EVENT CANCELLED – Hundreds flying over Monte Grappa, the world’s best pilots compete at Easter

Two hundred paragliders and hang gliders in the air on Monte Grappa, the 2024 Trophy kicks off


Events - published on 27 March 2024


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Source: press office PK COMMUNICATION

From 27 March to 1 April, the world summit of the world’s best pilots, also from China and Korea, returns. It is the “Trofeo Montegrappa” (Montegrappa Trophy): the modern Icaros will be involved in races that can be over one hundred kilometres long from the Asolo hills to those of Vicenza. Emanuele Reginato, president of the Consorzio Turistico Vivere il Grappa: “Over a hundred thousand presences a year for free flight, induced income of tens of millions of euro for the territory”.

Those watching the skies of Monte Grappa over Easter will see them coloured by hundreds of coloured sails. There will be around two hundred modern Icaruses taking to the skies for the Montegrappa Trophy, the event that every year brings together the world’s paragliding and hang-gliding elite on the slopes of the sacred mountain, to enjoy the unique European ascension currents, but above all to challenge each other in epic battles of up to one hundred kilometres in length along the arc of the Treviso and Vicenza Pre-Alps, passing through the Monte Grappa Massif, recently awarded the Mab Unesco seal of approval.
The Montegrappa Trophy, founded in 1982, is now in its 38th edition (some were not held over the years) and is traditionally celebrated during the Easter holidays, this year from 27 March to 1 April.
The take-off and landing phases are by far the most spectacular: pilots will be visible from the Asolo hills to the Vicenza hills (Malo, Monte Carega and Monte Pasubio to the west) for tens of kilometres of sky. The official landings will be on the border between the provinces of Treviso and Vicenza: at San Giacomo in Romano d’Ezzelino, Garden Relais, Paradiso and San Pierin in Borso del Grappa. The official take-off points, on the other hand, will be at the Antenne di Rubbietto in Conco-Lusiana and Romano d’Ezzelino.

“For the second year in a row, paragliders and hang-gliders will compete together,” explains Lorenzo Zamprogno, president of the Club Volo Libero Montegrappa, an association that has been active since 1979 and which, in collaboration with the Aeroclub Aec Blue Phoenix, organises the event. “Participation is limited to 150 paraglider pilots among the best on the international scene and 48 hang-glider pilots, 200 professionals in all, who during the five competition days will compete against each other to conquer the ‘buoys’ defined by the competition committee and complete the course in the shortest possible time. We also had many other requests, but we do not have the possibility to accommodate all the pilots who would like to participate. It will be a battle: we have confirmed the presence of the world’s best paraglider pilots, professionals from twenty different nations including Germany, France, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Great Britain and Hungary, but also from Iceland, Finland and even China and Korea. Let’s not forget that the selection is tough: the participants are chosen from among the best 150 in the world according to the Fai ranking.

But it will not only be a sporting event. The local economic spin-off is enormous, if one thinks that free flight alone is worth about 13% of the GDP of the entire municipality of Borso, considered by insiders to be a sort of European capital for the sector. There are no up-to-date estimates, but at a territorial level we are talking about tens of millions of euro of induced activity. In fact, free flying represents an important tourist resource for the Pedemontana area. Over one hundred thousand tourist presences are generated, and it is estimated that around twenty thousand pilots pass through here every season for a sport that is still little known in Italy, considering that the largest catchment area is Germany, where there are 45,000 enthusiasts.

DETAILS:

The Consorzio Turistico Vivere il Grappa:
The Touristic Consortium VIVERE IL GRAPPA today comprises about fifty consortium members in the Pedemontana del Grappa area and is responsible for promoting and developing tourism in the area. Thanks to a network of partners, it offers hospitality and services to the area’s many visitors. It manages the take-off and landing areas of the Monte Grappa Flight Site, organises events and sporting events, and provides information and welcome to visitors at its offices. It was set up in 1997 with the intention of creating a synergic network of services and businesses united by the objective of enhancing the area of the Grappa foothills, identified as a growing tourist destination for the practice of free flight (paragliding and hang-gliding without engines) thanks to its favourable atmospheric conditions. Initially, it was accommodation facilities or those in the catering business that joined the project; over the years, more diversified companies (small businesses, shops, transport companies) decided to join the consortium. According to its statute, the Consortium is a non-profit organisation, composed of a Board of Directors, the president today being Emanuele Reginato. Information: http://www.vivereilgrappa.it.

MONTEGRAPPA TROPHY – THE RULES
The Hang Gliding Trophy has existed since 1982 and the Paragliding Trophy since 1990. It is one of the most famous competitions in the world, both for its longevity and for the technical content of the competition, and is recognised by the FAI international aviation federation. The Montegrappa Trophy takes place over five ‘tasks’ (i.e. heats), one per day. It is essentially a speed race. The course is assigned by the race director on a daily basis and consists of a series of buoys to be cleared using the on-board GPS. The start takes place in two stages. Pilots have approximately one hour to take off and position themselves in the sky near the virtual start line. At the time set by the organisers, they can all cross the line together and begin their flight to their destination. The pilot who completes the course in the shortest possible time is the winner of the day. The sum of the scores will determine who wins the various medals, divided between the ‘absolute’, ‘serial’, ‘sport’ and ‘women’s’ categories according to the certifications of the various pilots. For safety and organisational reasons, participation is currently limited to 150 paraglider pilots: 140 pilots selected on the basis of the FAI WPRS ranking as at 31 December 2023; 7 wild cards assigned by the organisation; 3 wild cards assigned by the Team Leader of the Italian national team and 10 places reserved for women. The official landings for the 2024 edition will be at San Giacomo in Romano d’Ezzelino, Garden Relais, Paradiso and San Pierin in Borso del Grappa. The official take-off spots, on the other hand, will be at Antenne di Rubbietto and Conco-Lusiana. Organised by the Asd Volo Libero Montegrappa, active since 1979, the president is Lorenzo Zamprogno, in collaboration with the AeC Blue Phoenix whose president is Zanocco Damiano.

THE ASCENSIONAL CURRENTS OF MONTE GRAPPA The sport of free flight has found in Borso del Grappa, in the Treviso area, the ideal conditions for being practised. There are essentially three reasons for the success of this discipline. First of all, the special weather conditions that allow the development of ascending currents practically all year round, permitting flights lasting up to a few hours. These currents originate in front of almost vertical precipices, from which it is ideal to begin the flight. Then, the ease with which the various take-off points, located on the southern slope of the massif, can be reached. Finally, the presence of landing areas considered to be of great value from a safety point of view.

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