Easter sees the return of the world summit of the best pilots, the “Montegrappa Trophy”: 150 paragliders and 80 hang gliders will be engaged in five tasks (for journeys of more than one hundred kilometers) from the Asolo Hills to those in Vicenza. This year there will also be a Testival (opening on Saturday 8). Emanuele Reginato, president of the Tourist Consortium Vivere il Grappa: “Over a hundred thousand presences a year for free flight, induced by tens of millions of euros for the territory.”
Those observing the skies of Mount Grappa on Easter days will see them colored with dozens of colorful sails. Two hundred and thirty, precisely, will be the modern icaros taking flight 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 updrafts, but above all to challenge each other in epic battles as long as more than a hundred kilometers along the arc of the Treviso and Vicenza Pre-Alps, but especially around the Monte Grappa Massif, recently awarded the Mab Unesco stamp.
The Montegrappa Trophy, founded in 1982, is now in its 37th edition (some over the years have not been held) and is traditionally celebrated under the Easter holidays, this year from April 5 to 10 with attached outdoor events for the public and an expo for free flight enthusiasts.
The takeoff and landing phases are by far the most spectacular, seeing hundreds of gliders hovering in the clouds is truly thrilling: flying (barring bad weather) from around noon to five in the afternoon, pilots will be visible from the Asolani Hills to the hills of Vicenza (Malo, Mount Carega and Mount Pasubio to the west) for tens of kilometers of sky. Official landings will be at San Giacomo in Romano d’Ezzelino, Garden Relais, Paradiso and San Pierin in Borso del Grappa. Official takeoff points, on the other hand, on the Antennas of Forcella Mori Conco-Lusiana, Col Campeggia in Romano d’Ezzelino.
“This, moreover, will in its own way be a historic edition. In fact, after years, paragliders and hang gliders will return to compete together,” explains Gianluca Soncin, president of Asd Volo Libero Montegrappa, an association active since 1979 that organizes the event. “Participation is limited to 150 paraglider pilots among the best on the international scene and 80 hang glider pilots, 230 professionals in all, who during the five days of competition will compete against each other to conquer the “buoys” defined by the competition committee and land in the shortest possible time.” The final ranking, given by the sum of the results, allows for points valid for the world ranking. It will be battle: 25 of the world’s top 30 paraglider pilots, professionals from 20 different nations including Germany, France, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, are confirmed to be present.
But it will not only be a sporting event. The local economic spin-off is enormous, if you think that free flight alone is worth about 13 percent 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 the territorial level we are talking about tens of millions of euros of induced income.
“Free flight represents an important tourist resource for the Pedemontana, the enthusiasts who frequent the slopes of Grappa every year generate a significant turnover for local businesses,” explains Emanuele Reginato, president of the Tourist Consortium Vivere il Grappa. “There are over one hundred thousand tourist presences generated by free flight, we estimate that in all about twenty thousand pilots pass through us each season. The largest catchment area is Germany, where there are 45,000 enthusiasts. We also expect many curious onlookers and tourists with their noses in the air on race days; it is spectacular to see modern icaro dancing in the clouds and updrafts of Mount Grappa.”
For this reason, too, the promotion of free flight for the area is crucial. In fact, on Saturday and Sunday, at the Garden Relais landing in Borso del Grappa, the Consorzio Turistico Vivere il Grappa organized the “Testival” (syncrasis of test and festival) of flying. This year 12 exhibitors from famous brands in the industry have joined, a success for the organizers: Gingliders, Swing Italia, Sport Professional, Infinity Fly, Eagles Point, Macpara, Supair, Bgd, Aire Cornizzolo, Linea In Flow Paragliders, Nova Italia and Gebomountain. It will be a true free-flight equipment expo, designed also for the lay public. In fact, other initiatives have also been organized during the days of the Easter holidays, the Testival aims to raise awareness of the beauty of the area. The inauguration of the Testival is scheduled, in the presence of the authorities, for Saturday, April 8, at 11 a.m., at the landing area of the Garden Relais, at 22 Caose Street in Borso del Grappa (in the province of Treviso). A convivial toast will follow.
TESTIVAL 2023, EVENTS IN THE AREA
Six different initiatives have been organized during the days of the Easter holidays, the Testival aims to raise awareness of the beauty of the territory. The inauguration of the Testival is scheduled, in the presence of the authorities, for Saturday, April 8, at 11 a.m., at the landing area of the Garden Relais, at 22 Caose Street in Borso del Grappa (in the province of Treviso).
Saturday, April 8 Yoga class with Erica, qualified teacher by the pool. Location: Garden Relais via Caose 22, Borso del Grappa (TV). Duration about 1 hour. Free-offer participation, with reservations required by April 5. Limited places. For information and registration: email@example.com
Saturday, April 8 at 2:30 p.m. is a bike tour with professional mountain bike instructor, about 25 km route among the foothills, medium-easy. Departure from Garden Relais via Caose 22, Borso del Grappa (TV). Duration about 3 hours. Fee per person 15 euros; minimum 8 members. Reservations required by April 5; limited places and possibility of mtb and e-bike rental on site by reservation. For information and registration: firstname.lastname@example.org or 340 2545687.
On Easter Monday (April 10), at 3 p.m., here is Dante’s walk, an easy hike with local expert, suitable for everyone, to discover the history and nature of the area. Departure from Piazzale Chiesa No. 8, Romano D’Ezzelino (VI). Duration about 2 hours joining fee Euro 10.00 per person, children free. Limited places, reservations required by April 6. For information and registration: email@example.com or 340 2545687.
THE LIVING THE GRAPPA TOURIST CONSORTIUM
The Consorzio Turistico Vivere il Grappa is an association composed today of about fifty operators in the Pedemontana del Grappa area that works to promote and develop 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, organizes events and sporting events, and provides information and welcome to visitors at its offices. Founded in 1997 with the intention of creating a synergistic network of services and businesses united by the goal 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 favorable atmospheric conditions. Initially to join the project were accommodation facilities or otherwise in the restaurant business, over the years more diverse businesses (small businesses, stores, transportation companies) have since decided to form consortiums. As per the bylaws, the Consortium is a ‘nonprofit association, composed of a Board of Directors, the president today is Emanuele Reginato. Information: www.vivereilgrappa.it.
MONTEGRAPPA TROPHY – THE RULES
The Hang Gliding Trophy has existed since 1982 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 recognized by the International Aeronautical Federation. The Montegrappa Trophy is held over five “tasks” (i.e., “maches”), 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 by on-board GPS. The start takes place in two stages pilots have about an hour to take off and position themselves in the sky near the virtual start line. At the time set by the organization they can cross the line all together and start the race in the middle. The pilot who completes the course in the shortest time results to the winner of the day. The sum of the scores will sanction who wins the various medals, divided among the categories “absolute,” “serial,” “sport” and “female” according to the certifications of the various riders. For safety and organizational reasons, participation to date is limited to 150 paraglider pilots: 140 pilots selected according to the FAI WPRS ranking as of January 31; 7 wild cards assigned by the organization; 3 wild cards assigned by the Team Leader of the Italian national team; and 10 places reserved for women. Official landings for the 2023 edition will be at San Giacomo in Romano d’Ezzelino, Garden Relais, Paradiso and San Pierin in Borso del Grappa. Official takeoff points instead on the Rubbietto Antennae in Conco-Lusiana, Col Campeggia in Romano d’Ezzelino. Organized by Asd Volo Libero Montegrappa, active since 1979, the president is Gianluca Soncin.
THE UPDRAFTS OF MONTE GRAPPA
The sport of free flight has found in Borso del Grappa, in the Treviso area, the ideal conditions to be practiced. There are essentially three reasons for the success of this discipline in this area. First, the special weather conditions that allow the development of ascending currents practically throughout the year, allowing flights lasting up to several hours. Currents that 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 held to be of great validity from a safety standpoint.