Who will observe the sky of Monte Grappa on Easter days will see it colored by dozens of colored sails. Two hundred and thirty, precisely, the modern icaros will take flight for the Montegrappa Trophythe 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 updrafts at European level, but above all to challenge each other in epic battles even more than a hundred kilometers long along the arc of the Treviso and Vicenza Pre-Alps, but above all around the Monte Grappa massif, recently awarded the Unesco Mab stamp.
The Montegrappa Trophy, founded in 1982, is now in its 37th edition (some have not been held over the years) and is traditionally celebrated during the Easter holidays, this year from 5 to 10 April with annexed outdoor events for the public and an expo for free flight enthusiasts.
The take-off and landing phases are by far the most spectacular, seeing hundreds of sails hovering in the clouds is really exciting: you fly (barring bad weather) from noon to about five in the afternoon, the pilots will be visible from the Asolani hills to the Vicenza hills (Malo, Monte Carega and Monte Pasubio to the west) for tens of kilometers of sky. The official landings will be in San Giacomo in Romano d’Ezzelino, Garden Relais, Paradiso and San Pierin in Borso del Grappa. The official take-off points are on the Antenne di Forcella Mori Conco-Lusiana, Col Campeggia in Romano d’Ezzelino.
“Moreover, this will be a historic edition in its own way. After years, they will in fact return to compete together paragliders and hang gliders”, he explains Gianluca Soncin, president of Asd Volo Libero Montegrappa, an association active since 1979 that organizes the event. “Participation is limited to 150 paragliding pilots among the best on the international scene and 80 hang gliding 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 commission and land in the shortest possible time”. The final classification, given by the sum of the results, allows to obtain a score valid for the world ranking. It will be a battle: confirmed the presence of 25 of the best 30 paragliding pilots in the world, professionals from twenty different countries including Germany, France, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany and Hungary.
But it won’t be just a sporting event. The local economic induced is enormous, if we consider that free flight alone is worth about 13% of the GDP of the entire Municipality of Borso, considered by insiders a sort of European capital for the sector. There are no updated estimates, but at a local level we are talking about tens of millions of euros of induced activities.
“Free flight represents an important tourist resource for the Pedemontana, the enthusiasts who visit the slopes of Grappa every year generate a considerable turnover for the local realities”, he explains Emmanuel Reginato, president of the Tourist Consortium Vivere il Grappa. “There are over 100,000 tourists generated by free flight, we estimate that around 20,000 pilots visit us every season. The largest catchment area is Germany, where there are 45,000 enthusiasts. We also expect many onlookers and tourists with their noses turned up during the days of the race, it’s spectacular to see the modern icarus dancing in the clouds and the updrafts of Monte Grappa”.
Also for this reason, the promotion of free flight for the area is essential. On Saturday and Sunday, at the landing of the Garden Relais in Borso del Grappa, the Consorzio Turistico Vivere il Grappa organized the “On the test” (synchronization of tests and festivals) of the flight. This year 12 exhibitors from famous brands in the sector took part, 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 real exhibition of equipment for free flight, also designed for the public of non-experts. Indeed they were also organize other initiatives during the Easter holidays, the Testival wants to make the beauties of the area known. The inauguration of the Testival is scheduled, in the presence of the authorities, for Saturday 8 April at 11.00, at the landing area of the Garden Relais, in via Caose 22 in Borso del Grappa (in the Treviso area). A convivial toast will follow.