Imagine, gliding down a snowy mountainside in the beautiful Portes du Soleil region while racing a giant white-tailed eagle. Sounds like something from a dream, doesn’t it? Well, that’s exactly the thrilling experience renowned ornithologist and falconer Jacques-Olivier Travers is offering skiers and snowboarders in Morzine.
The idea came to Travers while searching for a way to teach a bird born in captivity how to fly so it could survive in the wild. He spent a year training with the bird before taking it down Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc, while he paraglided beside it. It is Travers' ambition to establish a successful conservation and breeding programme in Morzine with the ultimate aim being to reintroduce the white-tailed eagle to France, its native home.
He believes people still have misconceptions that eagles are dangerous and that the best way to dispell this myth is to get the public emotionally involved by experiencing this majestic bird first-hand. As he explains, “if you tell people about this sort of thing at a conference, they don’t care. But if they spend time with the birds themselves and then you say, ‘This bird deserves to be in the wild’ – everyone listens!”
This experience is not for the faint hearted and you’ll have to prove to Travers and his team that you are a capable skier or snowboarder before taking to the slopes with the bird. Featuring no more than 4 people, your two-hour experience will begin by getting to know other members of Travis’ aviary, such as a buzzard named Odin, and learning how to handle them safely while skiing without poles and wearing the protective falconers’ gloves.
Then you’ll head out to the red run to ski or snowboard with the main event. Fletcher, the white-tailed eagle, weighs a full 5kg and has a wingspan measuring a whopping 2.5 metres. You’ll get to experience his incredible agility, speed and strength in a truly unique way as you swoop down the mountainside together.
A once-in-a-lifetime experience that involves sharing a mountain with an eagle deserves a setting that’s just as impressive. With five double bedrooms, chauffer, chef, hot tub and gorgeous interior design rivalled only by the breath-taking views of the Alps, Chalet Heavenly is the perfect catered ski chalet from which to explore all of Morzine’s delights. To book your 2020/2021 ski holiday, get in touch today.