Could it be a ‘Hammertag’?

Sunny blue skies and lots of moving air – it’s a great day at the 2023 Red Bull X-Alps!

Red Bull X Alps 2023 RBC 230611 LP XAlps 0020

If you’re a German paraglider, you know the word ‘Hammertag’. Yes it means just what it sounds like – a hammer day is one where you can really smash it, and in the case of Red Bull X-Alps, what we’re smashing is kilometers to the next turnpoint!

The potential for big flights creates even more pressure to make the right decision on when and where to get into the air. Generally, the ‘when’ is easy – you’d rather be flying sooner rather than later – but the ‘where’ can be tricky. We’ve already seen some splits in the group as they left Turnpoint 3 Chiemgau Achental, heading to Turnpoint 4, Lermoos in the Tiroler Zugspitze Arena. 

The bold move of Markus Anders (GER1) pulling his night pass didn’t really pay off. He hoped his 38km night hike would put him in a good position for this morning by taking a more westerly route to Turnpoint 3, but it allowed the chasing group to beat him there - although hee still received cheers and applause from the home crowd upon his arrival!

Markus Anders (GER1) and Tobias Grossrubatscher (ITA1) were the first to launch into the air and onto the paragliding superhighway, and they were quickly followed by Christian ‘Chrigel’ Maurer (SUI1) Given the speed athletes are expected to achieve in the air, every second that they are on the ground only gives those ahead a larger lead. 

The amazing flying conditions along the 126km leg mean it will be a very fast section of the race. With the strong sun, building clouds and a tailwind  it is expected that athletes flying this part of the route will be able to open up a really large lead on those yet to reach Turnpoint 3 Chiemgau Achental. Race director, Ferdinand Vogel said: "The day started really early, the thermals are really strong and there should be no over-development." He believes that athletes will make it to Turnpoint 4 by 15:30. 

The lead group includes Chrigel Maurer (SUI1), Markus Anders (GER1) and Max Pinot (FRA1) and Tobias Grossrubatscher. What makes this more interesting is that athletes can typically fly faster together – this group flying the fastest section of the route so far will be an exciting one to watch. The distance record is for Red Bull X-Alps is held by none other than Chrigel, a 220km-flight in 2011 – we probably won’t see that today, but, you never know! 

At the back, Ondrej Prochazka (CZE) followed his plan for this morning and took to the air. After hiking 14km in 3h this morning, he covered 41km in the air on his way to Turnpoint 2 Wagrain-Kleinarl as is expected very soon. The pressure is on at the back of the pack – nobody wants to be in the last position when the position is eliminated! 

Top image © zooom / Lukas Pilz

Follow us

Newsletter Sign-up

Never miss the latest news!

Sign up to our Red Bull X-Alps newsletter and stay updated daily on news, invitations and offers about sports, events and products from Red Bull and its affiliated companies. Don’t worry, if you change your mind, you can unsubscribe at any time, free of charge.

Newsletter signup

red bull x alps newsletter signup glider 2