Forged in the flames of Red Bull X-Alps
The 19 competitors who made the float in Monaco shared the pain and glory of becoming Red Bull X-Alps finishers. Now they share another bond: they received handmade silver finisher’s rings to honor their achievement.
It takes true grit to cross the Alps by foot or wing and to reward those who made it to Monaco we sent each of the finishers a solid silver ring, each one engraved with the athlete’s initials, finishing time and total vertical ascent.
The rings were handmade by someone who knows what it takes to make the float in Monaco. Martin Mueller has competed in Red Bull X-Alps four times, and came third in the 2007 edition. When he’s not paragliding, he works as a jeweler. We caught up with him and asked about the forging of these special finisher rings.
So when you’re not flying you make jewelry?
I’ve been a jeweler for 20 years now. I normally make diamond jewelry for ladies, and also watches and clocks. I have a workshop in Geneva.
How did the idea for the rings come about?
I know there’s trend at the moment of men wearing jewelry. Look at American sports, like NBA and NFL. The winners receive beautiful rings for their efforts. I thought it would be cool to do something similar for Red Bull X-Alps.
Why did you want to make them?
I’m still passionate about this race. It’s crazy to go from Salzburg to Monaco only by flying or foot. Being alone in the wilderness of the Alps is amazing. I’m super interested and impressed by the people who can do that. A ring is something really special they can wear and display or give as a gift to someone else. It’s very special and a good way to remember all the fantastic moments and experiences of the race.
How long did it take to make them all?
One ring takes between four to five hours. It required about two months to finish them all.
What metals are they made with?
Solid silver. The highest level of silver for jewelry. They’re totally indestructible.
They look amazing. You must be pleased?
It was hard work. When I worked on each ring I felt connected with my fellow pilots. It was like working with each of their spirits. I’ve had good times with these guys and I tried to put that energy into the work.