Extreme sports: the new holiday experience

Never before has it been so easy to book adventures at the click of a mouse and to get a taste of the world of extreme sports. Option has researched some of the most unusual activities in Austria and abroad.

If Peter Salzmann goes to work, then he must not forget his parachute. His workplace is a thousand meter high rock faces in the Dolomites or exposed mountain peaks in China. The everyday life of the stuntman, basejumper and flight instructor could not be more extraordinary. Every jump, every job is a new challenge.

"When experiencing, it's all about feeling yourself, experiencing it intensively, and feeling like you're setting your own path."
Jochen Schweizer

The skydiving started for the 30-year-old. But soon he wanted more. "After about 200 jumps, I felt ready for the first base jump," he says. And five years of jumping experience later, he slipped into the wingsuit, the supreme discipline of the basejump. This suit turns the jumper into a bird, giving it more lift and better control in free fall. Professionals like Salzmann tackle rock walls with only 120 meters of vertical. The lower the rock drop, the more dangerous the jump. This refers to the height from the jump to the point where the rock tilts from the vertical wall into the slope. There you steer along the slope thanks to wingsuit.
Difficult jumps go on many days of planning. The jumper must analyze next to the rock formations, weather, wind, altitude and thermal. That's exactly what makes Salzmann so attractive: "Build up extreme concentration right up to the moment of take-off. Then put on the rocks and go through everything in the head again. A little later you're down and you have that incomparable grin on your face. "The stuntman is no longer scared because 650 basejumps are now in Salzmann's account in ten different countries. But the respect for the height never disappears.

Basejumping in the Pamir

Basejumping is anything but a popular sport, but there are a few tour operators who organize such trips. One of them is Stanislaw Jusupow, who is currently building up his agency "Alaya Reisen" for adventure travel in Tajikistan in Germany. Jusupow offers mountain biking, climbing, rafting, paragliding and base jumping in the Pamir Mountains. "This area is still largely untouched and eleven 5.000 meter high peaks are in close proximity to each other," says the originally from Tajikistan entrepreneurs. Walls with 1.500 meters of height wait there for the experienced Basejumper. For beginners, such a journey is certainly not suitable. Depending on how well you are in shape, there are two to three jumps per day, because the jumpers conquer the peaks with muscle power. The price for a two-week trip is around 3.000 Euro excluding travel to Tajikistan.

Adrinalinrausch - If you do something extreme, you soon become acquainted with the body's own stress hormone Adrinalin: Adrenaline creates the conditions for the rapid provision of energy reserves that are to ensure survival in dangerous situations (fight or flight). These effects are mediated at the subcellular level by activation of G-protein coupled adrenoreceptors. Once released into the bloodstream, adrenaline increases heart rate, increases blood pressure and bronchiolism. The hormone also causes a rapid energy supply by fat loss (lipolysis) and the release and biosynthesis of glucose. It regulates blood circulation (centralization) and gastrointestinal activity (inhibition). In the central nervous system, epinephrine acts as a neurotransmitter in adrenergic neurons. Its effects mediate adrenaline via activation of G-protein-coupled receptors, the adrenoceptors.

Skiing with paraglider

Stuntman Peter Salzmann not only jumps from rock faces, but also works as a paragliding teacher. "This sport is the easiest and fastest way to fly independently," he says. The training up to there consists of one week compact course, followed by some practice flights. Then you complete the five-day course for the world-wide pilot's license. In total, this makes just under 1.000 Euro and takes about half a year.
Experienced can try themselves in speed flying, paragliding with strapped skis. It flies with a small umbrella at high speed just along the slope and starts in between to a few turns in the snow.

Forefather of extreme sports gifts

Jochen Schweizer with his eponymous agency is considered a pioneer of bookable adventure. Whether the classic tandem parachute jump or bungee jump to the bachelor party, a jaunt with the Formula 1 car or canyoning for the whole family - the stunt man from Germany knows how to make extreme sports accessible to the masses for more than 20 years. Swiss is seeing increasing demand.
But why are people increasingly looking for the "kick"? "When experiencing, it's all about feeling yourself, experiencing it intensively and feeling that you have your own way," says Schweizer.
However, in extreme sports accidents remind of the ever-present danger. At a Jochen Schweizer event, 2003 demanded a cracked bungee rope a death opera. Then you changed the construction of the rope and in many locations is jumped again, such as the Vienna Danube Tower.

To the stratosphere by fighter jet

A glance at Switzerland's action portfolio reveals something out of the ordinary: A stratosphere flight in a Soviet fighter jet for 21.000 Euro. The MiG-29 brings the passenger from the airport near Moscow at almost twice the speed of sound to 20.000 meters, where the curvature of the globe becomes visible. During the flight forces are up to seven times the body weight (7G). For the small purse, there is the parabolic flight variant in the glider to 140 Euro in Germany.
Swiss Credo: "New experiences, of whatever kind, change and expand the horizon, they offer us the opportunity to grow beyond ourselves. Objects lose value, but experiences and memories are everlasting. "

Jump like the elite

Actually, it is reserved only for special units such as remote pagers or martial artists. We are talking about the supreme discipline of parachute jumping, HALO for short. It stands for "High Altitude - Low Opening", in English: large jump height (up to 9.000 meters) and opening of the parachute at low altitude (about 1.500 meters). The idea behind this military jump procedure is that the aircraft can escape the antiaircraft and thus fly over hostile territory without being shot down immediately.
Hostile bullets must not dodge HALO jumpers near Memphis in the US. But this kind of jumping is also a thrill in peaceful times. The US adventure agency "Incredible Adventures" offers the jump from the cruising altitude of passenger aircraft for everyone. Skydiving experience is not necessary for this. Two minutes of free fall you can enjoy while jumping with a routine tandem master. Temperatures around the minus 35 degrees prevail at the jump height, artificial oxygen supply goes without saying.

"Most of our clients are adrenaline junkies. They come from all walks of life to experience a unique adventure. HALO is one of our biggest attractions, "says Incredible Adventures CEO Gregory Claxton, who, incidentally, has lost his voice in the call of the author. The website "" is very morbid for an English speaker, especially in the context of HALO jumps. For parachute enthusiasts, its agency offers skydiving with views of Mount Everest (24.000 Euro for an eleven-day trip with multiple jumps plus trekking in the Himalayas).
Claxton has even more action in his repertoire: Two-day anti-terror training, which includes shooting from the moving car, learns how to escape from an ambush and potential villains properly handcuffed. (3.300 Euro). Furthermore: Panzerfahren (1.200 Euro) and as Gustostückerl underwater training with a spacesuit in the Russian training center for cosmonauts (18.000 Euro). A submarine trip in Honduras to 900 meter depth comes on 5.300 Euro.

Diving without limit

Even if the Attersee in the Salzkammergut nestles idyllically in the landscape, under the surface of the water it is sometimes proper. With a depth of 170 meters, it is a paradise for divers who want to go down far - where it is dark, cold and high pressure.
In addition to apnea divers are the representatives of the "technical diving", in short "Tec-Diving". This is not primarily about dives, where you see a lot of the underwater world, but about the diving itself. Technical divers seek the challenge in particularly long and deep excursions in the wet element. The boundary between "normal" and technical diving is 40 meters. From about this depth, the human organism responds to the nitrogen in the compressed air with a sense of euphoria, also known as "deep intoxication". Therefore, in technical diving helium mixtures ("trimix") are used to get a grip on the noise. The depth are therefore virtually unlimited. The world record with 332 meters is held by an Egyptian fighter. In the Red Sea, it went down in twelve minutes, the rise took because of the long decompression 15 hours.

The way to Tec-Diver is a tough one. Before you can even begin the specific training, you have to complete the multi-day "Fundamental Course". Gregor Bockmüller, managing director of the diving school "Under Pressure" at the Attersee, takes his divers hard. "You even sweat in the cold Attersee," says the experienced diving instructor. At a depth of around ten meters, the participants have to handle a myriad of emergency situations, including how to couple his dive buddy to his own regulator and bring him to safety.
Those who manage to do so may join the tech classes "Trimix 1" and "Trimix 2". compete. The latter entitles you to deep diving without limit, provided you exist. "Only 20 from 60 divers can do it," says Bockmüller. In addition to the actual diving content is the planning of long dives with different breathing gas mixtures. Course prices: Fundamental 340 Euro, Trimix 1.360 Euro, Trimix 2.990 Euro.
For Tec-Diver there are own dive trips, where there are appropriate breathing gas mixing plants on board the dive ships. In such safaris, such as in the northern Red Sea, it goes to dive sites, where wrecks are in 80 meters depth (see link box).

Survival training only with knife

If you do not want to spend a weekend in the warm living room, you can fight your way through lonely forest ranges in Austria, equipped only with a knife. Survival coach Reini Rossmann shows his clients how to make a shelter for the night and keep warm. "99 percent of participants are already failing to fire without a lighter or matches. For them, this is a surprising and formative experience that strengthens respect for nature, "says Rossmann. For food, there is everything that nature gives, such as herbs and insects. Price: 400 Euro.

Travel Tips

Adventure Travel in Tajikistan:
Paragliding pilot license with Peter Salzmann in Salzburg:
Adventure for old and young:
Action Factory in the USA:
Technical diving at the Attersee:
Tec-Diving Safaris:
Survival training with
Reini Rossmann:

Photo / Video: Shutterstock.

Written by Stefan Tesch

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