Grand Opening of the International Hot-Air Balloon Festival in Château-d’Oex gets off to a rocky start, with no wind, canceled showings, and a 13 second max flight time of the inaugural balloon. 22/01/2011
Every year the little Alpine village of Chateaux D'Oex puts on one of the world's largest Hot-Air Balloon festivals from its base within a narrow ravine. With clear blue skies, one can see dozens of colourful dots scattered above, rising and falling to the subtle air currents as they create beautiful, man-coordinated formations like the birds which routinely circle them.
On the 33rd anniversary of this event however, the only balloon in sight was at eye level, and when it did get airborne it only managed to hover for barely a quarter of a minute before it smothered its pilot back into the hard-packed ground.
What saved the day--and was of some consolation to the hundreds of visitors who had braved narrow cliff-hanging roads which are typical of the entrance and exits points of this valley, were the dangerous escapades of the Swiss Army Helicopter units who at 90-degree nose-dives enthralled the crowds.