Have you ever noticed how the changing seasons also modify human behaviour? In winter, we tend to slow down and take care of ourselves. This does not prevent us from making more profound encounters. In places that are friendly or surrounded by peaceful nature, people take the time to talk and listen. You get to meet outstanding winter personalities immersed in this intimate atmosphere through the portraits offered on this page. Whatever their activities, whether they are famous or not, they all feel burst of energy as soon as the first snowflakes start covering their favourite landscapes. They speak about their passion and what the winter season means in their daily lives. Let them inspire and incite you to discover other facets of winter in Vaud.
A resident of L’Isle at the foot of the Vaudois Jura, Lucas Bessard set himself a somewhat crazy challenge: make handcrafted skis from the region’s wood. Lucas Bessard, a freestyle ski fan, made his first pair of wooden skis for his own use. Hurtling down the slopes of the Vaudois Alps on his unusual skis, he sparked the interest of his relatives and other skiers, such as the famous rider Nicolas Falquet. Today, the young entrepreneur’s Woodspirit brand is attracting more and more freestyle skiers as well as fans of downhill skiing and ski-mountaineering.
Aerospace pioneer and ecoadventurer Bertrand Piccard toured the world in a hot-air balloon from Château-d’Oex. Bertrand Piccard, who has been present at the International Hot-Air Balloon Festival since its beginning, started out on board a balloon basket from Switzerland’s hot-air balloon capital that has the ideal climatic conditions for this sport. The famous Vaudois “scholar and venturer” has a unique way of describing the magic of the ballet of approximately 80 balloons dotting the sky during this must-see event at the beginning of each year.
The Morerods have been carpenters for generations. They make the best sleds for hurtling down the 5-mile track at Les Diablerets. Snow conditions in Les Diablerets permitting, the road at Col de la Croix turns into a groomed track for sled fans. Bruno Morerod, Joël’s father, doubly enjoys sledding, an experience that dates back to his childhood. Together with their staff, father and son produce 10 to 15 high-quality and 100% Swiss sleds each year. They then inaugurate them on the 5-mile sled track at Les Diablerets.
Young students of the Vaudois-born Fanny Smith follow fearlessly in the footsteps of this world champion and Olympic medal winner. Fanny Smith, who was born and bred in this region, is a skicross prodigy. Her impressive achievements include gold medals at the 2013 World Games, silver in 2017 and 2019, and a coveted bronze medal at the 2018 Olympic Games in PyyeongChang. As soon as she has the time, the athlete returns to her beloved resort of Villars-Gryon, where she gives lessons. Fascinated, her students watch her perform on the two specially set-up boardercross tracks.
Tim Vodoz’s happiness is contagious! His paradise seems unique: It’s in his vehicle, on his own, in the middle of the night, and on the slopes that he feels free! Tim Vodoz’ childhood dream came true: Driving one of the groomers he saw departing in the night to restore the slopes for the skiers of the following day. He has fulfilled his dream for more than ten years on the ski slopes of Villars-Gryon-Les Diablerets. This moving and funny portrait makes us realise that what may terrify some of us – staying one one’s own in the mountains at night – is a great joy for others!