Hiking and Paragliding Collide in Incredible Race Across the Alps

| © Red Bull Content Pool

Now in its eighth year, the Red Bull X-Alps tasks entrants with crossing Europe’s most famous mountain range by land and air.

Loved by over 40s

The Red Bull X-Alps is a brutal competition that combines paragliding with adventurism. The race starts in Salzburg, Austria, and finishes in Monaco, with athletes tasked with crossing the Alps by land or air – if they’re not paragliding then they’re on their feet. Along the way, contestants need to hit various ‘turnpoints’, which are locations they must pass through and receive official signatures to prove it.

Jesse Williams’ preparations in Salzburg

The race saw 20 different nationalities represented across the 31 teams and this year’s race had turnpoints in seven different countries, leading contestants all across central Europe. If measured using a straight line the race covers 1,138km (707 miles), but obviously the course isn’t that simple.

Eventually the race was won by Christian Maurer, who finished the race with a time of 10 days 23 hours 23 minutes 18 seconds, actually covering 2,271.5km (1,411 miles) in total. Altogether, Maurer spent 96.8 hours on foot, covering 535.3km (333 miles), and spent roughly half that time (45 hours) in the air but managed to cover over three times the distance, flying 1,736.2km (1,079 miles).

2017 Race route:

Start: Salzburg, Austria; Height: 424m
Turnpoint 1: Gaisberg, Austria; Height: 1,287m
Turnpoint 2: Triglav, Slovenia; Height: 2,864m
Turnpoint 3: Aschau – Chiemsee, Germany; Height: 615m
Turnpoint 4: Lermoos Tiroler Zugspitz Arena, Austria; Height: 2,962m
Turnpoint 5: Monte Baldo, Italy; Height: 2,218m
Turnpoint 6: Matterhorn, Switzerland; Height: 4,478m
Turnpoint 7: Peille, France; Height: 600m
Finish: Monaco; Height: 0m

Gaspard Petiot at the Triglav massiv, Slovenia
Gaspard Petiot on Grubigstein, Austria
Stanislav Mayer and Jiri Dlask in Garzeno, Italy
Sebastian Huber and Pascal Purin perform in Dolomiti di Brenta
Christian Maurer flies above Lake Garda, Italy
Duncan Kotze competes in Salzburg/Austria
Participant flies in Mangart, Slovenia
Sebastian Huber hikes in Salzburg, Austria
Gaspard Patiot lands in Lermoos, Austria
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