When and why did you begin paragliding?
I began to fly at the age of nine. My Dad used to fly and after many training sessions with self-made paragliders, I did my first flights with an actual one more than 15 years ago. Why do I do paragliding? That´s a tough question. You know, for some reason I landed in this world. It´s my life. It´s what I want to be. It´s what I learned to do. Beeing outside, playing with the unvisible, exploring my borders. Being free. Having nobody who tells me what I am allowed to do.
Do you paraglide competitively? List rankings and events.
Bordairlines 2014: Levico Terme 24th place, Lungau 6th place; Crossalps 2014: Hochries 3rd place; Outdoortrophy 2013 2nd overall; DHV Junior Challenge 2009 1st place.
What is your mountaineering experience?
Ortler, Italy, successfully reached the peak and flew down; Piz Buin, Vorarlberg, successfully reached the peak and walked down; Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland, successfully reached the peak and walked down.
What is your paragliding experience?
From age 9 to 14 loads of ground handling and hill training hours; with 14 I started my license at the Flugschule Achensee; with 16 I did my first internship as a testpilot at Skywalk paragliders; at 19 I started my flying instructor education; at 21 I was working as a tandem pilot for 3 months in South Africa; from 22 to 25 I have been working as a test pilot for airCross paragliders; I am in the Nova R&D-Team as a full-time test pilot since this summer. I count more than 12,000 accident-free flights. I have a lot of experience in cross-country, acro and testing.
What is your adventure racing/endurance sport experience?
7,210m in altitude difference in 13hrs at 11er, Stubaital; running 5km in 19mins 21sec; walking/running 90km in 16hrs; walking/running 100km distance, 3,000m in altitude difference with a 10kg backpack in 33 hours; walking/running 121km distance, 3,000m in altitude difference with a 10kg backpack in 33 hours.
What does your typical training week consist of?
The ISAG team (http://isag.tilak.at/) has been taking care of my training for the upcoming Red Bull X-Alps event since summer 2013. My average net training time is about 14 to 18 hours a week. 75% basis endurance range, 25% specific strength training, interval workout, total gross time 18 to 20 hours per week.
What are your best and worst adventure/flying moments?
My worst flying moment was when I lost my glider during testing due to a material failure. Inside a deep spiral I suddenly hung in the air without any connection to the sail. Lucky me - the rescue opened quick and nothing happened. My most beautiful flying moment ... that´s a tricky question. There are plenty (: Adrenaline flash: my first succsessful infinity tumbling. Beauty flash: after a long run taking off into the sunset over the Bodensee. Emotional flash: flying with the handicapped Samuel Koch. We were close to tears after landing. Samuel hadn't freedom, adrenaline for a long time. This experience went down deep for both of us. Working flash: finding the solution for the frontal collapse problem with an EN-B prototype.
What are the sporting moments you are most proud of?
During the last Bordairline in Lungau it seemed unrealistic to reach the goal in time. After 100km of walking and 3,000m in altitude difference I decided to run as long as I could to find out who would be the stronger one: Body or mind (: It was great fun and an intense experience for me as well as for my supporters. It is incredible what a human body can take!
When and how did you first hear about the Red Bull X-Alps?
Back in the days when the friendly Alex Hofer rocked the show.
Have you competed in the Red Bull X-Alps before and if so, when?
not yet (;
What appeals to you about the Red Bull X-Alps?
I love to fly, I love to run, I love to be outside, that´s why I want to play the Red Bull X-Alps game with all these fantastic athletes! The Red Bull X-Alps includes everything I am passionate about.
What will be your strategy during the race?
I'll find my center amidst the chaos of the race. This will allow me to stay composed and make the right decisions when challenges arise.
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?
Due to my lifestyle I learned many soft skills that will help me to stay focused and in a good mood! That´s very important. I am an endless optimist. I won´t throw away my nerves. Never! Finding the solution is my main line. Flying and running is one part, the other part is mental power. I have a strong mind. You will see!
What scares you the most about the event?
You are scared of things you don´t know. I know what it means to fly in all these areas, I know the weather when it is good to fly and when it is better to stay on the ground. I know my borders, I know my equipment, I know my supporters. I like surprises and to be honest I am also a little masochist. I really have no clue what there is to fear about.
Have you ever done anything of this magnitude before?
Interview courtesy Red Bull X-Alps.