One week of X-Alps training

Last week we made an intense road trip throughout Switzerland in order to look for the best x-alps training ground.

We that’s me and Albert (yes, there are two of us 😉), a good friend of mine and experienced mountaineering buddy who wants to support me during the x-alps 2019.

The weather wasn’t too good, but that could not stop us from

  • searching new paths to hike up (Even some strategic ones especially around Matterhorn which was a turnpoint in past Redbull x-alps editions,
  • searching routes down in the valley to hike along (especially over mountain passes and the Mattertal),
  • and paragliding (from rainy to stable conditions).
  • But besides from those obviously necessary preparations for a Hike’n’Fly-competition, we studied a lot how to realize and optimize the things and gained experience.
    • Weight is king. Go light to go far AND longer.
      Eating was a major success. I could keep my weight. 😊😊😊 And we were looking for a rich variety, not only pasta and high carb.
      Sleeping was horrible. My air mattress lost air. And I had had no backup. Thunderstorms, humidity and loud neighbors at the camping made me sleep very little.
      But that couldn’t bring us down. The atmosphere was always good, we could discuss things seriously and make good decisions. I’m really lucky to have such a cool mate on my side and I’m proud to be in a team with him.
  • I’m sure we will rock the x-alps. 🤘
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    Xalps in 530 days: Winter Hike’n’Fly with amazing photos


    You are lucky if you land next to a photographer.
    The Swiss’ flatlands are usually covered by a think layer of fog during the winter. Then it’s time to check some skiing areas’ webcams. And if it’s sunny up there, then go for a hike above the clouds.

    Last Sunday was one of these days. Mt. Rotenflue (1571m) in middle of the Mythen region / Central Switzerland was my destination for a small hike’n’fly tour. The flight was quite short, because I wouldn’t want to dive inside the thick layer of clouds. So I landed next to a ski slope – and next to a hobby photographer, who took some amazing photos. Enjoy them!

    Photo by Ivo Räber.

    Photo by Ivo Räber.

    Photo by Ivo Räber.

    Photo by Ivo Räber.

    Photo by A. Holler.

    Photo by A. Holler.

    Photo by A. Holler.

    Xalps in 531 days: Thermik Messe 2018

    On Saturday, Jan. 13th 2018, I visited one of the biggest fairs for paragliding pilots “Thermik-Messe 2018“. A good possibility to test new equipment.


    • ⛔️ A big traffic jam of more than 1 hour.
    • ⛔️  Some manufacturers only show a limited range of products. I would have been interested in ultralight rucksacks from Advance or GIN for example.


    • ✅ Test of leightweight-rucksack Supair Trek-Light 350g
    • ✅ Test of leightweight-rucksack Skywalk HIKE X-ALPS Backpack
    • ✅  Test of leightweight-harness Skywalk RANGE X-ALPS2
    • ✅  Test of leightweight-harness Supair STRIKE
    • ✅  Many good conversations
    • ✅ Public presentations, especially Chrigel Maurer‘s ones.

    Chrigel Maurer (l.) is a talented speaker who’s experiences is pure gold. I truly recommend his presentations. 

    I’m not the only listener – He had a big big audience.  

    Here I’m sitting in Supair’s STRIKE which is almost to short for my 1.93m. But it is still comfortable. A solid harness of the 2kg class.

    Xalps in 535 days: First progress :-)

    The day before yesterday I published the last part of “the theory trilogy about goals”:
    (1) The main goal of my project “Xalps in 555 days”
    (2) Setting smaller goals (SMART)
    (3) The process of continuous improvement (PDCA.cycle)

    This will let me structure my ideas efficiently. And now starting. At least I have set a goal that I want to vary my training with three different activities per week. Currently no problem: With a lot of ambition I started training. With 4-5 activities per week. And it is a lot of fun. Yesterday I challanged hard with a ultra-trail runner. But I could keep up with him. And got him after a while. Good for my ego.

    “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” (Albert Schweizer)

    Gisliflue Berglauf bei NachtFoto of headlight during a nightly run. Like always to the top of Gisliflue. The town down in the valley is Lenzburg

    Okay, now it´s time to go to bed. Tomorrow I´m heading off to Stuttgart “Thermik Messe“. I hope to discover a lot of new gear and to hear some athletes speaking (e.g. Chrigel Maurer).

    Good night!

    Xalps in 537 days: The Process of continuous improvement

    This Blogpost is again theory. It’s the final part of the trilogy about ‘goals and improvement’.

    The main goal is set. – Smaller goals help to reach it. – Just one question is left unanswered: What is the right time and the best process for setting these small goals?

    Fortunately, I’m not the first person who faces that question. There are already many solutions. I take one proven method, and adapt it: the PDCA cycle. The PDCA cycle is a process which is iterating in order to continuously improve your project.


    The process steps are:

    • P: Plan means analyzing and detecting potential fields for improvement. And shape an idea for the next small goal.
    • D: Do means “just do it!”. Turn theory into practice. Try it. One time. Two times. Try to shape your idea.
    • C: Then you check whether your tested/proved and shaped idea is still valid for the main goal or generally realistic. Does it help to reach my main goal (enough)? Is it feasible for me?
    • A: Now act! Pursue your goal. Integrate it into your daily/weekly/monthly routine. And measure your success.

    Reflecting and measuring your success takes an important place:
    >> Did you reach your goal? – Congratulations! (Or was it too easy as you’re looking back at it critically?)
    >> Did you miss your goal? – Congratulations! Because that’s the chance to learn.

    By reflecting and evaluating you hopefully get some good input for your next goals. And this is where everything comes full circle.

    In order to reach the main goal, you should set smaller goals continuously in a repeating process (PDCA cycle).

    PDCA cycle and goals


    Xalps in 544 days: ONE goal? MANY goals!

    The last blog post was about my goal – the main goal of the project xalps in 555 days.

    I took my time and studied a while what exactly my objecitve is and how I would formulate it.

    Objectives should be… (SMART criteria).

    S Specific
    eg: “The world should become a better place.” is not specific. “good” allows differing interpetations.
    “…to stay in the 2019 edition of redbull x-alps.
    Still any questions?
    M Measurable (1) by taking part as an athlete, or
    (2) by “running along” the race
    A Ambitious
    for the person who pursues the target
    What the tour de france means in cycling, the Redbull x-alps means for paragliding pilots. Who doesn´t want to (be able to) take part in it?
    R Realistic
    It should be feasible in general.
    Highly motivated and having 555 days for preparation I truly think it is possible – and only with the help of friends.
    T Time-bound
    When can the results be achieved?
    By the end of Redbull x-alps 2019.

    And now just waiting until July 1st 2019?

    Not a good idea. I guess the project will fail rather sooner than later.

    To avoid that I will break down the main target into a variety of smaller objectives. Then it´s easier to plan, to measure success or failure earlier and to learn faster.

    I will prepare for seven different topics:

    1. Paragliding
      XC-Flying, Flying under poor conditions (eg. against the wind), safety training, groundhandling, …
    2. Physical training
      physical strength and good stamina.
    3. Mental training
      Competence of solving problems, mind-set, fears, motivators
    4. Competition
      Take part in smaller competitions, study the exact rules of the x-alps 2019.
    5. Nutrition und Recovery
      Best food, sleeping possibilities
    6. Navigation
      Routes and maps studying, communication
    7. Equipment
      Electronic devices, clothing and shoes – all lightweight please!

    And therefore I will have to find many smaller but attractive goals:

    • Unitl the end of the flying season 2018 I will fly fullstalls and wingovers with a heartrate below 120.
    • Looking for a new wing.
    • Mountain running: Climb mountain Rigi / CH (1300 m gain) by running uphill.
    • Finding comfortable shoes.
    • Varied training: 3 different type of activities per week.

    If you have any ideas for a good goal, please let me know. 

    Xalps in 547 days: the goal

    Juhuu, I’ve got a goal:

    With the project xalps in 555 days I want to develop my skills to stay in the 2019 edition of redbull x-alps.

    What does that mean?

    • The Redbull x-alps are about going from Salzburg to Monaco (or at least as far as you can go until the race is over), only by foot or paragliding. (For more information about the exact route and its turnpoints and rules for 2017 you can read here)
    • Not every athlete is able to stay in the race until the end. Either eliminated or hurt, about one third doesn’t make it until the end. My aim is not to belong to that third. (2017 only 19 athletes out of 32 did it until the end.)
    • Therefore I need a lot of preparation. Physical and mental strength, material, strategies and the competence for XC-flying must be good enough to survive these 8-12 days.

    I’m already looking forward to it. 🙂