Peak Experience: Ballooning the Swiss Alps

110290-gal-xl-02Tired of fighting the snowboarders on the slopes? Why not take to the air? From the 23rd – 31st January 2010, Château-d’Oex will host the annual International Balloon Festival. With its exceptional micro-climate, this alpine capital of ballooning will welcome about 80 balloons in various shapes and sizes from 20 different countries in a spectacular display of color set against the pristine white peaks of the Swiss Alps. To watch from the slopes is a treat, but for the ultimate adventure, why not hop aboard and take flight with the experts in a thrilling mass ascension of myriad hot air balloons followed by continuous street parties with fireworks and the breathtaking glow of balloons aloft at night?

110290-gal-xl-10Buddy Bombard is a local legend. Air Force jet pilot, skier, scuba instructor, America’s Cup yachtsman, insurance executive, tour and travel entrepreneur, photographer, honored balloon pilot, gourmet and renowned raconteur, he has been flying balloons for over 36 years and personally hosts all his guests. Traveling with him is a blend of beautiful happenings, skillful professionalism and truly unique and intimate experiences rarely captured by other forms of touring. Each morning guests are driven to the snowy take-off field in Chateau d’Oex to watch the spectacular inflation of the balloons that include traditional as well as playful balloons such as the winged cow, the giant frog and the Scotsman with his kilt, before taking off in one of Buddy’s flowered balloons alongside the magnificent fleet. Below, the entertainment continues with professional parachute teams, hang gliders, and large hot air dirigibles, all in a wonderful winter carnival atmosphere.

Deal: This year Buddy is offering an all inclusive (ex-Geneva) 9-day/8-night package that includes accommodation at the charming Hotel le Grand Chalet in Gstaad, four days of flying in Buddy’s balloons with elegant luncheons and fine wines while drifting over snow covered valleys and quaint mountain villages, three days of scenic flights (approximately three hours each), a fun evening at the “Café du le Cerf,” famous for its superb raclette and cheese fondue, as well as nightly dinner parties in Gstaad’s most famous gourmet restaurants.

Dates: January 19-27, 2010 or January 27-February 4, 2010
Price: US$17,988 per person, double. Single supplement $1,920.

Luxury Link is also auctioning a discounted package through Classic World Adventures by the US Hot Air Balloon Team. Based out of Gstaad, guests will enjoy ballooning, exploring, dining and relaxing in true Swiss style. Each day begins with breakfast followed by a flight through the Alps, allowing time for an aerial lunch complete with French wine and champagne before dipping back down for the night’s festivities on the ground. Bottom’s up!

Deal: This 6-night package for 2 includes 1 night at Hotel d’Angleterre in Geneva, 5 nights in at Hotel Steigenberger in Gstaad, continental breakfast and dinner for two each evening, including wine, hot air balloon flight each day (weather permitting), sightseeing and all tour-related taxes. Reservations are subject to availability at time of booking. 5-day minimum only.

Dates: January 1-31, 2010
Price: US$1,995 p/person p/day or bid for it on Luxury Link. Auction Ends on Friday 4th Dec. (Retail Value: $19,950 / Starting Bid: $9,970.)

Photo by Fabrice Wagner©

Latest posts by Kate Ayrton

1 Comment

  1. macpage on September 14, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Great photos !

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