ST. GEORGE — Just short of breaking a world record, a German slackliner fell from the line that was held 5,000 feet above Monument Valley between two hot air balloons Thursday.
One of the balloons was patterned with an American flag design and was piloted by Utah Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, while the other balloon had the German flag on it. The balloons were connected by a slackline, a strip of webbing that’s similar to a tightrope but not as taut as one, to signify the relationship between Germany and the U.S. as part of the nationwide “Wunderbar Together” campaign.
Niklas Winter was the slackliner who attempted to break the world record of crossing the highest slackline. The previous record was 4,593 feet above the ground – a record Winter set in Barcelona, Spain, last year. Winter successfully walked between the two hot air balloons over Monument Valley in his first attempt at 1,650 feet.
In his world record attempt Thursday, the balloons climbed to 5,000 feet above the iconic Southern Utah destination. Winter fell before making it across the line, according to a press release from Wunderbar Together. Slackliners wear harnesses when crossing high lines so if they slip and fall, they are caught by a rope.
“There is nothing else like it,” Winter said when asked about the experience. “You forget about our differences, and you focus on what’s truly important.”
Alexander Schulz, the slackliner who was planning on crossing the line between the balloons, did not participate in the feat because of some trouble getting the correct permit, said Kelsey Suter, a public relations representative for the Wunderbar Together initiative. It took several days of waiting for the perfect weather conditions before Winter could attempt crossing the slackline.
The year-long Wunderbar Together campaign kicked off earlier this month and is funded by the German government to celebrate and highlight the connections between Germany and the U.S.
“We’re here in Monument Valley to strengthen American-German ties,” Bramble said in a tweet posted by Wunderbar Together. “The iconic image of an American Stars and Stripes and the German flag being connected by a slackline is a metaphor between Germany and America.”
Utah State Senator @curtbramble, also a hot air balloon pilot, awaits perfect weather conditions in Monument Valley to steer a hot air balloon for @oneinchdreams slackliner Alexander Schulz. This transatlantic team of aeronauts celebrates US-German friendship! #WunderbarTogether pic.twitter.com/RESWyRx6bP
— Wunderbar Together (@wunderbar2gethr) October 22, 2018
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