A solar panel firm sets up operations in Saint-Luc with the goal of supplying half of Europe’s elect
‘Basically, all that I’ve done is to make the most of the micro-climate in the Val d’Anniviers’, he modestly notes. ‘From a very young age, we’ve known that here we’re really lucky with the weather’. And it’s this good fortune with the weather that the qualified ski patroller has successfully turned into an opportunity.
‘I plastered the village of Pinsec with solar panels left over from my father’s business’, he explained. ‘To begin with, I just wanted enough electricity to power the satellite television in my ‘mayen’ (small hut in the mountain pastures), but I quickly realized that I was producing enough power to share it with my neighbours’. And a lot more than that, in fact!
Without realizing it, the Val d’Anniviers man was on his way to becoming Europe’s biggest energy supplier. ‘The sun’s rays are so powerful here – and it’s sunny so much of the time that we really had no choice other than to export all this power that mother nature provides us with’.
The competitors – a bunch of blow-ins!
Attracted by the runaway success of this business venture, several European competitors decided to set up shop in the Val d’Anniviers too. The only problem was that they weren’t familiar with the local climate. ‘You wouldn’t believe it’, Régis Solioz chuckled. ‘These idiots landed in town with their wind turbines, whilst there’s hardly the slightest breeze in Anniviers. I sent them to Martigny sharpish.’
Thermals: a Val d’Anniviers paraglider ends up in the stratosphere
Caught in a thermal column, a young paraglider from Zinal will mark one year spent in space come this 13 March. This incredible adventure has its roots in the stirrings of the first lockdown. His family tell his story.
March 2020. Aurélien Epiney, 29 years old, senses the wind shift. Anxious to make the most of his freedom before the expected lockdown, the young Zinal native treats himself to one last paragliding trip. ‘Aurélien always had a good nose for things’, says his father, Vincent, holding back tears. ‘Just you wait and see – they’ll shut everything down, or so he said. So, he went off for one last trip’.
It was an outing that should have lasted a couple of hours. But a half-day quickly morphed into a journey without end. ‘It’ll soon be a year that he’s been floating around up there’, says his sister Eugénie, with a proud smile.
Thermal currents that are out of this world!
After leaving from the cabane de Sorebois mountain lodge in search of thermals on which to begin his ascent, Aurélien very quickly found what he was looking for. ‘Maybe he had too much of a good thing’, sobs Vincent. ‘It’s obvious that he needed a thermal current to gain some altitude, but he clearly underestimated the micro-climate in the Val d’Anniviers. Here, we’re really lucky with the weather’.
Rapidly taken up into the troposphere, the young paraglider reached the stratosphere in the space of a few hours – disappearing without trace – or almost. ‘A few hours after we were expecting him home, I took out my telescope’, Eugénie says. ‘I saw a little white spot which I quickly lost from sight. I was half-blinded by the sun at the time, too’.
No news of Aurélien
It’s almost a year now that the Epiney family haven’t heard from their eldest child. However, his nearest and dearest aren’t worried for him. ‘Aurélien’s very resourceful. Even if he’s in the stratosphere, he’ll have his feet firmly planted on the ground’.
The skies open in Chandolin, and tourists realise they're actually in Savièse
When the time came to plan their holidays, Monique and Claude Détraz were sure they’d made a good choice. Friends from Valais had strongly recommended the Val d’Anniviers to them. Because of its sunshine, of course, but also because of its ski slopes, its hospitality and its après-ski.
Aperitifs but no pistes
Fully convinced of the pleasures of the Val d’Anniviers, the couple and their three children jumped into their SUV, turned on the GPS and drove all the way to Chandolin. “Our friends hadn't lied to us. As soon as we arrived, the locals gave us a warm welcome and invited us for an aperitif.” But they soon began to have their doubts. “There was no one in a ski suit, no catchy pop songs filling our ears or ski instructors hanging around Chloé, our eldest.”
The next day, the Détraz family put on their ski boots and headed for the slopes. That was their second surprise – tarmacked roads. Not a piste or drag lift in sight. “We tobogganed down the embankment along the side of the main road. It was fun to start with but, to be honest, after three hours we’d had enough.”
The skies as their guide
So it was a somewhat disillusioned family that returned to their lodgings that night. “We felt betrayed.” The skies saw to it that their doubts were dispelled once and for all. “At around 8pm the storm broke. That's when everything became clear: we weren’t in the Val d’Anniviers at all!”
Without wasting another moment, the Détraz family packed their bags, left Savièse and crossed the Rhône plain, heading towards Chandolin. The real one. The one where “you really are lucky with the weather!”
The first cloud of the year
After some strange ballets observed on December 12th and then during the night of December 29th to 30th, an inhabitant of Grimentz reported a diurnal phenomenon, this time "on January 5th, at 11 o'clock, in the blue sky west of my chalet, I noticed the presence of a white ball, for one hour. "Christian Laveau photographed the scene. "It's the first time I've seen this," he says, very intrigued.
- What's the weather like down there?
- And tomorrow?
- ... Bad.
- And the day after tomorrow?
- Still bad.
In Val d'Anniviers, we're REALLY lucky with the weather!
- Ha, we're really lucky with the weather aren't we?
- We're really lucky with the weather
- What ?
- I said: " WE'RE REALLY LUCKY WITH THE WEATHER!"