Thursday 27. March - Excursions & meetings

an afternoon without skiing... but places, businesses et exiting people to discover

On the water path

The Alps, the Rockies, the Pyrenees, the Himalayas - one fifth of the world’s population lives in mountainous regions, which contain half of the planet’s water supplies. Climate change is hitting those areas harder than anywhere else, placing enormous strain on their inhabitants and resources. Serious consequences in the coming years will result to drinking water and electricity. The visit "on the water path" offers to address this issue by discovering two places.

The first visit will focus on hydropower. It is the main source of energy produced in Switzerland and has the advantage of being rapidly available, clean and renewable. We invite you to visit the hydroelectric plant Bieudron. It is part of the Grande-Dixence complex, the leading supplier of energy in Switzerland and Europe. Bieudron operates the dam of Grande-Dixence, the highest gravity dam in the world, which is located in the Val des Dix. The power station Bieudron is a spectacular site. With a gross head of 1,883 m, it has the highest operating head of any hydropower plant worldwide.

You will then visit Aproz Sources Minérales SA limited company, which employs around 120 people. Its mineral waters are obtained from different springs, that are impounded at a height of between 450 and 1,870m.
Aproz Sources Minérales, which produces 199 millions litres of mineral water each year, pursues a sustainability strategy by transporting its goods by train and by reducing the amount of PET in its bottles.

The visit is organized by the Foundation for the sustainable development of mountain regions.

A visit to the Hublot manufacture in Nyon

Following the conference on Monday night, given by Mr Jean-Claude Biver current president of Hublot and new head of LVMH’s watch brands, we invite you to spend your Thursday afternoon at the Hublot factory, which is located in Nyon, bordering Lake Geneva, in the Canton of Vaud. In a high tech building, which has 6000 square meters of floor space, you will be able to follow all stages of the manufacturing process, starting with the assembly of the movement, moving on to the in-casing process of the movement to the last finishing steps like polishing and packaging the watch.

EPFL - an unusual school

EPFL is Europe’s most cosmopolitan technical university and one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology based in Lausanne and Zurich. Its main campus brings together over 11,000 students, researchers and staff in the same magical place.

You will be welcomed at the flagship building of the school, The Rolex Learning Center. Recognised as a world architectural jewel, the unique science library in Europe is also a Center for knowledge and learning technologies. The designers of the building, Japanese architects Sejima & Nishizawa were awarded the Nobel Prize for architects, the Pritzker, in 2010.

Scientists will introduce you to The Human Brain Project, a new initiative launched by the European Commission as part of its Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) initiative. The project will federate European efforts to address one of the greatest challenges of modern science: understanding the human brain and its diseases. Supercomputer-based models and simulations offer also the opportunity to develop completely new computing and robotic technologies.

You will also visit the Supercomputer BlueGene/Q which is 4 times more efficient than its predecessors with 172’000 billions of operations/sec! And we show you the CRRP, the major swiss plasma and fusion laboratory.

Visiting Morand LIQUORS

The Morand family distills fruit spirits since 1889. Discover the traditional know-how of the Morand family during a tour of their distillery on Thursday March 27 from 3pm to 5pm. It is a great opportunity to get behind the scenes of liquor production… You will discover a unique flavor which taps into the richness of the Rhone Valley, famous for its Luizet apricots and Williams pears.

All the products are of high quality and 100% natural (no GM food).
The Morand family combines leading-edge technology with a social commitment to its employees and the region.
At the end of the visit, you will be able to taste in the cellar bar the Morand products, and go the shop. A little gift will wait for you too.

Whitepod – igloo vacation in the Swiss Alps

Weather conditions permitting (which means if there is enough snow!) you have the opportunity to visit a unique hotel concept which combines ecofriendly tourism and luxury in the heart of the Swiss Alps: Located at 1400m, in a private ski area in at the foot of the “Dents-du-Midi”, it offers 15 spacious and luxurious domes (called “the pods”) based in a high mountain pasture. With the use of the pods, Whitepod offers low impact accommodation in an untouched and pristine alpine environment.

Whitepod aims to be a model for sustainable tourism by using a number of measures to limit its impact on nature, for example : minimize daily water and electricity consumption, reduce waste production, favour the use of renewable resources, increase the clients’ awareness of environmental protection..

Whitepod, was awarded with the World Prize for Sustainable Tourism in 2005.