Flying in hot air balloon
Touring the Aosta Valley Alps in a hot air balloon
The best time of year to experience the thrill of a tour in a hot air balloon, the oldest aerial vehicle built by man, is not the spring or summer, due to technical reasons associated with the unique characteristics of aerostatic flight.
As winter approaches, air heat convection diminishes due to solar action, making air more “stable”. Conditions are ideal for the most spectacular flights over the mountains in Valle d’Aosta during the entire winter
During the slow climb, in a wicker basket, you can view the Roman walls that still surround Aosta, the Theater, the Augusto arch, the church of Sant’Orso with its impressive bell tower and the narrow streets in the old city with the typical snow-covered stone roofs from a unique position.
While you continue to climb, lifted by a slight wind, the scenery changes. At altitude 3,000 meters you’ll be surrounded by an endless sea of snow-covered mountains that shine in a deep blue sky. The sun-bathed peak of Mont Blanc (4,810) glistens in majestic glory to the West next to the incomparable ice wall of the Grandes Jorassess, the Dente del Gigante and the countless glaciers where, from this observation point, the Brenva stands out. Turning your attention to the South-West you’ll see the Rutor glacier which, due to the prospective effect, seems to hover directly over the city of Aosta. Further South, the 4,601 meter high Grand Paradiso rises over the underlying park: the realm of mountain goats, chamois and eagles.
While the wind pushes you eastward, you’ll be enchanted by the most unmistakable mountain in the world, the Matterhorn, a granite pyramid that closes the Breuil valley. Still to the East, the magnificent glaciers on Monte Rosa shine with their ever-changing colours.
This flight requires expert pilot experience, specific equipment and the passengers’ sense of adventure. In fact, flights are always different. Direction and speed are controlled by the wind. The flight starts in Aosta but you may land in France, Switzerland or in the fog in the Po river valley.
Everyone can try the thrill of flying, without crossing the Alps. You can take off from the main square in Aosta and remain in the valley, climbing to 3,000 meters.
Who to fly with – Nello Charbonnier, Club Aerostatico Monte Bianco pilot, several times the Italian champion, has completed extreme feats such as flying over the icy seas of the Baffin islands with the Inuits, over the deserts in Jordan, the Malaysian forests and a winter flight over Lake Baikal in Siberia to the North Pole. Nello Charbonnier has turned his hobby into a business, passing down his experience to his sons, Igor and Diego, now acclaimed Club Aerostatico Monte Bianco pilots.
When to fly – You can fly in Aosta all year round. The period from November to February is recommended for spectacular flights over the Alps. Winter attire is recommended, comfortable boots, hat, gloves, parka and ski pants.