Red Bull X-Alps

Flying through the Mercantour National Park

Athletes approaching the final stages of the Red Bull X-Alps 2017 face one last hurdle before they reach Monaco.

RBC 170608 FW X-Alps 4750

The Mercantour National Park, which stretches long the Franco / Italian border and covers 685 square kilometres, has strict rules governing paragliding.

Paraglider pilots who fly through the Mercantour National Park must maintain 1,000m above ground level at all times. They must also not take off or land within the boundaries of the Mercantour National Park.

The rules have been in place since 2013 and have been agreed by France’s paragliding association, the FFVL, and the national park.

Red Bull X-Alps athletes who break these rules will face a 48-hour time penalty.

In practice, this means athletes must either fly over the park while maintaining 1,000m above ground level at all times, or land before the park and hike through. At its narrowest point the Mercantour National Park is 10km wide.

Photo by © zooom / Felix Wölk