In the Swiss Alps is a small village in the Pays d’Enhaut, the name is Château d’Oex. For 36 years, the villagers braved the winter to organize at the end of January the International Balloon Festival. This year was no exception to the rule: a beautiful and cold weather – sometimes capricious – to flights during the week, beautiful landscapes and extraordinary colors of balloons.
This year the festival was held from 01/25 to 02/02. It was inaugurated Saturday, January 25 by Michel Pont, who acts as an assistant coach of the Swiss Football Team since 2001. He was not chosen by chance! The theme of this year is: FIFA World Cup in Brazil
Since 1979, more than 80 international balloonists and many balloons – including a dozen special forms during the weekend – meet in this region enjoys an exceptional microclimate, to share their passion with thousands of spectators throughout the festival. Many competitions have been set up, including the race for the fondue, which is to find the ingredients and utensils to prepare it, or philatelic race posting a letter to the postal center aims for more near the landing site.
In this edition many new forms have emerged as the famous Orbiter III piloted by Bertrand Piccard, a Breton lighthouse accompanied by a sun, many animals and even a policeman – to regulate air traffic – could you hear the edge of the landing surface.
During the Week-End and Children’s Day many air shows presented by Jérôme Cusin – former world champion aerobatics flight in 2009 – with his Extra 330SC, Géraldine Fasnacht wingsuit skydiver as well as balloons and models, held spellbound spectators.
Wednesday afternoon is devoted to children from 4 to 14 years. They were able to enjoy various air shows, captive flight, a makeup workshop and a large balloon release, before enjoying a good taste.
In the two previous editions, the spectacle of Night Glow has been canceled due to the unpredictable weather. The Organizing Committee has decided not to renew this year because the financial risks are too great. In the short term, the idea is not to definitively abandon this representation, but to imagine a new concept, for the 37th already!
I also had the chance to fly with Yannick Serex and his team in the beautiful ball of the
Jan Michalski Foundation for writing and literature (HB-QRN). The pilot and his friends managed to convey to people in the car, their passion for this special discipline. After a smooth takeoff, we reached a cruising altitude of between 1,500 and 2,000m (4921 to 6561 feet) above Château d’Oex. The landscape was beautiful and the world seemed so small from up there. After a brief overview of the Alpine capital of the ball, Aeolus has quietly pushed us towards Rougemont, Saanen airfield then Saanenmöser. The landing was very smooth in the snow near a ski slope in the background eyes Wonders guests. It is time to deflate our means of transport, to fold and store in the trailer for this purpose, before joining the starting village. A magical moment that will remain etched forever in our minds!
See you next year…[signoff]