Red Bull may already be taking applications for the 2011 edition of the Red Bull X-Alps contest, but until then adventure race fans can take solace by reliving the 2009 event that is currently airing on The Ski Channel.
The wildly unique event challenges competitors to navigate the towering European Alps as athletes begin in Austria and finish in Monaco. Contest entrants rely on the use of paragliders to fly where possible, or run carrying their paragliders if it is not possible. The adventure race is continuous, 800-850 km (500-530 mi) long and the winner typically takes 12 to 16 days to complete the course.
Christian Maurer of Switzerland took top honors at the event’s 4th edition in 2009. Tune into the show and watch as Maurer had to endure heavy rains, fierce storms, and extreme heat as he raced across the rough terrain. With the next X-Alps scheduled for July 2011, Maurer has to be looking to to follow in the footsteps of Alex Hofer as the only competitor to successfully repeat in winning the biennial event.
To make sure you’re all set for watching this exhilarating program be sure to get schooled on some of the basic event rules:
• Athletes travel only by flying with their paragliders or by foot
• A paraglider, harness, rescue parachute, helmet, emergency signal rocket, reflector belt and tracking device must be carried at all times
• Athletes may chose any route they like, but must pass all turnpoints
• Each athlete has only one supporter to look after them
• Travel through tunnels that connect valleys are prohibited
• International Visual Flight Rules (VFR) air regulations must be adhered to
• The race stops 48 hours after the winner arrives in goal