Christian Maurer hikes and paraglides from Salzburg to Monaco in eight days to win the Red Bull X-Alps.
All hail Christian Maurer. After 8d 4h 37m of hiking and flying over 1000km across the Alps, the Swiss athlete crossed the Red Bull X-Alps finish line at Peille, near Monaco to win the race for the fourth time.
Christian ‘Chrigel’ Maurer (SUI1) at the finish in Peille, France| zooom/Sebastian Marko
Held every two years, the Red Bull X-Alps is considered one of the world’s toughest adventure races as athletes race across the alps by foot or paraglider. The course crosses the Alps from Salzburg to Monaco, a total distance of 1,038km (though athletes will often cover double that during the race), taking in alpine highlights including the Zugspitz, Matterhorn and Mt Blanc along the way.
“The pressure is finally over, I’m here and I’m very happy,” said Maurer. “I have experienced and seen so many new and amazing things, and to have shared it with others and with my support team has been very special.”
Christian Maurer of Switzerland flys in front of the Matterhorn | Sebastian Marko/Red Bull Content Pool
Maurer’s success in the race has earned him a reputation for meticulous preparation, flawless tactics and ruthless efficiency, but this year was tougher than usual for him, with constant pressure from Paul Guschlbauer (AUT1) and Sebastian Huber (GER3) just behind him.
Time and again it looked as though Maurer had made his move and escaped from the pair, only for these two to reel him in again. “It was so exciting to see Huber and Guschlbauer playing these tactics,” said Hannes Arch, Race Mastermind and Co-founder. “Congratulations to Chrigel. He was a marked man from the beginning so to win for the fourth time is an outstanding achievement.”
Christian Maurer at Brenta, Cima Tosa, Italy | Kelvin Trautman / Red Bull Content Pool
Sebastien Huber has since claimed second place, while the battle for the third podium spot is on between Guschlbauer, Italian flying maestro Aaron Durogati (ITA) and the two French teams of Gaspard Petiot (FRA4) and Antoine Girard (FRA2).
You can still track the race on the X-Alps website until the event officially ends on Friday at midday.