At 1,223km, the route is a similar length to 2021 so the difficulty has not increased there. But it is still an epic challenge. The route follows an anticlockwise out-and-back loop finishing again in the Austrian resort of Zell am See.
The route of Red Bull X-Alps 2023 presents a few surprises and challenges. There’s a new start. For the first time since 2007, the race starts in a different location to Salzburg. It will begin in the Austrian town of Kitzbühel - Kirchberg, famous for its Downhill ski race, the Hahnenkamm.
This year’s route is a circular loop around the Alps that begins in Kitzbühel - Kirchberg, finishes in Zell am See, and passes the highest mountains of Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy.
“This year is not only going to be an historic edition, it also promises to be one of the most exciting. This year’s route will challenge athletes physically and mentally to the max. We have a new start location in Kitzbühel - Kirchberg. There are 15 Turnpoints scattered across some of the highest mountains of the Alps. There’s also a mandatory via ferrata climb. We have also created a state-of-the-art viewing experience for fans and spectators watching who can follow every minute of the action via Live Tracking”, race co-founder Ulrich Grill said.
The race starts on June 11th, 2023, and was preceded by a one-day Prologue on June 8th in the mountains surrounding the resort of Kitzbühel - Kirchberg. In the most dramatic Prologue finish ever, five athletes sprinted for the finish, the French athlete Maxime Pinot just took the win, followed by Chrigel Maurer (SUI), while Aaron Durogati (ITA) came in third. Tanguy Renaud-Goud (FRA) and Tobias Grossrubatscher (ITA) crossed the line in fourth and fifth position.
32 world class athletes, 17 veterans, 15 rookies and four women, coming from Japan, China, Australia, America and Europe will hike and fly via record-breaking 15 Turnpoints in 5 different countries - including Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and France.
Red Bull X-Alps is hailed as the world’s toughest adventure race. When the race officially kicks off on June 11, 2023, 32 athletes from 18 countries will once again push their endurance hiking, trail running, mountaineering and paragliding skills to the limit.
2023 is the year Red Bull X-Alps celebrates its 20th anniversary
The concept for Red Bull X-Alps was inspired by Toni Bender’s first crossing of the Alps in 1999. His hiking and paragliding adventure became the subject of a documentary that caught the eye of renowned Austrian pilot Hannes Arch. This is what inspired Arch and his long-time friend Ulrich Grill to ask themselves if such incredible feats could be made into a competition for the most determined individuals on the planet.
"I thought it would be cool to base a paragliding competition on this format and build a basic concept for it – that’s how the idea was born!" Arch explains. "Together with Red Bull, we developed the idea until it became what it is today; an unparalleled test of human endurance in the form of an adventure race", adds Grill.
The first edition of Red Bull X-Alps took place in 2003. Since then, every two years we have attended a new edition until we reach this 11th edition that will start tomorrow in Kitzbühel.