Local Adventure Athlete Stephan Haase (Team USA2) of Zephyr Cove, Nevada is preparing to participate in the world’s toughest adventure race, the Red Bull X-Alps 2013, coming up in July. In 2011 the bi-annual event attracted more than 260 million fans, making it the world’s most watched adventure race. Athletes race non-stop from Salzburg, Austria to the Mediterranean Sea, with just a paraglider and a pair of hiking boots -- the use of any other transport or outside assistance is strictly forbidden. The race ends 48 hours after the first person reaches goal in Monaco. It's a formidable undertaking and takes place in one of most breathtaking yet also unforgiving environments!
An alum of Tahoe Truckee High School, Stephan became a professional firefighter /paramedic who worked professionally in both Truckee, California and Northern Nevada. Stephan learned to fly paragliders, and honed his technical rock climbing and winter backcountry travel skills right here in Lake Tahoe where he was raised. He will need all his emergency experiences and mountaineering skill sets to deliver a successful performance in July, as he is flying, hiking, crossing glaciers or scaling rock formations this July.
Paragliding, Colombia National 2013. Photo credit: Stephan Haase
Team USA2 includes the Athlete Stephan and his two supporters, Dave Hanning & Brad Sanders, both renowned guides. Supporters provide logistics necessary to continue the race 24/7 until reaching goal. Competing at this level requires expert paragliding and mountaineering experience with a very high level of endurance fitness — it's not uncommon for athletes to hike up to 100km in a day.
Lake Tahoe is home of some the world’s best soaring sites for paragliders, hang-gliders, and sail planes. Learning to fly here in the exceptionally strong thermic conditions has prepared Stephan well for this iconic undertaking. Stephan has twice, and currently, held the Nevada State distance record currently 125 miles and is the only paraglider to cross the High Sierra Nevada range. Stephan says, “Lake Tahoe soaring is arguably one the world’s best locations and closest to my heart. We can reach altitudes of 18,000’ and climb as fast as 1800 feet per minute. Soon we will fly even further exceeding 200 miles”.
A view of Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe. Photo credit: Jason Bender
Learn more about Stephen and follow his progress as he trains in Innsbruck, Austria. You can follow him on Twitter at @RB_XAlps_USA2, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RedBullXAlpsTeamUSA2, or on his personal blog at http://easternsierrastephan.blogspot.com/.
Ski Touring in the Alps. Photo credit: Stephan Haase