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- Nationality: Austria
- Date of birth: 28. Dec. 1985
- Profession: Paragliding Designer
- Supporter: Florian Eder
- Glider: Skywalk X-Alps 3 S
- Website: http://www.stephan-gruber.at/
- Sponsors: Tirolschiffahrt, Flugschule Wildschönau, Skywalk, Salewa
- Born and raised in the Zillertal valley in Tyrol, Stephan Gruber was on a 3,000m peak before he could walk. Since then he's climbed almost every major peak in the range and knows it like the back of his hand. Whether the local knowledge will help will all depend on the route. But he can always count on his flying experience. Competitive since 2009, he's been in the Austrian national team since 2013 and competed in the 2015 edition of the Red Bull X-Alps. He also does a lot of fitness training on a bike – can he convert those kilowatts to kilometers?
- When and why did you begin paragliding?
I started in 2005 with some friends. At first it was just fun but now it is also a passion.
- Do you paraglide competitively? List rankings and events.
I think so. Finisher Red Bull X-Alps 2015, 1st in Austria Paragliding League 2013; 10th at Paragliding World Cup Superfinale 2013; 3rd at PWC Macedonia 2014; 3 times Tiroler Meister at Tyrolean Masters; winner of some World Cup Tasks; winner of some international competitions; member of the Austrian National Team; PWC Pilot.
- What is your mountaineering experience?
My homebase is Zillertal. I know nearly every peak in this area.
- What is your paragliding experience?
I have been a competitive pilot since 2007. In 2008 I was in Brazil for xc flying and flew more than 300km. In 2009 I started to compete in the World Cup and since then I have won several tasks. Now I am designer and tespilot at Skywalk.
- What is your adventure racing / endurance sport experience?
The Red Bull X-Alps 2015.
- What does your typical training week consist of?
It depends on the weather, but I try to train 5 times a week. Most of the training is on my bike, running and mountain hiking. In winter I do a lot of ski hiking, or I am at the gym.
- What are your best and worst adventure/flying moments?
To reach Monaco during Red Bull X-Alps 2015. My worst was at the World Cup in Brazil when I saw an Italian guy crash at takeoff and breaking his spine.
- What are the sporting moments you are most proud of?
That I won the Austrian Paragliding League and to be a finisher of Red Bull X-Alps.
- When and how did you first hear about the Red Bull X-Alps?
I heard about it in 2007 when I met Helmut Eichholzer [competed in Red Bull X-Alps 2011] for the first time.
- Have you competed in the Red Bull X-Alps before and if so, when?
Yes, in 2015.
- What appeals to you about the Red Bull X-Alps?
The big adventure, to fly over the Alps, to be out in every condition and to reach Monaco.
- What will be your strategy during the race?
Fly, fly, fly :-) Don't make stupid decisions and stay cool.
- On average, over a third of the Red Bull X-Alps participants fail to finish the event. Why do you think you will make it?
Because after 2015 I know how to do.
- What scares you the most about the event?
That it could be raining every day.
- Have you ever done anything of this magnitude before?