Billed as what will be ‘the most challenging in the event’s 16-year history’, the route of the 2019 Red Bull X-Alps adventure race involves a straight-line distance of 1138km from Salzburg to Monaco. 32 world-class athletes from 20 countries, including two women and 30 men, will hike and fly via record-breaking 13 Turnpoints in six different countries – Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France and Monaco.
The new Turnpoints in western Italy and the south of France will lead participants to race along Europe’s largest mountain range and traverse it five times between the northern and southern as well as western and eastern fringes. Race director Christoph Weber said, “The race is earlier than the years before – that could mean a lot more snow in the high alpine, which could definitely slow the athletes down. If the weather isn’t good for flying, it could be a very long and exhausting race to Monaco!”
The historic Mozartplatz in Salzburg, Austria will mark the start of the ninth Red Bull X-Alps. From there, the athletes will run through the city and up the Gaisberg to Turnpoint 1 where the competitors will set up their paragliders and embark on their first flight of the race.
From Gaisberg, the race is on to Turnpoint 2 in Wagrain – Kleinarl, a mountain holiday town in the south of Salzburg. Then it’s north to Turnpoint 3 at Aschau – Chiemsee to the northern edge of the Alps entering Germany. From there it’s a big trip south to Turnpoint 4, the Kronplatz in Italy, which includes crossing the almost 4000m mountain ridge of the Alps to tag the summit and sign the Turnpoint Sign next to the famous Messner Mountain Museum.
Then it’s back north to Zugspitze, Germany’s highest summit, which has to be passed north – and from there the racers will drop right back over the Austrian border to Turnpoint 5, Lermoos – Tiroler Zugspitz Arena. Then they’ll start really moving west. Davos, Switzerland is Turnpoint 6 right beside the beautiful Davosersee. After that it’s on to Turnpoint 7, Titlis – above Engelberg, where they’ll sign the highest Turnpoint Sign of the race on a glacier at 3200m.
Then they have to pass Turnpoint 8 the Eiger, one of the most iconic mountains in the climbing world, and Turnpoint 9 Mont Blanc, which is the highest peak of the Alps, before the next signboard at Turnpoint 10 in St Hilaire, France, one of the spiritual homes of free flight sport.
On to the last big leg, past Turnpoint 11 at Monte Viso, the last big rock pyramid in Italy, as well as Turnpoint 12 Cheval Blanc, pointing their compass finally towards Peille. In a final push, the competitors will battle it out over the remaining 91km to reach Turnpoint 13 in Peille where the clock will finally stop.
From there, the athletes only have to make the 2km victory flight over Monaco to the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea where they will touch down in style on a landing float. On average, only 14% of competitors make it. You can find out about the athletes here and follow them during the race with Live Tracking.
Credit all images: Red Bull Media House GmbH/Red Bull Content Pool