1031 km, as the crow flies, is the distance of the 2013 route of the xAlps.
This is a lot of terrain to cover and hard to navigate by foot. Many people question how would one conquer this task, and how would one complete it.
When spectators, such as non paragliding pilots try to answer this question,most of them might think of hiring guides. Some might even think that, given a chance and ability, it might be easier to paraglide across the high mountain passes rather than hike them.
This might be correct if you are at the right place at the right time to take advantage of good weather conditions and flying possibilities. These variables and the present physical/mental condition of the athletes, make the xAlps such a popular and interesting race for anyone to follow, whether you are a participant/athlete in the race, a paraglider pilot or only a spectator. Every athlete has a live tracking device with them and the athletes can be followed throughout the race live at www.RedBullxAlps.com. In 2011 the race had over 2 million visitors on the website following it.
It is very interesting understanding the perspective of the performer/athlete and also the perspective of the viewer/observer. The observer is entertained by watching the tactics of the athletes and tries to figure out the decision making of these performers. As it often is, the observer seems to know best what the performer should do! We hear it all the time. In sports, competitions, watching a movie or a play, the commentators and spectators feel they know better what the performer should be doing. And quite often the observer might have a better idea of what is going on and see the overall picture, and how to proceed with it. At the same time however, an observer is often surprised by the performers decision as the observer does not always know what is going on in the performers mind, their entire “game plan” and also the physical and mental condition or background knowledge of the performer.
To assist an athlete/performer with the overall picture of how the event should be played, we use coaches/leaders. A good coach/leader helps to eliminate or reduce overall difficulties or problems, work on different tactics and is a liaison with feedback from supporters of what the performer is doing.
The use of coaches in the sports industry is very much accepted and they play a huge part in all sports. The equivalent in the business world, would be a mentor. If you think about, a good manager should be the coach/leader, however, we see it all the time, the manager is also performing and can have a hard time seeing the overall picture. Even in our private or family life we could use a coach, who simply can be a couple of friends to talk to.
For my preparations in the race, I always try to step out of the current situation I am in, and try to watch my actions from the outside. Sometimes I envision myself sitting in front of a TV, watching the event play itself out, and try to analyze this situation as an observer, coach, commentator or spectator, and in that position think about what the right decision will be for the next step.
The xAlps race is not only about the pilot/athlete. It is about a team working together to achieve a common goal – getting the pilot to Monaco.
I have to say that I am very fortunate to do the xAlps with my partner Penny, as she is a very good coach and motivator and the best of all is that we both have so much fun while preparing for the xAlps and then racing.
In the 2013 xAlps, a team will now be allowed to have 2 supporters, which could, or might, make things much harder, as we know that too many chefs spoil the broth. But if you have the right team players, you quadruple the benefit.
Penny and I are very excited that we found the best 2nd supporter/coach we could ask for. Mik Broschart is a long time friend, has a lot of connections, knowledge of the race and the sport, highly motivated, got the time and got the support from his family (thanks again Kristine) to make Team Canada complete.
The weather was exceptional and so were the number of participants. 36 pilots came with their friends and families to enjoy what Panorama Resort had to offer.
“Sunny and Hot” was the weather everyday, which was perfect to fly and ski. Virtually, there was no chance to sit down and relax, as there was so much to do.
This year Dave Gorzitza won the trophy, Max and Katia on tandem came in second and Nathan Livingston was 3rd.
On Saturday we had 6 pilots (Frank Kernick, Derek Yuill, Chris Wilson, Mike Waddington, Nathan Livingston and myself) getting high above Panorama (3500 m) and then flying out to the Valley. Nathan flew home to Wilmer, I flew to Mt. Swansea and to my place and the others landed at the Lakeside Pub beach.
The highlight of the meet was the visit from Dannie Wolf and Stewart Midwinter. It was so great to see both of them come and join us for dinner. This year we dedicated the Easter Meet to Dannie Wolf who had a towing accident last year and is currently in a wheel chair.
Thanks again to everybody who donated cash or auction items and could raise $2200 (The Lakeside meet bought the auction items for $500 to use at the Lakeside meet) for Dannie.
Last but not least, we also like to thank Panorama Resort and their awesome staff for hosting our unique event.
Click here to get to the Easter Meet Photo Album
Tandem with the kids
Flight from Panorama to Invermere
Flight with camera in the wing
Flight with extended camera
I had the pleasure to be in Salzburg at Hangar 7 for the 2013 www.RedBullxAlps.com official route release.
Wow, 1031 km as the crow flies and going across a lot of very high alpine terrain. No doubt that this year will be for sure a big challenge and I am sure a very interesting race.
1. Gaisberg 1,287m
2. Dachstein 2,995m
3. Wildkogel, 2,224m
4. Zugspitze / Garmisch-Partenkirchen 2,962m
5. Ortler / Sulden 1,906m
6. Interlaken 568m
7. Matterhorn 4,478m
8. Mont Blanc 4,810m
9. Saint Hilaire 995m
10. Peille 600m
Thanks again to Hannes and Flo to put on this amazing day.
Here is a video from Mik about of Hangar 7 and the DC6 flight.
This question is very often asked to us, and my answer, in short, is “we have not learnt how to do it right yet and therefore we have to do it again!”.
Well, that is one answer, but not quite true. We also say it is the adventure and experience, which is one of the reasons, but there is more behind it than just the adventure and experience.
If we look back at how our lives were before the xAlps and how it is now, it shows that the xAlps have had an impact on our lives way more than we ever expected the race would when we first started.
Firstly, we have learned about the Alps and know more about the geography and history of these mountains than prior to the race, and we have learned a lot about our bodies and minds, and know ourselves way better than ever before. But the most rewarding result I got out of the xAlps it is to see and realize how lucky I am to be with my supporter, best friend, and the mother of my kids. The xAlps are a serious “relationship checker” and it will bring out and show how well your team leadership skills are (on both ends), how your self discipline is, how you respect and trust each other and how important it is to accept things for what they are and accept people too, for who they are. This is all something we kind of know, but these fundamentals can get forgotten very fast when you are in a 2 week long race , extremely exhausted and when things are not always going the way you want it to go.
Penny and I learned how lucky we are to be able to have so much fun with the race and everything that comes along with it. Even though we, and everyone else racing the xAlps, have a lot of stress factors against us, such as the race itself, the time to prepare, work itself, the financial burden of the race, lost income, the training, sacrificing time with the family and the interference of our regular family life.
Now how can we still do this and still be fun?
It all comes all down to the very basic fundamentals of life, such as trust, respect, the right attitude and self discipline. Once all this is in place, one needs to deal with his ego and has to simply learn to accept other people and situations as they are and make the best out of any situation.
Obeying these fundamentals helps make what one would consider the impossible, possible, and makes a race like the xAlps fun.
Everything I feel and have written about, does not just have to apply to the xAlps, it will work for everyones personal life, relationship or family, for any sport, in the workplace, work career and leadership.
What we really enjoy and what has impacted our lives, through our participation in the xAlps, is that we really enjoy sharing and influencing others with our stories and experiences.
We have done, and continue to do, a lot of “motivational/educational” presentations and leadership training in schools, to Rotary clubs and Corporations (mostly oil companies), for entertainment and also to educate them how much fun and mileage you can achieve with the right attitude.
Do not just sit and wait … take it to the Max
There is some very interesting news about reserve chutes.
www.Skyman.aero created new milestone for super-light reserve chute with a very slow sink rate.
See more details at
Adrian Bergles (President of the Columbia Valley Cycling Society, in the middle) spear headed a big grant for mountain biking, paragliders/hang-gliders, hikers (including hiking to the launch site) for Mt. Swansea.
Last Sunday Kootenay–Columbia MP David Wilks (on the right) announced $57.775.00 in Western Diversification Community Infrastructure Improvement Funding to the Columbia Valley Cycling Society for improvements to the trail and flying infrastructure at Mt. Swansea.
This represents 50% of the entire grant — the rest of which will be made up by the Columbia Basin Trust (25%), the British Columbia Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (BCHPA) and a number of other partners.
As the mountain is a major hub for cyclists, hikers, and paragliders/hang gliders, this project will mark a tremendous improvement in recreational infrastructure in the Columbia Valley. It illustrates the collaborative approach the cycling society strives for in its back country recreation and land access projects.
From the flying perspective, we will be improving the north and south launch sites, setting up a weather station and installing 2 webcams, which will help pilots see the flying conditions before heading up and for others to see what they are missing!!
Seasons Greetings and a happy and healthy 2013.
We just got back from Mexico in time for the Christmas festivities. One of them is flying at Panorama as Santa.
What a great day flying as Santa and skiing with the kids. Live is good and we are looking forward to a great 2013.
all the best, lots of health and all you wish for 2013
Max, Penny and the kids
Panorama is welcoming paragliding pilots for the 2012/2013 season.
Paraglider day tickets (flyable days) will be again available for $20.
We do have a couple minor changes.
- there is now a NO-FLY zone in the 1 Mile Quad chair lift area.
- every pilot (even if you flew here before) needs to go through an orientation and needs to signed the 2012/2013 Panorama waiver.
- stay at least 150 feet away from the lift lines.
More details about flying at Panorama is at http://www.flyingmax.com/area/panorama/
Penny and I are right now in Mexico and will be back Dec 20th and plan to do some “Santa” flying on the 24th. Let us know if anyone is planing to come out for the Xmas days.
Max, Penny and the kids
Penny and I are very proud to represent Canada and feel honored to be accepted in the race with this amazing select group of Athletes/Pilots (click here to see the list of athletes)
We are participating now for the 4th time and plan to use all our gained experience to make it to Monaco.
We will keep updating this blog in how we are preparing ourselves.
Max & Penny