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9 May 2017

The New Extreme Winter Sport - Ski Slope Hang Gliding

Img: Uroš Rojc / Red Bull 
Picture an untouched ski slope: blindingly glowing white without a dent in the blanket of snow – a keen skier’s perfect setting for a day of activity on the slopes. Skiing and snowboarding are extremely popular sports, with over 3,000 resorts in Europe available for anyone to enjoy, from winter sport enthusiasts or beginners.

We’ve already looked at extreme winter sports which are played on ice, like the bizarre sport that is car curling, as well as those which occur on the slopes - snow kayaking anyone?  Three Slovenian hang gliders are bringing back a previously popular but dangerous winter sport; hanging up their skis and flying down the slopes instead.

Red Bull reports that hang-glider pilots Matjaž Klemenčič, Wolfgang Siess and Suan Selenati took to the slopes of Italian ski resort Zoncolan, home to Monte Zoncolan in the Carnic Alps.

 Klemenčič explains: “The idea originates from Kitzbühel, Austria, where this kind of hang gliding already existed a long time ago, but it had got scrapped due to its dangerous nature.”

Img: Uroš Rojc / Red Bull
The hang-gliding trio can reach speeds up to 100kph as they swoop just one metre above the snowy surface.

The team flew early due to conditions only being suitable in the morning, as well as fewer skiers being on the slopes below for safety. The team were curious of skiers reactions to the sport, and Wolfi revealed that a group of skiers congratulated them after witnessing them hang-gliding above them.

"The biggest challenge was the logistics. Getting our hang gliders to the top proved to be quite a feat and we also had to be there very early, as good flying conditions only occur in the morning," Klemenčič continues.

After one successful speed run in Zoncolan, the trio are hoping the sport’s popularity grows and eventually aim to organise tournaments and races to find the world’s best hang-glider pilots. 

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.