Cross Country August 2021

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.

United Kingdom
XC Media
10 Issues

in this issue

2 min
sharing the passion

The sheer breadth of our sports amazes me. On the one hand, there is the X-Alps with its hype-machine, 360-degree visuals, super-motivated pilots and go-go-go attitude. Never resting, always pushing, stretching the boundaries on a 1,200km mission through the European Alps. On the other, there is John Silvester, a man who first picked up a paraglider in the late 1980s and spent good chunks of his life pursuing his dream of flight in the Greater Ranges. At home in Wales he dug his garden, used his hands to build, and lived close to the elements of air, water and wind. The two are not incompatible, they are not unrelated, it is possible to embrace both things at the same time and still hold shared values. Jocky Sanderson, British team pilot and leader for…

1 min

Vitek Ludvik is a pro photographer from the Czech Republic, and often flies with his faithful friend, Marvel. “She came to live with us four years ago. She lived in terrible conditions before, but now she lives a dream life, travelling Europe in a camper and flying.” Much like him, by the sound of it – p26 Reto Reiser is a medical doctor from Altdorf in central Switzerland. Flying since 2010 he loves to combine hike-and-fly and XC – and photography. “I always tell everyone how fantastic flying is, but I can’t put my enthusiasm into words. So I started to take pictures.” He shows us his tricks – p34 Mathilde Chivet is a neuro-scientist turned pasionate paraglider pilot who has taken the summer off to support Damien Lacaze in the X-Alps…

4 min
worlds hit turbulent air

The FAI Hang Gliding Championships were cancelled in May, when six major nations pulled out over Covid concerns. The situation immediately raised questions over whether the already-rescheduled Paragliding World Championships will suffer the same fate later this year. Just 10 days after being given the go-ahead by organisers and CIVL, plans for the Hang Gliding Worlds collapsed as team after team withdrew their pilots. With so many pilots withdrawn, organisers had no choice but to pull the plug. The competition has been postponed to 2023. “The Hang Gliding World Championships were postponed because, in the end, there were not enough pilots to make the event financially sound,” Stephane Malbos, president of CIVL explained. CIVL is the international free flight commission that is responsible for sanctioning – not organising – major competitions like…

8 min
jouni flies euro 500km

Jouni Makkonen flew 500km in Finland on 11 June to claim a new European paragliding record. The flight is also the first 500km paragliding flight made in Europe and followed a 432km flight he’d made just 12 days before. Jouni, 50, is well known on the international scene, and has competed in the Paragliding World Cup for years. He also has two Red Bull X-Alps (2009 and 2011) under his belt, coming top 10 both times. An architect and property developer, he is a key figure in developing Finnish paragliding and has consistently shown the potential of his home country. “Finland is pretty tricky,” he says about flying there. “You can’t fly sideways, you can only go up and down. And you can’t cross the Russian border, that would be a…

4 min
naked pilot goran dimiskovski

It’s been a long two years. I was injured in September 2019 while launching at the PWC in Andradas, Brazil. I hurt my lower leg on take-off, simply turning around. It took six months to recover, and after that Covid arrived and everything stopped. I started to fly as a kid in the national aeroclub of Macedonia. I went through all the stages: aeromodelling, parachuting, sailplanes, and finally in 1991/2 paragliding. A guy brought a glider from Austria to Macedonia and I saw it while I was skiing. I said “Wow! This is for me.” It was complicated to import a glider to Macedonia at that time. My first glider was a competition wing, a Paratech P3. So I started training with that. I survived. The guy I saw on the ski…

4 min
insider s guide shooting the x-alps

I’m one of the regular photographers for the Red Bull X-Alps, chasing the pilots through the mountains every two years to help capture the action. During the 2019 edition one very unexpected event happened to me. For two days I’d been camped at the top of the Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc ski resort with a magnificent view of the western walls of Mont Blanc. I’d been photographing the pilots as they climbed from the Chamonix Valley to take-off at the Aiguille Croche (2,487m). Each morning two or three arrived, set up, took off, and flew to the other side of the hill toward Albertville. The conditions were not ideal for long flights, but it saved them a few hours of walking. On the third morning I again hiked up 500m to the top…