Don’t be fooled by the orchestral score and sprawling beauty of the video above; speed flying is an aerial dance with death.
Also known as speed riding and ski-gliding, the sport compels pilots to entrust in their quick, twitch instincts and the conventions of swirling updrafts. There are signs that indicate a safe path down a glacier-pocked mountain that are invisible to the untrained eye, you see. Sometimes, however, those signs play tricks, and many pilots, including Mathias Roten, have died pushing the sport further, faster and more extreme, seen in our When the Slope Isn’t Enough article.
The risk isn’t fully evident in this epic descent of Mount Blanc, the tallest mountain in the Alps, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.