The iconic Vajolet Towers in Italy – you've seen the shots, now get the live-action experience.
The first thing you need to know? It wasn't easy.
“I did about 60 attempts over two days,” says athlete Hayley Ashburn. The balance athlete had a few things working against her – cold weather and wind chief among them. But the allure of the towers was impossible to resist. “In winter, the towers are so dramatic. They really thin out at the top, and it's great to run a line between two spires like that. It looks just epic.”
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But that cold weather presented additional challenges: the soft rubber of her shoes became hard, leaving her insensitive to the minuscule feedback from the line that a balance athlete relies on. “I was warming up my shoes by taking them off, and putting them inside my shirt so the rubber was next to my naked skin!”
Other challenges included missing her normal highlining friends – not just for the camaraderie, but the encouragement. “The hardest part about the project was that I didn't have any other highliners with me! I'm used to going with my team. I didn't have anyone sharing the challenge of walking the line – no mutual encouragement from another slackline athlete. That made it difficult!” Ashburn stubbornly kept at it – but a complete traverse of the gap wasn't on the cards. “In the end, I wasn't able to fully send the line.”
Nevertheless, Ashburn did manage every part of the line – balancing and moving with 300m of empty air hanging beneath her feet. Her inspiration and motivation for the project was simple: “I love doing things that have never been done before. It's not enough to do things no other woman has done before; it's better when no one has ever done it.” While she didn't get the send, it's clear from the video above that even to attempt it was quite an accomplishment.
What's next? Ashburn has her sights on a 50m highline in the Tianmen caves in China, and a 'space-net' – an intricate, multi-line slackline – outside Moab.
Be sure to check out the #OpenAllWinter contest from adidas, where you can submit your own adventures to win one of 12 weekly prizes – or the adventure of a lifetime for you and your friends.