Photos of me by Xepo. All other photos taken with the Samsung NX300, unless otherwise stated.
The day before I left to Verbier, or should I say night?, I did the IRO Zurich fashion show, which didn't start before 10:30 PM, even though my alarm clock would go off at 5 AM the next day. With a good 4 hours sleep on my mind and a pair of UGG snow boots on my feet I made my way to Verbier from Zurich feeling juvenile, or not, and was there, after some minor complications such as train cancellation and the taxi driver being help up by the police, a couple of hours later. I quickly dropped of my luggage at the W Verbier, picked up my skiing pass and hopped on a ski lift and cabin to arrive on the Col des Gentianes to catch the last minutes of the Freeride World Tour 2015.
Exhausted yet happy that I had finally made it to 2950m above sea I sat down at the Swatch table and enjoyed a nice lunch, while getting to know the others who were invited by Swatch. As an after-lunch walk and to warm up myself again I went to see the Ice Balloons installation (photos below) created by Stefano Ogliari Badessi. He is an artist who had previously been staying at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai. At this particular hotel Swatch brings together selected artists to live and work in specially designed apartments and workshops for a period of three to six months, in a community of eighteen people from all artistic horizons and national origins.
Stefano had been up on the Col des Gentianes for the past two months creating those icy beauties specially for the Freeride World Tour in Verbier. He would dig the balloons half-way into the snow and then spray the outside with water again and again until the frozen layer was thick enough to hold itself. He then popped the balloons and dug underneath so you could actually stand inside of them. Unfortunately the two months work was partly destroyed on that day due to too many visitors and kids touching those fragile "sculptures", but I guess if it wasn't for them the sun would eventually have melted them anyway...
In the afternoon I enjoyed the relaxing spa of the W Verbier, trying everything from in-/outdoor swimming pool to whirlpool and steaming sauna, before heading back to my room to get some rest and prepare for the photo shooting in the evening (see the photos here). After the shooting we went straight to an incredibly delicious dinner with the Swatch team and other invitee's. The dinner was followed by the Swatch Up Your Night Party with acts such as Swiss band Kadebostany and DJ Sascha Braemer. The party was really cool, but I honestly wondered where all those young people came from, because the club was packed, even though I consider end of March already "out of season"? At 2 in the morning my energy ran out and slightly drunk Oliver went to Room 101 of the W Verbier to get a good night sleep! Over and out.
Huge thanks to Swatch for a weekend well-spent and I hope you enjoy the last pictures from this experience! 😊
Room 101 at the W Verbier, my home for the weekend.
The snow boots that never let me freeze, neither in Verbier nor Zermatt, from UGG Australia.
Most amazing feature of this room? The minimalistic fireplace that let you look from the bath- to the bedroom.
Ice Balloons by Stefano Ogliari Badessi. Photos by Rinaldo Marasco & Jérôme Piguet.