Chrigel means eagle in the dialect of the Bernese Oberland, and Christian Maurer has had this nickname since his youth. The triple World and European Champion and fivefold Swiss Champion managed to win the Red Bull X-Alps race again this year. In only 8 days, 4 hours and 37 minutes, with a lead of 110 kilometres over the runner-up, he covered the adventurous route between Salzburg and Monaco without any breaks. (Note by the Editor: This international competition was first held in 2003 and has been won by Swiss people only.)
When did you discover your passion for paragliding for the first time?
My father started with paragliding when I was 4 years old and it has fascinated me from the very first day. I took off for the first time when I was nine and was captivated right from the first moment.
What was the greatest challenge in this year’s Red Bull X-Alps Race?
A good and reliable team and suitable equipment are most important. During the race, I try to concentrate on my capabilities so that I am not subject to any external influence, i.e. stress. As the race continues without any breaks, I had to fight to keep awake since the middle of the race. I had to muster all my concentration to make the right decisions.
How do you prepare yourself physically and mentally for the X-Alps Race?
I prepare myself with a specific power workout programme and several hours of walking carrying a 10kg rucksack.
How important is your equipment during this Hike & Fly Race?
The equipment is a very important success factor. I depend on highly functional clothing because of the extreme physical challenges, like walking uphill at great speed, and the flying at an extremely cold high altitude.
Will you be on the starting line again at the next Red Bull X-Alps Race?
There is nothing that speaks against a participation in the next competition in 2017.
Text and Interview by Sabine Hauptmann / Image credit by Red Bull
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