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ON DETAIL: STEPHAN HAASE / TRACY ANDERSON

“I am very excited to come learn as much as possible and have a great time doing it”

Pilot: Stephan Haase
Nationality: USA
Birth Date: 06.03.1973
City: Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Country: USA
Job: Fireman/Paramedic, Ret.
Glider: Ozone LM5
Harness: Ozone Ozium
Helmet: Pluxmax X-Alps
Sponsors:  Five Ten, meteoblueOzone Paragliders Ltd, Plusmax 
Assistant: Tracy Anderson
Nationality: USA
Birth Date:12.05.1971
City: Natters
Country: Austria

INTERVIEW

What is your greatest sporting success?
My greatest sporting success is defined by a series of moments, memories, suffering, and relishing achievements with friends and family. I am most proud to have successfully navigated many high risk sports with a degree of ability minimizing risk exposure frequency and severity. To have shared special peaks with friends. To visit peaks where friends remain in rest. So to answer more directly, I am most proud of all of these experiences to get outside with others and have a profound feeling of gratitude.

When and why did you start paragliding?
Paragliding was a natural transition from alpine climbing in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. The lure of climbing peaks and gliding to the valley while touching the sky was overwhelming and illusive. I was tempted to begin in 1989 on my way to the local crag. I stopped at the local ski hill to watch a friend who acquired an rather used “parapente” from Spain. I watched him tumble under a table cloth of a glider so I went climbing instead and the years clicked by. In 2007 a climbing partner learned to fly and he convinced me that the sport had changing radically. He was right and I’ve never looked back since.

What is your mountaineering experience?
Mountain experience consists of backcountry travel skills in both winter and summer conditions in places like British Colombia, the Sierra Nevada’s and of course, The Alps. I enjoy all type of climbing around traditional routes like Yosemite Big Walls to cragg’n, but long all day Alpine rock routes under California sun is my preference.

What does your typical training week consist of?
It’s a about having fun. I’ve gotta enjoy the journey or I need to ask why I am here. A typical day starts early with one of my favorite meals for breakfast like Oatmeal with cooked bananas and cinnamon or raison and coconut pancakes. Ahh the best part of training is you get to eat nearly anything you want!

Then I like to get in some cardio that makes me sweat. That might involve hiking to a flying place for 2-3 hours, riding a bike, or a run. It’s all about flying so I try involve this as much as possible. I try to make this happen at least 3 times per week with another 3 days of something different using another muscle group.The past few months I have not focused on distance, but rather flying in weak conditions, not toping out thermals, and generally putting myself into difficult situations for XC. This has been very insightful on what’s possible when we might look at the sky and otherwise say something like, “hmm, it’s not ready.” I say it’s time to go.

What are your best and worst sporting memories?
I don’t think anyone can forget that first soaring moment. For me, I really reflect on high flights of striking peaks of the Sierra Nevada like Mt. Whitney. Some of the worst sporing memories are reflecting upon our friends who are no longer with us.

Why does the X-Pyr interest you?
The format of X-PYR is most idealistic to why I began paragliding. To travel XC with nothing more than this wafer thin fabric overhead suspended by lines I wouldn’t dry clothes from. It’s simply amazing really. When combined with a lot of distance and hiking it’s the ultimate freedom to make your decision, choose a route, choose a flight or a hike and have an adventure do it all. Oh, I also really enjoy the Spanish culture!

Have you flown in the Pyrenees before?
Never. I am very excited to come learn as much as possible and have a great time doing it.

What will your strategy be during the race?
Keep moving. Balance risk and reward a bit more than in X-Alps to not miss a flying moment. Maintain health and safety. Have fun!

What excites you most about X-Pyr?
Coming to a region where I know very little and leaving like I’ve learned a lot of this place many people are experts at. To have a great adventure, make new friends, and build upon existing friendships.

What scares you the most about the event?
This is a huge commitment in time and energy for multiple people. Something very simple and unexpected can take you out a lot faster than you started. No one want to experience this early in the race.

Why will he/she make a good assistant?
Tracy is a stud, period. Not only is this guy tough and incredibly fast on the ground, he has a super ability to be organized. To motivate. Superior XC navigation skills. Maintains focus whether it’s dealing with the moment or thinking 5, 7 or 10 steps ahead. Not only all that, but he’s a gas to be around.

Anything else you like to comment?
I can’t wait for this. Let’s get after it and have a kick ass time doing it.