Will Cannell (USA2) poses for a portrait during the Red Bull X-Alps preparation in Wagrain, Austria on July 12, 2019


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  • Nationality: United States
  • Date of birth: 06 April 1987
  • Profession: wilderness river guide
  • Supporter: Rob Curran
  • Glider: Niviuk Klimber P 19,24
  • Sponsors: Solitude River Trips

When and why did you begin paragliding?I learned to paraglide in 2014 after a conversation with a friend about "updrafts" and "cross country." Once I discovered the sport, I knew I had no choice except to commit completely. Free flight simply captured me. Paragliding has taken 100% control of my recreational time since then, and I don't see that slowing down soon.

Do you paraglide competitively? List rankings and events.I love comps! Although I think I've only done 6 of them: 96th at 2016 Monarca Paragliding Open, Mexico 48th at 2016 Roldanillo Open, Colombia 31st at 2017 Paragliding Pre-World Cup, Zapotiltic, Mexico 52nd at 2017 Monarca Paragliding Open 101st at 2018 Monarca Paragliding Open 13th at 2018 XPYR, Spain/France (1st American)

What is your mountaineering experience?Many of the mountains in central Idaho are my close friends. I've summited several of the 3000m+ peaks in Idaho, and many in the winter (we don't have any mountains over 4000m here). Also, for the last 10 years I've worked as a wilderness river guide on multi-day (usually 6 day) trips through the remote, rugged Idaho wilderness. I sleep outside about a quarter of the year. I am familiar with wilderness medicine and the respect for the mountains that is necessary to succeed in wild settings.

What is your paragliding experience?Most of my paragliding experience has taken place in the intermountain west, primarily in Idaho, Nevada and Owens Valley California. The foundation of my xc and vol biv paragliding skills come from flying the mountains around my home in Sun Valley, Idaho. I love flying in Idaho. The high desert mountains are so spectacular and flying high over the vast wilderness areas that I've spent so much time in is really a great part of the experience for me. We get to fly really high in Idaho, which I enjoy greatly. I've been up to our FAA ceiling of 18000 ft several times, and each time is very special and memorable for me. Traveling internationally is also a fantastic part of this sport. I've flown in South America twice (Colombia a couple times, and Ecuador once) and also in Mexico many times. The most beautiful experience yet was flying in the Himalaya around Bir last October. It's really special to fly deep and committing lines in the Himalaya because they are so magnificent and empty. And, of course the 2018 XPYR was certainly the most fun I've had with a paraglider!! It was perhaps the most physically and mentally demanding event I've ever taken part in (besides my job guiding on wilderness rivers in Idaho), but by day 7 I was seriously sad that it was over.

What is your adventure racing / endurance sport experience?2018 XPYR (awesome!) 2018 Yakima Skyline 50KM ultra (10,000ft elevation)

What does your typical training week consist of?Fly when it's flyable, lift heavy things and pound vertical when it's un-flyable.

What are your best and worst adventure / flying moments?I think my best adventure/flying moment was day 5 of the XPYR, flying over the crest of the Pyrenees. It was a highly unstable day and the line I chose was slightly off course-line. To both the East and West were building complexes of cu nimbs. The line I took followed the sparse clouds along the main ridge of the Pyrenees from the dry flatlands of Spain to the wet farmlands of France. I was able to stay in the good air and passed/made headway on a lot of the competition. It was a beautiful, majestic day of flying as well as one of my tactically best moments in the race.

What are the sporting moments you are most proud of?XPYR 2018

What appeals to you about Red Bull X-Alps?Experience the Alps in the most unique way possible.

What will be your strategy during the race?Do my best, have fun.

Why do you think you will make it to the finish?I'm confident in my potential to optimize the crucial moments of opportunity that every pilot will have to perform well at the race.

What scares you the most about the event?My helmet rolling off the top of a mountain while setting up.

Have you ever done anything of this magnitude before?50% magnitude: XPYR 2018

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