Live: The Coupe Icare 2010

Cross Country is at the Coupe Icare in St Hilaire du Touvet, France. We’ll be blogging on this page so check back over the weekend for updates. If you’re heading to the festival, come and visit us on stand B21.

SUNDAY 19 SEPTEMBER

2.15pm: At last… the sky cleared (sort of), the sun came out (a little bit) and people flew. The fancy dress – the main event of the whole show – has been underway for a while and the first pilots are staying up.

The south take off will be busy with acro later on, the balloonists flew earlier this morning and things are looking up for a nice afternoon. It’s certainly busy enough – everywhere you go is just mobbed with people.

The trade tents have emptied and people have gathered to watch the star attraction of the Coupe Icare - the fancy dress flying

The trade tents have emptied and people have gathered to watch the star attraction of the Coupe Icare - the fancy dress flying

Success! A pilot takes off dressed as a flying jack-in-the-box

Success! A pilot takes off dressed as a flying jack-in-the-box

Staying up... Making the most of what lift is out there

Staying up... Making the most of what lift is out there

It’s certainly been one of the wettest Coupe Icares for a while… but it’s also been busy. All the manufacturers are here, and lots of them have reported strong interest in new canopies, engines, harnesses and other equipment. The whole year has been good for sales apparently, with a couple of companies saying they haven’t been able to keep up with demand.

No more blogging from here – now the flying has started it’s back to the trade tents for a last round of talking, meeting and greeting before packing up and heading home late this evening. It goes without saying the full report of all the new gear will be in the next issue of Cross Country and Paramotor magazines – look out for it.

See you next year. Vive la Coupe Icare!

10am: The weather is a little better – it has stopped raining at least – and it looks like it could clear up, so maybe the forecasts have been right. There were paramotors buzzing around this morning, which has got to be a good sign.

The scene at 9.30am Sunday: paramotor buzzing the Coupe Icare

The scene at 9.30am Sunday: paramotor buzzing the Coupe Icare

This morning's le dauphine newspaper promises  'The sun waits for the last day – Today we fly!'

This morning's le dauphine newspaper promises 'The sun waits for the last day – Today we fly!'

But this is the parking at the Coupe Icare...

But this is the parking at the Coupe Icare...

And straw is being used to soak up the mud on the way into Coupe Icare's festival tents.

And straw is being used to soak up the mud on the way into Coupe Icare's festival tents.

The winners of the Film Festival were announced last night.

Play Gravity 2 – The Other Side won both top prizes: the Icare d’Or and also the Icare du Public. The film is a hommage to Mathias Roten, who died two years ago in a speed riding accident, and is reported to be spectacular. “A film full of emotion,” according to the jury. Congratulations to Lorenz Roten, who made it.

A full list of winners includes:

Icare d’Or (Gold prize): Play Gravity 2 – The Other Side, by Lorenz Roten (Switzerland)

Icare Special du Jury (Jury prize): Ecche ach Mach, by Thomaz Vadura (Czech)

Icare du film court (Short film): Free Fall, by Guillaume Nery and Julie Gautier (France)

Icare de l’aventure humaine (Human adventure): Miracle in the Storm, by Guy Noris and Leo Faber (Australia)

Icare Meilleur Exploit (Best exploit): Ciclos, by Rafael Monteiro Saladini (Brazil)

Icare de l’aventure scientifique (Scientific adventure): L’Homme du Pole, by Thierry Garnier (France)

Icare du Public (Public’s choice): Play Gravity 2 – The Other Side

Icare des Matinales du Off (‘Off Broadway’ ie not shown in the main festival): La Legende de la Coupe Icare, by Jacques Bayol (France)

Icare de la Critique (Critic’s choice): Above and Beyond, by Ben Jordan (Canada) 🙂 (he’s still sleeping it off on the XCmag balcony)

Icare des Momes de Lumbin (chosen by a class of 30 at a local school): L’Homme du Pole.

Nothing for Horacio Llorens and his Infinity Himalaya :(. However, Play Gravity 2 has won over everyone with its spectacular production values and reportedly brilliant footage of flying in all its forms.

No one at XCmag caught it when it was shown (the film festival and the trade tents are in separate areas and happen at the same time, so it’s hard to do both) but it sounds like a deserving winner. Congratulations to all the winners.

Ewa Wisnierska at the Cross Country Wall of Fame after she'd been awarded the Icare de l'aventure humaine for her film Miracle in the Storm. Her prize? A back issue of Cross Country magazine - the one with the Little Cloud on the cover.

Ewa Wisnierska at the Cross Country Wall of Fame after she'd been awarded the Icare de l'aventure humaine for her film Miracle in the Storm. Her prize? A back issue of Cross Country magazine - the one with the Little Cloud on the cover.

After that it was time for a bit of a party. The Niviuk stand was hopping, and afterwards XCmag was entertained by the Iraqi team until it was time for bed.

“We have to fly tomorrow,” was the common thread that bound all the partygoers together.

The Iraqi paragliding team serve tea for Cross Country magazine in the food tent

The Iraqi paragliding team serve tea for Cross Country magazine in the food tent

SATURDAY 18 SEPTEMBER

6pm: Still cloudy. Should be clearing overnight. Rain has eased. All hopes are pinned to tomorrow. The film festival and awards starts at 6.30pm. Bumped into Horacio Llorens who said he was annoyed as the producer of their film had sent an older copy of the film to the Coupe Icare organisers – so that is what was shown. Never mind, it’s still a contender.

More photos from the Wall of Fame.

Debu Choudhury, India's finest.

Debu Choudhury, India's finest.

Felix the Cat, with his photos in the latest issue of Cross Country magazine

Felix the Cat, with his photos in the latest issue of Cross Country magazine

Xavier Murillo, Paragliding World Cup boss and star of Flight, the Cross Country sponsored free DVD that all our readers got

Xavier Murillo, Paragliding World Cup boss and star of Flight, the Cross Country sponsored free DVD that all our readers got

Pal Takats and the photo of him and Gabor Kezi, also in the latest Cross Country magazine, Infinite Tumbling a tandem paraglider

Pal Takats and the photo of him and Gabor Kezi, also in the latest Cross Country magazine, Infinite Tumbling a tandem paraglider

3pm: It’s been non-stop in the trade tents – people are either there or in the food tent.

There will be a paramotoring display at 5pm, according to the organisers. That’s at the south take-off, although of course it’s weather dependent.

At the moment it’s still cold, rainy and cloudy – we are trapped in the cloud up here in St Hilaire.

Tomorrow, however, it will be flyable – organisers have promised it. Several local pilots have also said the forecast – “I’ve checked three” said one – is good. So if you are around and thinking of coming, come Sunday.

Here are two more faces from the Cross Country / Paramotor mag Wall of Fame / Shame:

Pascal Campbell-Jones from Paramania and Parabatix gets hot under the collar looking at the latest issue of Paramotor Mag

Pascal Campbell-Jones from Paramania and Parabatix gets hot under the collar looking at the latest issue of Paramotor Mag

Muhammad Fathe, one of Iraq's top pilots from Mosul

Muhammad Fathe, one of Iraq's top pilots from Mosul

Read more about paragliding in Iraq, courtesy of the New York Times: Paragliding Over Mosul – Because Iraq Just Isn’t Dangerous Enough Already

11.30am:

Balloons and lanterns released at the Coupe Icare 2010, thanks to Brazilian artist Tura

It’s wet, raining and the flying has been cancelled for the day. The deguisements – fancy dress flying – will take place on Sunday. Meanwhile, the tents are packed and lots of wet campers are making the best of it.

This morning people did manage to fly – some guys came off the top on speed wings, tumbling down through the rain and cloud. And at 7am, when the sky was clearer, hot air balloons managed to fly with a few paramotorists. But apart from that, it’s weather for ducks.

Last night saw the traditional balloon display by Tura, the Brazilian artist. If you haven’t seen this before, it’s an absolutely magical display. Tura hand-makes all his hot-air balloons / lanterns in Brazil, and then hands them out on the south take off.

At 10pm last night well over 1,000 were released – everybody gets to light one –slowly drifting into the sky above the valley and disappearing off towards Grenoble.

Anthony Green, Cross Country’s resident acro pilot, explains how they work in this 45-second clip, Verity and Marcus add their tuppence-worth, while Ed just holds the camera. Don’t believe Ant about the physics stuff – it’s pure magic.

Meanwhile, the film tent showed off the best of the fest. To be honest, some of the films on show are traditionally utterly yawnable (sorry, but it’s true – cut the long monologues and just show us the flying. Honestly, it’s a sure-fire route to success).

An exception last year was the one that won: Adrenaline and Turbulence. A similar buzz is doing the rounds about infinity Himalaya. It received its official showing last night after the balloon release, and was very well received.

Horacio Llorens, right, and Veso Ovcharov at the showing of their film, Infinity Himalaya

Horacio Llorens, right, and Veso Ovcharov at the showing of their film, Infinity Himalaya

Three incredible acro sequences, followed by the Infinite Tumble record itself (281, from 5,300 m) are set against the backdrop of travels in Nepal. If I was a judge, it would be my choice because it’s a brilliant display of flying.

It’s not simply eight-minutes of head-banging Infinite Tumbling: the film of acro above the lake in Pokhara and in the moonscape of Kali Gandaki is amazing – certainly there are a lot of original shots in it.

The audience spontaneously burst into a round of applause at the standard of Horacio’s flying – that doesn’t happen very often at film showings.

If it doesn’t win a prize, well I’ll be surprised.

Meanwhile, here are two faces from the Americas we snapped yesterday.

Brad Gunnuscio prepares himself for the Superfinal by getting some racing tips from the Cross Country panel. He's been in Europe leading a group of SIV pilots at Lake Garda, Italy, and is heading to Turkey to race soon.

Brad Gunnuscio prepares himself for the Superfinal by getting some racing tips from the Cross Country panel. He's been in Europe leading a group of SIV pilots at Lake Garda, Italy, and is heading to Turkey to race soon.

Brazilian artist Tura

Brazilian artist Tura

If you are coming to the festival, drop by and say hello. Stand B21 (the first tent, straight down, on your right).

FRIDAY 17 SEPTEMBER

5pm

The Coupe Icare this afternoon...

The Coupe Icare this afternoon...

2.30pm: It’s been raining and clouded-in all morning so people have been thronging the stands and the trade tent has been packed. Ditto for the food tent which saw hundreds of local schoolchildren packed in eating their lunches.

Extras for the Snow White and Seven Dwarves fancy dress entry fuel up in the food tent

Extras for the Snow White and Seven Dwarves fancy dress entry fuel up in the food tent

Some of the invited guests of honour here at this year’s Coupe Icare are team Iraq. Eleven pilots from Mosul have made the trip at the invitation of the organisers here.

Wings of the Falcon Paragliding Cub, Mosul, Iraq

Wings of the Falcon Paragliding Cub, Mosul, Iraq

Cross Country had a hand in it by making the introductions that allowed the right people to get in touch with each other, and then the French ambassador in Iraq to get the visas sorted. Normally a two-week process the ambassador processed them in a day.

Antoine Boisellier poses with the latest issue of XCmag – it's him on the cover

Antoine Boisellier poses with the lates issue of xcmag – it's him on the cover

Raul Rodriguez drops by for some acro tips from XCmag's Bob Drury

Raul Rodriguez drops by for some acro tips from XCmag's Bob Drury

Antoine Laurens points out the spelling mistakes in the article about his 1,200 km Himalayan Odyssey vol-bivouac

Antoine Laurens points out the spelling mistakes in the article about his 1,200 km Himalayan Odyssey vol-bivouac

Mathieu Rouanet politely mentions he hasn't been paid for the image rights for all the photos of him used on Paramotor Magazine's T-shirts...

Mathieu Rouanet politely mentions he hasn't been paid for the image rights for all the photos of him used on Paramotor Magazine's T-shirts...

Bob Drury, centre, chats to Laura Turner, new British Paramotor Champion, and her driver and support crew, Michel Carnet

Bob Drury, centre, chats to Laura Turner, new British Paramotor Champion, and her driver and support crew, Michel Carnet

Anyway, they’re all here, among others. Apparently lots of people camping left this morning – fed up with the rain. Antoine Boisellier though reckoned we could fly tomorrow, and everyone is saying Sunday, so there is all to play for.

9.30 am: Welcome to the Coupe Icare, the biggest paragliding, hang gliding and paramotoring festival on Earth! Roll up, roll up, for four days of spectacular displays, stunning films and the Alpine flying of your dreams… That’s the promise, but unfortunately Friday has dawned wet, wet and wetter, with mist and rain enveloping us all here at St Hilaire du Touvet.

Flags and windblades... Cross Country comes to the Coupe Icare

Flags and windblades... Cross Country comes to the Coupe Icare

Yesterday was the first day. Cross Country arrived Wednesday evening, just in time for the short preview of Antoine Boisellier’s film Le Nid, The Nest. In production for much of the year, although not yet ready, it’s about the free-flying scene here in St Hilaire.

Later we were entertained by an impromptu display of Tura’s famous paper hot air balloons. The Brazilian artist distributed 100 or so of his magical creations after dinner and we all got to light one and send it skywards.

Yesterday was spent setting up. Cross Country is at stand B21, and it was a matter of building shelves, working out what plugged into what, and making it look pretty. Later we spent several hours putting up wind blades and posters – we are media partners of the festival – and bumping into lots of people we know, before dinner and an early(ish) bed.

Lots of people flew yesterday, both paramotor and paraglider plus a handful of hang gliders. The early birds got some good flying in, but in the afternoon the sky clouded over and most people were simply flying to the bottom of the valley – a nice enough flight in itself.

The weather forecast is a bit grim for today and Saturday, but perhaps better for Sunday, although don’t quote me. If you’re coming anyway, make sure you drop into the trade show and come and say hello.

FILM FESTIVAL
The film festival kicked off in style on Thursday night, with showings of, among others, the Red Bull X-Alps 2009 film, Ewa Wisnierska’s made-for-TV drama Miracle in the Storm and 15 minutes of Above and Beyond Dream, the story of Ben Jordan who paramotored 10,000 km across Canada. (See all 15 parts of Ben Jordan’s adventure on YouTube here).

Ben Jordan sleeps in on the Cross Country balcony

Ben Jordan sleeps in on the Cross Country balcony


Ben was asleep in his sleeping bag on the balcony of the Cross Country chalet this morning – he’s there as I type – having been flooded out of his tent overnight. He came knocking well past midnight and we woke to find his skateboard propped neatly against the inside door. Welcome Ben! His film will be shown in its 69-minute entirety on Saturday afternoon.

Today the film festival starts at 4pm with the much-anticipated Play Gravity 2 at 4pm and Horacio Llorens’s Infinity Himalaya – the story of his world record Infinite Tumblings in Nepal last year. He’s here with Raul Rodriguez and the RR Acro team, and also his dad, who we met while stopping for lunch yesterday. Hello Horacio, and good luck to all.


Infinity Himalaya, direct from Nepal

More from the festival as it happens will be reported on this page over the weekend.

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