Rajan, the swimming elephant The last of his kind
Sports The double success of Stephan Siegrist and Denis Burdet • The final ascent of Walter Bonatti • Felicity Aston does not have cold feet • Freeride World Tour 2012 • The new Via Cordata at Nendaz-Mont Fort LIFESTYLE Danny MacAskill, new urban adventurer • Felix Baumgartner, parachuting from the edge of space Society The truly offbeat world of Romain Laurent • Woodkid, a man of many hats • Indoor plants of another kind Travel Iceland, artistic by nature • Fidji, a taste of paradise
A TEN-YEAR JOURNEY… AND A CHANGE OF COURSE P r E fa c e
We have an unusual task to carry out today: that of telling you how, as its tenth anniversary draws near, the magazine 30° is about to change its approach. Having been distributed free of charge since its launch, the magazine has always striven to ensure optimal graphic and image quality, as well as maximum public reach, and it has been solely funded by carefully chosen and targeted advertising. For us, this has been the best way to share with you our passion for sports, adventure, travel, leisure, and everything else that we find surprising or which shapes our vision of the future.
And it is this vision of the future which has shown us the need to evolve. The time has come to rethink our concept, to change course in order to continue our journey. On the agenda: a reduced print-run, intended in particular to reduce our use of paper (and our carbon footprint) and to more closely target our distribution. But this (r)evolution depends on you too: from now on you will find us, five times per year, at the news stand or by subscription. Subscribers will represent the means for 30° to maintain its independence, its integrity and its beauty. There will also be more of the editorial features, new sections, and exceptional pictures which mean so much to us all. 30° will continue to be available on glossy paper, with full-page printing, and there will be one issue for you to enjoy every season, plus a fifth bonus edition in a large “collector’s format” in December! Its web and social network presence is also being strengthened, with digital subscriptions – including an iPad option – at lower rates. An annual subscription to 30° costs 57 francs for 5 editions, a price which has been kept deliberately affordable. A perfect present for a friend or for yourself, offering the privilege of receiving your magazine hot off the press, directly to your home, chalet, or workplace. To continue to share our panoramic view of the world, come and join us in this new and exciting adventure! Christian Bugnon | publisher & chief editor
Some put their lives on the line to embrace it; others avoid it like the plague. But whether we expose ourselves to it passionately or guard ourselves from it cautiously, there’s no debate that risk adds spice to our lives. Whether voluntary or involuntary, this little (or big!) dose of adrenaline smashes the drab boundaries of day-to-day living and breaks down the limits of impossibility. How can we resist? The number of those willing to expose themselves to risk is increasing by the day, each at their own level–gingerly, fully, passionately or tirelessly. Danny MacAskill is among those who fall into the "risk-everything" category. The "all-out’ers". The talented Scottish trials rider has crashed into cars and fallen from trees. He has spent 14 out of 24 months flat on his back with his bike on his mind, and has broken a dozen helmets. But he always gets back up, stronger and better for it. The same can be said of Dani Arnold, a mountain climber who flirts with treacherous peaks, and for the adventurer Felicity Aston, who pushed herself beyond her limits to cross Antarctica solo. While the danger that lurks in the word "too" (high, far, fast…) captivates extreme sports fans always looking for bigger and better thrills, artists are not spared from its attractive force–though in a different way, of course. Their quest is also one of breaking limits, like tightrope walkers with their careers hanging on the wire. Woodkid, a video clip producer turned composer-performer, would certainly agree. As would the lovely Charlize Theron, who effortlessly transitions from a Snow White re-interpretation to the science-fiction thriller "Prometheus". The best performances require exposure to ever higher levels of risk. No guarantees, no certainty of seeing the challenge crowned with success. But that in itself is part of the attraction. In pushing ourselves further than we think we can go, we reach for the impossible, we find comfort in not being locked into a static world where "predefined" is an end in itself. Our challenge – and one we fully embrace – is to provide you with a multi-faceted spring edition that we hope will grab your attention once more. And that is always a bit of a risk!
Frédéric Rein | Deputy Editor-in-chief
HIKE, BIKE, APERITIVE
EAT, SLEEP, WORK
Photo: Yves Garneau
VERBIER ST-BERNARD : CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE ! WWW.VERBIER.CH
Contents n°38 spring 2012
Preface A word from the editor
SPORT Felicity Aston does not have cold feet Danny MacAskill, new urban adventurer The final ascent of Walter Bonatti The double Indian success of Stephan Siegrist Climbing: Dani Arnold, or the story of a man in a hurry The new Via Cordata at Nendaz-Mont Fort— tried and proven! FWT 2012 GiantXtour LIFESTYLE News Rajan, the last of his kind Woman’s review: The weight of words Charlize Theron—queen of beauty and the silver screen Movies: It’s a Spring-full of action! Music: Woodkid, a man of many hats Travel: Iceland, artistic by nature Travel: Fiji, a taste of paradise…
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SOCIéTé Felix Baumgartner, parachuting from the edge of space 32 The truly offbeat world of Romain Laurent 40 Cruising into the future 48 Around the world with solar power? It can be done! 52 Villa Lena, green architecture at its most beguiling 56 Indoor plants of another kind 60 Gearing up for the city vehicles of the future 66 Ultrabooks and Android ready to reign 101 Digital TV or VOD: the choice is yours 103 Trends 104 30 degrees’ address book 109 Postcard: Fiji 114 Impressum 114
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Sport: Into the blue The qualifying competition for the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series has just got under way (pictured, the Sydney event), with nine-time world champion Orlando Duque back in action this season. Can the returning Colombian, who won two events in 2011 before injuring his ankle, regain his crown or will England’s Gary Hunt hang on to the title he won last year. The battle proper commences in France on 22 July.
Photography: The year’s best press photos Irish photographer Ray McManus’s dramatic snapshot of a rugby match played in the driving rain of Dublin earned him second prize in the sports singles category in the 2012 World Press Photo Contest. The overall winner was Spain’s Samuel Aranda with a photo of a woman holding her son in her arms, taken in a mosque-cum-hospital in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa. The award-winning photos will go on display in a travelling exhibition that will stop off at Zurich’s Sihlcity from 27 April to 20 May. www.worldpressphoto.org, www.keystone.ch
Documentary: Riders on celluloid Featuring skateboarders, snowboarders and skiers aged between 15 and 30, TOML (Time of My Life) is a ski and board-sports film project with a difference. The participating riders all form part of the sport-arts group GCC-02, which is based in Lausanne and Geneva and also brings together graphic artists, designers, musicians and film directors. Slated to premiere in September 2012 and shot over one year in Switzerland and other locations, including northern Russia, the documentary offers an artistic and alternative take on a sporting passion. www.toml.ch
Sport: Riding the waves A group of riders from the French-speaking part of Switzerland have shaken up the world of Stand Up Paddling (SUP) by inventing Freestyle or Urban SUP. The new discipline involves jumping straight into the drink from the water’s edge for that extra adrenaline rush. A video of their exploits caused a global buzz when it was posted on social networking sites in December 2011 and even led to a tour of European towns and the shooting of a documentary. Could be the start of something big. www.supurbanproject.com
Adventure: Pangaea voyagers Amazon-bound The ninth and penultimate stage of Mike Horn’s Pangaea expedition will take place in March in Brazil’s Amazonian rainforest, with fearless Frenchwoman Alizée Cugney among the young eco-explorers selected for the three-week adventure. The final leg of the four-year voyage around the world is scheduled for July in Africa. Follow the adventures of Mike and his intrepid young colleagues at www.mikehorn.com
Aeronautics: Akoya, a plane for all surfaces The brainchild of the French company Lisa Airplanes, the Akoya can take off and land on water, snow and land, and owes its unique multi-functionality to patented Multi-AccessTM technology. Seven metres long and boasting a wingspan of nearly ten, this sleek aircraft can carry two passengers, reach over 200 km/h and consumes less than 70 litres of fuel in travelling its maximum flight range of 1000 km. On the ground the Akoya’s pivoting wings can be folded back towards the cabin to make it easier to transport. The only thing about the Akoya that will bring you back down to Earth with a bump is the price of €300,000. It’s a beautifully designed machine, nonetheless, and an electrical version dubbed the Hy-Bird is now under development. www.lisa-airplanes.com
Freediving: Herbert Nitsch, the king of the deep It was off the Greek island of Spetses in June 2007 that Austrian Herbert Nitsch set a new freediving world record of 214 metres in the no-limits category, a mark the former airline pilot, who also holds world bests in the variable-weight and constant-weight disciplines (142 and 124 metres respectively), hopes to extend to 240 metres this June. His ultimate goal, though, is to become the first breathhold diver to descend to 1,000 feet (305 metres). Way to go, Herbie! www.herbertnitsch.com
Shopping: Manland, keeping the big boys entertained For years in-store crèches have been keeping toddlers entertained while mummies shop, a concept that Ikea have taken a step further by opening a crèche for men at a store in Sydney, Australia. Known as Manland, it comes complete with pinball machines, video games, table football and televised sport, and there’s even a messaging service to remind wives and partners to go back and pick up their other halves. The company also trialled the concept for a day at its store in Dietlikon, Zurich. We’ll just have to see if the concept of shopping relief for consoleclutching daddies catches on.
Mobility: Hiriko, the foldable car Hiriko is a 100 per cent electric micro-car with a tricky little folding feature that trims its length from 2.63 metres on the road to just 2 metres when parked. The two-seater, sporting a passenger compartment that rises as it folds, was designed by MIT Boston (USA) and is being developed and produced by seven companies in Spain’s Basque country. Due to launch in 2013, Hiriko is a little urban car that’s expected to go big in a number of cities around the world, Berlin, Barcelona and San Francisco among them. www.hiriko.com
Ecology: A pot you can plant Everyone should plant at least one tree in their life. That’s the philosophy behind Woody, the 100 per cent environmentally friendly tree-planting kit. Choose from one of five tree species, including apple and pear, and pop the seeds into the biodegradable coconutfibre pot. When the tree’s big enough, plant it straight into the ground without removing the pot. Simple, effective and sustainable. Available online for 15 CHF at www.rrrevolve.ch
Travel: Sleepbox, for those essential airport naps Designed by Russian architecture studio Arch Group, Sleepbox is a halfway house between a hotel room and private waiting room and makes those interminable airport waits bearable. Measuring 2.5m x 1.6m x 3m, Sleepbox is fitted out with a TV, Wi-Fi, a LED lamp and two bunk beds. Currently in use at Moscow Airport only, its designer Mikhail Krymov is hoping to see it pop up elsewhere soon, with France, the UK and Spain being potential locations. Curling up in a box has never been so appealing. www.sleepbox.com
Mobility: The T20, the electric scooter-bike The T20 is an eye-catching cross between a bike and a scooter. Made of bamboo, the vehicle was designed as part of a study of behavioural evolution and durable development conducted by the French agency Fritsch-Durisotti. Powered by an electric motor, the T20 has a range of nearly 40 km and can reach a cruising speed of 35 kmh when the rider pushes off with one foot to get going (as with a conventional scooter). Sustainable mobility solutions never looked so good. www.fritsch-durisotti.com/web/
Exhibition: Art Basel puts on a show A treasure trove for contemporary art lovers, Art Basel takes place in the Swiss city on 1417 June 2012. More than 300 galleries from 36 countries across the world will be attending the event and displaying the works of over 2,500 artists of the 20th- and 21st-century. All in all, an exercise in the art and the craft of exhibiting. www.artbasel.com
Energy: A bulb with a difference A brighter spark than your average bulb, Philips’ latest LED creation was unveiled at Frankfurt’s Light+Building trade show. This 17-watt bulb, which has been designed to replace a standard 75-watt incandescent one, reduces energy consumption by 80 per cent and lasts 25 times longer. Now you’ve definitely seen the light. www.philips.ch
Sport: Breaking the pain barrier A record field of 4,055 hardy souls took to the starting line in Thun on 11 March for Switzerland’s third FISHERMAN’S FRIEND StrongmanRun, the nation’s biggest cross-country race. The two-lap, 16-kilometre ordeal featured no fewer than 44 obstacles (including ponds, ditches, steep rocky climbs and piles of tyres), enough to take your breath away, just like the trusty strong mint lozenge. www.strongmanrun.ch
Trends: Helvetica, still setting trends at 55 Full of character, yet blessed with typical Swiss restraint, the Helvetica font celebrates its 55th anniversary in March. Invented in 1957 in Switzerland (hence the name) by Max Miedinger of Zurich, Helvetica is easily legible in motion, making it a popular choice with car manufacturers, airline companies and signmakers. Also a font of choice on trendy T-shirts, Helvetica is a byword for universal, timeless style.
The Last of His Kind Unique can be the only word used to describe a certain elephant living on Havelock Island, in Indiaâ€™s Andaman island chain. Seemingly the last swimming elephant in the world. We wanted to find out moreâ€Ś
Rajan taking a morning stroll in the Andaman Islands
54 | thirty degrees
55 | thirty degrees
Salt water is not an elephantâ€™s favourite environment, but Rajan now enjoys his swims
"Getting this shot made us both nervous"
fgrand suspension dRajan and his Mahout (caretaker) iA strong bond between animal and human pRajan and his Mahout never leave each other’s side Text°°° Jody MacDonald Just as we were about to enter the water, we were given the following advice: “Make sure you don’t swim in front of him, it makes him feel uncomfortable”. Fair enough, that meant…don’t get in Rajan’s way. He might like taking a dip in the sea, but he’s not overly fond of sharing his bathtub with strangers. Getting photos of this 3-ton beauty was going to be fun! We first caught a glimpse of Rajan, the swimming elephant, while watching “The Fall” - a Hollywood movie that was made in 2004. The movie showed him swimming in clear blue tropical waters. From that moment on, we were both fascinated and determined to find out where this elephant lived, and absolutely had to go and photograph him in his natural environment. We ended up tracking him down to a small Island in India’s Andaman Island chain, which is where we also found out how compelling Rajan’s story really was. Rajan was born in 1950. Unlike a lot of logging elephants at the time, he was born in captivity. He was trained on the mainland of India and bought by a businessman to work in the Timber Industry in the Andaman Islands. He arrived in the Andamans in the 1970s and spent a gruelling thirty years hauling felled trees through the jungle. At the time, there were some two hundred elephants on the archipelago, hauling the felled trees to the beach. Once the work had been done on one island, the elephants were forced to swim to another island in order to pursue their task. Then, in 2002, the Indian Supreme Court banned logging in
the Andamans to protect the archipelago’s biological diversity. Many of the elephants died, a few even went rogue but most of them were shipped back to the mainland to labour at Hindu temples. A peaceful retirement Rajan was lucky enough to have a different fate. His rich owner was in no hurry to sell him, so he was left on Havelock Island in the care of his old mahout (caretaker). There he enjoys an enviable life of retirement, wiling his days away with walks in the jungle, sleep and a couple of times a week, swimming in the sea; an activity that he seems to enjoy immensely. But then his luck nearly turned. In 2006, his owner received a lavish offer from a temple in Kerala—about $65,000—and Rajan faced
psunbeam and elephant safter a week, the photographer has got used to Rajan’s routine sssharing a special moment aview from below
a return to a harsh—and potentially cruel—work regime. So the owners of a small jungle lodge, the Barefoot at Havelock, put out an Internet appeal to former guests and raised the cash to buy Rajan outright, so he could enjoy his old age and well-deserved retirement on Beach No. 7. Unexpected ease The morning we swam with Rajan, the Indian Ocean felt more like a warm bath. We first watched on a few feet away as he gently stepped into the sea. He raised his trunk to breathe as if it were a giant snorkel while Nazroo, his mahout, slid off his back and started swimming alongside him. Soon Rajan was pedalling away with his feet, gliding through the deep blue with unexpected ease. Fitted out with goggles and fins, we took the plunge and drifted alongside, admiring Rajan’s graceful, slow-motion movements. For one unforgettable stretch, we swam down beneath Rajan, watching him from below. Weightless and drifting in silence, we had the strange sensation that we were floating in outer space. Rajan is the last of the ocean swimming elephants. With a life expectancy similar to humans he hopefully has about 10-20 happy years left to enjoy his retirement. If you are lucky enough to go to the Andaman Islands you will hopefully be able to catch a glimpse of Rajan and spend some time with him. When he dies we will probably never see an ocean swimming elephant again. He is truly the last of his kind.
62 | thirty degrees
Felicity Aston had to brave strong winds and glacial temperatures.
Felicity Aston does not have cold feet
At age 33, the English adventurer has become the first woman to cross Antarctica alone. She talked to 30º about a journey as spellbinding as it was demanding. Text°°° Frédéric Rein
She found herself alone, looking out onto an endless expanse of white, like an immaculate carpet under her skis that stretched on past the horizon. Yet she kept on, mile after mile. Until, after 59 days, Felicity Aston had covered over a thousand of them. And so it was that in January 2012 this 33-year old Briton had written a new page—hitherto blank—in the history of the South Pole, by becoming the first woman to make a solo crossing of the Antarctica, from the Ross Ice Shelf to the Hercules Inlet. A real feat. A touch of folly? “Some people said it was, but I don’t see it that way,” retorts the young meteorologist turned explorer (she has already added to her resume trips to other inhospitable regions, such as the Canadian Arctic and the Sahara Desert). “It’s a question of instinct. I feel literally compelled to do it; it’s something I can’t explain. And, since I have the chance...”
The 34-year-old Briton pulled two sleds – weighing a total of 85 kg – carrying all of her belongings, including her precious tent!
Antarctica’s magnetic pull on adventurous souls has been active for a long time. The past exploits of Amundsen, Scott, Charcot, Shackleton and others have left multitudes dumb-founded and terror-stricken. A century after the South Pole was first conquered, the vast white land remains synonymous with unexplored territory, the ultimate challenge. Very few men have walked it. Even fewer women. The challenge is of course physical—one must brave the winds and glacial temperatures. But it is above all psychological, as confirmed by Felicity Aston several days after her return: “I don’t consider myself to be particularly brave or super-human. To the contrary, in this type of adventure, a solid dose of determination is what is most required. Mental toughness takes over when the muscles give out.” Her hardheadedness kept her going, pulling her two sleds—weighing a total of 85 kg and containing all her supplies—come what may. “The most difficult part was without a doubt the first few days, when I had to get used to the solitude,” she recalls. “It was more mentally oppressive than I had ever imagined it would be. But I wanted to know if I was capable of being alone with myself.” The answer is now obvious.
iFrom the Ross Ice Shelf to the Hercules Inlet, Felicity Aston covered 1744 km in 59 days.
fThe first days were undoubtedly the most difficult part for Felicity Aston, as she had to get used to the solitude. But she still kept her smile!
Let the storm pass Just as the darkest hour is just before dawn, the most intense feelings of joy can spring from the most trying times. You just have to hold on long enough to let the storm pass. “Crossing a storm can be intimidating, but at the end of the day, it’s in that kind of situation that we learn to depend more on ourselves. And then, the unforgettable blue sky reappears—sometimes covered with a rainbow—and the scintillating snow.” Today, memories provide the sparkle in the eyes of this brave explorer. As her face was pressed against the fogged up window of the plane carrying her home after her two month trek, Felicity Aston admits that she was overwhelmed with sadness. What if this solitary journey in Antarctica was her last? “I thought—hoped, perhaps—that this journey would satisfy my ‘polar itch’. It was not to be. Adventure is an addiction that I will never be rid of.” And so her dreams remain filled with an endlessly white paradise—or hell—and new lands waiting to be discovered.
Travelling to the edge of space, Felix Baumgartner leapt back down to Earth from an altitude of 21,800 metres.
Felix Baumgartner parachuting from the edge of space
On 15 March, in the first stage of the Red Bull Stratos project, which will see him attempt a free-fall from a mind-boggling altitude of 37 kilometres later this year, the 42-year-old Austrian completed a test jump from an altitude of 21,800 metres, on the very edge of space. Text°°° Serge Greter Photos°°° Joerg Mitter, Stefan Stau,
Jay Nemeth FOr Global Newsroom
Felix Baumgartner’s lust for pushing the boundaries of human flight has taken him to the gateway of the universe. On 15 March, the Austrian skydiver and base jumper crossed the Armstrong Line, the boundary that separates Earth from space.
Venturing forth in a capsule hooked up to a helium balloon standing 50-metres high, the daredevil skydiver travelled to the edge of space, a hostile environment where there is virtually no atmosphere, where liquids evaporate and where temperatures are as low as -60°C. From his floating perch high above the Earth, the intrepid 42-year-old launched himself into an impressive 21,800-metre jump, a distance far beyond the comprehension of many people, who see a ten-metre dive at the local swimming pool as a leap into the unknown. After travelling to the very boundaries of space, Baumgartner swooped down to Earth in his pressurised cosmonaut’s suit, an essential garment allowing him to withstand the lack of atmosphere. Travelling at a speed of nearly 600 km/h, he made a thrilling descent in a little over eight minutes, making a hitch-free parachute landing at 9.50 am, one hour and 40 minutes after leaving terra firma. As Baumgartner later explained, the biggest obstacle he faced was the chilling cold, which prevented him from moving his fingers. In his on-going determination to push back the limits, the man they call “Fearless Felix” envisages making a few changes following this dry run, but said he was very happy with the way things had gone after touching down in the New Mexico desert, some 40 kilometres from Roswell, the city made famous by the so-called UFO Incident of 1947.
sBaumgartner’s custom-designed space suit protects him from the lack of atmospheric pressure and oxygen. ssThe Austrian has a team of 100 experts to support him.
sA space capsule took Baumgartner up to the required altitude of 21,800 metres. ssSmiles all round as Baumgartner (left) returns to Earth safely. aThe space capsule was hooked up to a 50-metre helium balloon.
Breaking the speed of sound Baumgartner’s surreal achievement is almost unique. Only two men have jumped from higher altitudes, both in the 1960s. One of them, Joseph Kittinger, is now a member of the Austrian’s 100-strong team of experts. The New Mexico jump was the first phase of the Red Bull Stratos project, which aims to collate valuable aerospace and medical data to help the astronauts of the future return to Earth should they encounter problems on re-entry. The next phase involves another jump from 27,000 metres up before the final leap from 36.5 kilometres, which is scheduled to take place before the end of the year and in which Baumgartner will become the first man to break the barrier of 1224 km/h: in other words, the speed of sound. www.felixbaumgartner.com
The Felix Baumgartner timeline 1985 Maiden parachute jump, at the age of 16. 1997 Becomes world base jumping champion, a discipline in which he specialised in the 1990s. 1999 Jumps from the 451-metre-high Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. That same year he jumps from the top of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). 2003 Skydives across the English Channel at a speed of nearly 360 km/h and at temperatures approaching -50°C. Wearing carbon wings, he jumps from a plane over Dover, England, and lands six minutes later in Calais, France. 2004 Jumps from the Millau viaduct, France (343 metres high). 2006 Jumps from the Torre Mayor, Mexico City (225 metres). 2007 Jumps into a 120-metre-deep cave in Muscat, Oman. 2007 Jumps from the top of the Taipei 101 skyscraper, Taiwan (448 metres). 2010 The start of the Red Bull Stratos project. 2012 Free-falls from the edge of space (21,800 metres).
Danny urban MacAskill adventurer
Michael Clark/Red Bull Content Pool
This outstanding British trials rider has become widely known through his spectacular videos which began to appear on You Tube in 2009. His fame has since gone international, and he might even be showing off his talent to the world at the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games. Interview.
Michael Clark/Red Bull Content Pool
iDanny MacAskill performing a small backflip on a sculpture in San Diego, U.S.A. Text°°° Frédéric Rein The movements are empowered with a fluidity that looks so natural it’s almost disconcerting—as if man and bike were one and the same, engaged in a graceful ballet, part aerial, part terrestrial. There’s no question that 26-year old Scot Danny MacAskill knows how to make the most out of any urban space. He appropriates, then reinvents. He pirouettes like a trapeze artist over rusted-out train carriages, bounces off walls like a ball in a pinball machine, and balances on wall tops like a tight-rope walker. This ATB street rider links an unbelievable array of twists and turns in equally unexpected locations. Each new adventure is just around the corner. So much so that he was listed among the ten nominees for National Geographic’s “2012 Adventurer of the Year”. Danny MacAskill has risen to international fame in just a few short years. While his passion for bikes was born in early childhood, it was in April 2009 that it hit the world stage. It was then that his roommate grabbed a camera and shot a video of MacAskill in full action on the streets of Edinburgh. The incredible skill he showed in that first video, “Inspired Bicycles”, was a worldwide sensation, generating 27 million views on You Tube! The die was cast, and a mechanic by trade became a professional trials rider. “I never had the goal of being a professional rider,” explains MacAskill. “I just wanted to ride my bike. I feel very lucky.” From films to web clicks to sponsorships, his rise in popularity is as dizzying as his acrobatic stunts. His film “Industrial Revolutions”, shot in 2011 in an abandoned factory in the Scottish countryside, racked up 3 million views in a single month! We recently had the opportunity to speak with this street trials wizard.
Danny MacAskill, how did you become a trials rider? It just came naturally; I’ve always ridden a bike. At age 5, in the small village where I was born, Dunvegan on the Scottish Isle of Skye, I would ride my bike to school along the hamlet’s sole road. Like all the kids, I spent my days on my bike along with my buddies, trying to learn to twist and jump. I got my first trials bike when I was 12. At 17, I moved to a small village called Aviemore, in the Scottish Highlands. Since I was often alone, I spent that time learning tricks. I then took the typical route to trials riding, but I was never very interested in going for competitions—I preferred the street. What does this sport do for you? The opportunity to do what I want, when I want! There’s a great deal of gracefulness in your lone escapades. Do you see yourself as an artist? I just have a unique and personal way of riding my bike, but that doesn’t make me an artist. I’m just trying to have fun. Based on what I’ve heard, it seems that many people enjoy the way I ride. What’s your favourite playground? Probably Aviemore, since that’s where I cut my teeth. Chamonix (where he filmed “Perfect Moments” in 2010, ed.) is also a great place for trials riding.
Is there a place that attracts you in particular? I find Japan, with its urban architecture, very appealing. I hope to go there someday. Do you have any projects planned for 2012? Actually, this year will be a bit special. Since injuring my meniscus while on a shoot in Canada, I’ve had time to come up with a lot of new ideas and new tricks to try out. Some might show up this year on You Tube. Also a video, shot this winter in British Columbia, Canada, should be coming out in April. And who knows, you might see me at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London!
Who is Danny MacAskill, really? An easy going guy! I do everything I can to avoid stressful situations, and always look on the bright side of life. I’m also a huge fan of pies— all sorts of pies! Do you still see yourself on a bike in ten years’ time? I can’t predict the future, but I’ll keep at it as long as I can and still enjoy it. Ask me again in nine and a half years!
Speaking of injuries, what part does risk play in your sport? You have to be mindful of it, but generally, you can minimize it by carefully preparing your jumps and properly assessing the terrain at any given moment. Personally, I’ve always had a lot of luck. Without it, I could have died several times, like the times when I’ve been hit by cars or fallen out of trees! I’ve broken at least a dozen helmets in my life, but have never been seriously injured, although I was once unable to ride for almost 14 months over a space of two years! In your opinion, what is the most spectacular trick that you’ve done so far? In “Inspired Bicycles”, I rode along the top of a fence with metal bars. It was a very unusual surface, very narrow. I wasn’t really sure I would be able to ride it.
Andy McCandlish/Red Bull Content Pool
Is there an underlying message in what you do? The world is your playground. You just have to find your toy!
iThe roof of an abandoned house is all Danny MacAskill needs to be happy. fDanny MacAskill performing a dangerous front flip in Dunvegan, a town on the Scottish Isle of Skye, where he was born.
Using Photoshop, this French photographer blurs the boundaries of reality to recreate the world of his imagination. The results are surprising and original, combining candour and surrealism.
The truly offbeat world of
Romain Laurent Text°°° FRéderic rein Photos°°° romain laurent A surfer appears to be waiting calmly for his wave. But instead of a great white-capped roller, he finds himself caught in the path of a human tidal wave breaking over the city streets. A sea of grey sky-scrapers has replaced the blue of the ocean. This new series of photos, entitled “Horizon”, is symbolic of much of the work created by its author, in his determination to swim against the tide. French photographer Romain Laurent likes to play around with preconceived ideas, to use the effect of surprise, of displacement, and bringing together things which seem antinomic. His pictures have the power to startle and challenge the viewer. “I try to bring special effects into spontaneous photos, to control the uncontrollable”, explains the Annecy native. “This allows me to represent the world as I imagine it. It’s a reality which is truly offbeat, and which is moving ever closer to narration thanks to a more cinematic approach to my images”. What should we take from his pictures? “I leave everyone the freedom to see what they want to see in them. For me, it’s just a representation of something going through my mind at a given period of my life”. Dreamy, absent-minded, passionate, stubborn, even neurotic: these are the kind of adjectives he uses to describe himself. “I’m a confirmed city-dweller who misses the great outdoors: mountains, snow, skiing
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and the ocean”, says Laurent, who originally studied design. The democratisation of digital photography and Photoshop has enabled him to recreate his world, to blur the boundaries of reality. Inspired by daily life But the creative process, always inspired by his daily life, involves much more than a few simple clicks of the mouse. Before an idea is jotted down in his notebook, it will first have developed in his mind. Which can take weeks, even months. Next, the perfect location for the shoot has to be found, and the pictures have to be taken. Then postproduction begins on the computer. “All the shots are thought out in terms of the end result”, explains Laurent, who in addition to his personal projects works in the fields of advertising (for Citroën, Milka and Coca-Cola, among others) and publishing. His painstaking work brings astonishing results. Whether depicting a human avalanche or people flouting the laws of gravity, Romain Laurent’s photos offer a subtle blend of candour and surrealism. They upset the established order of things, and open up new horizons.
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With ROMAIN LAURENT
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Just imagine luxury yachts in the form of islands, with palm trees and bungalows on-board. Or liners inspired by the Monaco streetscape… Pleasure boats are sailing into an amazing future, bordering on the kitsch.
the future Text°°° SERGE GRETER Photos°°° Yacht Island Design
Have you ever gone sailing on a floating island? It may seem an unusual concept, but it could soon become reality. The British designers at Yacht Island Design are seeking to reinvent the pleasure cruising experience. Their luxurious "Tropical Island Paradise", an improbable compromise between a cruise ship and an island, floating somewhere between science fiction and kitsch, features little bungalows on its foredeck, palm trees dotted here and there, together with a swimming pool/lagoon fed by a waterfall which is… flowing from a volcano! In addition to the guest cabins, this 90-metre long tropical island, which can travel at a maximum speed of 15 knots, offers an owner’s suite with a spa installed right at the foot of the mountain, and four others on the flanks of the ship, complete with balconies. There is also a cinema, a fitness centre, a library, a games room, several lounges with different atmospheres, a helipad, and an unusual little beach deck which can be deployed for water sports!
The hull design of the "Tropical Island Paradise" mimics waves, while on-board it has all the appearance of an island. This 90-metre-long ship features little bungalows on its foredeck, palm trees dotted here and there, as well as a lagoon fed by a waterfall flowing from a volcano.
iThe "Utopia" island can move around, thanks to the thrusters that propel it through the water. paThe 155-metre-long "Streets of Monaco" even has a go-kart track.
The same ostentatious luxury is to be found in another creation by Yacht Island Design: the "Streets of Monaco". This 155-metre long ship, intended to hold 16 people (and 70 crew members!), includes a go-kart track, in imitation of the famous Monaco Grand Prix. Three go-karts can battle it out side by side, zooming past replicas of the Prince’s Palace, the Hôtel de Paris, the Loews Hotel and the Casino. Like something from a James Bond film, "Utopia", by the same design team, looks like an ultramodern, artificial island afloat in the sea. Measuring 100m in length and breadth, the structure spans a surface comparable to that of contemporary cruise liners, and boasts some 11 decks, containing, among many other things, a casino and a cinema. And the icing on the cake? An observatory perched at a height of 65 metres. The "island" can even move around from place to place, thanks to the thrusters that are able to propel Utopia through the water. All a bit too futuristic? Perhaps not. Rob McPherson, director of Yacht Island Design, reveals that "while none of these projects are currently under construction, discussions are under way with several potential buyers". So will these avantgarde vessels ever take to the water, or will they remain on the drawing board? Keep your eyes on the horizon… www.yachtislanddesign.com
Around the world with solar power?
It can be done! Avec ses 537 m2 de panneaux photovoltaïque, le catamaran Planet Solar va réaliser le premier tour du monde à l’énergie solaire.
Almost there… In the next few weeks, the catamaran Planet Solar will sail into the port of Monaco after a voyage - including stopovers - of almost a year and a half, using solar power only. This will be the first solarpowered round-the-world trip ever to have been completed. Time to look back at an incredible eco-adventure. Le bateau Planet Solar aura navigué durant environ un an et demi, escales comprises. Lors de ses déplacements, il aura avancé à une vitesse moyenne de 5 nœuds, soit près de 10 km/h. Text°°° SERGE GRETER Photos°°° PLANetSOLAR
In May, the boat Planet Solar will return to the port of Monaco. This is a much anticipated homecoming, proving as it will that it is possible to sail around the world using solar power alone. The aim of this journey on the huge catamaran – 31 metres long – is to shake up preconceived ideas and raise awareness. “We won’t change attitudes with a boat”, Raphaël Domjan, project initiator and skipper, candidly admits. “But we will be able to send out a strong message to the world: that this technology is reliable. It’s true that we made slower progress than anticipated, with an average speed of 5 knots (around 10 km/h - Ed.), rather than the 6 to 7 we had hoped for, but the important thing is to have achieved a first, not to have set new speed records!” It certainly is a major feat, but what will it inspire to others? “The impetus given to manufacturers and politicians will only be felt a little later”, explains the eco-adventurer. “For example, we took the Ecuadorian tourism minister on board with us for two days on a tour of the Galápagos Islands. He was very impressed and is now talking about introducing a law to make solar-powered boats the only way of getting to some of the archipelago’s islands (which have been threatened for a number of years by the excessively rapid and uncontrolled development of tourism - Ed.)”.
A positive experience Public opinion has been “warm and encouraging”, whether given by visitors to the Planet Solar village, or by people met at sea. “In Sri Lanka, we came across some fishermen in a little boat, who were so pleased to meet us they gave us one of their five fish, even though they had almost nothing”, recalls the Neuchâtelois. After a trip lasting around a year and a half, the Swiss sailor certainly has plenty of memories. Primarily good ones, in particular after long
ocean crossings… “On arriving in the Marquesas Islands, after spending a month in the Pacific Ocean without glimpsing a single island, boat or plane, not the slightest sign of life, seeing land rising up in the blue of the sea is a magical experience”. The China Seas, on the other hand, left a more bitter taste for the five crew members. In Vietnam, bad weather caused by the monsoon brought serious concerns, and their dreams almost ran aground. “But in the end the overall experience was definitely a positive one, both in technological and human terms”, affirms Raphaël Domjan, who also mentions the assistance given by Planet Solar to crews met at sea who had run out of fresh water. He is delighted by another memory: that of rescuing a drowning turtle that had got trapped in a knot of ropes. And now, the Old Continent is on the horizon. The circle will be complete, with the strong feeling of a job well done. A European tour is set to follow in the summer. And then? “After that, we will be looking for a buyer for the boat”, stresses Raphaël Domjan. “As for me, I’ll continue to promote the amazing potential of solar power through the Planet Solar foundation. A book and a documentary are being produced. And new projects may come along, who knows?”
Planet Solar in figures Size of boat: 31 metres long, 15 metres wide. Surface area of photovoltaic solar panels: 537 m2, or the equivalent of two tennis courts. Boat construction time: 14 months. The Planet Solar team: 5 people on board and 8 based in the offices at Yverdon (VD). Distance travelled: approximately 58,000 km. Average speed: 5 knots, or around 10 km/h.
green architecture at its most beguiling Respect for nature and fitting in with the landscape are the key foundations of green building, a fine example of which can be found at Villa Lena, in Finland.
Bâtie en Finlande, la Villa Lena s’articule autour d’une cour intérieure à ciel ouvert qui fait salon durant les beaux jours.
fLa cour intérieure est prolongée par une terrasse. ddLes fonctions respectives des espaces diurnes, vitrés, ne s’affirment qu’au gré du mobilier qui s’y affiche. dLa villa est construite sur de petits pilotis afin de s’adapter à la légère déclivité. sMême à la salle de bains, on a l’impression de vivre immergé dans la nature.
Text°°° SERGE GRETER Photos°°° Jussi Tiainen Green architecture is not so much a question of having a specific building style or process, but rather one of creating a seamless relationship with a specific environment and having a certain state of mind. It is the coming together of a building and its surroundings, a painstaking process of osmosis. Those are the foundations that support Villa Lena, the wooden house that the Finnish architect Olavi Koponen designed to blend as one with a typical Finnish setting formed by spruces and birch trees. The wooden walls backing onto the street lend privacy, intimacy and restricted views, while transparency is the order of the day on the other side of the house. The living spaces adopt a horseshoe layout around an inner courtyard area that is open to the elements, leads on to a terrace and forms a clear enclosure with no visible frame, one protected by argon-based triple-glazing. The layout of each of these diurnal spaces is identical, and the only indication as to their respective functions is provided by the furniture contained within. Omnipresent on the outside, nature also occupies a permanent place indoors thanks to the glass walls and sunlight, which is plentiful as the house wisely faces south. While attention has been paid to every detail of the building’s insulation, with the use of mineral wool in particular, the ventilation system used for renewing the air also recovers heat from it. All in all, Villa Lena is an unquestionably superb example of architecture that has been carefully thought out, takes account of environmental constraints and is, in a word, sustainable.
i"The Cloud" is a suspended cloud of stabilized vegetation invented by the French company Meamea. pThe stabilized vegetationâ€“which consists of taking real plants and replacing their sap with a natural lab-created substanceâ€“hangs on walls easily.
plants of another kind
In their new, modern incarnations, indoor plants tend to leave their pots behind and become decorative objects or even wall frescoes. And now, they can even be cared for with home automation. Definitely not your grandma's house plants.
Text°°° Frédéric Rein
House plants are going ultra-modern. Gone are the pots, but not the chance to shine like never before. In their new designer versions, they take root in the most unexpected places at the whim of interior designers, whose ideas seem to sprout as fast as honeysuckles. Instead of being placed on tables, plants are instead hung on walls—windows into the world of nature— or run along the floor, like floral rugs. Even lamp stands are turning green, and table tops are burgeoning! At a time when 50% of our global population lives in urban areas, nature is making a grand entrance into our indoor spaces, as if the parks and gardens were no longer enough and the path to a wished-for greener world ran straight through our living rooms!
The "Vangreen" wall hanging is created by Meamea, and provides a window into the world of nature.
Real plants, or stabilized? These small chlorophyllous seedlings, very much in vogue these days, nonetheless impose certain requirements. They need watering, re-potting, enough light, and help fighting parasitic would-be attackers. Several techniques have developed to overcome these limitations. Introducing the "stabilized plant": no yellowing leaves, no loss of form or luxuriance. This technique, created about thirty years ago, consists of taking real plants or flowers and replacing their sap with a natural lab-created substance. "There has been a marked increase in demand from companies, hotels and individuals," explains Danielle DĂ¤llenbach from Grandeur Nature in Vevey (VD). "This 'plant taxidermy' makes it possible to keep plants whose leaves remain supple for 5 to 7 years without the least bit of care." While these types of plants are particularly well suited to wall hangingsâ€”easier to manage in that scenarioâ€”most indoor plants remain the "real live" kind. Enter home automation, where technophiles have found a new outlet for their creativity!
iThe stabilized wall makes it possible to keep plants whose leaves remain supple for 5 to 7 years without any care whatsoever. pInvented by the designer Samuel Wilkinson, the Biome Smart Terrarium provides real-time monitoring of plant needs in terms of water, light or nutrients. Its sensors can also be managed via iPad or iPhone.
Real time needs Case in point is the Biome Smart Terrarium, created by designer Samuel Wilkinson. His system makes it possible to monitor the well-being of plants using a number of sensors, which assess in real-time their hosts' need for water, light or nutrients. The system can be managed remotely via an iPad or iPhone. Along the same lines, Zurich-based Koubachi AG has created an iPhone application and a web site which, according to its motto, "give[s] your plants a voice". After entering data related to your plants (how long it took them to use up their last watering, etc.) you are not only notified when it's time to water them, but also told when to add fertilizer, and which kind. And, since last March, plant owners can buy, for roughly a hundred francs, a sensor to be placed in the plant pot that communicates directly with an online server. "We recommend the use of this sensor, which measures luminosity, soil humidity, and temperature, for expensive plants," advises David Kurmann, marketing director at Koubachi. "It will also tell you, for example, if your plant gets too cold when you open the windows in wintertime." The days when we could use our lack of green fingers as an excuse are over. From now on, your plants can always be at their best!
Are plants really depolluting? For the last two decades, science has touted the depolluting virtues of house plants. Some were supposed to absorb carbon monoxide and formalin; others, trichloroethylene, commonly used in paints, varnishes and solvents; not to mention large plants being able to absorb radiation emitted by computers and televisions. But lately, science has been retracting a bit. Short-term research conducted in the lab has certainly demonstrated that plants are able to depollute the air using their stomas, leaves, roots and the micro-organisms living therein. But the reality on the ground is another story, as confirmed by SĂŠverine Kirchner, research program coordinator at the Observatory for Indoor Air Quality. "In the real indoor spaces we live in, tests currently show that a potted plant absorbs airborne pollutants in quantities that are negligible compared with a room's rate of air renewal. Our typical indoor environments, with reduced air circulation, stable temperatures, low humidity and plentiful light, do not provide the ideal conditions to optimize plants' ability to absorb and accumulate pollutants, even if there are many of them!" But while belief in the depolluting abilities of plant life is fading, some hope remains. "We still lack reliable studies, but dynamic bio-filtration systems are currently being developed and look promising. Air is pumped into the substrate using fans, making it possible for the roots and micro-organisms to do their depolluting work." In any case, itâ€™s worth remembering that plants are known to have beneficial effects on our well-being and in reducing stress.
pThe Central Park table brings a bit of nature into your living room. sAndrea, created by Mathieu Lehanneur and David Edwards, is a dynamic bio-filtration system. Air is pumped into the substrate using fans, making it possible for the roots and micro-organisms to do their depolluting work.
Gearing up for the city vehicles of the future
The urban cars of the future will be electric. Or maybe they won’t! This seems to be the message conveyed by the prototypes developed by the major manufacturers. They may be small, economic vehicles, but they all have a strong emphasis on design.
iThe Opel RAKe, with on-board space for two people, takes a resolutely modern approach.
Text°°° SERGE GRETER With their futuristic lines, they look like something straight out of Star Wars. But these little city-dwellers do in fact have a chassis and motors! Yes, for the moment they remain concept cars, but they offer an early glimpse of the curves and propulsion systems of the urban vehicles of tomorrow. These virtuous vehicles will be both ultra-light and efficient, exciting and practical. They will combine sustainable development (electric motors), design, and high-tech features. While the plump little Renault Twizy, which first hit the roads a few months ago, has a head start on its competitors, the race is only just beginning, with many car manufacturers coming up fast behind! The future of the city car is now in the making. We look at three key examples…
The Opel RAKe With rear wheels seemingly floating in the wind the Opel RAKe is embodied with a certain lightness, which is accentuated by its sleek form. The Opel RAKe, with on-board space for two – one behind the other – is distinctly modern by design. For example, the transparent roof – which tilts forward – can be opened by a smartphone application, lending an adventurous touch which should delight young drivers, who would be able to take the wheel of the 45 km/h-restricted version from the age of 16. While the project remains at the experimental stage, rumours are circulating about its commercial production… Specifications Weight: 380 kg. Length: 3 m. Maximum speed: 120 km/h. Battery life: approx. 100 km.
The Audi Urban Concept. Even if the twin electric motors have no more need for it, the vertical radiator grill which makes Audi so recognisable has not been removed. The car’s 21-inch wheels are positioned outside the bodywork, like the sports vehicles of the 1930s. It’s all a question of identity and style. The streamlined Audi Urban Concept, built in aluminium and carbon fibre, has an unmistakeably sporty look. An “electric Formula 1 car”, nonetheless offering room for two passengers under its sliding roof, with seats arranged at a slight angle. Specifications Weight: 500 kg. Length: 3.22 m. Maximum speed: 100 km/h. Battery life: approx. 70 km.
The VW Nils Volkswagen has unveiled a single-seater vehicle. Why? Because, according to the German carmaker, “90% of journeys are made alone”. In the back is… the engine! While latest-generation safety components have been incorporated (adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, etc.), certain elements have been greatly simplified, such as the rear-view mirrors, which are adjusted manually. In terms of design, the wheels are again positioned outside the bodywork, and the doors open upwards, like the forewings of an insect. While the VW Nils is unlikely to be commercially marketed, this mini technological laboratory will help guide the development of other Volkswagen models. Specifications Weight: 460 kg. Length: 3.04 m. Maximum speed: 130 km/h. Battery life: approx. 65 km.
The WEIGHT of words The art of selling diets is not to be taken lightly. Make sure you don’t swallow everything you hear!
Text°°° SASKIA GALITCH When it comes to getting us to swallow a big one, there’s hardly anyone better than those selling weight-loss programs. Case in point, dear Dukan. As smooth a talker as they come, the good doctor knows exactly how much each word weighs. He also knows exactly how to fatten his bank account at the expense of plumpish suckers determined to drop a few pounds at any cost. Not content to provide his weight loss program in illustrated form and then as "recipe" booklets (cute, but cost an arm and a leg), he then launched an online coaching program–paid, naturally–and began to hawk a line of products under the Dukan name. Products which are presumably compatible with a weight loss cure. For example, this spring, his new miracle slimming supplement is called Shirataki of Konjac. Sold at 3.50 francs for a 200 g pack, this "stuff", which is "to be eaten in unlimited quantities at the start of the diet" is described as being "quite simply the secret to staying slim, used by Japanese women for thousands of years, due to its low calorie count (only 10 Kcal per 100 g) and its amazing ability to make cut hunger." Tempting, isn’t it?
Potentially dangerous Okay, let’s be honest, Dukan isn’t the only one to profit from our desire to be slim. The number of "weight loss programs" to come out of the woodwork at spring time is mind-boggling. In itself, there would appear to be no cause for concern. Except that last year, after having put the 15 most popular weight loss "cures" through the ringer-including Dukan, Delaboss, Cohen, Miami, Fricker, Mayo, Scarsdale and Montignac-the conclusion of the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) was that all of these methods were potentially dangerous. According to ANSES, these heavyweights of the weight-loss world offer diets that are "destabilizing and deleterious to the integrity of the bone structure, with harmful effects, particularly on the heart and kidneys". What is worse, they "change the body’s metabolism, resulting in gaining the weight back within a year in 95% of cases". This is referred to as the "yo-yo effect", and can result in "eating behaviour disorders". In other words, it can lead to binge eating, bulimia or anorexia. All that to say signing up to one of these programs can entail significant risk. So before starting any diet program, a trip to your doctor is advised, along with careful weighing in of all the factors.
Theron queen of beauty As eclectic as always in her choice of roles, the South African will be starring in a science fiction movie, "Prometheus", as well as in the fairy tale of "Snow White and the Huntsman". Portrait. Text°°° SASKIA GALITCH
When Charlize Theron landed her first real movie role in 1996 as James Spader’s girlfriend in "Two Days in the Valley" by John Herzfeld, no one took her seriously. She was another pretty face, no more. She’d no doubt continue to do well in her modelling career. Case closed. Sixteen years later, the belle is an international superstar with top billing in "Snow White and the Huntsman" and "Prometheus", two of the most anticipated blockbusters of spring 2012. In the years between, her work with Robert Redford, Lasse Hallström and Woody Allen, while not always generating breakouts at the box office, has blessed her with a large amount of artistic credibility. Born in Transvaal (South Africa) in August 1975, Charlize is raised on a farm by her parents, Gerda and Charles. She takes up dancing at a young age, a skill for which she displays a certain amount of talent. At age 12, with her mother’s encouragement, Charlize enters the National School of the Arts at Johannesburg. She loves the experience, which also provides her with a refuge from a violent home. Her father, an alcoholic, regularly abuses her mother, who finally puts an end to it by shooting him dead, in what is ruled an act of legitimate self-defence.
and the silver screen
From fashion to movies Gerda, who is not charged with any crime, devotes herself heart-andsoul to her daughter. She is inspired by her daughter’s beauty to enrol her in a national modelling contest. The young girl wins first place and the right to represent her country at an international competition in Milan. She wins again! From then on, things fall into place. At age 16 she becomes a renowned model. After starting in New York, she moves to Miami and finally Los Angeles in the hope of becoming an actress. The year is 1995. Picked first and foremost for her physical beauty, she nonetheless manages to make her mark in the profession starting in 1997 with her role as Mary-Ann in "The Devil’s Advocate". Her success is followed by "Celebrity" (though only awarded a minor role by Woody Allen), "The Cider House Rules" (Lasse Hallström), "The Legend of Bagger Vance" (Robert Redford) and "The Curse of the Jade Scorpio" (again Woody Allen). In 2003, her portrayal of Aileen in "Monster" wins her several awards, including awards for best actress at the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the Silver Bear at the Berlin Festival. Since then, in addition to lending her glamorous image to Dior, she has enjoyed the freedom to star in the roles of her choosing, an eclectic array ranging from science-fiction heroines ("Prometheus") to villainous fairy-tale queens ("Snow White"). She continues to shine with an artistic talent that simply enhances her beauty even more. She’s without a doubt among the fairest of them all.
Walt Disney Warner Bros
A superhero super-production, in 3D Under threat from the abominable Loki, things aren’t looking good for the world. In fact, it’s got so bad that the director of the international agency responsible for keeping the peace (SHIELD), Nick Fury, sees only one way to avoid the worst: call in the superheroes. And so he assembles a team made up of Tony Stark, Iron Man in his spare time; Steve Rogers, alias Captain America; Thor, the son of Odin and god of thunder; Natasha Romanoff, aka the Black Widow; Clint Barton, called Hawkeye; and Doctor Bruce Banner, also known as the Hulk. It goes without saying that this 3D "marvel", packed full of humour (oh yes!) and (very) special effects, is sure to delight blockbuster fans everywhere! "The Avengers", Joss Whedon, 2012. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson. Release date: 25 April. www.marvel.com
Tim Burton’s black magic A screen adaptation of a fantasy series broadcast in the United States between 1966 and 1971, "Dark Shadows" follows the ups and downs of the Collins family–a rather dysfunctional family, to say the least, made up of the most bizarre beings, including Barnabas the vampire. True to himself–and to his darling star performers, Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp –Tim Burton delivers a symphony of black magic that is as poetically Gothic as it is lugubriously funny. In short, one more feather in his cap! "Dark Shadows", Tim Burton, 2012. Starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Christopher Lee and Alice Cooper. Release date: 9 May.
full of action! Blockbusters, bicep-bulging superheroes and baddie-busting action–this spring’s big screen presentations are pulling out all the stops. But fans of romance and comedy rest assured–you have not been (altogether) forgotten.
FILM It’s a Spring-
UPCOMING RELEASES "The Women in Black", James Watkins, 2012. Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds, Janet McTeer. Release date: 14 March. www.womaninblack.com
"Madagascar 3 – Europe’s Most Wanted", Eric Darnell - DreamWorks Animation, 2012. Starring the voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock and David Schwimmer. Release date: 6 June. www.madagascarmovie. com
Text°°° SASKIA GALITCH
"The Raven", James McTeigue, 2012. Starring John Cusack, Alice Eve, Luke Evans. Release date: April. www.theravenmovie.com
Looking for lost time As dear Einstein explained, time is a relative concept that we can have fun with... for hours. Such is the premise of the third instalment of the deliciously delightful adventures of the Men in Black. In order to save his partner "K"–and, as it turns out, the world– agent "J" (Will Smith) will have to take a little trip back in time, and more specifically to the late 1960s. Actors as big as their mission, lots of action, over-the-top special effects and hilarious lines–this film has everything it takes to give audiences a great time!
"Battleship", Peter Berg, 2012. Starring Alexander Skarsgård, Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson. Release date: 11 April. www.battleshipmovie.com
"American Pie: Reunion", Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, 2012. Starring Alyson Hannigan, Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott. Release date: 2 May. www.americanpiereunion.com
"Men in Black III", Barry Sonnenfeld, 2012. Starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Emma Thompson, Rip Torn and Jemaine Clement. Release date: 23 May. www.meninblack.com
Woodkid a man of many hats A gifted music video director, this Frenchman in exile in Los Angeles is now winning acclaim for his talent as a singer-songwriter. A European tour begins in May, followed by a debut album towards the end of the year.
Text°°° Frédéric Rein
Photos°°° KARIM SADLI
Yoann Lemoine likes to wear hats. And this 29-year-old Frenchman in exile in LA, professionally known as Woodkid, has plenty of them. Literally, and – even more so – figuratively… Initially renowned for his talents as a director of dark, poetic music videos – he was notably responsible for “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry, “Mistake” by Moby, “Back To December” by Taylor Swift, and “Born To Die” by the ubiquitous Lana Del Rey – he has since begun to overshadow the very singers he used to highlight in his videos. His cavernous voice à la Leonard Cohen, shot through with a sensual melancholy, began to attract an online buzz last year. His first fourtrack EP, “Iron”, then confirmed a singer-songwriter willing to offer a glimpse into his distinctive world – and the keys to the door can be seen tattooed on his forearms to prove it! The record ranges from a poppy, battle-ready epic with uplifting symphonic swirls (“Iron”) to heady, melodic ballads with appealing New York folk influences, sometimes played on the guitar (“Brooklyn”), sometimes on the piano (“Baltimore’s Fireflies”). A star is born! Legend has it that Woodkid was given a banjo by American guitarist Richie Havens while on a shoot. He then turned his focus from the piano – which he studied at music school – to string instruments.
F O T O L I T H O R E T U S C H E N P R E P R E S S
A single and concerts, then an album While not abandoning video-making (he naturally directs his own), or cinema – which also features among his plans – Woodkid now devotes himself above all to music, and can even be seen alongside his close friend Lana Del Rey performing her famous “Video Games”.
The public and the critics are now waiting for his debut album, “Golden Age”, due by the end of the year. To tide us over until then, he will be releasing the new single “Run Boy Run”, and accompanying video, in April. And then in May, Woodkid will be kicking off a European tour, demonstrating that live performance is yet another of the many hats he wears!
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For all the latest news on Woodkid see www.label-gum.com
IN CONCERT Hot on the heels of his new album, “Wrecking Ball”, released in March this year, Bruce Springsteen will be performing on 9 July at the Letzigrund in Zurich. The Boss is back! www.brucespringsteen.net Discovered on MySpace in 2009, 22-yearold London singer Lianne La Havas, will be showing off her sweet vocals on a debut album due for release in July. www.liannelahavas.com The American Jason Mraz is back, three years after “We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things”. His fourth long-player will hit the shops on 13 April, including recent hit single “I Won’t Give Up”. www.jasonmraz.com Gossip who will be releasing their fifth studio album, “A Joyful Noise”, on 11 May - will be taking to the stage of the Caribana Festival in Crans-sur-Nyon (VD), on 6 June. Beth Ditto, a true rock and lesbian icon, will doubtless steal the show. www.bethditto.gossipyouth.com
Images 3 SA Avenue de France 23bis Postfach CH-1000 Lausanne 7 T +41 21 621 89 89 www.images3.ch
Iceland artistic BY nature
A surrealist landscape at the foot of the MĂ˝rdalsjĂśkull glacier in southern Iceland, on the popular Laugavegur trekking route.
f Isolated farmhouse on one of the islands which form the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago. dIn the Mývatn region, the formations resulting from different lava flows are even more spectacular from the air. pIsolated, difficult to access, a visit to the gem of Langisjór lake has to be earned, but is well worth the detour.
This island of contrasts, sitting close to the Arctic Circle, combines fire and ice, water and desert. To travel there is to embark on a “Journey to the centre of the Earth”, where you can witness an intense and brazen natural environment. Text°°° Frédéric Rein Photos°°° patrice schreyer
Blazing and icy. Infertile and lush. Mountainous and oceanic. Stark yet breath-taking. A meeting of extremes huddled together in splendid isolation. A geological gem, set in icy seas, keeping watch at the furthest outskirts of Europe, and precariously balanced on the American and Eurasian tectonic plates, on the fringes of the Arctic Circle. Welcome to Iceland. Europe’s second largest island, covering 103,000 km2, seems as unfathomable as its most emblematic artist, the singer Björk. Both appear tormented by a profound urge to perpetually renew… The Iceland of today is neither the same as that of yesterday, nor will be the same as that of tomorrow. The fiery fault line which lies beneath the island lends it its explosive character and feeds into its 130 active volcanos. Believe it or not, Iceland is responsible for a third of all the magma which has erupted worldwide in the last 500 years! Every day, water, mud, ice and lava ceaselessly transform the island. It wears each new facelift with neither smugness nor embarrassment, as seen above all in its natural sculptures. Basalt columns and volcanic rocks produced by rapidly cooling magma offer fine examples, lined up with almost military precision. The black basalt ‘organs’ contrast superbly with the white waterfalls which can be found next to them, as at Aldeyjarfoss. All across this land, such stunning sights are to be found in all shapes and sizes – small, vast, powerful, romantic…
Icy waters and hot springs In Iceland, it has to be said that water is omnipresent. The hot springs are of course not to be missed: there are around 600 of them countrywide. Some of them have been converted into authentic swimming pools, such as at the Blue Lagoon, on the outskirts of Reykjavik. Others, of more libertine character, can be found off the beaten path. They are part of the socalled para-volcanic phenomena, which are geothermal, and include the famous geysers, which in fact take their name from the Icelandic location of Geysir. There, in the chilly air of an early summer morning, the column of water can swell and surge up to a height of 70 meters. A truly magical moment. All around, silica-rich pools give the water a perfectly surreal, milky turquoise blue. Fumaroles rise up, contorting themselves as if in pain, recalling an Edvard Munch scream. Elsewhere, lakes of mud bubble endlessly, like diabolical witches’ cauldrons. Wherever you go, Iceland’s fiery temperament is plain to see! In Jökulsárlón, on the other hand, the water temperature is glacial. Whole sections of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier crumble into a lagoon permanently populated with icebergs. Covered in sparkling blue, often streaked with layers of dark ash thrown up from the very bowels of the Earth, they dance indolently on the tide, before drowning. The last few fragments of ice, carried by the current, wash up on the neighbouring shore of black sand where, patiently eroded by the repetitive onslaught of the waves, they finally melt. Now the sea has turned navy blue. Over there it dashes along the cliffs, as if scolding them, growing ever more agitated, seeking to launch an attack. The seagulls, fulmars and clumsy, bright-beaked puffins show no concern. They glide on the wind, back to their nests, sheltered from its moods.
fReeking fumaroles along the Laugavegur trekking route, between Landmannalaugar and Thórsmörk. ddAll-engulfing spray at Gullfoss, one of Iceland’s most visited waterfalls. dBasalt formation at Jökulsárgljúfur national park, in the north of the island.
iAbandoned house typical of eastern Icelandic regions. The rural exodus has greatly affected this harsh part of the country.
Landscape masterpieces In the heart of the country, the Highlands are desert terrain, and much more inhospitable. Mountains and plains encircle glaciers often as large as two, or even three, Swiss cantons, such as the huge Vatnajökull. Under its immaculate carapace smoulders the fire of several active and decidedly temperamental volcanoes. The landscapes, which change as rapidly as the weather, are ephemeral masterpieces. This is especially true in the Landmannalaugar region, with its little valleys of ash, craters with twisted peaks and lakes at their summit, where the colours run from black to red, from pale yellow to ochre or bright orange. Seamlessly, a canvas worthy of Monet, capturing the shimmer of a myriad of little lakes, turns into a contemporary, minimalist work, with just a few telephone lines cutting across the blue of the sky. Further along, improbable portraits come to life: wrinkled stony surfaces covered by a beard of several days’ vegetation, like something from the ancient sagas. Iceland is certainly a place where the imagination can run riot!
Practical info When to go: Between June and September, although many inland roads are only open in July and August. In addition, in July, there is barely any darkness. How to get there: There is only one direct Geneva-Reykjavik flight, with Swiss. From Zurich all airlines which serve this destination make at least one stopover.
Useful link: www.fr.visiticeland.com
The final ascent of
One of the most famous mountain climbers of the twentieth century, also known for his talents as a writer and photographer, took his final bow last September. Flashback at an unusual destiny.
Stephan Siegrist and Pro Trek
fiWalter Bonatti ends his mountain climbing career in 1965 after a successful solo opening of a winter route up the north face of the Matterhorn Text°°° JEAN-MARC SUEUR One more star shines brightly above the highest peaks— peaks that show us the way. The Italian Walter Bonatti, as renowned for his character as much as for his mountain exploits, took his final bow on September 13th, at age 81. He was brought down by a cancer from which few can escape. Thankfully, it will never bring down his legend. He knew hunger, war, fascism. Glory and recognition only came much later. Born 22 June, 1930 in Bergamo, at the dawn of the dark years, his love affair with mountains started somewhat by chance, at age 18. He would later write some of the most beautiful pages of a history that has become a reference for generations to come. Beset by controversy—he was long accused of having failed in his supply mission during the 1953 expedition which led to the first ascent of K2, before eventually being rehabilitated by the Italian Alpine Club—Walter Bonatti ended his mountain climbing career in 1965 after a successful solo opening of a winter route on the north face of the Matterhorn. Turned journalist and photographer, he was named Officer of the Legion of Honour in France, and Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. Walter Bonatti, considered by his peers to be the greatest climber of the second half of the twentieth century, has made his final ascent, to a peak from which he shall never more descend.
Foto / visualimpact.ch / Thomas Ulrich
Walter Bonatti timeline 1930 1948 1953 1963 1965 2009 2011
Born in Bergamo. First climbing experience, among the peaks near his home. First victorious ascent of K2, which led to the famous controversy in which Bonatti was implicated. He would be rehabilitated 50 years later. Awarded the Grand prix de l’académie des sports (France). Gives up mountain climbing after solo climbing the Matterhorn. Awarded the Piolet d’or (the "oscar" of mountain climbing) in recognition of his work. Passes away, in Rome.
PRG-240-8ER CHF 349.–
The double Indian success of
Stephan Siegrist And DENIS BURDET
visualimpact.ch | Rob Frost
In the purest of pure alpine climbing style, the Swiss climber, accompanied by fellow countrymen Denis Burdet and David Lama, opened a new route up the Cerro Kishtwar (6155 m) in the Kashmir. Not content to stop there, the mountaineer from Bern, along with Denis Burdet, followed it up with the first ever ascent of White Sapphireâ€“a hitherto "virgin" summit.
Stephan Siegrist, Denis Burdet and David Lama during the descent down the ridge, roughly 100 meters below the Cerro Kishtwar peak.
visualimpact.ch | Stefan Schlumpf
visualimpact.ch | Stefan Schlumpf
visualimpact.ch | Rob Frost visualimpact.ch | Rob Frost
gApproaching the base camp with the upper Haptal glacier as backdrop. dDenis Burdet, David Lama, Stephan Siegrist and Rob Frost reach the Advanced Basecamp. In the background, the Cerro Kishtwar. iCerro Kishtwar, unconquered for nearly two centuries. pThe quartet on the peak of the Cerro Kishtwar (6155m). From left to right: David Lama, Rob Frost, Stephan Siegrist, Denis Burdet.
Text°°° Hans Ambühl Hemmed in by Pakistan and China on either side, the Indian Kashmir has in recent years been better known for being ravaged by endless fighting than a source of climbing exploits. In fact, the region was closed off to climbers for over 18 years. But it would take more than that to deter Stephan Siegrist and his friends David Lama and Denis Burdet. The three men charged through the Kishtwar region, their sights set on the Cerro Kishtwar. However, before they could safely tackle the ascent, they first had to move their base camp, which, due to a lack of accurate maps, had been set up too far from the Cerro Kishtwar! Once set out, Stephan Siegrist, Denis Burdet, David Lama and cameraman/photographer Rob Frost, made good time. The second day, they spotted a route that was invisible from below. A banana-shaped curve that ran along the face for about 200 metres and emerged onto a narrow southern ridge. After a day of rest at camp 1, they attempted a "one push" assault, alpine style. The lower part is frequently iced over. "The ice allowed us to advance more quickly, but as far as belaying goes, it wasn’t the best," explains Stephan Siegrist. "It was pointless to try and screw in anchors. They wouldn’t have held in the sludgy blend of ice and snow, which was very steep and much too soft! So we daisy-chained a series of long lengths. From time to time, we found places where we could anchor into the rock."
In some places, the couloir was as steep as 85%, before flattening out again. This was followed by some vertical sections with 6-metre lengths. The climb was further complicated by showers of spindrift (sprays of snow that tend to swirl around climbers in a cloud). "Not exactly the funniest at -25 ºC," confides David Lama. After no small effort, the climbers finally emerged into the sunlight on the southern ledge. Time to thaw out those toes! After one last difficult section, followed by a few easier rocky ones, the team reached a lovely snow-covered ridge. By 1:15 p.m., the entire team, including Rob Frost, had reached the southern summit under a triumphant sun. Meanwhile, the second photographer/cameraman, Stefan Schlumpf, had followed the ascent from the ABC (advanced base camp). The new route, 1200 meters long, was named "Yoniverse". Twenty six rappels later, the companions were once more back at camp 1, arriving just before nightfall. The next day, they continued their descent down to the ABC. A second ascent Seeing that they had a week left before the return trip, Stephan Siegrist and Denis Burdet decided to set off to conquer another peak in the same range. They hiked up to the foot of White Sapphire, a peak as of yet unscaled by mountain climbers. The climb would be a straight line up the north-by-
visualimpact.ch | Rob Frost visualimpact.ch | Rob Frost
visualimpact.ch | Rob Frost
iNightfall at the basecamp. fStephan Siegrist and Denis Burdet hike up the last meters of the north face in dream-like conditions. dRest day: Stephan Siegrist, David Lama and Denis Burdet have fun on some boulders around the base camp. northwest face. 3:30 a.m. The pair were jolted out of sleep by an alarm clock. "By then we had been broken in and well acclimatised, so we were ready to get going," explains Stephan Siegrist. "Being only two, we made quick progress by alternating the lead. At first, we followed a gully, then made a horizontal dash across an avalanche prone area. Finally, we landed in a deep couloir." After that, the climb became trickier. The challenges faced by the duo included scaling chimneys, dry tooling, subduing 90Âş ice, securing anchors in precarious spots, and even crossing a roof. The last section of the route was no piece of cake either, as the mountain had two summits. "We set a back pack down before climbing up the extremely loose rock on the north face," recounts Stephan Siegrist. "After two lengths we spied a hole in the ridge just large enough for us to squeeze through and pass over to the southern face. We were in luck, as the rock was much better on that side. A few lengths later, we found ourselves at the summit. It was awesome!" According to their GPS, the summit where Denis Burdet and Stephan Siegrist erected a cairn was 6040 metres above sea level. Next, came time to descend by the southern, supposedly easier, ridge. It turned out to be a fair bit more difficult than expected. The climbers were repeatedly forced to climb up and rappel down small peaks blocking their way, and it was only at the end of the route that they reached the ice face. Four rappels later, they were back at camp. The time was 7 p.m. Every cleat, karabiner and cord had been used! A new route had been opened, both ascending and descending, and all under a glorious sun. In mountain-climbing speak, thatâ€™s called hitting the jackpot.
or the story of a man in a hurry
Dani Arnold hard at work in the Cairngorms, a mountain range in the Scottish Highlands.
Dani Arnold, age 27 from the canton of Uri, is considered one of the best Swiss mountain climbers.
The world of mountain climbing is abuzz. One of the most difficult climbing spots in the Alps, the north face of the Eiger, has been conquered by a climber from Uri in less time than it takes to stew a pot of boeuf bourgignon! Text°°° JEAN-MARC SUEUR Last 20 April, 2011, Dani Arnold from Bürglen, Uri, didn’t spend much time on the north face of the Eiger (3970 m). Perhaps he was in a hurry to get back for lunch. After setting out alone in the morning, he reached the summit a mere 2 hours and 28 minutes later, working his way along the famous Heckmair route. The previous record, held by Ueli Steck, had been beaten by about 20 minutes. And while it’s hard to compare the two climbs, there’s no question that Dani has pulled off a great feat. The kind that is the talk of the mountain shelters. His daily routine as a mountain guide may not be transformed as of yet, but his exploit will certainly give him large media exposure. "The number of clients hasn’t necessarily gone up since my ascent, but I am very involved with sponsors and the media," he confides. Hooked–line and sinker–by mountain climbing at a young age, the 27 year old training equipment mechanic wants to take things to the next level. Higher. Faster! Required to make the trip down by railway to get to school as a child, today he prefers to keep his eyes up towards the peaks. He learns meticulously by continually adding to his experiences, and by living a passion which has become a profession. What’s the difference between the role of a mountain guide and that of a professional mountain climber? "In the former, the client is at the centre of the action. In the latter, we get to make the decisions!" replies the eldest of three siblings. Patagonia awaits next summer, in the company of his friend Stephan Ruoss, with whom he shares the same passion and views about mountains. Both see them as the largest playground in the world. After that, they will embark on a discovery of other vertical horizons, where "limits" are just barriers waiting to be broken. Further. Higher. Faster. www.daniarnold.ch
The new Via Cordata AT Nendaz-
Unlike a Via Ferrata, a Via Cordata does not include a permanent safety cable on which to hook oneâ€™s carabiner. You climb the rock face using secured anchors called "pigâ€™s tails".
54 | thirty degrees
Mont Fort tried and proven!
pAt the top of Tortin peak, 3191 meters up, the view is sublime. And giddy!
Text°°° Frédéric Rein At 3191 meters above sea level, lichen (Rhizocarpon) maps out the yellow contours of an imaginary world on the rocky surface of Tortin peak. It’s a world with an ever-changing shape, much like the alpine landscape where it grows. Its glaciers and the rocky bluffs below are in a state of constant remodelling due to the effects of global warming, a change observed by Xavier Fournier, our mountain guide from the Valais. With his help, we have reached the promontory summit, from which we feast our eyes on snow-capped (more or less) peaks chiselled out of a bright blue sky. On one side, Mont Blanc towers above us; on the other stands the triangular Matterhorn. The panorama is magnificent and well worth the climb. Flashback to some hours earlier and 400 meters lower, upon leaving the cable car at the Gentianes pass on the upper reaches of the Nendaz.
A taste of the high mountains The Tortin glacier sticks out its frozen tongue at us defiantly, as if to say "ye shall not pass"! This giant doth protest too much! As we thread our way between the gaping mouth-like crevasses, we can almost hear them whispering words soft and blue which hang in the crystal-clear air. The rocky terrain that follows is much less obliging, and some
A new 8 km itinerary threads through rocks and glaciers to link the Tortin and Cleuson valleys. The highlight of this demanding hike: scaling a rock face equipped with anchors all the way up to Tortin peak, 3191 meters high. A great trek, challenging in parts, that allows the average person to come face to face with awesome summits. Just follow the guide. oXavier Fournier, a mountain guide from the Valais, is one of the creators of this Via Cordata. of its boulders readily give way beneath our feet. Caution is a must. The time finally comes to trade our horizontal path for a vertical one. Before us lies the Via Cordata, created by Xavier Fournier, among others. This itinerary was opened last June thanks to a Nendaz guide contest, Télé Nendaz lifts, and Nendaz Tourisme. Via Cordata literally means "roped way", and this one serves an adventurous mix of mountaineering and rock climbing as we climb the rock face with the help of secured anchors called "pig’s tails". Fixed ropes and metal rungs placed in spots lacking natural holds make the ascent easier. Unlike a Via Ferrata ("iron way"), the itinerary does not include a permanent safety cable on which to hook one’s carabiner. We ascend roped one to another, with the lead climber threading the rope through each anchor to secure those below. It becomes obvious that having an experienced mountaineer as the lead climber is an absolute must. "With the help of a guide, this Via Cordata is accessible to just about anyone above the age of 12 or so," explains Xavier Fournier. Except those suffering from vertigo, perhaps. As we pull ourselves up using fissures in the rock for holds, it feels like playing Spiderman. The ascent is challenging, but nonetheless a pleasure even for us neophytes.
Ice sculptures After the ascent, the descent. The itinerary makes a loop over the peak, so the way back takes us down the eastern side. On the agenda, a total of 1200 meters vertical drop, starting with a section of fallen rocks followed by the slopes of the Mont-Fort glacier. We again wind our way around crevasses on which mesmerizing ice sculptures hang like so many jagged teeth. Sometimes it feels like leapfrog, except for the shivers! Slowly but surely, the water leaves its solid shapes behind and begins to trickle, flow, slip and slide down the icy chutes, which are carved and sculpted in the most surprising ways. The omnipresent rock takes over once more before finally giving way to a footpath. With a bit of luck, we might come across a marmot catching some sun, a pair of eagles soaring through the blue above, or a few mountain goats or chamois wending their way through the heights. More likely though, we’ll sooner or later come across a herd of Herens eagerly grazing on bellflowers and buttercups. We certainly won’t miss the waters of the Cleuson dam, which sparkle with a surreal shade of blue due to its reflection on the "rock flour"–fine rock powder created by the grinding of the bedrock by glacial erosion. The images collected over the 8 km trek (6 to 8 hours of hiking) will forever remain in a corner of our memories–exciting souvenirs of a magical moment in our lives when both time and the cares of life seemed to come to a stop. The Via Cordata of Nendaz-Mont Fort is accessible from early July to mid-September. Information and registration available at www.guidesvalais.com/via St-Laurent Cabin (www.nendaz.ch/tourisme/cabane-saint-laurent.html) offers travellers a welcome break. The Via Ferratas of
pThe descent is down the slopes of the Mont Fort glacier. sThe further down we go, the more vegetation takes over. ssThe waters of the Cleuson dam sparkle with a surreal shade of blue due to their reflection on "rock flour". aHeren cows, pride of the region.
the central Valais Saillon. This "Via Farinetta" crosses an outstanding landscape, and provides a 2–3 hour climb that is good for beginners and even suitable for children. Accessible from March to November. Nax. This 1–2 hour trek gets a lot of sun and is great for first-timers and children. Accessible from March to November. Evolène. A 1–2 hour hike that is physically challenging, especially towards the end. Accessible from April to October.
FWT12 or the art of using your head on the mountain
Freeride World Tour | SVERRE HJORNEVIK
The Freeride World Tour is proof that a new event can be just as prestigious as more seasoned counterparts. In the five years since it was created, this showcase for intrepid mountain riders has undergone some colourful changes. Text°°° Jean-Marc Sueur Though it only came into being five years ago, the Freeride World Tour (FWT) is already a benchmark event. Youthful but in no way lacking in maturity, FWT is booming, with over 400 freeriders gunning for 100 qualifying slots. It’s also a discipline that’s marking a return to the values of respect for the mountain. FWT founder and director Nicolas Hale-Woods has good reason to be rubbing his snow gloves together at the passion his brainchild is now generating around the world: “We’re seeing more and more North American riders getting involved. The fact of holding the first leg at Revelstoke in Canada might have something to do with that!” Adding a fresh twist to the various competitions under the FWT umbrella is the arrival of riders from other disciplines, freestyle chief among them. “We’ve got fresh blood in the field, with three young riders who’ve won a place on the 2013 tour (for the very first time the calendar will be released this spring – Ed.). The changing of the guard’s already under way.”
Underestimating the dangers? In gaining increasing media coverage and the devotion of new fans attracted by its lack of boundaries and off-piste thrills, is there not a risk that freeride’s huge success in some way trivialises the dangers of the mountain? “Absolutely not,” counters Hale-Woods. “Since off-piste skiing came along resorts have gradually adapted and equipped themselves for it, while taking care to inform and educate skiers. The equipment’s also
got better and is a lot more accessible than in the past. And we’ve set up junior tours, which respond perfectly to the need to train and develop the new generation.” With an increasing pool of talent to draw on, the Freeride World Tour looks set to stay. www.freerideworldtour.com
FWT 2012 Final Ranking Ski men 1. Sam Smoothy (NZL), world champion; 2. Drew Tabke (USA); 3. Reine Barkered (SWE). Snowboard men 1. Jonathan Charlet (FRA), world champion; 2. Ralph Backstrom (USA); 3. Flo Orley (AUT). Ski women 1. Ange Collinson (USA), world champion; 2. Eva Walkner (AUT); 3. Jacklyn Paaso (USA). Snowboard women 1. Maria Debari (USA), world champion; 2. Margot Rozies (FRA); 3. Shannan Yates (USA).
THE GiantXtour consolidates its reputation This national inter-school competition in snowboarding (boarder cross and Big Air) and skiing (ski cross and Big Air) recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. Its founder, Philippe Wenger, discussed its admirable history and bright future. Text°°° Jean-Marc Sueur
iYanick Fahrni, winner in Lenk, during the Berne qualifiers on 1 February 2012. sThe GiantXtour’s laid-back atmosphere.
Fireworks on the Berneuse! The Rivella GiantXtour by Dakine celebrated an incredible anniversary on 17 March in Leysin, in the Vaud Alps. Fifteen years filled with thrills, tireless work and real passion have made this competition a major, renowned event in the winter sports circuit. We looked back at its history with Philippe Wenger, proud father of this bonny little baby.
A source of satisfaction: “The fifteenth year was incredibly popular, even if it is important for us to keep it as an event on a human scale (between 1800 and 2000 participants over all ten qualifying rounds, Ed.). There has been ever greater participation by the German-speaking Swiss. Our reputation has definitely now crossed the linguistic borders”. A moment of revelation: “The Open Pro formula, offering everyone the chance to take part in the festival without restrictions (GiantXtour competitions are reserved for Swiss high school students, with the exception of the Open Pro, Ed.), has been a very pleasant surprise. While boarder cross and ski cross are still very successful, it is this formula which has really taken off this year, something we were very happy to discover!” A vision of the future: “The on-going idea is still to perpetuate a concept, a multi-date and multi-site event which is firmly established and unanimously recognised in the world of winter sports. While keeping things on a reasonable scale (the organisation turns down a significant number of applications every year, Ed.), the idea is to set up the Rivella GiantXtour by Dakine in three German-speaking Swiss resorts, and the same number in French-speaking Switzerland, in order to organise six or nine competitions in each of these two linguistic regions. This should consolidate the GiantXtour while allowing it to retain its unique character through the concerns for safety, fun and the environment which have made it such a vital part of the winter calendar”.
ULTRABOOKS AND ANDROID READY TO REIGN
TECHNO 2012 looks set to be the year of slim, powerful devices and the Google operating system, which will be popping up everywhere, even in fridges Text°°° ERIC RIVERA With sales dropping in an ailing PC market, Intel is making a big move by imposing its ultrabook concept on all manufacturers. Though lightweight, these new generation laptops are powerful enough to play HD videos. After two years of Apple exclusivity with the MacBook Air, the mass market is finally opening up, and the trick now will be to create a niche by coming up with something original. Grasping the need for that, some manufacturers are banking on sleek design, such as HP with the Envy 14" Spectre, which blends brushed aluminium and scratch-resistant glass to magnificent effect. In addition to excellent connectivity and components that allow it to boot in just ten seconds, LG’s Xnote Z330 features new WiDi technology for hooking up wirelessly to an external screen. How practical can you get? The ultrabook’s only drawback is price, with most costing over 1000 francs.
The unstoppable Android Google’s operating system is now leading the way in the ever-changing world of smartphones. Widely available and compatible with a large number of devices, Android is building up a head of steam on its seemingly inexorable rise to the top of the market. Most new-generation Smart TVs come complete with the system, and include versions of the many apps already available on phones. Total connectivity is the in-thing, the ultimate goal being to make the dream of an intelligent home accessible to everyone. Smart fridges display contents and product expiry dates, and can even concoct shopping lists or hook up with microwaves capable of displaying recipe options. A leader in the field, Korea’s LG is the brains behind most such solutions on the market today. But before you start chucking out all your household appliances, it’s worth checking out other innovations, such as the intelligent i’M Watch, which connects to the web through your mobile phone and features a range of applications that will hit the market in numbers this year. 2012 looks like being a “connected” year, on every level.
Digital TV or VOD: the choice is yours
Six years on from the arrival of Swisscom TV, the leader in the Swiss digital TV market, the nation’s homes now have a raft of other viewing alternatives to choose from Text°°° ERIC RIVERA There’s been a big improvement in image quality since the switchover to digital TV, with more and more channels now broadcasting in HD. This explosion in content – available on an ADSL line, cable or a number of VoD services – has left consumers with something of a dilemma: where to watch their TV? Swisscom TV, the first viable solution to appear on the market, uses ADSL technology and what is known as an IPTV system, which requires a broadband connection provided by the incumbent local exchange carrier and a box connected to the TV. This easy-to-use solution provides over 160 channels, 16 of them in HD, as well as packages such as Canal+ (for a fee of 55 francs a month), and more than 1,500 films on demand. Viewers can also make use of a delayed viewing option and follow a range of sporting events for 2.50 francs per game. On top of the cost of the internet connection, the service will set you back 29 francs a month, with various bundles available, including internet, phone services and digital TV at preferential rates.
Movie lovers spoilt for choice Since the start of the year Sunrise has been offering a similar service to Swisscom, with bundles including phone services and internet for a monthly fee of 125 francs. Cable operators are also moving into the market, with digital TV now offered on traditional cable TV systems and the TV network tax being charged on top of the service. Câblecom is offering 141 channels for 20 francs/month, while Naxoo has 175 available for 29 francs/month. Both companies offer additional bundles, movies on demand and subscriptions to combined internet and phone packages. The main player in VoD is HollyStar with more than 2500 titles, followed by Swiss TV and Zune on Xbox 360, with around 1500, while Apple TV has far fewer films to offer (less than 500). Films are available for rent for 2 francs per movie or through a monthly subscription. As more and more operators appear, one thing is for sure: competition can only be good news for film-loving consumers, provided they do their price comparisons.
Julbo – ULTRA no limit The result of collaboration between Julbo and trail running and mountain biking professionals, these sunglasses are great for those who stay the course and take exercise to the extreme! With their perfect shape, ultra-light weight and ventilation system, they will prove essential in summer. What’s more, the new Zebra Light lenses are available in several colours. See the collection at www.julbo-eyewear.com
HELLY HANSEN – WINDFOIL JACKET This microfibre Windfoil jacket will protect you from the wind, while ensuring the best possible moisture management. Cleverly concealed under subtle flaps, the zips allow the sleeves to be removed making it great for warmer temperatures. This athletic jacket offers a sun protection index of UPF30+. An absolute must have! www.hellyhansen.com
SALEWA Rockshow 2012 It all starts at a climbing site in your area. Qualifying during one of the Rockshow Calling events in Switzerland is a ticket to spending a day on the cliffs with the SALEWA alpineXtrem Team pros. Then, in July, at the OutDoor fair in Friedrichshafen (Germany), the «Climber of the Tour» will be selected for the Arco RockMaster, so they can get up close and personal with climbing at the highest level. Additional information and registration at www.salewa.com/rockshow and on www.facebook.com/salewa.rockshow
Mammut – Realization Shorts Mammut’s Realization Shorts are a (r)evolution! For the first time in the world, the climbing harness structure is completely built into the shorts. Mammut’s Split Webbing technology, which comprises the waist and leg belt structure, guarantees a high level of comfort, just like the high-tech Zephir harness. These features are barely visible from the outside, offering a casual look. They’re unprecedented… www.mammut.ch
Piz Buin Protection at the summit In its small tin box, the Piz Buin SPF30 glacier cream is back in its 1946 packaging. For retro mountain nostalgia! www.pizbuin.com
Sorel – Picnic Plimsole The Sorel brand is inspired by the summer atmosphere of the 50s and 60s, which saw the birth of surfing. Combining characteristics of the classic tennis shoe with the typical Sorel rubber sole, this model has a bright and carefree appearance. These shoes - often called «sand shoes» - were initially developed at the start of the 1800s as beach accessories. Light and comfortable! www.sorel.ch
Peak Performance Casual The colours of this collection reflect the natural beauty of the landscapes you can find around lakes. From neutral tones - combining whites with greys that evoke clay and stone - to woody colours, from light beige to deep brown, or brick red. In addition, shades of green - olives, moss, etc. - offer a certain vintage look to this range of colours. www.peakperformance.com
Coop Naturaline - Trendy and Carbon Neutral For almost 20 years, Coop Naturaline has focused on ecological and socially responsible production, showing that fashion and equity can truly go hand in hand. The highly comfortable new men’s and women’s collection stands out not only for its durability, but also for its casual, trendy style. www.coop.ch
Dakine – Cyclone Dry Pack The ideal backpack for surfers, mountain biking enthusiasts and bike couriers. Its Heavy Duty Vinyl design and Roll Top closing system guarantee optimum watertightness. The back ensures perfect ventilation, while the padded straps offer plenty of comfort. www.dakine.ch
By christian Bugnon
Garmin Forerunner® 910XT
Casio PRG-550-1A9ER Palung Ri There’s a very good reason why this watch bears the name of the Himalayan peak Palung Ri (7012 metres): it’s been designed to accompany climbers on their expeditions and stick with them in all conditions and situations. Aside from their much valued high-altitude functions, PRO TREK watches are also powered by environmentally friendly solar technology. www.casio-watch.ch
Breitling Avenger Seawolf Blacksteel Breitling pays this extreme Avenger the ultimate tribute by presenting it in a new all-black version dubbed the Seawolf Blacksteel. Available in a limited-edition of 1,000 pieces, this professional diver’s watch has a black steel case obtained from a highly resistant carbon-based treatment, an ultra-sporty dial and a rubber wrist strap, not to mention an incredible water-resistance rating of 3,000 metres. www.breitling.com
Alpina Extreme Diver Alpina Genève has enlisted American actor William Baldwin as the brand ambassador for its latest collection New Extreme Diver. Boasting a case made of anti-corrosive materials and nonscratch crystal, the timepiece is fitted on an extendable wrist strap designed to slip over a wet suit. Diameter: 44 mm. Water-resistant to 300 metres. For more information go to: www.alpina-watches.com
Hugely popular with trail runners and triathletes, the 910XT has been given a makeover. An ultra-compact, GPSenabled watch incorporating a barometric altimeter, it’s the best route companion there is for displaying and recording elevation data, including ascent, descent and grade, and tracking your pace on uphill climbs. www.garmin.ch
Hamilton Khaki Flight Timer Developed in close collaboration with Air Zermatt, this new multi-functional timepiece comes complete with a personalised pilot’s logbook and is available in six different models. The Khaki Flight Timer also offers a range of wrist straps to match your personality, from classy brown leather to flexible orange or black rubber. See the whole collection at www.hamiltonwatch.com
NOW, AT A SPOT NEAR YOU!
Text°°° SERGE GRETER
Creativity, originality, unique ambiances and classy concepts are thankfully not lacking among us. In this column, 30º cracks open its urban address book and shares some of its favourite spots.
Chez la Voisine
What’s it like at Chez La Voisine (literally"next door")? It is both meticulous and modern, with a wooden bar above which hang several white lamps contrasting nicely with the dark-grey floor. A large well-placed terrace beckons on sunny days. Does one eat well at Chez la Voisine? Most certainly. Noon and night, chef Julien prepares some great dishes–three daily specials and one evening dish–using fresh seasonal ingredients. A short menu is also available with a selection of salads, starters, steak and home-made fries, a variety of tapas and deserts including cheese cake and molten Wilson chocolate cake. On the weekends, brunches take their turn at the tables. Make yourself at home.–Always. That could almost be this merry little place’s tag line. After all, that’s how visiting next door should be, shouldn’t it? Chez la Voisine, 8 rue du 31 décembre, 1207 Geneva, 022/735.14.98. www.chezlavoisine.ch Open Mon.–Wed. from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Thurs.–Fri. from 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Café de Grancy
If the "Friends" crew of TV fame were on the lookout for a hangout in Lausanne, they most likely wouldn’t think twice before heading into Café de Grancy. Located underneath the train station, with nice old comfy couches and large round window panes, this place has undeniable charm and a warm and inviting atmosphere to match. The first Tuesday evening of every month is theme based. On Wednesday evenings, the cast-iron cheese fondue pots are front and centre, and on the weekends, a variety of brunches make their way down the aisles (from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). As to the menu, it attests to a seasonal cuisine that is both inventive and tasty, including vegetarian dishes and fresh pastas. In short, it’s a great place to meet up with friends! Café de Grancy, av. du Rond-Point 1, 1006 Lausanne, 021/616.86.66. www.cafedegrancy.ch Open daily from 8 a.m. (10 a.m. on Sat. and Sun.) to midnight.
Sun-dried tomatoes and basil usher in those sweet southern aromas. At Francesca, Italy is served up nice and fresh. It’s "Italian cuisine, quickly served", as per the slogan of this French restaurant chain founded in 1997, which has just opened its seventh restaurant in Switzerland, in Neuchâtel. Pizza is purposely left off the menu to fully focus on pastas–dry, fresh, or stuffed–which can be combined with roughly two dozen different sauces. Salads are also available as both starters and main dishes, as well as deserts, of course, such as home-made tiramisu or panna cotta. And some swear it serves some of the best coffee in Neuchâtel. Traditional cuisine, served in a modern setting tinged with reds and browns… Francesca, 4, rue du Château, 2000 Neuchâtel, 032/724.01.27 www.francesca.com Open Mon.-Wed. from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thurs.-Fri. from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to midnight.
A taste of paradise.
Strung across the ocean like pearls, the islands of the Mamanucasâ€“some high, some lowâ€“form rings around coral reefs bathed in warm, deep blue waters.
This group of islands–some surrounded by coral reefs, others capped with mountains–arranged like sparkling jewels set on a deep blue background, certainly deserve their reputation. A garden of Eden? Without a doubt. But beyond the white beaches where lovers embrace under coconut laden trees, this archipelago has another side, a wild side. Today we look at some great surfing spots out at sea and secret valleys jealously hiding their wide rivers and white water rapids. Text and photos°°° Claude Hervé-Bazin The boat engine rumbles as we push off from the shore through the delightfully warm water. The heading is 270º WSW. Our water taxi makes good time and we are soon rounding Malomalo, a tufted isle that seems to float on the ocean’s surface and which hides a unique swimming area. Next up Navini, with more of the same for weekend Robinsons. In the distance, the craggy outline of a tall island juts up against the horizon like the spine of a slumbering dragon. Little by little more islands appear, some dry, some lush, some with rolling hills, others with sheer cliffs dropping straight into the water. Welcome to the Mamanucas archipelago. Rising from a cerulean blue, a white sand bank casts an almost fluorescent reflection on the surrounding waters. A dream spot for a picnic getaway. On another day, our boat ties up to a navigational buoy off the large island of Viti Levu. No land at hand. Nothing but water. Lots of water. Here, below the mirror-like surface, lies Combe Reef and its scintillating and abundant expanse; brain coral under attack by hordes of blue green chromis, thick clusters of pointy antler coral, and huge tables–large enough for an entire Fijian family to feast at! A mile off to the west, another feast takes place. This time the guests are sharks at the aptly-named Shark Reef, 25 meters below the surface. Not only tiger sharks (fortunately!), but some pretty hefty specimens nonetheless (3 meters from nose to tail) with sullen looks and a wicked eye set on the abundant tuna. Some dart straight towards us with an unstoppable look enough to send chills down the spine before veering off with a jerk of the tail. Looking for excitement? You got it.
World-class waves Another forty minutes by boat, and we arrive at the island of Yanuca, base camp for surfers wishing to ride the legendary Frigate Passage, a surf break just west of the huge Kavukavu reef that forms a lagoon as large as a (small) canton. Fast, consistent, powerful and smooth, waves here run for up to 150 meters, far out at sea. In the summer, south-eastern trade winds blow offshore for up to a week at a time! Some, however, including Kelly Slater, prefer Cloudbreak (ranked among the top 10 surfing places worldwide), a spot worthy of its name. The white strip of the reef break begins to appear three to four miles out, like a cloud dancing over the ocean, occasionally dissipating before surging up again. On "big swell" days, the white strip forms an unbroken line. As we approach, the rumblings of the ocean grow louder. The swell begins to rise. Last summer, waves up to 10 meters high were recorded! No cry-babies here... The coral under the Inside break, sharp as blades, has earned it the tender nickname "Shish Kebab". On a more peaceful note, and more easily accessible to the uninitiated, a sea kayak slips between mangroves and sandy arbours covered with fairy-tale coconut trees. Gliding with the receding tide, the small craft is pulled through the narrow straight separating the larger Malolo island from its smaller twin. In less than two hours, the channel will be crossable on foot. One could hardly find warmer waters to swim in than here. The water is 32º or 33º–maybe more–you don’t even notice the moment when you put your foot in.
iIn the village of Navala, on the large island of Viti Levu, only traditional straw huts are allowed. pOn the north side, facing Wananavu, kayaks glide along thickly coconut laden shores. A customary welcome On the scale of South Pacific islands, Viti Levu, covering 10,429 km2, is a giant. At its centre lies a tangle of mountains rising as high as 1000 meters, giving the island the look of a continent all of its own. Some villages can only be reached by foot or canoe, sailing up wide meandering rivers fed by bountiful rainfall. We are welcomed according to local custom, with an ever-smiling "bula" (welcome) and the obligatory yaqona (kava) ceremony. With shades of muddy water, this brew made from the root of the kava plant and served to the chieftain, tends to swell the lips slightly. In times past, the priests were the only ones allowed to drink it, so as to better communicate with the spirits. These days, 24 hour grog shops line the roads, making it available to all comers at any time of the day or night. The Navua, one of the largest bodies of water on the island, snakes its way through a deeply hemmed-in valley smothered in lush vegetation. Bamboo is everywhere, providing the locals with the means to build the rafts still commonly used to carry fresh produce down to the coastal markets. Further along, rapids pepper the journey downstream, and waterfalls drop off the side walls in clouds of spray.
The easiest way to reach Fiji from Switzerland is through Hong Kong, from which Air Pacific flies direct to Nadi twice a week. Another option is on Korean Air via Seoul, or via Australia (though that takes longer). Factor in at least 20 hours of travel time. Those interested in touring the South Pacific should check out the excellent Bula Pass by Air Pacific. CLIMATE
The best time of year to travel to Fiji is from May to October. Plenty of sun and warmâ€“ but not too hotâ€“temperatures. The rainy season (and cyclones) extends roughly from November to April, when the days can be suffocating. The lower isles and the western side of Viti Levu are considerably dryer than the rest of the archipelago. USEFUL LINKS www.fijime.com, www.discoverfijitours.com, www.helicopters.com.fj, www.fijisurfshots.com, www.fijibeachresortbyhilton.com, www.uprisingbeachresort.com, www.wananavu.com
Impressum 30° Degrees magazine, Since 2002 No.38, SPRING 2012
Cover photo: Jody MacDonald
Eternal moments in Fiji
Editing & administration CB Communication sàrl Rue du Simplon 20 – Case Postale 386 1001 Lausanne - Switzerland firstname.lastname@example.org / www.cbcommunication.com Tel.: +41 21/ 312 41 41, Fax: +41 21/ 312 41 11 Advertising for French-speaking Switzerland + English version (Internet & iPad) www.30degres.tv www.30degrees.tv email@example.com Advertising for German-speaking Switzerland www.30grad.tv Blueorange Media GmbH Karin Witschi 076/ 379 82 07 firstname.lastname@example.org Sonja Kupper 062/ 772 21 56 email@example.com Editor-in-chief firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy Editor-in-chief email@example.com Editorial assistant firstname.lastname@example.org Writers (in order of appearance) Frédéric Rein, Jody MacDonald, Serge Greter, Saskia Galitch, Jean-Marc Sueur, Hans Ambühl, Eric Rivera, Claude HervéBazin, Christian Bugnon. Photographers (in order of appearance) Jody MacDonald, Red Bull, Pierre Volet, Stephane RobertNicoud, Lisa Airplanes, Herbert Nitsch, Hiriko, rrevolve.ch , Sleepbox, Philips, Marie Flores, Robert Hollingworth, Joerg Mitter, Stefan Stau, Jay Nemeth for Global Newsroom, Michael Clark/Red Bull Content Pool, Andy McCandlish/Red Bull Content Pool, Dave Sowerby, Romain Laurent, Yacht Island Design, Planetsolar, Jussi Tiainen, Meamea, Samuel Wilkinson, Véronique Huyghe, Opel, Audi, VW, Keystone, Walt Disney, Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, Ascot Elite, Paramount, Universal Pictures, Karim Sadli, Sony Music, Warner Music, Patrice Schreyer, visualimpact.ch | Stefan Schlumpf, visualimpact.ch | Rob Frost, Thomas Ulrich, Thomas Senf, Christian Bugnon, Claude Hervé-Bazin. Graphic design + Artwork: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org German translation: Sabine Dröschel English translation: AST services Photo-offset printing: Images 3
Printing: Swissprinters Lausanne SA Distribution: It’s Time To Bienne
Text°°° Claude Hervé-Bazin The hum of the motor dies down, replaced by the sweet song of the mermaids. From the deck of the speedboat, the voices of the choir gradually rise. Bula maleya. Welcome. In the shade of the coconut palms on Mana Island, the hotel staff, barefoot in the sand, welcome us with warm smiles. This is the Fijian way, thoroughly relaxed, never obsequious, and always friendly.
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There are different kinds of castaways. The involuntary, victims of a shipwreck. Adventurers, for whom the desert island is a kingdom. Dreamers, in search of tranquillity. I am one of the latter, basking in the song of the birds amongst the palm trees as the gentle breeze rustles their fronds. I love to feel the coconut milk wetting my lips, the sweat beading on my forehead under the fiery sun, the sea salt clinging to my skin.
I also love luxury: lazing in the heat by the villa, dipping into the private pool on the terrace, a chilled bottle of (complimentary) Veuve Clicquot, then taking a golf buggy across the island for a romantic meal on a deserted beach, watching the day slip away. I can do exactly as I please: with five villas and never more than ten clients (no children allowed!), Tadrai is, for a while, like my very own island. Here they know my preference for soft pillows, the kind of music I like, ready and waiting on the stereo, what time I don’t like to have breakfast, and when I actually feel like getting up. Another three days of bliss before the helicopter comes. www.tadrai.com
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