Alaïa Chalet opened this season in the up-market Swiss ski resort of Crans-Montana. The brainchild of Adam Bonvin, aged just 23, and his surfing friends Romain Magnin and Marc-Antoine Burgener, the sports facility is hugely – and impressively –ambitious.
We visited the day before opening and listened with interest to Adam as he spoke about the idea, vision and the cost of the facility – a cool 8.5 million Swiss Francs (£6.5 million).
Alaïa Chalet extends to more than 5000m2 of indoor and outdoor spaces. There are pratice areas and tracks, including a big kicker, pump track and big air, for a range of sports including skateboarding, free-skiing, snowboarding, BMX and rollerblading.
An additional indoor area is for gymnasts, including a large number trampolines.
A bar-lounge, shop, music studio, co-working space and a media centre add to the centre. Sport and media camps will be available for youngsters from aged 10 during the summer and winter.
It is so far the biggest indoor and outdoors action sports facility in Switzerland.
In due course, an indoor wave pool for surfers will be built on the site and there is a range of accommodation being created.
Just so you know: The name “Alaïa” comes from the first surfboards used by Hawaiians and surf is at the origin of many sports action disciplines.
Adam said: “We want to raise the bar of action sports in Switzerland. We had the idea a facility where sports people can train in the day and the evening and whatever the weather outside.
“We wanted to be able to create a space for specialist athletes to train to a high standard year round and whatever the conditions outdoors.
“As an example, Alaïa Chalet will be the official training centre for skateboarding for the next Olympics in Tokyo.”
Adam added: “However, the centre is not just for elites because we can offer something for everyone. We want to encourage children to use the facility and also their parents; we want local people and visitors to the area to come here.
“We are very excited about what we can offer.”
The attention to detail in the creation of the indoor and outdoor arena is clearly testament to Adam’s philosophy that “playing sports significantly improves the level of happiness in people’s lives”.
I also spotted graphic designer Rosie painting beautiful graphics on the bathroom doors. She told me: “Adam is very passionate about this project. He has created an amazing facility and an amazing young team to work with him. It’s fantastic to be a part of it.”
This is clearly an exciting development for Crans-Montana and I wonder if the action sports facility will become a destination in its own right.
More info on Alaïa Chalet.