XC Media

Cross Country

Cross Country August 2016

Cross Country is the world’s leading voice for hang gliding, paragliding and paramotoring pilots. Ten times a year, our magazine content reflects our obsession with flying, and we express it by packing each issue with the most imaginative, inspirational photography and writing we can lay our hands on.

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United Kingdom
XC Media
10 Issues

in this issue

2 min
looking for shangri-la

We go to the mountains to lose ourselves, and then to find ourselves. It’s not a new idea, but it is a timeless one. We travel to do the same – we go there so we can come back, refreshed, reinvigorated, with new eyes on the same landscape, external or internal. John Silvester’s trip to Bara Bangahal was the talk of the town in Bir last autumn. He and his band of merry men had left to fly off on an adventure into the mountains. Only he had got through, the others turning back because of low cloud. I had seen John a few days earlier, moving along the street like a vulture on the ground, his body loping, his bones seeming to weigh him down. That is the real deal, I…

1 min

Jan Rentowski spends most of the year in Kraków, where he is lucky to have Poland’s best flying spots within a short drive. Brazil took him by the heart and soul two decades ago and won’t let go. He now lives in both countries and runs GringoFly.com. See Redemption in Rio, p98 Nader Couri is another legend in the sport, having helped establish hang gliding in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. An architect, he lives minutes from the ramp in Rio, and is known for his outstanding hang gliding photography. We asked him for one great shot for our Gallery this issue – he delivered. See p20 John Silvester is a legendary figure in Himalayan paragliding. A climber first he became a pilot in the late 1980s and took his wing to the…

2 min
in the core

Luca and Nicola Donini The competition season has been in full swing in Europe, with varying shades of success and disappointment. Nowhere has that been as true as in Italy, where terrible weather completely rained off the British Open in Gemona (some pilots drove 18 hours to Àger in Spain to escape the weather and get a chance to fly), before a second week of poor weather also hit the Paragliding World Cup held in the same place. That at least saw a good result in the end – Pepe Malecki (DE) won after two tasks. However, it was the Donini family who stole all the headlines when they scored an amazing double-bullseye at the Cornizzolo Cup, the Italian Nationals, in late May. Father and son Luca and Nicola Donini came joint…

2 min
el yelmo welcomes the aerial crowds

Surrounded by national park forests and olive groves, freeflying from the 1,800m El Yelmo take-off couldn’t be more characteristically Spanish. The site, first pioneered by Felix Rodriguez Snr, (father of famous acro pilots Raul and Felix) in 1988 has been home to Spain’s premier paragliding festival for 17 years now. Above all it’s a flyer’s festival, and the organisers arranged a constant shuttle of Land Rovers to take pilots the 40-minute drive up to the wide take-off. Over 500 people got a ride up over the three-day weekend festival. The festival coincides with an annual open cross-country paragliding competition, and this year around 30 pilots competed. Three of them, Pablo Manchero Garcia-Olias, Daniel Crespo Valdez, and Blay Olmos achieved 200km flights. But for spectators the festival delivered too. The now traditional spectacular…

1 min
kössen testival delivers

Depite an unsettled forecast the microclimate of the Kössen Valley in Austria, in the northern Alps, delivered four-out-of-four flying days for the Paraglider Manufacturers Association Testival 2016, held at the end of May. The focus for the spring festival each year is firmly on the flying. All the major paragliding companies were there, with pilots queueing up to try out the latest wings. The beauty of the site is the cable car, which quickly takes pilots to a smooth grassy launch above the testival field. There were more than 6,000 launches over the four days. Most pilots stayed local but for the more adventurous there were cross-country possibilities into the rocky and wildly beautiful Kaisergebirge to the west. In the happy atmosphere of the testival field down below there was plenty to see, with…

1 min
in the field

Advance Strapless Advance’s latest mountain harness was on show. Designed to be used with the rucksack you will no doubt be carrying, it ditches the shoulder straps. Video explanation here: wp.me/p5Xrrv-ce9 Independence freestyle harness Independence’s Stefan Kurrle showed us their latest addition to the range, which uses buckles tested by the US Airforce. Designed with twin reserves and a stiffened back. independence.aero Skybean follow-cam Skybean had final prototypes of their Go-Pro follow-cam chasing pilots round the sky above the Testival. The footage from the giant shuttlecock looked nice and smooth. skybean.eu…