Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Slackline Festival - Monte Piana


When you hear the word festival what mental image do you have? People dancing to music, drinks flowing, noise coming from all directions, fun, entertainment… Well, you might broaden that definition when you find out about Slackline Festival which is probably one of the chilliest, yet most dangerous and terrifying gatherings in the world.


Also known as the International Highline Meeting Festival, it takes place across the Italian Alps, just above Monte Piana. The festival participants actually spend most of their time suspended over the mountain while sitting or lying in their hammocks which are strung up on tightropes. Of course, they engage in tightrope walking too. They call themselves ‘slackers’ because of the slack lines they balance themselves on.


Slackline Festival comes under extreme sport category but it differs from tightrope walking since the rope which ‘the slackers’ use is slightly flatter than tightrope and it can move side to side or even bounce. By the way, the festival founders did not choose Monte Piana as the festival location for no apparent reason. This is one of the most beautiful sites in the Italian Alps with a 360-degree-view of the neighbouring mountains (Auronzo di Cadore, Cortina d’Ampezzo and “Sextner Dolomiten”) and Misurina Lake below. The founders say that they “discovered this mountain as a perfect place for high lining and wanted to stimulate this historic place in a different and new way. This is where, during the Second World War, soldiers of our age killed each other and sorrow, hate, and fear dictated their daily life.”


Apart from spending a good portion of their time (days and, believe it or not, nights) in the hammocks suspended above the Alps, Slackline Festival does bear certain resemblance to the ‘ordinary’ ones. The festival goers can use the provided kitchen and the bar, and there are great musical jam sessions. Additionally, there is a Yoga workshop and tandem paraglider flights.


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