Juraj Koren (SVK) poses for portrait during the Red Bull X-Alps preparations in Wagrain, Austria on June 9, 2019


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  • Nationality: Slovakia
  • Date of birth: 02 January 1992
  • Profession: Student/tandem/team pilot of Airdesign
  • Supporter: Jakub Beňo
  • Glider: Gin Puma 20,5
  • Sponsors: Airdesign, Cat phones, Garmin, Montane, Petzl, Victorinox, Microstep, Dynastar, LAA SR, Justfly.sk, IPC Refractories

When and why did you begin paragliding?I started flying at six years old, on that day my dad bought his first 9 cells glider, and he flew down from small hill, then my brother try it, and in the evening I was thrown into heaven called paragliding, which ended after one minute in the middle of the field. When I was 17 years I bought my first glider and started competing and materializing my dreams about freedom flying around the world, on the most impressive mountains, hike and fly comps and bivouacs.

Do you paraglide competitively? List rankings and events.Yes, in past I compete at many events, some of them: Winter cup 2015, 4th open; Slovak Champion 2015, sport; Italian championchip 2014, 4th, sport; Cross Country LAA SR, 2017: 3rd open, 1st Sport, 2016: 4th open, 2015: 1st open, 1st sport, 2014: 1st open, 1st sport; Hike and fly events: Xberg challenge: 2016: 1st open, 2017 3rd open, X-pyr: 2016 6th, 2018 7th, Bornes to fly: 2017 7th

What is your mountaineering experience?I was born with a view on the highest mountains of Slovakia, the High Tatra. Mountains and beeing in nature has become the most important part of my life. Ski-touring, hiking, cross country skiing, climbing, trail running, flying, MTB thats what I did the last 20 years. I summited a lot of peaks in the High Tatras, my local mountains (Gerlachovsky, Pyšný, Malý Kežmarský peak, Velký Kežmarský peak, Lomnický peak, Baranie rohy... mostly UIAA IV-V), in Alps Marmolada, attempting Saint-Exupéry in Patagonia and in Antarctica first ascent to peak Wild Spur and some more at Wiencke Island Wall range. Mountaineering frequently since 2015.

What is your paragliding experience?I am flying XC intensively from 2011 and as tandempilot since 2013 and I have over 1500 documented XC flying hours all around the world. I am impressed by loneliness in the sky so I am searching and exploring with full bivvy kit under seat. I explore of course Alps, Carpatians, Himalayas, Caucasus, Altay (Russia, Siberia) and Drakensberg in SA, cherry on the cake was Antarctica. To understand conditions and weather in totally different places mostly alone and trying new lines. That's the way I like; Veni, vidi, volantis, (I came, I see, I flew). My last and most intensive experience was from Antarctica, where I and Michal Sabovcik did the first part of a climb and fly project called Seven Virgin Summits. We are finding virgin mountain on each continent and after climbing ascent, fly down.

What is your adventure racing / endurance sport experience?My first comp was Transbalkan hikefly, Sopot, where I´ve been throught my bachelor exams and I ended as third, in 2015. Then I won X-berg Challenge, 2016 absolutely as first paraglider in this competition between runners, cyclists and paragliders, unsupported, in 2017 I finished third. X-Pyr as first time there in 2016 6th. This year in much stronger rival 2018 7th. Two times I was part of Bornes to Fly in2016 16th in 2017 7th.

What does your typical training week consist of?In case that I am at home and not on an expedition, I fly every possible day with hike to take off, if it's stable I go mountaneering, or rock climbing and trail running.

What are your best and worst adventure / flying moments?How can a mother tell which children of hers she loves the most? I have plenty of best moments from awesome places all around the world, to choose one is really difficult, but one of the last ones: The moment I landed after a successful climb and fly down from virgin mountain in wild Antarctica. Success and happiness that we made it in the last possible day and just few minutes before snowing, it was feeling as if I was calling „sports Valhalla! The Worst? Now I have all the time „cool head“ so there are just few „problematic situations“ on the way. Before, yes it was some close calls. Now with knowledge of limits, managing the fear factor, I know how to be in comfort level with cool head and prevent wrong situations.

What are the sporting moments you are most proud of?To choose one is very hard, but one of the most enthusiastic is when I get finished first at Xberg, unsupported, as only one competitor who was not from SA. I was also first pilot, who win this challenge organizing by former Red Bull X-Alps athlete Pierre Carter between PG pilots, trailrunners and cyclists.

When and how did you first hear about Red Bull X-Alps?From my older brother when he was explaining me Chrigels awesome flight against the wind all day, I think in 2009 or 2011. From then on I started dreaming about meeting Chrigel, and compete against him in Red Bull X-Alps, and slowly it happened, I met him in few comps and learned new things on the way.

Have you competed in Red Bull X-Alps before and if so, when?No.

What appeals to you about Red Bull X-Alps?The Red Bull X-Alps is the most amazing challenge I would be a part of. To travel so far so fast through a massive mountain range with nothing but my legs and a glider on my back or above my head is the ultimate definition of freedom and adventure for me!

What will be your strategy during the race?Using flying as much as possible and concetrate for it and do it by my own way, not copying or following others all the time.

Why do you think you will make it to the finish?Its my biggest dream and will do my best, so it's just a question of time. At my last comp I got together great team which helps a lot with strategy and prevent tiredness, so I am not afraid I will end before the raft.

What scares you the most about the event?Making wrong decisions under pressure.

Have you ever done anything of this magnitude before?No I have not. I've done shorter challenges of similar intensity but nothing this big.

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