MONTE BIANCO EXPERIENCE
Wanderlust Vision opens its 2023 with a stage with unprecedented characteristics, at an altitude of 3466 metres, at high altitude, confronting a territorial reality in which time and respect for it mark every rule.
Time is an evolving space, the result of a possible empathic relationship between human beings and the environment. We live in a society where images flow very fast and thoughts are guided by stereotyped ideals. But we are still responsible for our personal time. Wanderlust Vision and Flowe want to stimulate an awareness of moments through a long-term partnership of actions and tests, with a deep appreciation of time.
Step by step, we aim to engage the community to be an active part of our journey through natural beauty.
In memory, in attention, in perspective: we celebrate the past, we care for the present, we plan for the future.
For the first time, five young people who won the competition promoted by Flowe also participated in the Wanderlust Experience. They were able to immerse themselves behind the scenes of the event, experiencing all the activities prepared by the team.
The two days explored the topic of time: what value does it have in our days? How can we reflect on its importance?
The heart of the event is located at Punta Helbronner, 3466 metres, the highest point in Italy that can be reached via the Skyway cable cars. An extremely fascinating place that requires attention and care, a space that allows us to reflect on the beauty of the mountain, understanding its historical value and deeply interconnected with man and the planet.
The Mont Blanc Skyway as we know it today was inaugurated in 2015 and comprises three stations: Courmayeur/The Valley (1,300 m), Pavillon/The Mountain (2,173 m) and Punta Helbronner/The Sky (3,466 m).
The current structure has a history behind it that began in the 1930s thanks to the vision of Count Dino Lora Totino, who came from a family of wool industrialists in the Biella area. A mountain enthusiast, he began to walk the paths of the Aosta Valley at high altitude and imagined creating an international connection between Italy and France with a funicular between Courmayeur and Chamonix.
In 1940 the project was approved and the following year work began on the first section of the system, which would be abruptly interrupted by the war a few years later, only to resume and be inaugurated in 1947. Work then began on the second and third sections, the latter comprising a funicular railway called 'Piccola' by the insiders because it could accommodate a maximum of eight people.
In 1954, Dino Lora Totino's dream was completed, creating the international Italy-France connection between Punta Helbronner and Aiguille du Midi.
For more than 60 years, these lifts have transported millions of people. In March 2011, work began on renovating all the structures to create the lift currently in operation: Skyway Mont Blanc opened to the public on 30 May 2015.
From the Wanderlust Vision logbook
DAY ONE - 30 January 2023
At 14:00, the group of Wanderlust Experience guests arrives in Courmayeur and begins its ascent with the lifts to reach the highest station of Mont Blanc, where they can immerse themselves in Klaus's djset.
Taking a step back, at 8:00 the same morning the Wanderlust Vision team and The Hills production team took the lifts up to Punta Helbronner to assemble all the video equipment at high altitude after it had been transported by funicular the day before.
Please note, the weather in the mountains is extremely variable and you have to deal with it. The sky is perfectly clear and blue, the sun is out, but the wind has an hourly speed that does not allow for safe stability of the filming equipment.
Temperature: -9.0°C Wind chill: -17.3°C
Klaus, after a few vicissitudes due to the gusts of wind (up to 80km/h), completes the entire djset with the team of videomakers and stagehands working hand-in-hand to handle the strong wind and cold. The thermal camera fixed on Klaus detects the strong wind and temperature.
While the second part of the djset is in progress, the group of guests is taken inside the Punta Helbronner station to visit the exhibition of Mont Blanc crystals collected by the 'cristalliers', the crystal seekers, great mineral enthusiasts who over the years have climbed and traversed the mountain paths, allowing them to admire unique and unrepeatable pieces.
It was in fact the search for crystals that prompted Jacques Balmat and Michel Gabriel Paccard, to whom we owe the first ascent of Mont Blanc, to identify the correct route to the summit. In fact, on 8 August 1786, during a search for crystals, the two explorers identified the way to reach the summit. Currently, in order to protect the environmental heritage of our mountains, it is forbidden to search for and collect crystals on the Italian side of Mont Blanc.
The crystals in the exhibition were collected before this ban and represent the memory and testimony of the fragile and fundamental balance of our ecosystem.
From the Wanderlust Vision logbook
DAY TWO - 31 January 2023
At 9:00 a.m., the group of guests left to embark on a hiking trip to Val Ferret, led by Michele Freppaz, snow scientist and professor of Pedology at the University of Turin, who took the guests on a journey into the world of snow and its flakes, delving into the meaning of mountains, both from the point of view of an ecosystem to be safeguarded and from the more philosophical and human point of view of a contemplative and regenerating space.
"Snow crystals are like letters from the sky, changing every day through metamorphisms. The mountain is sensitive to every change." - M. Freppaz
At 3 p.m., after lunch with the whole team, the guests will participate in a workshop focusing on papermaking and different processing techniques such as screen printing, cyanotype and typography. The workshop is led by Corrado Musmeci of Fontegrafica, a leading company in the graphic arts sector, who will guide the youngsters to work on the Wanderlust Vision sketchbook, using it as a basis for creating their own personal notebook containing their own proofs of printing and working with special graphic papers taken from stock.
Experimenting, getting your hands dirty, creating a tool that is meant to last, becoming a memory element for experiences made and future projects.
"Every paper and printing technique is capable of becoming a narrative and amplifying a story." - C. Musmeci
4:30 p.m., bikepacker Omar Martinello, known as Homer because of his correlation with the traveller protagonist of the Iliad and Odyssey, led the children in a seemingly simple game to make them reflect on how some dates and historical events seem distant or very close to us according to our perception of them and the communication about them. The birth of the earth, the formation of the first mountains, wars, great discoveries, are actually all dates that are extremely close and connected to our being in the world. If we do not take care of our planet, reconnecting with it, we risk losing precious time and value.
At the close of this two-day event, Guido Cencini, Forestry Strategist at zeroCO2, concluded with a personal talk on the environment and the importance of personal awareness of it, encouraging the active potential of each person.
Thanks to zeroCO2, all emissions related to the event and its side activities were calculated to allow for proper offsetting and ensure a neutral impact. In addition, Flowe decided to support Skyway's 'Save the Glacier' project by planting a cherry tree at the foot of Mont Blanc for each guest attending the event.
Confronting the grandeur of mountains and the littleness of crystals makes us realise how every natural element that surrounds us is united by a thin thread that runs through millions and millions of years, constantly continuing to influence today and the future. Every choice we make has a real impact.