© Martin Lifka
“…you climb a mountain you have never climbed before or one you have hiked a multitude of times – it doesn’t really matter – you spread out your paragliding wing, prepare yourself and then take off – you become one with the elements surrounding you. Everything that happens in that moment and thereafter is in your hands and your responsibility. No matter if you fly 10km or 100km, not a single instant equals another…”
Name: Simon Oberrauner
Birth: 12. Mai 1991 in Graz
Home: Rotmoosweg 41, 8045 Graz
When and why did you begin paragliding?
I began paragliding in 2012, because I always wanted to fly and paragliding is the most simple and natural way to get airborne. Honestly, I have never regret this decision for a single second for it was one of the best of my entire life.
Do you paraglide competitively?
Bordairline Levico Terme 2014: 1st Place
Bordairlne Bad Aussee 2014: 3rd Place
Bordairline Overall 2014: 5th Place
Bordairline Kössen 2015: 1st Place
Bordairline Donnersbach 2015: 1st Place
Bordairline Overall 2015: 1st Place
Bordairlne Hohe Wand 2016: 2nd Place
Bordairlne Tolmin 2016: 1st Place
Bordairlne Goldeck 2016: 1st Place
Schöckl Speedalps 2014: 1st Place
Cross Country Flying:
World XContest PG Sport 2014: 13th Place, 259 km FAI triangle after 2 years of paragliding
Austrian Cross Country State Championship 2015: 2nd Place Junior, 3rd Place Sport, 6th Place Overall
What is your mountaineering experience?
I have done several Bivac tours in the Austrian and Swiss alps in summer and winter. In 2012, I climbed the summit of Stok Kangri (6125m) with my brother after an eight day unsupported trekking tour through remote valleys in Jammu and Kashmir (India). I am always looking for new adventures in order to get more experience.
What is your paragliding experience?
I have five years of paragliding experience in various conditions and areas all over the Alps. I have about 600+ hours of airtime. Last summer I flew the main part of the X-Alps route supporting Paul Guschlbauer and learned a lot. I crossed Austria over a seven day Bivactour where I have experienced different conditions of weather. I've flown in Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, France and other countries. One of the best parts is showing paragliding to others: I am doing tandem-flights for about one and a half years now and it is amazing to give others the possibility to fly.
What is your adventure racing / endurance sport experience?
I am competing in the Bordairline event since 2013. I've been doing endurance sports since I was 13 years old. I found my passion in long distance hikes/runs in 2011 when I hiked from Graz to Liezen to visit my grandparents (145km). Sport is a main part of my life and combining it with a race is one of the best feelings I can imagine.
What does your typical training week consist of?
I train 5 to 6 days a week. My training is always adapted to the weather, because I prefer training outside. The main parts are running, cycling, hike&fly, sport climbing and depending on the season skitouring and swimming.
What are your best and worst adventure/flying moments?
One of the best moments in adventure flying was deffinitly winning the Bordairline Race in Tolmin 2016 by walking only 13km and flying 218km. The worst moment was when I had to land on a tree in a narrow valley without any chance of getting out.
What are the sporting moments you are most proud of?
First time winning a Bordairline Competition in Levico Terme and winning the Bordairlne series in 2015.
When and how did you first hear about the Red Bull X-Alps?
When I started Paragliding in Graz at the Flugschule Steiermark someone mentioned the Red Bull X-Alps. I have tracked the competitions ever since and made it my goal to be a part of this amazing race.
What appeals to you about the Red Bull X-Alps?
Red Bull X-Alps means being outside no matter what. You experience different weather conditions, meet inspiring candidates and push your own limits.
What will be your strategy during the race?
Finding the most efficent way trough the Alps and always staying curious.
On average, over a third of the Red Bull X-Alps participants fail to finish the event. Why do you think you will make it?
I have a good sense for thermals and the perfect team. I am purposeful and own a good level of endurance. If I want to accomplish a race, I am trying my best and more to get there.
What scares you the most about the event?
I think the weather conditions are an uncertain factor and it would be very frustrating to walk for days in not flyable conditions.