Snapshot: Soaring into the New Year

For Gunter Sachs, the start of 1978 reached new heights: he ushered in the New Year with a hot air balloon flight.
byDora Filli (Dokumentationsbibliothek St. Moritz)

The library documents the history, present, and development of St. Moritz. In short, it is the memory of the municipality of St. Moritz.

Traditional New Year’s customs include lead pouring, lucky pigs, chimney sweeps, and four-leaf clovers. Not so much in St. Moritz. Prime example: the turn of the year 1978. Back then, Gunter Sachs celebrated (in style) a spectacular and glamorous start to the new year. After the “The Dracula and St. Moritz Happy New Year Fireworks” at midnight, on 1 January 1978 (at 11:40am), Sachs took off for a New Year’s flight with pilot Caspar Hug and three other passengers in the hot air balloon “HB-BJJ Dracula”. The flight ended three and a half hours later south-east of Milan. Before take-off on Lake St. Moritz, the mayor of the town, Corrado Giovanoli, wished Gunter Sachs and his companions “break a leg.” In that spirit, Happy New Year!

The official poster for Gunter Sachs' hot air balloon ride
Article in the local newspaper Engadiner Post, 3rd January 1978
Corrado Giovanoli, mayor of St. Moritz, wishing Gunter Sachs "break a leg". Photo: Engadiner Post
The hot air balloon "HB-BJJ" on its way to Italy. Photo: Engadiner Post
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