Two weeks ago I could finally check something off my bucket list that has been there for many years - the Lauberhorn Airshow. Well it's not exactly an airshow, "just" some flypasts of a SWISS aircraft (the new Bombardier CS100 this year) accompanied by the Patrouille Suisse. But it's the scenery with the majestic mountain backdrop which makes this display truly unique.
The reason for these flypasts is the Lauberhorn Ski World Cup which takes place in January each year (weather permitting). The program in the skies is even more depending on good weather but unfortunately the forecast wasn't very promising for this year's races...
There are usually three chances to see them flying: Thursday (training), Friday (airshow) and Saturday (airshow). After checking the forecast almost hourly the days before, we (my friend Yanick and I) decided to try our luck on Thursday for the training. Turned out this was the right decision.
The training was scheduled for 11:40 and as it would take us almost 5h to get there we had to leave early. Our plan was to get to the top of the Lauberhorn to have a 360° overview of the show. In order to get there we'd have to take the train to Kleine Scheidegg (via Zurich, Berne, Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen), followed by a short ride on the chairlift to the top. The grumpy grandpa at the ticket office however thwarted our plan. He told us that we weren't allowed to use the chairlift without skis or snowboards. Great. So now we were stuck on the wrong side (1) of the Lauberhorn (3) as the main display should take place over the village of Wengen (2). And with only 10min left to the scheduled training there was not enough time to head back to Wengen.
So to make the best of it we were looking for an elevated spot hoping to get some nice shots with the Eiger North Face in the back. After we've found a mound about 20m above the train station of Kleine Scheidegg we got our cameras ready and checked Flightradar24. Although it was snowing lightly and the visibility didn't seem to be very good, flight LX7520 left Zurich Airport and was heading our way. However, we didn't know whether the six F-5 Tigers of the Patrouille Suisse had taken off as well.
Eventually the CS100 soared over our heads, made a 180° turn and flew past the North Face just like we were hoping for.
These two photos caused a big controversy on Instagram whether they are real or fake. I know it's a very unusual motif but I can assure you that they (as well as the following photos) are 100% real.
Anyway, moving on... after some more flypasts the CS100 was leaving the scenery and headed towards Lake Thun, where it was joined by the six Tiger jets (that's what we assumed). And we were right. The next jet noise we heard was significantly louder.
The first joint flypast was leading directly over our spot - too close for my 200-500mm lens.
Just like the CS100 did earlier they performed a 180° turn over Grindelwald and flew past the Eiger North Face.
After a short display over Wengen (at least we could hear it), the lead aircraft left the formation and the Patrouille Suisse took over.
Then peace returned to the Bernese Alps and we thought the training was over. I had already packed my stuff when we heard jet noise again. Turned out the whole formation made one final flypast and I had like 5 seconds to unpack my camera again. But I was ready in time. Just like the guy with the iPad...
All in all it has been a fantastic show in front of a unique backdrop and although we only saw about half of it, it was still worth the journey. I would have had the chance to be on board the CS100 for the flight on Saturday but unfortunately it got cancelled due to bad weather. And with the show being cancelled on Friday as well, we were two of just a few lucky photographers who have seen this perfect example of Swiss precision. I'm already looking forward to next year's edition.
If you wonder how this looked like from the top of the Lauberhorn, check out this link: https://www.mariodepian.ch/specials/snowtigers-3/