43rd Balloon festival10.01.2023 Arts & Culture, Events, Local News, Sports & Leisure
It is one of Switzerland’s most anticipated winter events, and the festival is renowned worldwide for the beauty of the surroundings and the complexity of the flying conditions.
As the alpine capital of hot air ballooning, Château-d’Œx has welcomed balloons from around the world for over 40 years. The colourful festival takes place over nine days and includes flight shows, balloon flights, sporting competitions and a children’s day.
The festival’s programme includes several competitions every year. Each pilot’s skill, precision and knowledge of aviation are tested to the limits as they try to land on predefined targets, among other objectives.
The goal is to land or drop a marker as close to a target as possible; sometimes, they may even have to pick up items using a pole. These are challenging exercises the pilot will tackle with the crew’s help. The pilots must calculate the time and speeds required and use the wind to their advantage. The team on the ground will estimate wind strength to help them steer. The pilot must demonstrate knowledge and patience in judging whether it is better to take the descending wind in the morning or to wait as the wind changes direction during the day.
An audience favourite is the unique shape balloons, where creativity is the pivotal force of success, as is the acrobatic aeroplane show.
Come fly with me.
The festival offers you plenty of unique experiences of flying in a hot-air balloon. Make yourself comfortable in the basket and get ready for some breathtaking views. As the mountains of Pays-d’Enhaut reveal their rocky cliffs, you can try to spot Mont Blanc, the Jungfrau, and even the Matterhorn when the weather is clear.
This year’s program is immense and ranges from flying competitions to music, cultural mini-conferences and many activities for the young. As an introduction to children, tethered flights are scheduled around the launch field on weekends (weather and wind depending). Attached to the ground by ropes, the balloon can take off from a few meters before coming down.
The Espace Ballon introduces you to the history of the balloon and the world of aerostation, as well as revisiting the adventure of the first round-the-world balloon flight in 1999. During the festival, the Espace Ballon is open every day.
Celebrities at the Summit
To help expand the Balloon Festival’s horizons to areas other than ballooning, celebrities from the worlds of culture, heritage, the terrestrial and spatial environments are invited to attend a series of debates, which are all in French.
22.01 | Bertrand Piccard: The pioneering spirit to invent the future
23.01 | Anne Rosat: A life devoted to the art of paper cutting
24.01 | Vera Michalski-Hoffman: Encouraging writers and writing
25.01 | Michèle Piccard: Around the world in a solar-powered aircraft
(a conference for children on Wednesday afternoon at the Zénith starts at 2pm)
26.01 | Benoît Aymon: A brief history of mountaineering
27.01 | Nicolas Tièche et Laurent Sciboz: Piloting for over three days and three nights in a 2 square metre cabin.
Find more information about prices, activities and transport on www.festivaldeballons.ch/en