Archive for the ‘exploring the xAlps route’ Category

I arrived in Germany June 6th and everything is coming along very well. Thanks to my brother Dieter to pick me up from the airport and the tour in Munich and my brother Uli to arrange a car from to be able scout out the xAlps route in the next 3 weeks. Once

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we packed up, I drove to Lenggries to meet up Mik Broschart (our second xAlps supporter) to get some intensive training and workout done with Google Earth. Besides working with Google earth and figure out logistics, we were able to get a 2 hour flight in at Brauneck and long hike (with some thunderstorms) in the Lenggries area. Tomorrow I will head to Munich to pick up Dave (Gorzilla) and then we will head to Innsbruck to get started to pound the route by foot and in the air.


I had the pleasure to be in Salzburg at Hangar 7 for the 2013 official route release.

Wow, 1031 km as the crow flies and going across a lot of very high alpine terrain. No doubt that this year will be for sure a big challenge and I am sure a very interesting race.

Start: Salzburg

1. Gaisberg 1,287m

2. Dachstein 2,995m

3. Wildkogel, 2,224m

4. Zugspitze / Garmisch-Partenkirchen 2,962m

5. Ortler / Sulden 1,906m

6. Interlaken 568m

7. Matterhorn 4,478m

8. Mont Blanc 4,810m

9. Saint Hilaire 995m

10. Peille 600m

Finish: Monaco

Thanks again to Hannes and Flo to put on this amazing day.


Here is a video from Mik about of Hangar 7 and the DC6 flight.

Red Bull Douglas DC-6B flight from Mik Broschart on Vimeo.



xAlps2013logoThis question is very often asked to us, and my answer, in short, is “we have not learnt how to do it right yet and therefore we have to do it again!”.
Well, that is one answer, but not quite true. We also say it is the adventure and experience, which is one of the reasons, but there is more behind it than just the adventure and experience.

If we look back at how our lives were before the xAlps and how it is now, it shows that the xAlps have had an impact on our lives way more than we ever expected the race would when we first started.

Penny and Max during the race

Penny and Max during the race

Firstly, we have learned about the Alps and know more about the geography and history of these mountains than prior to the race, and we have learned a lot about our bodies and minds, and know ourselves way better than ever before. But the most rewarding result I got out of the xAlps it is to see and realize how lucky I am to be with my supporter, best friend, and the mother of my kids. The xAlps are a serious “relationship checker” and it will bring out and show how well your team leadership skills are (on both ends),  how your self discipline is, how you respect and trust each other and how important it is to accept things for what they are and accept people too, for who they are. This is all something we kind of know, but these fundamentals can get forgotten very fast when you are in a 2 week long race , extremely exhausted and when things are not always going the way you want it to go.
Penny and I learned how lucky we are to be able to have so much fun with the race and everything that comes along with it. Even though we, and everyone else racing the xAlps, have a lot of stress factors against us, such as the race itself, the time to prepare, work itself, the financial burden of the race, lost income, the training, sacrificing time with the family and the interference of our regular family life.
284610_10150249414118541_53649398540_7627945_6343152_nNow how can we still do this and still be fun?
It all comes all down to the very basic fundamentals of life, such as trust, respect, the right attitude and self discipline. Once all this is in place, one needs to deal with his ego and has to simply learn to accept other people and situations as they are and make the best out of any situation.
Obeying these fundamentals helps make what one would consider the impossible, possible, and makes a race like the xAlps fun.
Everything I feel and have written about, does not just have to apply to the xAlps, it will work for everyones personal life, relationship or family, for any sport, in the workplace, work career and  leadership.

What we really enjoy and what has impacted our lives, through our participation in the xAlps, is that we really enjoy sharing and influencing others with our stories and experiences.
We have done, and continue to do, a lot of “motivational/educational” presentations and leadership training in schools, to Rotary clubs and Corporations (mostly oil companies), for entertainment and also to educate them how much fun and mileage you can achieve with the right attitude.

Do not just sit and wait … take it to the Max

Fall is one of my favorite flying seasons. This is the time of the year to give lessons as the conditions are mellow and way more relaxed then during the spring and summer season and great for “hike & fly” as it is not to hot for hiking and still having good conditions for nice x-country flights. So far August and September (until mid September) just was a “blur” with all the activities we did. Besides flying, we did a lot like camping in the west Kootenays, Stand-up paddle boarding, multi-day canoe trip down the Columbia River, fishing, hiking, exploring, partying and so on.

Now we are getting ready for our “Fly the Alps” tour. This will be very exciting and fun. Penny and I will travel with a couple Canadians to St. Hilare to the Coupe Icare and then we will be guiding for in the Dolomite’s. After the Dolomite tour, we will be traveling to Achensee to visit Nova to check out what they are working on and fly at their flying sites. After the Achensee we are traveling to the German

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Alps to fly over the fairy tale castle Neuschwanstein (see pictures and more info at This tour will be finished off with a visit at the October Fest in Munich. After this I will be doing another Dolomite tour (also with some Canadian’s) for and right after this I will participating at SIV course at Gardasee.

A day after the SIV, Steve Nash (UK xAlps pilot) and I will be holding a xAlps workshop for Nova junior pilots from Mt. Blanc following one of the xAlps routes. The following weekend will be the Nova pilots meet in Austria to finish off the European trip. All this will be jam-packed into a 5 week period. I will be posting pictures and posts during the trip.

Andreas Boehl and Max in the CTI left Canada on June 1st and since then I am all over the place.
The hardest part leaving Canada was the last 2 weeks in Canada as I missed the kids already then (and of course Penny as well). Now since I am here things are moving along pretty fast.
On June 3rd, I arranged my phone and Internet connection plans and headed to Krumbach to meet Andreas Boehl.  Andreas is a former Phantom fighter jet pilot and logs 3000 hours in glider flying. Andreas offered to help me out in exploring the route with the CT from
Max and the CTFor everyone who wants to get into powered flying in Germany and or is considering to buy the “best” ultralight on the market, check out his website at

The first day was very busy as we had to get the plane from Bagnang (airport near Stuttgart). We manged to get airborne from Bad Wörishofen at 6:00 pm and headed south into the Alps. We flew by the Schloss Neuschwanstein down to Innbruck and tried to get to Brixen over the Brenner Pass.

Gaisberg by Salzburg

top of the Gaisberg by Salzburg

We had to turn around at the Brenner Pass due heavy rain showers, so we headed East and found a clearing where we could cross the main ridge of the Alps to check out the area around Brixen and up to Meran. In Meran the weather was terrible again and we had to turn around to the East. This way we could checked out the route backwards from Meran to Brixen, then south of Kronnen Platz to the Drei Zinnen (xAlps turn point) and then over Sillian to Lienz. Due the weather we decided to keep on flying east to Mauterndorf as we hoped to have a better chance to fly north across the main ridge of the Alps the next day. We landed at 9:00 pm just before dark and found a nice hotel for the night. Once we arrived at the hotel, it started to rain and kept raining hard the whole night. The next morning it was still a bit of rain, ground fog and dense overcast, not looking promising to get north over the main crest of the Alps. A local pilot told us about a pass where is always a approx. 50 m clearance to get to the north side or the Alps. We decided to give it a try and sure enough after circling up a valley between clouds we found the passage to bring us to the north side of the Alps.

Thunderstorm development 3 hours after we landed.

The weather was good on the north side and we headed to the west and flew up to the Grossglockner. We where able to fly right up the Grossglockner pass but then the clouds stopped us to check out the higher elevations. From there we turned around and flew to the Dachstein Glacier (2nd turn point) and then to Salzburg and checked out the Gaisberg (first turn point of the xAlps). To get a better idea of the route, we flew from there again to the Dachstein and to the Grossglockner. It was well worth doing it and I got a much better idea about the route then just checking it out via Google Earth.  From the Grossglockner we headed over Kufstein direct to Bad Wörishofen (Germany). The flight for this day was 3.5 hours.

The amazing part is, that we only burned about 72 liters of fuel for 6.5 hours (both days) of flying and flew an average of about 170 km/h (top 200km/h). Again, flying the CT is not the same you would think about flying an Ultralight, this plane outperforms a small Cessna, way more fuel efficient and you can fly through some pretty wild weather.

Max at "Gelbe Wand"

The next couple days I spend in Germany and I started to get back into my training routine. The first day I did a 4 hour climb up the “Gelbe Wand” via the new Klettersteig up to the Tegelberg. Wow, that was way more challenging then I expected. The climb itself took me just over an hour.

The day after I hiked from Immenstadt to Mittag, Steineberg and Stuiben (about 20 km) and ended up in a huge thunderstorm. The lightening show was fantastic and I was glad that we where not flying at all.

view from Gruenten (Allgaeuer Alps)

Today I hiked up Gruenten and had a fantastic view of the Allgaeur Alps right down to the Bodensee.

Tomorrows weather forecast looks promising as the thunderstorms are moving east and we have a chance to fly to Switzerland and then to France. Lets hope the weather will cooperate.