Matterhorn in Switzerland; Mont Blanc, Saint Hilaire, and Peille in France. The 2015 race route will be revealed in spring 2015. The 2005 race is the only edition to date that has seen women compete. So far the race has only ever been won by Swiss nationals.

Thanks to GPS-Live Tracking, all athletes can be followed in real time on the official website throughout the race. The exact position of the athletes is monitored via data loggers and GSM cell phones. The athletes also carry a camera with them at all times. Stills and videos are used in the athletes’ online diaries, which are kept up to date by their supporters.

The Rules[edit]

The first athlete to reach Monaco wins the race, which ends 48 hours later but not before a set finish time as defined by organizers. Thereafter, the race will officially end and athletes will be requested to stop racing. Pilots who have not reached the final destination within this time will be ranked according to the distance left to the final destination. Since the 2011 edition, athletes are forced to have a mandatory rest between 23:00 and 04:00 and stay within a radius of 250m of their resting position for safety reasons. In 2013, the mandatory break was extended by 1.5 hours, from 22:30 to 05:00. If an athlete was still moving in that time, he would be subjected to a minimum penalty of 24 hours. Athletes with penalty times had to prolong their next rest for the duration of their penalty time. Failure to comply with this rule led to disqualification.

New in 2013 was the so-called Night Pass, which allowed athletes to hike through the night. To use they had to inform organizers of their intention by 12:00 local time the day they wished to use. The idea behind the Night Pass was to allow athletes a chance to advance their position by tactical means once during the race. They may be able to hike to a key point where they can extend their lead or pass teams in front. Since 2013, prototypes are banned from the competition and all equipment, including paragliders, harnesses and helmets must comply with EN or LTF certifications. The full rules can be found on the official website.

The Routes[edit]

Red Bull X-Alps 2003

The first course took the athletes from the Dachstein Glacier in Austria to Monaco. It was defined by three turnpoints, all of which had to be taken within a radius of 100 meters. Over the years the route and the turnpoints have changed.

# Turnpoint
1  Germany Zugspitze
2  France/ Italy Mont Blanc
3  France Mont Gros


Red Bull X-Alps 2005

Dachstein Glacier, Austria, to Monaco.

# Turnpoint
1  Germany Zugspitze
2  France/ Italy Mont Blanc
3  France Mont Gros


Red Bull X-Alps 2007

Dachstein Glacier, Austria, to Monaco.

# Turnpoint
1  Austria Dachstein
2  Italy Marmolada
3   Switzerland Eiger
4  France/ Italy Mont Blanc
5  France Mont Gros


Red Bull X-Alps 2009

For the first time the race started from the Mozartplatz in the center of the city of Salzburg, the end goal however remained the same. The number of turnpoints was increased to seven.

# Turnpoint
1  Austria Gaisberg
2  Germany Zugspitze
3  Austria Großglockner
4  Italy Marmolada
5   Switzerland Matterhorn
6  France/ Italy Mont Blanc
7  France Mont Gros


Red Bull X-Alps 2011

Mozartplatz, Salzburg, Austria, to Monaco.

# Turnpoint
1  Austria Gaisberg
2  Austria Dachstein
3  Austria Großglockner
4  Italy Drei Zinnen
5   Switzerland Piz Palü
6   Switzerland Matterhorn
7  France/ Italy Mont Blanc
8  France Mont Gros


Red Bull X-Alps 2013

Mozartplatz, Salzburg, Austria, to Monaco.

# Turnpoint
1  Austria Gaisberg
2  Austria Dachstein
3  Austria Wildkogel
4  Germany Zugspitze
5  Italy Ortler/Sulden
6   Switzerland Interlaken
7   Switzerland Matterhorn
8  France/ Italy Mont Blanc
9  France Saint Hilaire
10  France Peille


Red Bull X-Alps 2015

The route and turnpoints have yet to be revealed.

The Teams and Results[edit]

Red Bull X-Alps 2003

Of the 17 competitors who started the race on July 14, 2003, on the Dachstein, only three made it to Monaco. All others completed between 30% and 90% of the course.

Rank Team Athlete Time Distance covered
1 SUI Switzerland Kaspar Henny 11 Days and 22:55:30 Hours
2 FRA France David Dagault 12 Days and 03:20 Hours
3 GER1 Germany Stefan Bocks 12 Days and 08 Hours
4 GER2 Germany Thomas Friedrich 672 km
5 SUI2 Switzerland Urs Lötscher 668 km
6 SLO Slovenia Uros Rozic 657 km
7 CAN Canada Will Gadd 656 km
8 GER3 Germany Holger Herfurth 648 km
9 ROM Romania Toma Coconea 618 km
10 AUT2 Austria Walter Holzmüller 554 km
11 TUR Turkey Buhara Arif Kemal 525 km
12 POL Poland Krzysztof Ziolkowski 522 km
13 ITA Italy Andy Frötscher 511 km
14 AUT1 Austria Gerhard Gassner 486 km
15 MEX Mexico Carlos Carsolio 462 km
16 BUL Bulgaria Slavi Vasilev 357 km
17 GBR United Kingdom Jon Shaw 263 km


Red Bull X-Alps 2005

17 athletes, two of which were women, competed in the second Red Bull X-Alps, starting on August 1, 2005. Four teams reached the final destination while three teams had to withdraw from the race due to injury. All others completed between 25% and 88% of the distance.

Rank Team Athlete Supporter Time
1 SUI3 Switzerland Alex Hofer Switzerland Heinz Haunschild 12 Days and 01:20 Hours
2 SUI2 Switzerland Urs Lötscher Switzerland Andreas Wild + 1 Day, 1 Hour
3 SUI1 Switzerland Kaspar Henny (defending champion) Switzerland Elio Baffioni
4 AUT1 Austria Helmut Eichholzer Switzerland Elisabeth Rauchenberger
5 GER1
GER2
Germany Stefan Bocks
Germany Michael Gebert
Germany Hansi Keim
Germany Florian Schellheimer
AUS Australia Benn Kovco Australia Bryan Anderson
AUT2 Austria Christian Amon Germany Lars Pongs retired
ESP Spain David Castillejo Martinez Spain Magdalena Alcañiz Soriano
GBR United Kingdom Aidan Toase United Kingdom Jan Toase
GRE Greece Dimitris Bourazanis Greece Marina Zannara retired
IRL Republic of Ireland Niki Hamilton Austria Petra Knor retired
ITA Italy Andy Frötscher Italy Florian Ploner
MEX Mexico Santiago Baeza Spain Christian Fernandez del Valle
ROM Romania Toma Coconea Romania Cornel Doru Calutiu
TUR Turkey Semih Sayir Turkey Osman Grukan
USA United States Kari Castle United States Craig Goddard


Red Bull X-Alps 2007

30 teams started on July 23, 2007, for the third edition of the Red Bull X-Alps. 12 teams had to withdraw. Five teams made it to the final destination in Monaco.

Rank Team Athlete Supporter Finish Time Distance to Goal (as the crow flies)
1 SUI1 Switzerland Alex Hofer (defending champion) Switzerland Sandro Schnegg 14 Days and 1 Hour
2 ROM Romania Toma Coconea Romania Răzvan Levarda + 04:35 Hours
3 SUI3 Switzerland Martin Muller Switzerland Fabian Zuberer + 1 Day and 00:15 Hours
4 SUI2 Switzerland Urs Lötscher Switzerland Nicole Willi + 1 Day and 05:50 Hours
5 JPN Japan Kaoru Ogisawa Japan Masaru Saso + 1 Day and 22:54 Hours
6 GBR1 United Kingdom Aidan Toase United Kingdom Bhavna Patel 102 km
7 ESP Spain Ramon Morillas Spain Oscar Atillo 124 km
8 GBR2 United Kingdom Ulric Jessop United Kingdom Ruth Jessop 130 km
9 USA2 United States Honza Rejmanek 142 km
10 ITA2 Italy Leone Pascale Italy Roberto Maggi 152 km
11 CZE Czech Republic Jan Skrablek 159 km
12 FRA2 France Julien Wirtz France Adrien Vicier 185 km
13 USA1 United States Nate Scales United States Nick Greece 186 km
14 GER2
AUT1
ITA1
Germany Peter Rummel
Austria Christian Reinegger
Italy Andy Frötscher
Germany Martin Walleitner
Austria Wolfgang Wimmer
Italy Michael Pezzi
246 km
17 AUS Australia Lloyd Penicuik Australia John Binyon 283 km
18 RUS Russia Dmitry Gusev Russia Viktor Yanchenko 325 km
SLO Slovenia Simon Copi Slovenia Marina Istenic 351 km, retired
BEL Belgium Tom de Dorlodot Belgium Eduouard Crespeigne retired after 437 km
VEN Venezuela Raul Penso Venezuela Eduardo Fuhrmeister retired after 414 km
AUT2 Austria Gerald Ameseder Austria Thomas Weingartner retired after 402 km
SVK Slovakia Peter Vrabec Slovakia Frantisek Pavlousek retired after 357 km
FRA1 France Vincent Sprüngli France Jerome Maupoint retired after 318 km
POL Poland Krzysztof Ziolkowski Poland Grazyna Cader-Ziolkowska retired after 239 km
GER1 Germany Michael Gebert Germany Christian Maier retired after 208 km
CAN Canada Max Fanderl Canada Jeff Bellis retired after 165 km
COL Colombia Hugo Jimenez retired after 140 km
GRE Greece Dimitris Bourazanis Greece Manos Kiriakakis retired after 127 km
TUR Turkey Yurdaer Etike Turkey Erdem Tuc retired after 23 km

Martin Muller was the fastest athlete, however, he was penalized with 36 hours due to an airspace violation in Sion, Switzerland. Muller was taken over by Alex Hofer and Toma Coconea at Mt Gros and only placed third. Winner Alex Hofer traveled 900 km (61% of the distance) in the air and walked 588 km (39%). In comparison, Coconea flew 24% of the distance and walked the other 76% (1,021 km).


Red Bull X-Alps 2009

The fourth edition was the first one to start from a new starting point. On July 19, 2009, 30 teams started from the Mozartplatz in the Austrian city of Salzburg. Only two teams made it all the way to the final destination in Monaco while 12 teams had to withdraw, were disqualified or taken out of the race.

Rank Team Athlete Supporter Finish Time Distance to Goal (as the crow flies)
1 SUI1 Switzerland Chrigel Maurer Switzerland Thomas Theurillat 9 Days and 23:54 Hours
2 SUI2 Switzerland Alex Hofer (defending champion) Austria Nicole Schlotterer + 1 Day, 09:24 Hours
3 USA United States Honza Rejmanek United States Daven Hanning 139km
4 GBR1 United Kingdom Aidan Toase United Kingdom Charlie Merrett 164km
5 RUS Russia Evgeny Gryaznov Russia Dmitry Gusev 193km
6 GER Germany Michael Gebert Germany Florian Schellheimer 203km
7 FIN Finland Jouni Makkonen Finland Toni Leskelä 230km
8 HUN Hungary Pal Takats Austria Mauritz Volkmer 231km
9 ESP Spain Ramon Morillas Spain Juan Morillas 237km
10 BEL Belgium Tom de Dorlodot Belgium Maxime van Dyck 238km
11 FRA2 France Julien Wirtz France Adrien Vicier 245km
12 ITA2 Italy Andy Frötscher Germany Raphael Murphy Graetz 288km
13 JPN1
CAN
Japan Kaoru Ogisawa
Canada Max Fanderl
Japan Masaru Saso
Canada Penny Powers
297km
15 GBR2
CZE
United Kingdom Tom Payne
Czech Republic Jan Skrablek
United Kingdom Alex Raymont
Czech Republic David Bzirsky
321km
17 POL Poland Filip Jagla Poland Piotr Goc 423km
18 SVK Slovakia Peter Vrabec Slovakia Tomas Bernat 457km
AUT1 Austria Helmut Eichholzer Austria Andreas Neubacher disqualified for flying into forbidden zone
ROM Romania Toma Coconea Romania Vasile Trifan
Daniel Pisică
disqualified for flying into forbidden zone
VEN Venezuela Raul Penso Venezuela Ismael Penso disqualified for flying into forbidden zone
SUI2 Switzerland Martin Muller Switzerland Fabien Zuberer eliminated (injury)
FRA1 France Vincent Sprüngli France David Bibier Cocatrix eliminated (injury)
NED Netherlands Ronny Geijsen Netherlands Hugo Robben eliminated (injury)
RSA South Africa Pierre Carter South Africa James Braid eliminated (injury)
ITA1 Italy Leone Antonio Pascale Italy Maurizio Dalla Valle eliminated (injury)
AUT2 Austria Christian Amon Austria Manuel Goller eliminated (injury)
JPN2 Japan Masayuki Matsubara Japan Tetsuo Kogai eliminated
AUS Australia Lloyd Penicuik Australia Lewis Nott eliminated
SLO Slovenia Primoz Susa Slovenia Igor Erzen eliminated

Chrigel Maurer was the fastest athlete and the first to reach Monaco from the air (he landed at Roquebrune Beach and ran to the last turnpoint on Mont Gros from where he flew to the final destination). Defending champion Alex Hofer arrived one day later. The winner traveled 72% (999 km) of the overall distance (1,379 km) in the air and walked the other 28% (380 km).


Red Bull X-Alps 2011

As in 2009, the 2011 race started from the Mozartplatz in Salzburg. The 30 athletes who had been nominated by the race committee took off on July 17, 2011. Only two teams made it all the way to the final destination.

Rank Team Athlete Supporter Finish Time Distance to Goal (as the crow flies)
1 SUI1 Switzerland Chrigel Maurer (defending champion) Switzerland Thomas Theurillat 11 Days and 04:52 Hours (24-hour penalty for flying into forbidden zone)
2 ROM Romania Toma Coconea Romania Daniel Pisică 13 Days and 03 Hours
3 AUT4 Austria Paul Guschlbauer Germany Sara Gudelius 9km
4 SUI3 Switzerland Martin Muller Switzerland Boris Aellen 73km
5 GBR2 United Kingdom Jon Chambers United Kingdom Richard Chambers 113km
6 GER Germany Michael Gebert Germany Florian Schellheimer 172km
7 NED Netherlands Ferdinand van Schelven Netherlands Anton Brous 173km
8 FRA3 France Clement Latour France Sylvain Dhonneur 174km, 24-hour penalty for flying into forbidden zone
9 FIN Finland Jouni Makkonen Finland Toni Leskelä 176km
10 USA United States Honza Rejmanek United States Dave Hanning 181km
11 BEL Belgium Tom de Dorlodot Belgium Gatein de Dorlodot 183km
12 RUS Russia Evgeny Gryaznov Russia Anton Poliakov 241km
13 AUT1 Austria Helmut Eichholzer Austria Wolfgang Ehgarter 246km
14 CAN
ITA
Canada Max Fanderl
Italy Andy Frötscher
Canada Penny Powers
Italy Robert Mur
305km
16 BRA Brazil Richard Pethigal Brazil Dioclecio R. Filho 327km, 24-hour penalty for flying into forbidden zone
17 POL Poland Pawel Faron Poland Piotr Goc 350km
18 ESP Spain Oriol Fernandez Spain Armand Rubiella 389km
GBR1 United Kingdom Steve Nash United Kingdom Richard Bungay 385km, disqualified for flying into forbidden zone
CZE Czech Republic Jan Skrablek Czech Republic Karel Vrbensky 478km, eliminated
RSA South Africa Pierre Carter South Africa James Braid 516km, eliminated
ARG Argentina Martin Romero Garayzabal Argentina Martin Utrera 573km, eliminated
JPN2 Japan Masayuki Matsubara Japan Shinichi Nagashima 620km, eliminated
FRA1 France Vincent Sprüngli France Jerome Maupoint 631km, 24-hour penalty for flying into forbidden zone; retired (technical failure)
AUT3 Austria Mike Küng Austria Eduard Kumaropulos 677km, eliminated (illness)
POR Portugal Nuno Virgilio Portugal Samuel Lopes 683km, 24-hour penalty for flying into forbidden zone; eliminated
JPN1 Japan Kaoru Ogisawa Japan Masaru Saso 739km, disqualified for flying into forbidden zone
AUT2 Austria Christian Amon Austria Mario Schmaranzer 755km, eliminated (injury)
FRA2 France Philippe Barnier France Herve Garcia 757km, eliminated
NOR Norway Ivar Sandstå Norway Øystein Dagestad 786km, 24-hour penalty for flying into forbidden zone; eliminated

Defending champion Chrigel Maurer was the first to arrive in Monaco after 11 days, 4h and 52min after covering a total distance of 1,807 km, 1,321 km of which he covered by paraglider and 486 km on the ground.


Red Bull X-Alps 2013

31 athletes took off from the Mozartplatz in Salzburg on July 7 2013. A record number of ten teams made it all the way to Monaco.

Rank Team Athlete Supporter Finish Time Distance to Goal (as the crow flies)
1 SUI1 Switzerland Chrigel Maurer (defending champion) Switzerland Thomas Theurillat 6 Days and 23:40 Hours
2 FRA1 France Clement Latour France Philippe Barnier
Bruno Deloustal
8 Days and 16 Hours
3 FRA2 France Antoine Girard France Nelson de Freyman
Yves Bernard
8 Days and 16:30 Hours
4 GBR United Kingdom Jon Chambers United Kingdom Richard Chambers
Tom Payne
9 Days and 05:12 Hours
5 ITA2 Italy Peter Gebhard Italy Heidi Insam
Gerald Demetz
9 Days and 07:40 Hours
6 NED Netherlands Ferdinand van Schelven Netherlands Anton Brous 10 Days and 09:27 Hours
7 ITA1 Italy Aaron Durogati Czech Republic Renata Kuhnova
Ondrej Prochazka
10 Days and 10:28 Hours
8 SUI2 Switzerland Martin Muller Switzerland Stephane Voeffray
Julien Andrey
10 Days and 21:43 Hours
9 AUT1 Austria Paul Guschlbauer Germany Sara Gudelius
Axel Gudelius
11 Days and 05:47 Hours
10 ROM Romania Toma Coconea Romania Daniel Pisică
Adrian Miclea
11 Days and 11:22 Hours
11 USA1 United States Honza Rejmanek United States Luis Rosenkjer
Jesse Williams
101km
12 FRA3 France Victor Sebe France Vincent Tourangin
Hugues Baschet
113km
13 BEL Belgium Tom de Dorlodot Belgium Cedric de Bruyn
Sebastien Granville
153km
14 RUS Russia Evgeny Gryaznov Belarus Tatsiana Spirydonava
Russia Valeriy Maznev
154km
15 POL Poland Pawel Faron Poland Piotr Goc
Witold Wladyka
154km
16 JPN1 Japan Kaoru Ogisawa Japan Fumio Miki
Hideo Inaba
168km
17 ITA3 Italy Andy Frötscher Italy Robert Mur
Germany Michael Schneider
182km
18 JPN2 Japan Shoichiro Tadano Japan Masaru Saso
Naohisa Okada
184km
19 CZE Czech Republic Michal Krysta Czech Republic Standa Mayer
Jan Skrablek
229km
20 GER3 Germany Max Mittmann Switzerland Matthias Christen
Roger Christen
261km
21 AUT2 Austria Mike Küngl Austria Eduard Kumaropulos
Germany Renate Schatzl
379km
22 VEN Venezuela Raul Penso Italy Dario di Gioia
United States Gabriela Guzman
385km, 48-hour penalty for flying into forbidden zone; 24-hour penalty for needing to be rescued by a mountain guide in rough terrain
23 CAN Canada Max Fanderl Canada Penny Powers
Germany Mik Broschart
411km
24 GER2 Germany Lars Budack Germany Jonathan Möller
Wenzel Piel
428km
25 KOR South Korea Pil Pyo Hong South Korea Kim Min Soo
Ryu Yun Jae
430km
26 RSA South Africa Pierre Carter South Africa James Braid 553km
27 ESP Spain Iñigo Gabiria Spain Iñigo Arizaga
Xabier Amorrortu
588km
USA2 United States Stephan Haase United States David Hanning
Brad Sander
523km, retired (injury)
AUT3 Austria Thomas Hofbauer Austria Christian Grohs
Vera Polaschegg
773km, eliminated
NPL Nepal Babu Sunuwar Germany Charles Kirsten
Andreas Kastler
853km, eliminated
ARG Argentina Claudio Heidel Spain Jordi Tosas
Carlos Fernandez Garrasco
877km, eliminated

At 1,031 km, the route was almost 200 km longer than in 2011. Chrigel Maurer was the first to arrive in Monaco, winning for the third time in a row. He made it in a record time of 6 days, 23h and 40min. He traveled a total distance of 2,556 km, 2,288 km of which he covered by paraglider and 268 km on the ground.


Red Bull X-Alps 2015

The athletes have yet to be revealed.

Winners[edit]

Year Winner Second
2003  Kaspar Henny (SUI)  David Dagault (FRA)
2005  Alex Hofer (SUI)  Urs Lötscher (SUI)
2007  Alex Hofer (SUI)  Toma Coconea (ROM)
2009  Chrigel Maurer (SUI)  Alex Hofer (SUI)
2011  Chrigel Maurer (SUI)  Toma Coconea (ROM)
2013  Chrigel Maurer (SUI)  Clément Latour (FRA)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Red Bull X-Alps

External links[edit]