- dtg-- km
- height-- m
- speed-- km/h
- heart beat-- bpm
- Nationality: New Zealand
- Date of birth: 21 January 1986
- Profession: I grow tropical water lillies, before I used to do comercials and before physics
- Supporter: Chris Wright
- Glider: Supair Wild 21
- Sponsors: TBC
When and why did you begin paragliding?In summer 2014. I was a keen rock climber back then, all my life was connected to climbing - everyday routines, weekends, holidays, friends, diet... I couldn't imagine life without it. Until one day during a training I hurt tendons in my elbow and had to rest it for a few months. My body was used to everyday training so I started running more and more. However running is not the same adrenaline, not the same vertical, spacial experience. My friend suggested paragliding course and since I thermaled up to my first cloud base, I've been totally hooked. I left my job and life in Poland and moved to Semonzo (Bassano del Grappa) to fly whole winter. Than I moved to Saint Hilaire in France and from there traveled with my glider through mountains in China, Australia to New Zealand. In my first year, when I was still learning to thermal, I flew 300h, I learned my lessons. I have never come back to climbing.
Do you paraglide competitively? List rankings and events.Sometimes. I find traditional XC competitions quite limiting, it's not exactly what I'm looking for in paragliding. So I sometimes participate for social reasons or if I particularly like the venue (mountains!). In 2016, a few days after getting New Zealand residency I became the New Zealand Women's Champion. A year earlier I won women's category in Nationals in Nelson, but wasn't qualified as a New Zealander yet. I was 2nd lady, 22nd overall in PreWorlds in Les Deux Alps last year. I participated in Bornes To Fly 2018 and finished 24th (1st lady which was rather easy as I was the only woman participating) :-) and the Dolomiti Superfly in August 2018.
What is your mountaineering experience?Of course a lot of hiking. And I can hike! During mentioned solo vol-biv through Southern Alps of New Zealand for 200km took me two days (good weather) and other 200km almost two weeks (very bad weather) - I mean, I hiked through tough terrain all days for two weeks, in wet shoes, with 26->23kg backpack eating 1200kCal /day and my body handled it well. Before I was a keen rock climber, doing sport routes up to French 7c and easier mountain routes (up to VII/VII+). I have glacial experience (walking, not technical ice climbing). I've done some ski touring in Tatra Mountains and the Alps (i.g. Similaun).
What is your paragliding experience?I've been chasing it hard for last 4 years, in my first year I made a few mistakes, especially my first spring was quite brutal, I put myself in a rotor and took a very tall pine in Swiss Alpes or didn't notice an overdevelopment in a Grey sky and put myself in a middle of a healthy spring storm, which included unplanned wing parachutal. However I learned those lessons and the same year I flew 140km flat triangle from Saint Hilaire to Annecy and for example flew Tour de Mont Blanc to the left as everybody went clockwise and I decided to enjoy the mountains my way :-) I broke New Zealand woman's distance record in 2016, just after coming to NZ. Last year I doubled this record flying 172km (183km 3p) through the mountains during my solo vol-biv through Southern Alps. It was very special trip, for 16 days I was unsupported vol-biving through wild New Zealand mountains, understanding how being alone forces 100% focus, responsibility for my decisions and safety margin big enough to deal with everything can happen. Both stories of my first record and last year's vol-biv were published in XCmag. Here is also a short movie from the vol-biv. www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDu7BPL5yqc I like sharing adventures and especially emotions connected to flying so I regularly publish in various magazines (XCmag, Polish Vario, NZ Airborn). My so called personal best would be 215km triangle from Antholz, but I wouldn't call it my most favorite flight. However it was important, as I was able to help another pilot, I shared it here: Another memorable flights happened in Indian Himalayas where I spent last two Octobers (and definitely going there this Autumn!), mostly in a vol-biv mode. Some beautiful flying in big mountains, in Hanuman Tibba area or over Bara Bhangal, sometimes almost at 6000m and camping at 4000m. For two years I've been flying with my sleeping bag and some food I've been hiking to take offs since I started flying, even before I knew anything about hike & fly, vol-bivouac or even light gear. I have flown in dozens of mountains on 4 continents, always keen to try new lines rather than squeezing extra kilometers riding well known ridges. A few different 150km+ flight, many many 100+km, triangles, open distance, often smaller or bigger (or unplanned!) vol-bivs. For last two seasons I've been flying with bivi gear in my harness - it gives me cool feeling of freedom and if the conditions are favorable, I have no excuse not to go deeper! I'm also a certified tandem pilot.
What is your adventure racing / endurance sport experience?In last two years I finished a couple of ultramarathons in New Zealand - Ring of Fire (a brutal, muddy 72km, +-3000m), Rotorua 100km and 50km runs. I'm not as fast as I used to be a few years ago when I ran a lot in mid distance (15-20km) as now I keep my weight at 5-7kg more than before - at the end, I don't want to be a runner, but an all around mountain pilot who can hike for days with a heavy backpack and not get cold in high mountains! So not as fast a runner as I used to be, but I can go forever like a locomotive :-)
What does your typical training week consist of?For last three years from November till April I'm in New Zealand where I train at the gym 4 to 6 times per week and run. My job is very flexible so of course I fly when it's flyable (it's Summer season), there is a lot of wind there, good training opportunities! May - September is time for European Alps! I live in a campervan and follow the weather. Training becomes more organic - hiking, flying, camping, washing myself in mountain streams and chasing the sun. October is time for Indian Himalayas. Training there is about hiking at the higher altitude and of course flying the big mountains.
What are your best and worst adventure/flying moments?Best - putting myself alone deep into New Zealand Alps with complicated weather and many doubts and the very next day flying the most beautiful line there is to fly in New Zealand, more than doubling my previous national record and coming at the other side a better pilot and a stronger person. Worst - putting myself in a rotor and taking a high pine tree in Swiss Alps during my first spring. However it was also good for me - showed me how little I still knew and how much there was to learn.
What are the sporting moments you are most proud of?Every time I go beyond what I thought I was capable of... It makes me feel proud and humble the same time.
When and how did you first hear about Red Bull X-Alps?When I was a very beginner pilot, I don't know how, I think it's just a common knowledge that the race exists?!
Have you competed in Red Bull X-Alps before and if so, when?No.
What appeals to you about Red Bull X-Alps?It's and ultimate adventure race and it's long so it pushes athletes further than anything else would push them, beyond what they knew about themselves. I find it fascinating.
What will be your strategy during the race?Fly as much as possible and be unstoppable on the ground.
Why do you think you will make it to the finish?I fly as well, physically I'm as strong and mentally even stronger than some guys who made it to the finish in the past.
What scares you the most about the event?Being eliminated!
Have you ever done anything of this magnitude before?No.