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The excitement is palpable!

Benoit Brunet-Poirier


Benoit Brunet-Poirier


  • Nationality
  • Age
  • Occupation
    Lighting designer
  • Residence
    Gatineau (Canada)
  • Experience
  • Wing
    ADVANCE Omega ULS 22
  • Harness
    BOGDANFLY Pizza Race
  • Helmet
    SUPAIR Pilot or CHARLY Vitesse

Joey Villeneuve


  • Nationality
    Canada , Québec
  • Residence
    Laval (Canada , Québec )

Team details

  • Website

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Why did you choose the X-Pyr?
Curiosity got the better of me! It seems like an absolutely ridiculous challenge, and I consider myself ridiculous.

What is your greatest sporting success?
Discovering paragliding. I think it is the purest form of flight and has shaped my life in ways I never could have imagined…

When and why did you start paragliding?
I started paragliding by pure coincidence. I was cycle touring in the Alps and had already done many successful trips. At the top of a pass, in the heat, I was looking for direction, some sort of sign on what to do next. Sure enough, there was a sign it said “Cours de parapente 500m –>” I would later find out I was in Saint-André-Les-Alpes, one of the paragliding meccas. I never looked back.

What is your mountaineering experience?
I have done a few mountaineering trips, though my experience on technical terrain is mostly in rock climbing. I hiked a few summits in the Himalaya, in Morocco, in the Andes, in Patagonia and New Zealand. I can’t say I’m much about chasing the risk as much as the views.

What are your best and worst sporting memories?
I don’t know that I can name a best or worst sporting moment. For the worst category, I always believe that challenges and difficult moments are learning experiences. Though they may seem bad in the moment, good can come from them, if you look for it. As for best moments – how to choose?? There are so many! Which sport? For physical prowess or for the rewards of views or accomplishment? The criteria are too vague! However, if I must choose one, recently, I did a three week self-supported trip in Kyrgyzstan with 3 friends, site flying and vol-biv, which was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Have you flown in the Pyrenees before? Do you have a favourite area?
I will be discovering the Pyrenees for the first time! I will be arriving about a month ahead of the X-Pyr and hope to get to explore the route as much as possible.

Is there anything you like to see (or not) in the route?
Nope! I’m excited to see where the wind and the organisers take us!

Apart from flying far and walking little, what will your strategy be during the race?
Make smart decisions, be safe, try hard and most important, have fun!

What does your typical training week consist of?
I like to do a combination of things: gym, rock climbing, running. At the moment I train 6 days a week, some are physical days, some are flying days and some are both!

What has been the hardest part of your race preparation so far?
Well, there is still about 4 months of prep as I write this so I’m sure other challenges will arise. However, my first hurdle has been to find a supporter I trust. I wanted to make a Canadian team (only the second ever to participate in this competition) and better yet, make a French Canadian team, which is a first. I’m happy to report this is a success!!

What excites you most about participating in the X-Pyr?
The unknown. As the expression goes “the best laid plans….”. We can’t plan for everything: we can plan for a lot. I will prepare as best as I possibly can and the rest will be up to the wind and rain Gods!

What worries you the most about the event?
Having to make excessively risky decisions. There are far better pilots in this event than myself. They will fly in conditions I should avoid, but it will cost me time and kilometres. Finding the right balance will be the key to my safety.

How do you know your assistant?
We shared a house in Colombia, where we met. I took him for a day of XC coaching and right from the start, we hit it off.

What are your assistant’s main strengths?
Joey is a young pilot with a ton of drive and ambition. I think he shows great promise and has all the qualities I need from a supporter. He is organised and has experience in expeditions and self-organized adventures.

What advice would you ask of the race veterans?
EVERYTHING!!! I want to know every single tip, every single piece of advice they are willing to share with me. I want to be a sponge and absorb as much knowledge as I can.

Anything else you like to comment?
I am extremely proud to have been selected for this event. It has been a long term dream of mine to participate in such an event and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity! Prepare to be entertained by team Canada!

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