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December 30, 2016 - Issue 8 â€“ CHF 3.50
SAB VS SAANEN Lex Weber's Controversial Results
GSTAAD DOES VIENNA Last Emperor of the Jet-Set
DR BEAT WALPOTH Home Is Where the Heart Is
GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 8 // DECEMBER 30, 2016
Last Christmas, I Gave You my Heart
As we bid farewell to 2016, I won’t lie. I’m happy to see the year come to an end. Apparently I’m not the only one who feels this way. While some are still mourning the legends of Anglophone culture who passed on – Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Gary Shandling, Mohammed Ali, Harper Lee – I’m here pining for the silky tenor of Wham! fame.
Speaking of hearts, we’ve got a fantastic Proﬁle interview this issue with Dr Beat Walpoth, the famed cardiac surgeon and Gstaad regular who spoke with us about his work on accidental hypothermia. Tugging at our heart(strings) in late January, the Sommets Musicaux will feature Renaud Capuçon and Gil Shaham, as
Photo: Januaria Piromallo
I didn’t give George, born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, my heart last Christmas,
as goes the ﬁrst line to his blockbuster holiday hit. I gave it to him in 1984 at the age of seven, when those melodic strains hit the airwaves. It was a ﬁrst crush, on the ﬁrst gorgeous Greek man I’d ever seen. Of course it certainly wasn’t the last Hellenic honey I’d fall for… after four years in the Saanenland I’m slightly embarrassed to say that number has increased exponentially.
world’s best violinists make the region their home for a fortnight of festivities. But as we prepare to ring in the New Year, I won’t let the death of my beloved George bring me down. This Christmas, I gave you my heart, just as I have for more than three decades. And when your heart gave out on 25 December, this tune of wistful heartbreak and regret was surely playing on some radio, somewhere in the world. It was your last Christmas, but my love for you will last a lifetime. Best regards, Alexis Munier Editor in Chief
The best thing about my Letter is that I can write whatever I’d like, with neither regard for the preferences of the publisher, nor the sensitivities of our advertisers. Which is why I’m taking a page (and facing total ridicule) to publicly mourn my ﬁrst love, George Michael.
Sports & Leisure
3 Letter from the Editor 22 Events Calendar
11 Lex Weber's Controversial Results
12 Dr Beat Walpoth
19 Third Time's the Charm 19 Quality Over Quantity 21 Difﬁcult Season, Difﬁcult Choices
5 Lake Lauenen Open for Skating 5 Come Up, Touch Down 7 Culinary Kudos for the Saanenland 7 Covered Bridge to Be Rebuilt 9 Ermitage Under New Management 9 Star Chef Leaves Gstaad
Arts & Culture 15 Strings Galore at Sommets Musicaux
Lifestyle 17 Last Emperor of the Jet-Set
GSTAADLIFE, Anzeiger von Saanen, Kirchstrasse 6, P.O. Box 201, 3780 Gstaad, Phone: 033 748 88 74, Fax: 033 748 88 84, www.gstaadlife.com // Management Board: Frank Müller // Publisher: Frank Müller, email@example.com // Publishing Director: Markus Iseli, firstname.lastname@example.org // Editor in Chief: Alexis Munier, email@example.com // Contributors: Januaria Piromallo // Layout: Aline Brawand // Advertising: Eliane Behrend, firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 033 748 88 71 // Subscriptions: Flurina Welten, email@example.com, Phone: 033 748 88 74 // Cover Photo: ©Dr Beat Walpoth
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR & CONTENTS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 8 // DECEMBER 30, 2016
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GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 8 // DECEMBER 30, 2016
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Lake Lauenen Open for Skating The picturesque Lake Lauenen, a favourite for summer family hikes, is now open for ice skating this winter. The ice is constantly monitored, with levels reaching the minimum of 15cm to ensure safety.
Limited Time Only Before Snow Hits
BY G S TA A DL IF E
The gemeinde has also reopened the road to the lake, with times as follows: from 10am to 6pm, Unterschüpfen to Lauenensee is passable on the hour for 15 minutes. In the other direction, from Lauenensee to Unterschüpfen, the road will open on the half hour for 15 minutes. Despite current warm temperatures, the ice is not expected to melt anytime soon. Yet, the lake will only be open until snow makes it unsuitable for skating, so take advantage of this special winter treat before its too late.
Lake Lauenen is a popular spot in both summer and winter
Come Up, Touch Down Book Uncovers Secret History of Saanen's Airﬁeld
BY MARKUS ISELI
In the new book, Come up – touch down, author Lukas Kappenberger explains why this mountain airﬁ eld in Saanen was ﬁrst built and looks at its relatively short but interesting history. Three anniversaries came together this year: 30 years of the Fluggruppe Saanenland of the Aéro-Club der Schweiz, the 75 th anniversary of the airﬁ eld itself, and almost 100 years of aviation in the Saanenland. For the members of the Fluggruppe, this was reason enough to record the history of the airﬁ eld and the associated organisations.
Going back long before the construction of the airﬁ eld, Kappenberger shows that the people and tourism in Saanenland were immediately favourable to aviation. In 1922 the ﬁrst national beginners course for gliding ﬂ ight took place in Gstaad and culminated in a competition and, ﬁ nally, even the founding of the magazine Aéro-Revue, which has been the ofﬁ cial organ of the Aéro-Club der Schweiz ever since. The book then moves to the history of the airﬁ eld itself, which was built as part of the réduit strategy in WWII, and to a brief tribute to each squadron that was stationed in Saanen. Interspersed with personal anecdotes and numerous pictures, the story behind the airport and the change from military to civil usage is told in a lively and engaging style. The last chapter, Plane Spotting, then shows over three dozen planes that have visited Saanen – a feast for any aviation aﬁ cionado. With the plans for
the future of the airﬁ eld, many more two-winged visitors are to be expected. Most of the book is in German, but it also contains sections in French and English, and is a must-purchase for anybody afﬁ liated with the airﬁ eld in Saanen. The book is available in all local bookshops and online via mmedien.ch/comeup-touch-down. Photo: MMD
The airfield in Saanen has been an essential factor in the development of tourism in the Saanenland. Many a future resident and regular visitor must have first set foot in the region via the tarmac of this airstrip that's just a little on the short side.
200 pages with over 180 historical and modern photos
LOCAL NEWS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 8 // DECEMBER 30, 2016
Must - see!
HUUS ist weit mehr als «nur» ein neues Hotel – HUUS ist eine eigene Destination. Natürlich willkommen im wunderschönen Saanenland!
HUUS Gstaad Schönriedstrasse 74 3792 Saanen • Gstaad +41 33 748 04 04 www.huusgstaad.com firstname.lastname@example.org 46°29’35.8”N 7°16’01.9”E
Culinary Kudos for the Saanenland Region Excels with Gault Millau, World Culinary Olympics & More
High scores in the 2016 Gault Millau Switzerland rankings keep the Saanenland’s billing as a true gourmet zone, despite the fact that only 16 local restaurants are now on the celebrated annual list, down from 18 in 2015. BY GSTA ADLIFE
Gault Millau ranks eateries from 1 to 20, the highest score, and those earning less than 12 points are not often listed. Gourmet Gstaad-Style Of the two-dozen 18-point restaurants in the nation, two are located in Gstaad. Sharing the honour with the seasoned Robert Speth’s Chesery is The Alpina Gstaad’s Sommet, led by Marcus G.Lindner. The two chefs shared the Best Chef in Canton Bern honour this year, earned after many years at the top of the ratings. Vying for third place as one of the region’s 16-point establishments is Giuseppe Colella's Le Grand Restaurant at the Park Gstaad. With Colella’s departure and Axel Rüdin now at the helm, Gault Millau reviewers will be back in the hotel this winter for re-evaluation. Also boasting 16 points is The Alpina Gstaad’s Megu, with head chef Tsutomu Kugota, known affetionately as “Mister To” Tsutomu was also honoured with a Chef of the Month award in August.
Climbing to the Top A jump in the ratings is not easy to achieve, especially when starting from a relatively high initial score. Raising a rating from 13 to 14, for example, is much easier than from 15 to 16, which requires a dramatic increase in quality, creativity, and flavour, according to guidelines listed on the Gault Millau website. Yet, this climb was achieved by the Golf Club Gstaad-Saanenland,
whose kitchen–overseen by Robert Speth of Chesery–went from 14 to 15 points this year. Missing from the list this year is Schönried’s La Vinoteca, whose home-style Italian recipes proved in 2015 that there is still a place for traditional cuisine in today’s gourmet circles. The restaurant closed last spring and under new ownership, became Pizzeria da Corrado.
Gault Millau-Rated Restaurants in the Saanenland
The Alpina Gstaad, Restaurant Sommet 18 Restaurant Chesery Gstaad 18 The Alpina Gstaad, Restaurant Megu 16 Le Grand Chalet, Restaurant La Bagatelle 16 Gstaad Palace, Restaurant Le Grill 16 Restaurant Sonnenhof, Saanen 16 Hotel Alpenrose Schönried, Restaurant Azalée 16 Bernerhof Gstaad, Restaurant Basta by Dalsass 15 Ermitage Wellness & Spa Hotel Schönried Restaurant Ermitage-Stube 15 Le Grand Bellevue Gstaad, Restaurant Leonard’s 14 Golfclub Gstaad-Saanenland, Saanenmöser 14 Golfhotel Les Hauts de Gstaad & Spa Saanenmöser, Restaurant Belle Epoque 14 Romantik Hotel Hornberg, Saanenmöser 14 Restaurant Rialto’s Bistro Bar 14 16 Art Bar Restaurant, Saanen 14 Bernerhof Gstaad, Restaurant Blun-Chi 13 Park Gstaad, Le Grand Restaurant (16) TBD
Covered Bridge to Be Rebuilt The covered bridge leading to the campground in Saanen that is a charming example of traditional architecture may soon be a thing of the past.
Design Unknown for New Project
BY GSTA ADLIFE
During standard infrastructure evalution procedures, several deficiencies were identified at the covered camping bridge. Adrian Landmesser, of the municipality of Saanen, claims that a new bridge must be built. When the construction work will begin is still unclear.
Saanen's covered bridge is a fine example of traditional architecture
NEWS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 8 // DECEMBER 30, 2016
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GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 8 // DECEMBER 30, 2016
Ermitage Under New Management After 21 years of service, Stefan Walliser has left the Ermitage Hotel and Wellness in Schönried. Taking over is Gregorio van Kuyk and Katja Gridling, who formerly managed the Hotel Victoria-Lauberhorn in Wengen. The couple have been in place since 1 November, 2016, carrying on in Walliser’s footsteps.
Couple Takes Over from Stefan Walliser
BY G S TA A DL IF E
Walliser, a familiar face here in the Saanenland – and known for his ever-present smile and authentic charm – began working at the Ermitage in the early 90’s at the reception, before moving on to assistant director at the Ermitage’s sister hotel Beatus on Lake Thun. In 2003, he took up a director position at the Ermitage and under his leadership, the hotel was fully renovated in 2011. The Lutz-Schmid family, who own the hotel, are sad to see Walliser go, but looking forward to this new chapter. With Katja Gridling and Gregorio van
Gregorio van Kuyk and Katja Gridling took over the property on 1 November Kuyk, they have found two enthusiastic hotel directors to welcome to the property. The couple’s last venture, the Hotel Victoria-Lauberhorn, afforded them years of experience and know-how in the
mountain hotel industry. They are happy with their move from Wengen to Schönried, and excited to begin their first winter season in the Saanenland. www.ermitage.ch
"Chef of the Year" Leaves Gstaad Marcus G. Lindner, The Alpina Gstaad’s celebrated chef, will leave the hotel after the winter season for a new, as yet unnamed, challenge.
Photo: Alpina Gtsaad
Marcus G. Lindner Parts Ways with The Alpina
BY GSTA ADLIFE
Lindner has been with the hotel since it opened in 2012 to great acclaim, overseeing the establishment’s three restaurants. His sensual, creative cuisine has earned The Alpina Gstaad’s “Sommet“ both a Michelin star and 18 Gault Millau points. The honours continued, and Bilanz magazine named Lindner “Hotel Chef of the Year in 2016“. Lindner’s replacement has not yet been selected, but the hotel will begin searching for a new chef shortly. www.alpina.ch
Marcus G. Lindner's exciting cuisine earned The Alpina many culinary honours
NEWS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 8 // DECEMBER 30, 2016
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GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 8 // DECEMBER 30, 2016
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Lex Weber's Controversial Results SAB and Municipality of Saanen Don't Agree on Numbers
According to a conference of the Swiss Working Community for the mountain areas (SAB), the so-called Second Home Initiative (Lex Weber) has caused significant damage to alpine communities. Yet the municipality of Saanen disagrees, stating it has not impacted the community negatively. Is the Saanenland impervious to economic decline due to Lex Weber? BY G S TA A DL IF E
Nearly half of all dwellings in the Saanenland, 49 percent, are second homes. Some local restaurants, stores, and businesses are starting to feel the pinch and the loss of this critical revenue does not sit well with certain residents. Others commend the initiative, insisting it will preserve our mountain heritage for future generations. Coupled with a decline in tax revenues, the effects of the Second Home Initiative are already proving a challenge for Switzerland as a whole. Yet, Saanen officials say that our community is thriving, not declining, in the wake of Lex Weber. SAB’s Argument The Second Home Initiative has caused visible economic damage in mountain areas, the SAB recently declared. The number of permits for multi-family houses are now 40 percent lower than in the previous years. At the same time the number of condos for sale has increased. According to specialists like Alain Chaney of Wüest and Partner, prices on the real estate market have also slumped, with the average price decrease in the last four years in Zermatt currently sitting at 11, St. Moritz at 13 and Saanen at 15 percent. Not only tourist strongholds have suffered, says the SAB, but practically all municipalities with a percentage of second homes at more than 20 percent. This decline is not just due to a reduced demand for second homes, but also for primary residences, as locals leave in search of a better life in cities. Tax Revenues The passing of the Second Home Initiative
was a concern not only for second homeowners, but for those who own their primary residence. It was also expected to affect local municipalities via a reduction in tax revenues. "Because of the initiative, tax revenues are strongly declining, as is land value as well as corporate and individual taxes,” cited Christian von Känel, president of the Lenk Municipal Council. “This is a clear expression of job cuts and the emigration of workers.” Fearful opponents thought tax losses would prevent municipalities from making necessary investments, and increase administrative expenses arising from additional land registries, application tests, and official controls. To counter this, several municipalities tried offset these tax breaks through the introduction of a second home tax. However, this affected only the most loyal of guests – those with a second home in the area. Heinrich Summermatter, president of the Second Home Owner Alliance, sais his group was not fundamentally against a second home tax. It would have to be, the result of a serious mutual dialogue. According to the arguments of Lex Weber proponents, the initiative should have benefitted the hotel, yet the SAB claim this couldn’t be further from the truth. "The opposite is true,” said the SAB regarding the demand for hotel nights in the mountain cantons in the past three years. Ticino was most affected (-9.5 percent), Graubünden (-8.7 percent), and Valais (-3.8 percent). On the other hand, urban areas such as Zurich (+6.3 percent) and Geneva (+2.4 percent) have seen large increases in tourism nights. “The hotel industry in the alpine region has suffered massively from it. Hotel properties are losing value,” stated Andreas Züllig, president of Hotelleriesuisse, at the meeting. One factor is the loss of financing opportunities for hotels. Most properties
count on cross-financing by selling second homes on site. “External sponsorship, as is the case of Andermatt,” Züllig continued, is practically no longer possible.” Saanen’s Argument Meanwhile, the Municipality of Saanen countered the SAB’s press release, downplaying the consequences of Lex Weber. "Any tax rebate cannot just (be owed to) this initiative,” says Saanen construction manager Adrian Landmesser. While tax revenues have indeed been slashed in the communities, this is due to several factors, according to Landmesser – who was also present at the meeting, and he counters that rather than shrinking, construction activity is still active since the adoption of Lex Weber. "The inheritance tax, the tightening of flat taxation, and the spatial planning law all influence tax revenues,” said Landmesser, who says that 2016 was a good one for the Municipality of Saanen. Landmesser continued, "The planning applications have increased, even considering the many permissions that were granted beforehand.” Saanen’s Boon Saanen’s financial manager Kurt Gyger also says that 2016 was a good year. “Real estate taxes are very high, and income taxes are probably also higher than budgeted,” Gyger said, noting that the annual accounts would be evaluated over the next month and a definitive result would be released to the public. Whether you voted for or against the Second Home Initiative, one thing is clear: Some Swiss municipalities have suffered in its wake, while others have clearly remained unscathed. Could the Saanenland – with its unique combination of hard-working locals and wealthy elite – have escaped the negative consequences of the Lex Weber entirely?
GSTAAD LIVING // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 8 // DECEMBER 30, 2016
Dr Beat Walpoth trained at the world's best hospitals and is known worldwide for his work on accidental hypothermia
Home Is Where the Heart Is Interview with Dr Beat Walpoth There are two ways to meet Dr Beat Walpoth, and one of them is inﬁnitely more pleasant than the other: Over a glass of ﬁne wine at the Palace, or when you’ve suffered “apparent death”. GSTAADLIFE sat down with Dr Walpoth – Gstaad regular, famous cardiac surgeon, and one of the world’s foremost experts on accidental hypothermia – for a fascinating discussion on the personal and professional passions near and dear to his heart. GL: How did you become interested in accidental hypothermia? BW: As a fan of winter outdoor activities and a cardiac surgeon I became interested in accidental hypothermia whilst working at the Inselspital in Bern. I have been involved in innovations such as rescue, hospital treatment and research as well as the creation of the International Hypothermia Registry and the International Symposium on Accidental Hypothermia, which recently celebrated its ﬁfth edition Interlaken. GL: Are there different grades of accidental hypothermia? BW: Yes. Mild hypothermia is when you
are shivering and the body temperature drops below 35°C, whereas 32°C to 28°C is known as moderate hypothermia. In this state, some of your bodily functions may already be altered. Your muscles and brain may slow, and this is already a dangerous state that requires hospitalisation. Deep hypothermia is below 28°C and this means you may go into cardiac and respiratory arrest. We call this an “apparent death” yet we know that under optimal conditions some victims can be rewarmed and survive. Not only survive, but go on to lead normal, healthy lives. 13.7°C is the lowest known body temperature recorded where the victim recovered completely. There is a saying that “Nobody is dead until warm and dead”. GL: So how do you know when a person is actually dead? BW: When we started to treat such hypothermia victims over 30 years ago we had to re-train the rescue teams, as they would declare a person dead if they had no vital signs. That was it! Historically, induced hypothermia and applying rewarming, using heart-lung machines, began in the 1960’s and 70’s. Patients were
PROFILE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 8 // DECEMBER 30, 2016
cooled down to core temperatures around 20°C in order to perform complex cardiac surgical repairs in a state of deep hypothermic cardiac arrest, with good survival rates due to the fact that, at that temperature, the brain has a 10 times longer anoxic tolerance. In fact this technique is still used today for some very complicated procedures. GL: Is Switzerland a leader in treating deep hypothermia? BW: My former mentor, Professor Ulrich Althaus of the Inselspital, Bern, did the ﬁ rst rewarming of two patients with cardiac arrest and deep hypothermia with these heart-lung machines over 30 years ago. They both survived showing that this technology works. As a result I then conducted a Swiss multi-centre, long-term follow-up study of the 15 survivors of deep accidental hypothermia victims in cardiac arrest. They were rewarmed successfully using this method and we could show that all resumed a normal life. This resulted in a key paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1997. Since then Switzerland has played a leading role in accidental hypothermia treatment and research.
GL: Have you found a prognostic factor thus far? Although ‘Come up, slow down’ would be a goal for the future, I’m still involved professionally in research and development world. Dr Beat Walpoth
BW: Yes, so far a blood sample to test the level of potassium is accepted worldwide. High potassium levels reﬂ ect cell death, so if the victim’s level is very high, over 12 for example (a normal potassium level being 3–5) the rescue and hospital teams will not pursue resuscitation.
GL: What about avalanches? BW: When an avalanche occurs in powder snow, you might be asphyxiated in just a few minutes before your body has a chance to cool down signiﬁ cantly, which means brain death and no chance at later survival. However, if you’re lucky enough to have an air pocket under the snow you will have no asphyxia but almost certainly become hypothermic and thus a chance of survival. GL: Do most cases of hypothermia occur in skiing accidents? BW: There are several different situations in which hypothermia could occur ranging from sports activities such as skiing and mountaineering in the winter, sailing and water sports in cold water, to professionals working in cold environments. Not forgetting the urban hypothermia seen mainly in homeless people as well as suicide attempts. GL: Tell me about your efforts to document hypothermia cases worldwide. BW: I created the International Hypothermia Registry because cases are rare and under-reported; about 20–30 such cases are treated in Switzerland yearly for moderate or deep hypothermia. It’s important to gather a database of these cases which we can study to ﬁnd clues as to prognostic factors for treatment and recovery. Hypothermic treatment is very costly and labour intensive so the more we know about prognostic factors, and whether or not treatment will be beneﬁ cial, the better. There are over 75 hospitals on all continents that currently participate in the Registry.
GL: What is your connection to the Saanenland? BW: I’ve been coming to Gstaad all my life. I grew up in Paris and Zurich and we have a family chalet on the Oberbort where we spend holidays and even to this day it’s the place my children consider home, the only place where we all manage to get together for extended periods as a family. GL: How do you spend your time here? BW: I’m an avid skier and member of the Eagle Ski Club. My mother was an Olympic skier and taught me to ski on these very slopes. Gstaad is not the biggest skiing resort in Switzerland, but it’s one of the nicest. Even now, when I come up to the Saanenland, I feel like I’m living in a fairy tale. GL: Did your skiing progress to champion levels like your mother? BW: I am a member of the Swiss Academic Ski Club, and in their student team won several championships. I’ve also raced with the Eagle Ski Team which hosts some terriﬁ c races, especially the Triangular Race, which took place in Gstaad as well as St. Moritz and Cortina in which I have participated for over 40 years. GL: There’s a photo of you as a young boy in the new book Come up, touch down about the airport, is that correct? BW: Yes, I’m a pilot and have been associated with the airport here for a long time. I’m a member of the Fluggruppe Saanenland. It’s a real treat for
the Saanenland to have an international airport. For me, ﬂ ying from time to time here in the mountains is a wonderful experience. The smaller the airplane, the more fun it is to ﬂ y. My great uncle, a pioneer pilot of Eastern Airlines said, ‘Fly low, ﬂ y slow’ and I think that would be a great slogan for the region! GL: Any other summer sports? BW: I’m a big fan of sailing and have participated in the World Championship for Finn dinghies, the Olympic single-handed boats. Nowadays my sailing activities consist of cruising and participating in the Ski Yachting of the Gstaad Yacht Club. GL: Where did you begin your medical career? BW: I attended medical school in Zurich, then practiced at Harvard and later at Stanford, and was lucky enough to train with the world’s top cardiac surgeons including Dr Norman Shumway for cardiac transplant. I was also in California with the team that transplanted Baby Fay, the baby who received a baboon heart while waiting for a human heart. GL: Are you currently affiliated with any hospital? BW: Although once retired, I continued to head cardiovascular research at Geneva University Hospital until recently and I am still teaching at the University of Verona. I also have other projects, like the development of artiﬁ cial organs, speciﬁ cally novel, biodegradable arteries, which I started many years ago when I was the President of the European Society for Artiﬁ cial Organs. GL: You’ve said you’ll begin to slow down this year. What are your plans? BW: Although ‘Come up, slow down’ would be a goal for the future, I’m still involved professionally in research and development as well as speaking at medical conferences around the world. The progress in medicine over the last years is so fascinating that I remain involved and hope that improvements in the ﬁ eld of artiﬁ cial organs or the treatment of hypothermia can beneﬁ t many patients in the future.
PROFILE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 8 // DECEMBER 30, 2016
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Strings Galore at Sommets Musicaux The Saanenland’s biggest winter music festival is set to host a 17th edition ﬁlled with talent both young and old. This year, the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad will present a three-pronged approach to the festival, which will run 27 January to 4 February 2017. In the spirit of the festival’s objectives, unchanged since its inception in 2001, audiences at the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad will be able to hear outstanding young talent as well as internationally renowned virtuosos over the course of nine days.
Photo: Sommets Musicaux
Blend of Big Name Stars and New Discoveries at Festival
BY G S TA A DL IF E
The Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad will be made up of three concert cycles with featured music in three distinct venues: Gstaad will focus on discovering young talent, while Saanen will let the festival stars take stage, and Rougemont will host the artistic director Renaud Capuçon’s personal favourites. This year, the violin was chosen as a featured instrument, which is no surprise – Capuçon is a world-renowned violinist. He will serve as a mentor to the rising stars, which will perform each day from 4 to 5 pm in Gstaad for the public. This year, the new generation of violinists will be accompanied by young pianists to create several exceptional partnerships. “I’m very happy to be taking up this role as mentor – it gives me the opportunity to share my love for music in the spirit of communication and exchange that is so dear to me,” says Capuçon. Switzerland has a native musician in the festival this year; you can hear violinist Simon Wiener on 1 February, when he will be performing with Canadian pianist Silvia Fraser. Prizes and More All these talented young players will be in contention for two prestigious awards, the Prix Thierry Scherz and the Prix André Hoffmann. The Prix Thierry Scherz is sponsored by the Fondation Pro Scientia et Arte and the association of Friends of the Festival (‘les Amis du Festival’). It represents an opportunity to recognize one
Gil Shaham will play at this year's festival young virtuoso and offer them encouragement with the recording of a debut CD with orchestra for the Claves Records SA label. The Prix André Hoffmann, endowed with CHF 5000, will be awarded for the best interpretation of a work by Toshio Hosakawa, composer in residence. Fondation Pro Scientia et Arte’s ﬁnancial support has also enabled the festival to invite Hosakawa, a contemporary composer who draws on traditional Japanese music as well as the Western avant-garde for inspiration, for the entire week of the event. Festival Highlights Highlights of the festival include the orchestra Les Siècles, with François-Xavier Roth at the helm, who be joined by the Israeli-American violinist Gil Shaham for the opening concert on Friday, 27 January. They will perform Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D op.61 as well as his Symphony no.5 in C minor op.67. In the vocal category, baritone Matthias Goerne will sing Schubert’s Winterreise with Leif Ove Andsnes at the piano on 30 January. Big names include Hungarian-born British pianist (and Gstaad regular) András Schiff, who will direct the Cappella Andrea Barca, appearing with them on 3 February to
perform works by Haydn and Mozart. Famed American pianist Murray Perahia will close the festival, and has the free reign to choose his own programme. If you’d like to hear the artistic director play, book for 2 February, when Capuçon and pianist Kit Armstrong will play four pieces by Mozart, including his Violin Sonata in F K376 and Violin Sonata in G K379. Snowy RDV The Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad – one of the few Swiss festivals to take place entirely in historic churches – will feature a total of 17 top-quality concerts guaranteed to delight music-lovers who value the unique magic and intimate atmosphere of this event. In addition to the concerts themselves, there are after-show dinners follwoing several of the concerts. These provide a rare opportunity for members of the audience to meet the artists, thanks to the patronage of festival friends such as Les Amis des Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad, Madame Vera Michalski-Hoffmann, Madame Aline Foriel-Destezet and Sotheby’s, to name a few. www.sommets-musicaux.ch
ARTS & CULTURE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 8 // DECEMBER 30, 2016
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Photo: Januaria Piromallo
Generoso Di Meo (above centre), stands with traditional dancers, and (left) with cult photographer Massimo Listri (centre)
Last Emperor of the Jet-Set Generoso Di Meo Hosts Gstaad Elite at Viennese Fête
BY JANUARIA PIROMALLO
Di Meo is no ordinary host. He’s from one of the oldest aristocratic families of the Bourbon kingdom, a wine producer who successfully straddles traditional methods and innovation, and what’s more, a gynaecologist by profession who now spends most of his time promoting the “fruit” of his estates. Just for an invitation to one of his exclusive events, the international jet-set has hopped from New York to Paris, Berlin to Warsaw, the Royal Academy of London to the Patriotic Museum of Moscow, and even all the way to Marrakech, for an evening in the Kadiri, the largest palace in Africa. This year’s ball was held to the sweet notes of a Blue Danube waltz in the great imperial city of Vienna, under the magnificent frescoed ceiling of the Kunsthistorischen Museum, the Austrian equivalent of the Vatican Museum. All 700 guests came with the “excuse" to discover the cult calendar Di Meo releases every year, but we all know we’re here for the same reason – the
grandest, most extravagant fête that Europe has to offer. The 2017 calendar, dubbed “Cal”, shot by the maestro Massimo Listri, internationally renown as a master in the photography of art, was curated by Vittorio Sgarbi, a celebrity in his own right as art expert, and an old friend of the painter Balthus.
Dejan Mihajlovic, Sonja Low, Carla Milesi, Marquise Manu di Gresy, and Count Maurizio Paternò, amongst many others. Photo: Januaria Piromallo
With his legendary travelling party formula, Generoso Di Meo has yet again hit the greatest heights of entertainment.
The event’s every detail was planned to perfection, from the choice of the transgender DJ for the all-night-long party and the music selected by both Di Meo brothers, Generoso and Roberto, to the ballroom itself, which was framed with lemon plants and tarantella dancers. No one goes thirsty at Di Meo’s parties – one thousand bottles of Taurasi and Fiano wine were served, alongside a buffet many metres long, bursting at the seams with mozzarella, Wienerschnitzel, babà, and Sachertorte. Representing Gstaad were a bevy of the region’s long-time guests, including HH Pierre d’Arenberg, Brigitta Notz, Laco Eisenburg, HRH Princesse Beatrice of Bourbon, HH Prince Victor Turn und Taxis, Porsche heir Stefan Piech, the artist AnnaLaura di Luggo with her fiancé Olindo Preziosi, Stefano Pierini,
Lighted dome at this year's party
LIFESTYLE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 8 // DECEMBER 30, 2016
JAN UA RY 27 t h FE BRUA RY 4 t h , 2017
Church of Saanen: Les Siècles, François-Xavier Roth, Gil Shaham | Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini, Viktoria Mullova | Renaud Capuçon, Kit Armstrong | Cappella Andrea Barca, András Schiff | Murray Perahia | Church of Rougemont: David Fray, Gérard Caussé, Paul Meyer | Matthias Goerne, Leif Ove Andsnes | Lauma Skride, Baiba Skride, Lise Berthaud, Harriet Krijgh | Polina Pastirchak, Jan Philip Schulze | and 8 young violinists at the Gstaad Chapel
Third Time's the Charm Snow Bike Festival Prepares for 2017 Edition Now in its third year, the Snow Bike Festival 2017 will bring a long weekend of fun and adventure to the Saanenland. The event will run from 19–22 January and will feature the 4-Day Stage Race, Eliminator Night Race, Fun Ride, Snow Bike Party & Fat Bike, and MTB Expo. BY G S TA A DL IF E
The 4-Day Stage Race will feature a prologue – a short time trial course through the heart of Gstaad – on Thursday 19 January, and three following daily main stages. The stages will vary in length and difficulty, from 25 to 35 km in length and 500 to 1000m in altitude gain. A dedicated Snow Bike Festival Village will be implemented at the Sportzentrum, and will host a dining hall, expo, race briefing area, covered bike park, shower facilities, and two heated swimming pools, providing riders with the perfect location to relax
after an exciting day of snow biking through the Alps. Unique Sport for a Unique Region The event will boast participants from more than 20 countries, who will ride through local villages and deep into the surrounding countryside. This pioneering event focuses on a growing sport that sets Gstaad apart, according to Snow Bike Festival PR Manager, Maximillian Wussler. “The event brings biking enthusiasts from across the globe to the Saanenland, and generates extensive media interest. In 2016, over 50 national and international media representatives attended the event,” says Wussler. “The Snow Bike Festival’s media reach – with over 430 hours of international TV coverage – promotes the region across the globe. Experience not Required No previous snow biking experience is needed to compete in the Stage Race.
Riders should however have mountain biking experience and at least average ﬁtness levels. Festival management notes that while maps may give the impression routes are simple, riders should ensure they properly train and prepare for the event, as the routes are not as simple as they may appear on the route proﬁles (especially the climbs). “In 2016, participants ranged in age from 19 to 59,” says Wussler. “For the 2017 edition, we have participants who are over 60. The excitement of riding a bike on snow appeals to all mountain bikers and provides a similar experience to all riders irrespective of age.” The event has entered a long-term partnership with the destination of Gstaad, keeping the festival in one of the most beautiful corners of Switzerland for at least the next three years. www.snowbikefestival.com
Quality Over Quantity Gstaad's Response to Tourism Dumping Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad (BDG) issued a press release this winter as a response to the dumping accusations directed at the resort of Saas-Fee. BY G S TA A DL IF E
The document clearly stated their position on winter tourism, declaring that their main concern is maintaining “the quality and pleasure in ski areas, and against mass winter tourism and cheap culture.” As seen in a recent marketing campaign, the Saanenland will stay true to its existing philosophy, where a personal experience and discovery of nature’s beauty reigns. "We are dedicating ourselves to a future of quality rather than quantity,” BDG Director Matthias In-Albon continued, “We charge the fees that our ski areas – with all their qualities – deserve.” Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad (BDG) issued a press release this winter as a response
to the dumping accusations directed at the Valaisan resort of Saas-Fee. The document clearly stated their position on winter tourism, declaring that their main concern is maintaining “the quality and pleasure in ski areas, and against mass winter tourism and cheap culture.” As seen in a recent marketing campaign, the Saanenland will stay true to its existing philosophy, where a personal experience and discovery of nature’s beauty reigns. "We are dedicating ourselves to a future of quality rather than quantity,” BDG Director Matthias In-Albon continued, “We charge the fees that our ski areas – with all their qualities – deserve.” Kids No Longer Ski Free One facet of the region’s pricier reputation is the cost of lift tickets. This win-
ter marks a change in Gstaad’s policy regarding children, which until this season include free skiing for kids under nine years old. This made the Saanenland a welcome choice for sporty yet budget-conscious families. Now, children up to nine years old must purchase a lift ticket at 31 francs; those up to age 20 will need to spend CHF 47 for a day pass. The most pressing issue now for the Saanenland, however, is the lack of snow. After a ﬁ rst heavy snowfall in November there has been no more snow and a spell of warm temperatures. Even the production of artiﬁ cial snow has proven to be very difﬁ cult under these circumstances. Offers vary according to weather and snow conditions. Since this is subject to changes, it is best to check offers online on www.gstaad.ch.
SPORTS & LEISURE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 8 // DECEMBER 30, 2016
Designed in Saanenmรถser, Manufactured in Lenk, Switzerland. www.zbaeren.ch | +41 (0)33 744 33 77 Saanenmรถser | Gstaad | Bern | Lenk
GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 8 // DECEMBER 30, 2016
Difficult Season, Difficult Choices Ojjeh Rethinks Car and Career hard to drive, leaving me 13 th in class, 35 th overall.
On Sunday morning, my qualifying session was cancelled due to fog. Our fastest driver had to abandon two attempts to qualify due to red ﬂ ags. It was no surprise that we started 53 of 55 cars!
Side note: I went to Barcelona to test the Mercedes AMG GT3 in September. The test started well until I spun, hitting the tire wall. Even though the car was not reparable on site, the team manager allowed me to continue testing with another car. Both acceleration and downshifts are not as good as the BMW. However, the overall package of the Mercedes is better. Great on braking, lower centre of gravity, less roll, more aerodynamic and NO turbo engine, facilitating the throttle management. More importantly, the tyre wear is substantially less than the BMW.
After four laps, the full course yellow was shown and four laps later the safety car was deployed, at which time all the cars were following each other and I lost the lead time. The restart was a mess. I tried very hard to save my position but the car was very
I had a long conversation with BMW. They understand that a lot of work is needed to improve the car: traction, back axel and tyre wear. I tried ﬁtting in the Audi R8 – I had to apply my full yoga potential! I am calling Ferrari. I’ve looked at the difference between Pro-Am, requiring a pro
BY K A RIM OJJEH
“I went into the Nurburgring weekend relaxed, with the two objectives: a) try my best and b) evaluate my options for next year – if any.
driver, and going back to Am, or another championship called Sport Club. Looking at last year’s times I was on average 1.7 seconds slower this year! At this time I am a little lost in transition for next year. I guess we will just have to wait and see, keeping my options open. One thing for sure: The Blancpain GT Series is ruthless, the best GT3 series in the world, most competitive GT3 series in the world with very young and extremely talented drivers. There is a time when you need to reﬂect and make the right choices. Photo: Karim Ojjeh
Local resident Karim Ojjeh provides us with play-by-play updates of his racing events each season. This fall, after a difﬁcult season, Ojjeh was forced to rethink his car, and his career.
Karim Ojjeh at Nurburgring
CONTINUE YOUR FESTIVE CELEBRATIONS Park Gstaad’s “Le Diner Secret” 5, 6 and 7 January 2017 Enter a world of magical wonder and enchantment this January 2017 as the iconic Park Gstaad hosts an unforgettable dining experience. A Gstaad exclusive, “Le Diner Secret” promises a dinner party with a difference and more than a hint of magic provided by a special guest. Taking place on 5, 6 and 7 January 2017, ticketholders will beserved a four course-tasting menu in Park Gstaad’s beautiful ballroom. The specially curated tasting menu promises Swiss specialities with a twist, all prepared by the hotel’s world-class chefs. Each evening “Le Diner Secret” will be hosted by celebrity magician Stefan Leyshon. Known for his experiential work with luxury brands including Chanel and
Louis Vuitton, Stefan is a true showman with plenty of tricks up his sleeve. The luxurious fusion dinner will be accompanied by sorcery and wizardry, including telepathy, levitation and Nao, the world’s leading humanoid robot, all guided by Stefan’s magic touch. More than a dinner, much more than a magic show, “Le Diner Secret” promises to be a truly unique Gstaad experience. Tickets cost CHF 390.– per person. For more information please visit: www. parkgstaad.ch/diner-secret. For reservations please phone: +41 33 748 9800 or email: email@example.com.
SPORTS & LEISURE // SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 8 // DECEMBER 30, 2016
Events Calendar Friday, 30 December 2016 to Thursday, 26 January 2017 30.12 – 8.1
New Year Music Festival
Ice Hockey Tournament
A wealth of varied classical concerts 30.12 – 7.1
Saanersloch, 9:30am – 3:30pm
St Peter’s Anglican Church
9.1 - 10.1
English-Speaking, Château-d’Oex Service every Sunday, 17.30 pm
Exhibition – Winter Dream
Christof Bettler, daily except Sun
30.12. – 8.1
Gstaad Alive! Festival Various gastronomy and events
www.stpeters.ch Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet Gstaad, 7pm, with fondue at Ambulance 144, Police 117, Fire 118
Hotel Bären Gsteig afterwards
Daily, at the ice rink
Medical Emergency 0900 57 67 47
Dental Emergency 033 729 26 26
Full Moon Sledging
Police Station 033 356 84 31
Promenade, 11am - 6pm
On the Eggli, 7pm – 10pm
Car Accident 033 744 88 80
Zweisimmen Hospital 033 729 26 26 Château-d’Oex Hospital 026 923 43 43
Zither concert, 5:15pm – 6pm 31.12
Advent Windows Decoration
Veterinarian 033 748 08 58/ 033 744 06 61
Meet and greet, 4:30pm 15.1
Igloo Village Open Day 31.12
Classifieds in GSTAADLIFE
All day event
Igloo Tour Sat and Sun, 2pm
Migros Prix Schönried Kids race, 10am – 6pm
Bell Clubs Celebrating the New Year at 8:30pm
19.1 – 22.1 31.12
Place your classiﬁ ed ad here for CHF 17.– per line (plus CHF 20.– for the highlight box). Contact us at email@example.com.
Snow Bike Festival Three-day event
Promenade party, 10pm – 2am
New Year Fireworks
24.1 – 27.1
Junior Swiss Championships
Display at 00:15
Village Assembly All welcome, 8pm
Lions Club Gstaad-Saanenland
New Year Fireworks Display at 7pm 1.1
Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad
Meetings each ﬁrst and third week of the month on Thursdays, either at 12 pm for lunch or at 7 pm for dinner. Meetings in Ermitage, Wellness & Spa-Hotel, Schönried, Tel. 033 748 60 60. For details and program contact Arthur Reuteler, president, 033 744 51 33, firstname.lastname@example.org, gstaad-saanenland.lionsclub.ch.
Classical music festival
General Assembly All welcome, 8pm
Eggli Fondue With live music, 7pm – 10pm 5.1 - 23.3
5:15pm at Saanen Church
27.1 - 4.2
Igloo Village Fondue
Every Thurs, last gondola up, 4:15pm
President: Ursula Breuninger Tel. 033 744 05 80 Program: Patricia Glauser Edreira Tel. 076 426 16 11
Two days of activities
9:30am – 4:30pm
Club des Leaders
7.1 - 8.1
Rotary Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings every Monday 12h00 Palace Hotel Gstaad (033 / 748 50 00), President: Rot. Andreas Hurni (079 / 359 46 44) Secretary: Rot. Markus Iseli (033 / 748 92 08)
On the Horneggli 1.1
**** * LE GRAND BELLEVUE +41 (0)33 748 00 00, email@example.com **** * PARK GSTAAD +41 (0)33 748 98 00, firstname.lastname@example.org **** * THE ALPINA GSTAAD +41 (0)33 888 98 88, email@example.com
***** ERMITAGE, WELLNESS & SPA HOTEL +41 (0)33 748 04 30, firstname.lastname@example.org *** * BOUTIQUE HOTEL ALPENROSE +41 (0)33 748 91 91, email@example.com *** * GOLFHOTEL LES HAUTS DE GSTAAD +41 (0)33 748 68 68, firstname.lastname@example.org *** * HOTEL DE ROUGEMONT Member of Design HotelsTM +41 (0)26 921 01 01, email@example.com *** * HUUS GSTAAD +41 (0)33 748 04 04, firstname.lastname@example.org **** HOTEL ARC-EN-CIEL +41 (0)33 748 43 43, email@example.com **** HOTEL BERNERHOF +41 (0)33 748 88 44, firstname.lastname@example.org **** HOTEL CHRISTIANIA +41 (0)33 744 51 21, email@example.com **** HOTEL GSTAADERHOF +41 (0)33 748 63 63, firstname.lastname@example.org **** HOTEL LE GRAND CHALET +41 (0)33 748 76 76, email@example.com **** HOTEL OLDEN +41 (0)33 748 49 50, firstname.lastname@example.org **** ROMANTIK HOTEL HORNBERG +41 (0)33 748 66 88, email@example.com ** * HOTEL ALPINE LODGE +41 (0)33 748 41 51, firstname.lastname@example.org ** * HOTEL DES ALPES SAANENMÖSER +41 (0)33 748 04 50, email@example.com
**** * GSTAAD PALACE +41 (0)33 748 50 00, firstname.lastname@example.org
**** * ULTIMA GSTAAD +41 (0)33 748 05 50, email@example.com
Gstaad to Gsteig
Full Moon Bike Tour 26.8. – 3.9
Gstaadlife is available in these Hotels
Folk Music Festival
For further details please visit:
EVENTS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 8 // DECEMBER 30, 2016
President: Jean-Sébastien Robine www.clubdesleaders.com firstname.lastname@example.org
** * HOTEL SOLSANA +41 (0)33 748 94 94, email@example.com ** * HOTEL SPITZHORN +41 (0)33 748 41 41, firstname.lastname@example.org *** HOTEL ALPENLAND +41 (0)33 765 91 34, email@example.com *** HOTEL ALPHORN +41 (0)33 748 45 45, firstname.lastname@example.org *** HOTEL BELLERIVE +41 (0)33 748 88 33, email@example.com *** HOTEL ERMITAGE +41 (0)26 924 25 00, firstname.lastname@example.org *** HOTEL KERNEN +41 (0)33 748 40 20, email@example.com *** HOTEL LANDHAUS +41 (0)33 748 40 40, firstname.lastname@example.org *** HOTEL SAANERHOF +41 (0)33 744 15 15, email@example.com *** POSTHOTEL RÖSSLI +41 (0)33 748 42 42, firstname.lastname@example.org *** SPORTHOTEL VICTORIA +41 (0)33 748 44 22, email@example.com HOTEL RESTAURANT BÄREN +41 (0)33 755 10 33, firstname.lastname@example.org HOTEL GELTENHORN +41 (0)33 765 35 91, email@example.com HOTEL VIKTORIA +41 (0)33 755 10 34, firstname.lastname@example.org HOTEL WILDHORN +41 (0)33 765 30 12, email@example.com
RB Interior Production AG | Saanen | www.rbproduction.ch | firstname.lastname@example.org | +41 33 744 15 91
APPO INTM EN ON R E Q U E TS ST
Outstanding Craftsmanship Meets Outstanding Interior Design
Bric Studio Ltd | London | www.bricstudio.com | email@example.com | +44 7939 225924
SAANEN-GSTAAD DORFSTRASSE 66 3792 SAANEN +41 33 744 20 12
Perfect sleep made even better
GENEVE RUE DU RHÃ”NE 65, 1204 GENEVE, +41 22 300 08 87 BERN BUNDESGASSE 20, 3011 BERN, +41 31 311 24 24 GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 8 // DECEMBER 30, 2016
IMP ER IAL E
BOUTIQUE CHOPARD GSTAAD Promenade, +41 (0)33 744 90 44
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