E XCLUSIV E
LIFES T Y LE
M AG A ZINE
GS TA A D
Issue 7 | 15 December 2017 CHF 3.50
IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR Geoffrey Moore on his late father's ties to the Saanenland
Rougemont Magnificent chalet in a quiet area •
Bright and spacious rooms
Panoramic view over the surrounding mountains
Large balcony and patio
2 parking spaces in the garage
Réf. B-61 – Price upon request
BARNES GSTAAD VALLEY- PAYS-D’ENHAUT
Rue du Village 40 – 1659 Rougemont +41(0) 26 925 85 85 email@example.com – www.barnes-suisse.com
THE COLOUR OF MAGIC Last year it was hard to warm up to skiing and Christmas – and to winter as a whole, really. It was simply too warm to warm up to the whole shebang. It started out with a big white promise in November, which was blown away by a warm southerly wind in no time. I would have left my skis in the shed, had it not been for my son. The view from the Saanersloch gondola was a nightmare. This year, it's all different, or so it seemed until a few days ago. Everything was covered in snow. With such a beautifully white powdered landscape, one forgives the stinging wind against the cheeks, the skiddy driveway that needs to be cleared early in the morning, and impossible road conditions. I might even enjoy buying Christmas presents. The weather has been capricious over the past week with intermittent rain and snow. I really hope you are surrounded by snow when reading this, the air crisp and clear because the festive season is so much more festive with a white cover. It must be the coulour of magic. Best regards,
Markus Iseli, Publishing Director
CONTENTS LOCAL NEWS New parking regulations
Operas and ballets live from the Royal Opera House
La Braye cable car runs this winter
Even more fish and crayfish
Enhosag completes wood chip warehouse
Hotel Solsana to close
It’s a family affair
ARTS & CULTURE Very Gstaad
New book on the history of the Saanenland
Inspiration at Open Spaces gallery Feutersoey
GSTAAD LIVING 20
Heart and soul at St Peter’s
SPORTS & LEISURE New Saanersloch project takes shape
From the youngest to the eldest – autumn at the GYC
LIFESTYLE New Highlander
What to do and when over this Christmas Season
Cover Photo: Courtesy of Ruedy Müllener 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 and Publisher: Frank Müller, firstname.lastname@example.org Publishing Director: Markus Iseli, email@example.com Contributors: Alex Bertea, Anna Charles, Guy Girardet, Michaela Larosse, Alexis Munier, Sophie Rieder Layout: Epu Shaha, Aline Brawand Advertising: Eliane Behrend, firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 033 748 88 71 Subscriptions: Annic Romang, email@example.com, Phone: 033 748 88 74
GstaadLife 7 I 2017
Photo © Raphaël Faux
SALES | RENTALS | ADMINISTRATION THE ADRESS FOR YOUR HOME IN GSTAAD SINCE 1970. Gschwendstrasse 2 | CH-3780 Gstaad | Tel. +41 33 748 45 50 | Fax. +41 33 748 45 51 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.gerax.ch
NEW PARKING REGULATIONS
he past year has seen a range of changes for motorists. Now, bringing a vehicle into town, even at a BDG parking lot, will come with a price tag.
Earlier this year, Saanen brought its municipal lots in line with the Gstaad and Saanen underground garages, making them pay-only from 8am–12pm and 2–6pm. Per Swiss standard, parking remains free during lunchtime, from 12–2pm. Now Saanenmöser and Schönried will be subjected to the same system. After a public referendum, intensive meetings between representatives of the four village organisations affected and the BDG – as well as interest groups such as the trade and hoteliers association – have resulted in a consensus. The working group’s new parking management regulations were accepted by the public in a municipal assembly in September of this year. Several BDG parking lots have changed to a graduated tariff system beginning this winter as opposed to the fixed daily tariff of CHF 5. Parking lots included are Lätzgüetli and the livestock showplace in Saanenmöser, as well as the Rellerli and the livestock showplace in Schönried. The first hour will cost CHF 2, two hours CHF 4, and from three hours CHF 5. The secured BDG parking lots require payment year-round, even when the pistes and lifts are not open. Lots maintained by the communities in Schönried and Saanenmöser, on the other hand, will continue to be free during the summer.
All holiday guests who have traditionally parked their vehicles in BDG lots during stays in the Saanenland will now have to find another solution, as the lots do not offer long-term parking. "This is not our job," says Heinz Brand. “Space must be assured for skiers, so we can have as many snow sport guests as possible.” Brand mentions another crucial point, that the parking lots must be cleared of snow at night and this cannot be achieved in a full lot. There is limited free 15-hour parking in Saanen and Gstaad, and this will be the case for Schönried and Saanenmöser as well. In Schönried, new vehicles can be left for 15 hours at Rellerli, while Saanenmöser visitors may use the eastern side of the BDG Saanersloch lot. The parking Alpin Nova in Schönried as well as the parking lot at the Saanenmöser train station can be used for free at night. In Saanenmöser the parking lot at the social services building, the former school house, may also be used from 7pm–7am. Municipal parking spaces between Schönried and Saanenmöser will vary: for parking next to the BDG parking lots, for example Bahnhofplatz Schönried, graduated BDG tariffs will be used. Stand-alone parking spaces, such as those at the Schönried schoolhouse and the Alpin Nova will require the usual municipal tariff (first hour CHF 0.50, each additional hour CHF 1.50). ALEXIS MUNIER / AVS
GstaadLife 7 I 2017
ROOTS AS STRONG AND POLYVALENT AS THE REGION – SINCE 1874 For over 140 years the Saanen Bank has been the trustworthy, competent, and flexible banking partner in the Saanenland. It has a strong local presence with branches in Gstaad, Schönried, Lauenen, Gsteig, and the head office in Saanen.
The history of the Saanen Bank is deeply rooted in the history of the Saanenland. As the region developed from a poor mountain valley to a touristic hot spot with an excellent reputation, so did the Saanen Bank change from a small savings bank to a modern and forward-looking institution. On 17 July 1874, the inaugural meeting of the “Spar- und Leihkasse Saanen” took place at the school in Saanen. The newly founded “Gemeinnütziger Verein” (charitable society), initiated and led by teachers, pastor Joss, and other public figures, saw the necessity for a savings bank and set out to turn the initial plan into reality. Their proclaimed aim was to combat the widespread poverty, which they hoped to reduce by inciting working class people to save their money. For over 140 years the Saanen Bank has been fulfilling the role it was given by its founders. It is firmly established and makes a substantial contribution to the local economy. With 42 employees it is one of the largest employers in the region. The significant sponsorship contributions to a wide range of events, small and big, are an additional support to boost the attractiveness of the Saanenland. In times of crisis, the Saanen Bank always stayed on top of difficulties and challenges and it has proudly and self-consciously kept its independence. Client loans and client deposits, and consequently the total amount of the balance sheet, could continuously be expanded over the
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last ten years. Thanks to the conservative and cautious policy, no significant losses have been written off in that same period of time. This orientation has proven its worth and will certainly be guiding the bank’s business in the future. Shareholders get their share of the positive development of the bank. Saanen Bank shares have shown a sustainable growth, which makes them an interesting investment option with a good outlook. Since 2017, transparency of the Saanen Bank shares has been improved through an over-the-counter trading platform. The stock market development can be followed in real-time via www.otc-x.ch. As a client or a shareholder, you are part of the success story that began 1874 with the foundation of the “Spar- und Leihkasse”. The Saanen Bank proudly set out to add the next chapters to the story. Because “banking matters”.
Bahnhofstrasse 2, 3792 Saanen Tel. 033 748 46 46
1874 Incorporation of “Spar- und Leihkasse Saanen” situated in the house of the cashier Carl Reichenbach in Gstaad. 1899 Move to Ebnit, whereafter the “Spar- und Leihkasse” was popularly known as “Ebnitkasse”. 1919 Capital increase and inclusion of establishing credits in business operations. 1930 Acquisition of the “Gerberei” property at the Bahnhofstrasse in Saanen. Move into the new main offices in 1932. 1970 Opening of a new branch in Gstaad in the Chalet National. Further branches follow over the next years in Schönried, Gsteig, and Lauenen. 1976 Acquisition of the “Metzgerei Marti” property in Saanen and construction of the new building together with the Swiss Post, which has served as the head office since. 1998 New look for the 125 years anniversary. While the name remains the same for the classic banking business, which has been maintained unchanged at high quality, the addition “Gstaad’s Private Bank” stands for the stock trading and investment business, which have further been developed since.
Besides its varied programme throughout the year with all the latest movies, Ciné-Theater Gstaad offers an option for first-rate entertainment: the most beautiful operas and breathtaking ballets broadcast live via satellite from London. Highest picture and sound quality is guaranteed.
available for all performances at the box office or online. P.S. Don’t miss the next special at Ciné-Theater Gstaad: the live broadcast of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s New Year’s Eve concert, 31 December at 5pm.
Witnessing such live performances on the big cinema screen is uniquely thrilling – nearly as moving and dramatic as if one were seated in the Royal Opera House itself. And you usually get a better view. During the break, the cinema additionally shows interesting footage from behind the scenes and interviews.
Impressions of Rigoletteo (above) and The Winter's Tale (left)
The 2017/18 season promises thrilling performances with well-known operas and ballets such as Rigoletto, Carmen and Schwanensee. Details are available on www.cine-theater.ch. Tickets starting from CHF 25.– are
Royal Opera House London
OPERAS AND BALLETS LIVE FROM THE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE, LONDON
LA BRAYE CABLE CAR RUNS THIS WINTER The cable car La Braye in Château-d’Oex was closed in the summer due to financial difficulties, but it will be open for the winter season.
In spring 2017, La Braye announced that it would be closed for the summer. The reason was that the municipality of Château-d’Oex and the canton of Vaud had withdrawn financial support. As a result, the board of directors presented the “Edelweiss” concept, which provided for the long-term safeguarding of La Braye, for which an investment programme of CHF 11.5m would be needed. Didier Morier took up the idea of a sponsorship in order to keep the lift
open this winter. Around 30 people worked together to secure CHF 10,000 each for winter operation, made up mainly of second home owners and business people from the region. Thus, La Braye can, if the snow and weather conditions allow, open in December. This is a test phase and only the bare essentials will be invested, but at least the lift will remain operational. There is also a new pricing policy: A seasonal subscription is offered for CHF 99 per adult. La Braye is a member of a network of 25 ski resorts in Vaud and Valais, which issue a joint subscription called the Magic Pass. The ultimate aim is to extend the concession of La Braye, which expires in 2018, in order to promote a four-season tourism and secure the sustainable operation of the lift. ALEXIS MUNIER / AVS
GstaadLife 7 I 2017
A Swiss boutique law firm active on an international basis has opened new offices in the heart of Gstaad. It is already present in Geneva and the Valais (Sion/Crans-Montana).
MC Attorneys LLC was co-founded by its two partners, Gilles Crettol and Béatrice Stahel, initially Geneva business lawyers. Two associates, Catherine Lagger-Fournier and Evelyne S. Gygax as well as a trainee attorney complete the team. Their philosophy is centred around the needs of their clients. They address cases with energy and assure a high quality and personalization of their services. They are available, reliable, solution-oriented and work pragmatically. Finally, they consider internationality a must. The services of MC Attorneys LLC are adapted to institutional clients (local, national, or international) who are already active and operational or who wish to implement or develop their presence locally, as well as to wealthy individuals who wish to take up residence in Switzerland. They are also the ideal interface for people with a main or secondary MC ATTORNEYS LLC MC AVOCATS SÀRL – MC RECHTSANWÄLTE GmbH
www.mcattorneysllc.com – email@example.com Co-founder of this Swiss boutique law firm, Ms Béatrice Stahel welcomes you in the NEW OFFICES Gstaad: IN THE HEART OF GSTAAD
Chalet Charly’s Promenade – 3780youGstaad She and her–team look forward76 to assisting in your in particular Tél: +41 33 335 80legal 90 needs, – Fax: +41 33 335 80 92 • • • • • • • • • •
residence in the Gstaad/Sannenland region who face specific legal needs.
such as brokerage, investment legislation etc.
MC Attorneys LLC’s scope of services includes: • Providing all business law services (drafting and negotiating a large variety of contracts) • Dealing with company related legal issues (labour law issues, contractual issues or disputes with commercial partners) • Providing advice to institutional clients as regular external counsels • Monitoring domestic and interna- tional litigations and arbitrations • Assisting non-Swiss high net worth individuals with taking up residence in Switzerland (residency permits, acquisition of real estate, lump-sum taxation, etc.) and with the organisation of their estate, inheritance and tax planning.
You will also benefit from their privileged connections within the local economic network (in particular asset managers, real estate agents, bankers, notaries, accountants, auditors, tax specialists) and international partners, whilst remaining perfectly independent.
More generally, Béatrice Stahel and her colleagues provide advice in a wide range of legal fields, including that of banking law and real estate law, under their various aspects
You have high quality standards and need bespoke legal advice. MC Attorneys LLC offers its services either in English, French or German and can also provide services in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese through its Geneva office. Co-founding partner Béatrice Stahel (dual citizen GB-CH), a member of the Swiss bar since 2007, and dedicated associate Evelyne Gygax are looking forward to receiving you with full discretion in their chalet-style offices with a spacious conference room in the building above Charly’s tearoom.
16, Rue de Savièse – Case postale – CH - 1950 Sion 2 Tél: +41 27 324 80 90 – Fax: +41 27 324 80 91
Correspondent law firm: de la Gandara & associés 1, Place du Port – CH -1204 Genève – www.pdglaw.ch
Contract and commercial law Banking and financial law Constructions law and real estate law Inheritance law Domestic and international litigation Debt recovery Enforcement of foreign decisions/freezing orders Taking up residence in Switzerland White collar crime Family office services English, French, German www.mcattorneysllc.com – firstname.lastname@example.org
Gstaad: Chalet Charly’s – Promenade 76 – 3780 Gstaad Tél: +41 33 335 80 90 – Fax: +41 33 335 80 92
Sion: 16, Rue de Savièse – Case postale – CH - 1950 Sion 2 Tél:+41 27 324 80 90 – Fax: +41 27 324 80 91
Genève : Correspondent law firm : de la Gandara & associés 1, Place du Port – CH -1204 Genève – www.pdglaw.ch
Meetings by appointment
Béatrice Stahel, Gilles Crettol, Catherine Lagger-Fournier, and Evelyne S. Gygax (from left)
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Courtesy of MC Attorneys LLC
SWISS BOUTIQUE LAW FIRM OPENS OFFICES IN GSTAAD
The restaurant itself and the menu underwent a refresh. The restau-
vious alpine chic stemmed from a different idea and is obsolete now”.
rant has become a cosy “Fischerstübli” and you can now enjoy unique menus with crayfish from the region. Of course meat and vegetarian options are still available. The focus of the restaurant Forellensee Zweisimmen is set on what it knows best: fresh fish from their own and befriended Swiss fish farms. The new concept also puts local crayfish at the culinary centre. “Local crayfish is an absolute gourmet food but only rarely seen in the gastronomy”, explains owner Daniel Müller, “even though they have a long tradition in the Swiss cuisine. Until about 150 years ago, they were a regular item on the typical Swiss menu. This is the tradition we want to enliven
In December, February, and March the restaurant is open from Friday to Sunday. It is open daily over the holidays. From 8 January to 1 February it remains closed.
again and so we introduced crayfish in our lake two years ago.” The crayfish can be enjoyed in various dishes from a frothy soup to a surf and turf or the rich crayfish “à la nage”. Together with the spicing up of the kitchen, the interior is now brighter and newly decorated. It’s a cosy venue, a real “Fischerstübli”, and definitely stands out from the other restaurants in the region. “We just are, and will remain, a Forellensee”, Müller says with a laugh. “The pre-
Forellensee Zweisimmen www.forellensee.ch, 033 722 29 69
PLENTY TO ENJOY AT THE PARK THIS WINTER SEASON Park Gstaad opens its doors with an all-new signature restaurant and Ice Dome The village’s much-loved hotel Park Gstaad has unveiled a new look for its signature restaurant Avenue Montagne. Along with the hotel’s new Ice Dome, there’s plenty to delight guests and visitors this winter season at the Park. For real food that offers a true taste of the region, visitors should check out the all-new Avenue Montagne. Fresh from a complete renovation, the menus at the Park’s signature restaurant will feature sustainable produce sourced directly from the area’s best local artisans. Headed up by award-winning Chef Axel Rudlin, Avenue Montagne will serve warming, homely food that still
retains excellent quality and gastronomic flair. Recommended dishes include Arctic char from Zweisimmen and Grilled Simmental premium beef fillet. Also on the menu, will be a section of traditional alpine classics such as, Gruyère souffle and raclette sourced from Fromagerie de Champsec in the nearby valley. The new interiors at Avenue Montagne reflect the more relaxed style of the menus. Working once again with acclaimed interior designer Federica Palacios on the design, visitors can expect a fresh and contemporary space with alpine touches. Also new for the winter season is the Park’s Ice Dome sponsored by Laurent Perrier. Situated next to the hotel’s ice-rink, visitors can enjoy time on the ice (complimentary!) before cosying up inside the dome
to indulge in Laurent Perrier Champagne, glühwein and hot chocolate. The hotel will also be running a complimentary Ice Dome taxi service where, on request, you can take a horse & carriage or van from Gstaad Village to the entrance of the Dome! Interior designer Federica Palacios works on the final details of the new restaurant.
LOCAL FISH AND CRAYFISH
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22nd December: Season opening Gstaad Palace and GreenGo nightclub We are looking forward to welcome you back on the 22nd December 2017 for another season in winter wonderland. Make sure you stay tuned for any upcoming events at the Gstaad Palace and check our new GreenGo website for any musical updates. 24th December: Christmas Dinner Christmas in love! Celebrating the most beautiful time of the year the special way â€“ spend Christmas with your beloved ones at the Gstaad Palace and join us for a gourmet dinner starting at 7.30 p.m. in all our restaurants. 31st December: New Yearâ€™s Eve ÂŤCircusÂť Step closer â€“ and enjoy a night to remember! Make the last evening of 2017 special! If you spend it at the Palace, you will enjoy hours of entertainment, fun, good conversations, dance and naturally great food and drinks against the backdrop of a magical, glamorous circus. Cocktail at the Lobby Bar and GreenGo starting at 8.00 p.m. followed by the dinner in all restaurants from 9.30 p.m. onwards. 1st January: New Yearâ€™s Buffet After the long and exciting party night we make sure youâ€™ll have a great start into the new year. A New Yearâ€™s buffet with fresh seafood and traditional Swiss specialties awaits you at 12.30 p.m. in all our restaurants. 12th January to 10th March: A touch of India This year for the first time, Ravi is staying longer at the Palace â€“ not only to enjoy the wonderful wintertime, but also to incorporate fragrant ingredients and bring exotic aromas to our mountains. Raviâ€™s creations are served daily on the Palaceâ€™s traditional menu in Le Grand Restaurant. 14th February: Valentine's Day Be my Valentine! Savour a romantic evening with your better half starting at 7.30 p.m. with champagne and canapĂŠs, followed by a gourmet dinner in one of our restaurants. 16th February & 2nd March: Dora Live Band at The Lobby Bar Our popular Dora Live Band will make sure your dancing shoes are put to use whilst celebrating and enjoying quality time at our Lobby Bar, the parlour of Gstaad. Every Sunday in February: Seafood Buffet Feeling like savouring the fresh flavours of the sea whilst enjoying the magnificient view over the snowy Swiss Alps? Welcome to our seafood buffet every Sunday in February.
In April, construction began on the new warehouse of Energieholz AG Saanenland (Enhosag) after a ground-breaking ceremony. Now, the unit, which houses all wood for the district heating of the EBL, Elektra Baselland AG, has been completed. Enhosag supplies not only the EBL, but also other customers with wood chips, which come mainly from the Saanenland. In total, approximately 14,000m³ of wood chips are stored. With dry storage, the water content can be reduced to about 30%, thus increasing the quality and calorific value of the wood.
The new storage building for the wood chips that fire the district heating plant.
ALEXIS MUNIER / AVS
The project will continue to see improvements, and the cost of the CHF 2.2m construction remained within the scope of the estimate.
HOTEL SOLSANA TO CLOSE For some time, rumours had been circulating around Hotel Solsana. Last November the hotel announced it will close doors at the end of the winter season 2017/18. Until then, locals and guests can continue to enjoy the hotel and restaurant. Director Julien Roland will lead the hotel through its last winter season.
ENHOSAG COMPLETES WOOD CHIP WAREHOUSE
Decades ago, tuberculosis patients were the primary guests of Hotel Solsana, where they came to recover in the healthy mountain air. Since 1974, generations of the blind and visually impaired have spent unforgettable holidays and spa days at Hotel Solsana. The owner of the hotel, the Swiss Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SBV), writes that the age of the structure and needs
of its members have changed dramatically. Rebuilt specifically for the visually impaired, it features a Braille library, a large swimming pool and a 1.7km rope path. Unfortunately, the hotel nights of their members have decreased sharply. Although online bookings have increased, the decline in visually impaired guests was not compensated for. ALEXIS MUNIER / AVS
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IT’S A FAMILY AFF Geoffrey Moore, son of the late Sir Roger Moore, discusses their longstanding relationship with the region, and reveals how his father inspired his latest film project.
t’s a beautifully crisp autumn day in London and Geoffrey Moore looks at ease in the seasonally decorated outdoor courtyard area of Hush, the restaurant he co-founded that’s been a significant player in the UK capital’s dining scene since the late 1990s. But we’re not here to talk gastronomy. The subject of discussion is far closer to Moore’s heart given it concerns his father, the late, great Sir Roger Moore. Beloved since his early career playing lead character Simon Templar in the British TV series The Saint, Sir Roger Moore’s stardom went stratospheric when he took up the reins playing the movie world’s most famous spy and man-of-action, James Bond. From his first outing in Live and Let Die in 1973, Moore went on
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to star in a further six films in the franchise until 1985’s A View to a Kill, making him the longest serving actor in the role and becoming for many the quintessential Bond. Of course for Saaners Sir Roger Moore wasn’t merely a famous face from the big screen, he was a Gstaad local and one of the leading lights in what is considered the valley’s golden era, when a glut of old school Hollywood stars were wooed by the serene beauty of the valley and charmed by its discreet and famously difficult to impress inhabitants. It was a combination of both of these factors that convinced Moore senior to make Gstaad his home, says Geoffrey. “I’d say it was Niven, David Niven, that was probably one of the main
reasons he went there. He was one of his closest mates and they’d done films together. Then Peter Sellers came, and James Mason was in Montreux; he was also part of that crew. So Roger went there in the 60s; and of course there was Richard Burton, and funnily enough they all did films together. Roger did a film with Burton, Niven and Mason. And it was just one of those places where the locals really weren’t too interested in who you were, you could be left alone… Sinatra came to stay with us and he walked through the streets and nobody cared. Of course they were like, ‘oh look, it’s Frank Sinatra’, but that was about it.” It’s notable how relaxed Geoffrey’s manner remains as he goes through a roll call of glamorous names from an era when these stars were almost
FAIR He continues: “I think Gstaad was really lucky to have the likes of Niven, Burton, and if you think about it, the British Hollywood. I do think that Roger played a big part in keeping Gstaad in that sort of world, because Burton passed, Niven passed, so he was the movie star. He was attracting the Sinatras and they were coming to town. But the locals were always more interested in what he was driving than who he was. “That was the thing, you know. In the Stubli you’d have fur coats and locals smoking curved pipes with drinking glasses shaped as boots. There was this understanding that they appreciated each other. They liked the fact that they were in the same building.” Originally brought to Gstaad as a child when his parents relocated from the UK, Geoffrey’s own relationship with the region also runs deep and long. He’s a passionate advocate for Saanenland and has little time for naysayers who would rather criticise its attributes instead of singing their praises. “There is something very magical in the valley and personally I’ve got emotional blackmail there. I’ve been going since I was 10, or even earlier. When people say ‘the ski-
ing’s rubbish’ I say ‘you’re absolutely right. Don’t bloody well come!’ It’s the only place where you can heli-ski and do 7 heli runs in one day. You can’t do that in France. Because of the altitude you don’t have this rock and glacier space, it’s through the trees. It’s one of the most picturesque places. And the skiing is great, you just have to know where to go.” As a former Rosey pupil, he’s also witnessed how Gstaad’s particular atmosphere continues to exert its magnetism on his school day contemporaries. “Sooner or later they all come back,” he says. “It’s a bit like one of those mining towns in America where the pioneers would always come rolling through. After all the years they still come back and visit. It’s not one of those places where, come Christmas, visitors are staying in a hotel; most of them are guests of chalet owners, so it is sort of the St Barth’s of the Alps.” Our discussion is particularly well timed as days earlier the UK’s Pine-
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Images courtesy of the Moore family
untouchably famous. But when you’re a little boy whose Dad is James Bond, it would be understandably difficult to find anyone else more impressive than that.
wood Studios, where 22 of the 24 Bond films have been shot, honoured Sir Roger Moore on what would have been his 90th birthday. Geoffrey Moore and his family attended the special memorial alongside over 300 members of the Bond cast and crew, as well as luminaries such as Michael Caine and Joan Collins. The day culminated in the inauguration of a soundstage named in his father’s honour. The newly minted Roger Moore Stage is the second largest soundstage on the Pinewood lot – second only to the famed 007 stage, named in honour of legendary Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli. Reflecting on the day, Geoffrey was particularly humbled by the scale of the gesture to his father. “You can’t miss it, it’s massive. I honestly thought it was just going to be a little plaque on the door, but no, the lettering is the height of this (gesturing to the Hush building). “I know Roger would have loved it, and it not being called the ‘Sir’ Roger Moore Stage. On the contrary, he’d rather it was called the Rog Stage. He was pretty humble considering the movie star that he was. I always say, the bigger the star the smaller the limo.” He adds with a smile: “So if ever I go back to the studio and they give me a hard time and I can’t get in, I’ll say, ‘that’s me Dad’.” While it was Sir Roger Moore’s suave on-screen persona that was most closely associated with his career in film, it was his dedication to his work beyond the movie world that would define his true character. An instinctive humanitarian, he became one of UNICEF’s longest standing Goodwill Ambassadors, receiving the organisation’s Life-
Pinewood Studios Limited
The lettering on the Pinewood soundstage named in Roger Moore's honour can't be missed.
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time Achievement Award in 2012, for his two decades of unwavering service. The role saw him visit and promote UNICEF projects across the globe, including Ghana, the Philippines and Kazakhstan, while adding his voice to a range of issues, from HIV/AIDS to landmine injuries, child trafficking, disability rights and many more. It was his father’s spirit of generosity that inspired Geoffrey’s latest project. Working alongside his daughter, Ambra, Geoffrey has created a satirical documentary, And the Winner Isn’t, exploring what it takes to win an Oscar. The film was conceived as a promotional vehicle for the song ‘U N I,’ a work composed and produced by Geoffrey that is dedicated to UNICEF. Casting a sardonic eye over the Los Angeles film business, the documentary captures how the father and daughter cope with obstacles that arise while trying to secure interviews with celebrities. Sir Roger Moore is interviewed alongside a range of other movie industry players, including J. J. Abrams, Stephen Fry, Paris Hilton, Michael Caine, Natalie Dormer, George Lazenby, Liam Neeson and Queen Latifah. As it was the last project to which Sir Roger Moore was able to contribute, it holds obvious resonance for Geoffrey and his family. It’s no surprise his instinct is to launch it in a place of significance to them all. “He passed away during the filming of the documentary. I want to screen it in Gstaad and do a small premiere there, which is in Roger’s loving memory”. Being passionately involved with your work whilst not taking yourself too seriously – it seems a fitting tribute to Sir Roger Moore’s life and legacy. MICHAELA LAROSSE
Oliver Preston is launching his new book Off Piste. He once more takes what’s most typical about Gstaad and presents it through a satirical lens.
"Gstaad puts its first cow on the moon."
ARTS & CULTURE
VERY GSTAAD The sequel to Fondue and Furs is full of funny cartoons about the ambience of the village and skiing and après-ski life. His sharp observational eye captures the Gstaadois whether ski racing or shopping, and the book features fondues and private jets, misunderstanding of Swiss German and the frantic social whirl of summer and winter seasons. Preston is half Swiss, and visits Saanen regularly with his young family. He is chairman of The Cartoon Museum in London and set up Britain’s prestigious Cartoon Art Trust Awards, now in their 21st year, and is exhibited at The Mall Galleries and Fine Art Society in London. Don’t miss his latest exhibition of original Gstaad cartoons at the Gstaad Palace on 26 and 27 December 2017.
NEW BOOK ON THE HISTORY OF THE SAANENLAND Apart from written sources, old buildings and objects enable us to get a picture of the life our ancestors led. A couple of years ago, a historical treasure was revealed that was so varied and copious, it triggered a new book. The current owners of the property Saali in Gruben found the original structures of the buildings in surprisingly good order and restored them painstakingly. On top of that, the buildings were full of tools, household objects and other historical material from the 200 years old history of the place. These buildings with the abundant historical material are at the base of Saanenland, eine Geschichte –
eine Zukunft / une histoire – un avenir, a German/French book on the history of the Saanenland. The focus is on the daily life of previous generations, their work, their joys, and their challenges. Benz Hauswirth, who already authored a book on the architecture and the history of the village of Saanen, shares his expert knowledge of local history, which is abundantly supported by historical and contemporary pictures.
Medien AG, and in Zweisimmen at Papeterie Pfander for CHF 49.–.
The book is available in Saanen at the bookshop Au Foyer and the Museum der Landschaft Saanen, in Gstaad at Cadonau Papeterie and Müller
GstaadLife 7 I 2017
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Open Spaces is an art centre in Feutersoey that houses a select few artists for three month periods, allowing them to create a temporary home to work and display their art for all to see, as well as pieces they are in the process of completing. Eternity formed of local rocks in the fountain next to the school building in Feutersoey.
Sophie Rieder, Timo Ryktönen
ARTS & CULTURE
INSPIRATION AT OPEN SPACES GALLERY FEUTERSOEY
merging artists and organisers Roderick and Kyra receive a number of applications from artists who would love to be in the Open Spaces centre and they have the hard job of selecting the few lucky ones each time. Artists have come from all over, including the UK, Finland, Grenada, of course Switzerland, and more. Timo Ryktönen from Finland, Suelin Low Chew Tung and her husband Presnelo from Grenada have recently finished their three months in Feutersoey. Both Timo and Suelin say they had an amazing time working in Feutersoey. Agreeing that being able to wake up to the beautiful views in the morning and being able to catch the first snow was a wonderful experience. Adding that a place like this gives you inspiration immediately and will be with you forever, bringing inspiration even when you are somewhere else.
Timo shows the importance of recycling through his creations by using old second-hand pieces of art. He takes the older pieces of art and folds them into something new or combines two pieces together to give them a second life and new meaning. He explains that often he can come across an old piece of artwork and at first not know what to do with it, but with time the ideas come. He also took it upon himself to add a bit of artwork to the fountain outside the school house, using stones only from the area. The stones are still in the fountain for everyone to look at and admire. Suelin and Presnelo create their art by re-using material they find around them like linen and wood. Suelin describes one of her husband’s pieces as “100% Feutersoey”. Suelin bases her own art on history and in the pieces she completed while at Open Spaces she used Carnival as a theme,
playing with colours and textures, including Nespresso capsules. As you look through both Suelin and Presnelo’s work, you notice that there is a constant theme of cows in the paintings. Suelin explains how they have regularly seen cows in Feutersoey that were being walked through town, which inspired them to incorporate the animal into their work. Many artists that come and spend three months at the Open Spaces art centre are emerging artists and the centre gives them a great platform to show off their work. With the gallery open 9.30am – 4pm Monday to Friday, everybody is welcome to pop by and have a look. Sam and Kelly are the current additions to the Open Spaces gallery and will be there for the next few months making original works for everyone to come and enjoy. SOPHIE RIEDER
GstaadLife 7 I 2017
GSTA AD LIVING
HEART AND SOUL They say the eyes are the window to the soul. But at St Peter’s Church in Château-d’Oex, it’s the stunning stained glass windows that are the eyes to the heart and soul of the congregation. With nearly a century of wear and tear behind them, as well as the building itself, the unique church has just undergone a complete renovation.
hile St Peter’s has been maintained over the years, namely with the installation of heating in the 1930s and a new roof in 1964, the building suffered the effects of age. 90 years of harsh Alpine winters have taken their toll, and the church, which has the potential to become a listed building as a Historic Monument of Canton de Vaud, is undergoing a complete renovation.
Restoration of a church is a subtle matter that must be approached with great respect, according to Beat Wamp-
fler, lead architect. He attempted to preserve existing structures, while at the same time adding new technical components. Under the leadership of Beat Wampfler Architecture GmbH, craftsmen, specialists and companies from the Saanenland, Pays-d'Enhaut, and cantons Ticino, Bern and Fribourg embarked on this ambitious project. Steps of the project included technical work such as renewing the entire electrical installation (light and heating), as it turns out that this was the oldest electrical installation in Vaud. Now, settings can be controlled by tablet or smartphone, bringing the church firmly into the 21st century. Presenting a challenge was the lighting with LED technology, which could eventually be integrated without compromising the building’s Art Nouveau style. Mechanical ventilation for controlled air exchange and climate control was installed as well. Cosmetic work includes the refurbishing of old wooden floors and cement tiles, the masonry and painting, as well as the roof beams. The stained glass windows have posed a particular challenge and are essential to the overall success of the church renovation. Some glass panes had already come loose and a single missing pane can contribute to the destabilisation of an entire window. The church has a total of 14 windows that outline the building. The three most important are the chancel windows with their
GstaadLife 7 I 2017
Isabelle Giovanella is working on the delicate structure of the window in her atelier in Saanen.
AT ST PETER’S
The inside of the church during the renovation (above) and after the renovation with the new lighting (below)
stunning depiction of biblical parables. Those on either side of the nave are simpler, with geometric patterns in muted colours, and contribute to St Peter’s’ cosy atmosphere. Featured in a Feb 2017 profile interview in Gstaad Life, expert restorer Isabelle Giovanella was selected to work on the historic stained glass. Giovanella is a third generation stained glass artist, running the workshop her grandfather founded nearly half a century ago. The work varies depending on the exact state and condition of the parts of each window but for such an assignment, Giovanella follows the guidelines of the Corpus Vitrearum, an initiative for the documentation and restoration of historical stained glass windows. She is replacing cracked panes, renewing the lead borders and mastic between the panes, and soldering the
joints to restore solidity. Additionally, insulated glass is being used in each window to improve thermal distribution and stability. Refitting the windows back into the wall space involves the construction of new metallic frames that are set into the stone notch that holds each window. Giovanella has completed several of the windows but more remain, in particular the chancel windows. Further work is planned for next year. This includes restoration of the five remaining nave windows, the five windows in the chancel and in the entrance, developing wider facilities such as the installation of a kitchenette and a water connection, and a complete refurbishment of the foyer. The full cost of the renovation has to be gathered from church funds and donations because the church is privately and not state financed. In
St Peter’s opened its doors in 1899, at a time when British tourism to Switzerland was in its infancy. Swept up with the beauty of the Alps, and the Pays d’Enhaut in particular, more and more UK natives settled in the village of Château-d’Oex. Wishing to continue their religious traditions, St Peter’s was built in a traditional English style and hosted Sunday services as well as being a centre for the Anglophone community. With the arrival of prisoners of war between 1916 and 1918, the group of English-speaking guests grew ever greater. Though numbers of British residents and guests have dropped in recent years, the historic church remains an integral part of the community. From Sunday services to weddings and baptisms, the pintsized house of worship has deep roots in the Pays-d’Enhaut and the Saanenland.
2017, a fundraising programme for the eleven nave windows was successfully completed. However, fundraising is still needed for the five windows in the chancel and in the entrance and to finish the renovation of the Church. An entire window may be sponsored by a private party, whose name and generosity will be immortalised in a plaque beneath the new artwork. For more information on how to sponsor the project and contribute to continuing the important tradition of the Anglican Church in the region, you can contact Hans Kilchenmann (firstname.lastname@example.org). ALEXIS MUNIER
GstaadLife 7 I 2017
Take-Off Balloon, Gstaad email@example.com | www.gstaad-balloon.ch T: +41 32 397 51 42 | M: +41 79 601 92 90
«Come up – fly smooth!» Christmas Services in English St Peter’s Church, Château-d’Oex
Sunday, 24 December, 17h30: Christmas Carols, Rev. Clive Atkinson Hot Glühwein and Stollen will be served after the service Monday, 25 December, 10h00: A Family Christmas Communion Celebration, Rev. Wendy Wale Sunday, 31 December, 17h30: A service of thanksgiving and dreaming, Rev. Wendy Wale
St Niklaus-Kapelle, Gstaad
Sunday, 24 December, 15h30: Christmas Eve Carol Service, Rev. Wendy Wale Sunday, 25 December, 15h30: A Family Christmas Communion Celebration, Rev. Wendy Wale Sunday, 31 December, 16h00: A service of thanksgiving and dreaming, Rev. Wendy Wale
St Peter’s – the Anglican church in Château-d’Oex – serves the local English-speaking community and visitors to the valley. In addition to the Christmas services listed above, St Peter’s holds a weekly evening service throughout the year in Château-d’Oex on Sundays at 17h30. All are warmly invited to attend. For further information please consult the website: stpeters.ch or contact Reverend Clive Atkinson (078 733 3687) or the warden, Marilyn Dyrbus (dyrbus @btinternet.com or +41 77 414 46 49).
SPORTS & LEISURE
NEW SAANERSLOCH PROJECT TAKES SHAPE Nearly four decades ago, the construction of one of the most modern gondola lifts set a milestone for tourism in Saanenland. Now, the region hopes to duplicate that same spirit of innovation with the Saanerslochbahn. With a new replacement cable car in the works, as well as an upgrade in snowmaking equipment, the Saanenland is aiming to set yet another example as a winter sports destination.
The CHF 29 million Saanersloch project is already underway, with construction moving rapidly since the official groundbreaking ceremony in October. At the event, representatives of the supervisory board, BDG management, project management, city councils, local ski schools, contractors, and landowners celebrated the kick-off with a ride up the mountain in the old cable car. Mild weather this past autumn allowed the project to proceed at record speed, with little doubt of meeting the goals set for the yearlong construction period. Design, comfort, and functionality
Both in terms of technology and design, the new cable car will be stateof-the-art. The design is bold, with a large glass-covered area of the building projecting over the entrance of the gondolas. With a wooden construction on a concrete base and a saddle roof, the building will be perfectly integrated into the landscape. Though this is a decidedly unique look for a gondola station, there is no reason for traditionalists to worry – the overall design still blends well with the typical local chalet style. What’s more, with large windows, open interiors and white walls, the stations are to be operated without artificial light. Attention was also paid to the issue of sustainability and so, with a photovoltaic system, the stations rely on the use of renewable energy. Designing this world-first was no easy feat – one challenge for the ar-
chitects was the organisation of visitor flows. They hoped to avoid the common problems of crowding and blocked access when boarding the gondolas. An additional bonus is that thanks to various new access points, newly arriving skiers will no longer risk clashing with those who are already on the piste, as they do today. The widened gondolas will have a ten-person capacity and glide with a minimum of noise along the new cables, transporting a projected 2000 guests per hour. Guests can ride comfortably over two sections to the Saanersloch, in approximately ten minutes, reaching the mountain station from the valley station via the middle station. The stations were designed without many steps, offering guests a considerable level of comfort, especially when entering the gondolas themselves at ground level. Several changes are in store for the stations themselves. Namely, the station in the valley and the middle station will keep their current locations, while the mountain station will be moved slightly. The gondolas will employ the newest ropeway technology called "D-Line" from Garaventa. For the driving distance of 2860 meters and the height difference of 675 meters, only 16 pillars instead of the 29 used in the current system will be needed. Assembly of the pillars is set to begin in August 2018.
wasn’t a walk in the park, according to In-Albon, Managing Director, BDG. Permits took longer than expected, as new regulations were issued time and again, with communication with the various authorities and departments requiring patience on the part of BDG. When all permissions had been secured, work began in October, which even In-Albon admits does not seem logical at first glance. But the black grouse doesn’t follow human logic – the construction area lies in a protection zone for the local bird, which meant a strict building ban was in place. Yet, after detailed negotiations with the competent authorities, a compromise was reached. As April to July is black grouse breeding season, during this time neither blasting nor helicopter flights are allowed in the upper area. BDG began such work this past autumn in order to complete the excavation and concrete work for the new mountain station before the first snow. Operations timeline
While there is another nine months or so of work ahead, with the intensive progress made this autumn, the Saanersloch project should be ready for the opening of the 2018/19 winter season. At that time, the new glassdomed station and gondolas, with their revolutionary design, will make waves in the ski world, bringing the Saanenland to the forefront of winter sports destinations once again.
Permissions and permits
Securing permission for the project
ALEXIS MUNIER / AVS
GstaadLife 7 I 2017
When most people think of skiing in Gstaad, they envision hurtling down groomed runs on carbon-fibre planks at 50km/h, schussing off-piste through feathery powder, chocolat chaud on terraces with breathtaking panoramic views, or legendary apéros in a cozy après-ski venue.
ut there’s another version of the sport that offers comparable enjoyment and at least twice the exercise, while still paying heed to the original form of this most historical of winter arts. That is, of course, cross-country skiing.
The Saanenland area abounds in sharply-cut classic tracks and spaciously-groomed skating lanes suited for all experience levels, guaranteed to satisfy any aspiring Dario Cologna or Nathalie von Siebenthal. The following is a brief, back-of-the-napkin sketch of the local offerings, all of which provide both classic and skating trails. Schönried – Saanenmöser
There are a total of 10km classic and 8km skating trails between the villages of Schönried and Saanenmöser, with multiple beginner (blue) and intermediate (red) variants and 65m of vertical climb. An advanced-level (black) option via the Wittere ups the vertical to 150m for sturdier types. Skiers with dogs are allowed on two blue sections, and Schönried opens floodlit night trails during the season from 6-10pm. To raise the pulse a bit, check out the waves and troughs of the 1.5km blue Langlauf ski-cross track in Schönried. Gstaad – Feutersoey – Gsteig
Enjoy 15km of prime, meditative, let-your-mind-roam skating and striding in the restful scenery of the Saane river valley, with a moderate climb over distance to Gsteig. Bus connections are accessible at either end and at points en route for those with buyer’s remorse, or if one finds
GstaadLife 7 I 2017
ing views of the picturesque Simmental valley. Reverse the route for a tranquil lope back to the centre of Zweisimmen. Easy train and bus connections to each of the towns on the trail allow maximum flexibility in your langlauf itinerary.
their recreation threatens to bleed over into their evening plans. Lauenen
The pristine Rohr nature reserve provides the backdrop for 8km of blue classic/skate track surrounded by richly-forested foothills and awe-inspiring mountain peaks. Launch from the Hotel Alpenland into the crystal-clear air, and experience the variety offered by two separate loops, laid out specifically for beginners and nature lovers.
At nearly 3,000 meters above sea level, the view at Glacier 3000 can literally take your breath away. On a clear day, you can see 24 summits over 4,000 metres from the top station, including the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. As one of the only cross-country ski areas in Europe open yearround (depending on conditions), the Tsanfleuron glacier offers almost 7km of ultra-scenic classic and skating with 150m vertical.
Turbach – the Nathalie von Siebenthal practice trail
If you see a dark blur streak past you on the 113m climb from Turbach to Wintermatte, it may be 2015 FIS U23 World Champion Nathalie von Siebenthal of Lauenen, as she trains for yet another podium finish this season. Compare your time with hers at three different points along the 6.5km route, and brace yourself for the results.
Full details on each trail and track condition reports can be found on the Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus website at: http://www.gstaad.ch/en/ active/winter/cross-country-skiing or for Sparenmoos at: http://www. sparenmoos-aktiv.ch
High above Zweisimmen, the Sparenmoos plateau delivers reliable snowpack for 3km of red and 10km of blue classic/skating, and 17km classic black trails, with dramatic panoramic views of the craggy peaks encircling the upper Simmental valley. Begin and end your day at the Buvette MUMA (named after the ancient Chinese expression for skis, “wooden horses”). Zweisimmen – St Stephan – Lenk
The nearly 14km route gently climbs 140m along the river Simme from Zweisimmen to Lenk, with outstand-
Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus
SPORTS & LEISURE
Over the past three months the Gstaad Yacht Clubs sailing activities concluded with congratulations for various achievements – the Junior season, the Centenarians in Saint-Tropez and some of our sport members for their worldwide sailing success. Two Centenarians close to the finishing line
SPORTS & LEISURE
FROM THE YOUNGEST TO THE ELDEST – AUTUMN AT THE GYC
End of season sailing for the Juniors on Lake Thun
The GYC organised the final weekend of the Junior programme 2017. The club and the coaches were delighted by the great wind conditions, which allowed an exceptional training to conclude this summer. Thanks to the coaches, Dominic and Mimi ,all three boat classes – Optimists, Laser and 420s – could be launched and all the Juniors could show their talent. The coaches were proud to see how the sailing has improved over the summer. With a final picnic, the Juniors enjoyed a great closing weekend. The season 2018 will start with the annual ski-yachting, 2 March in Gstaad. Tilly XV wins 2017 Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy
Photo finish may seem an overstatement to define centenarian yachts crossing the finishing line. But this is just what happened in Saint-Tropez. Eleven crews, out of twenty entrants, finished the 2017 Gstaad
Yacht Club Centenary Trophy, the only sailing trophy reserved to boats of one hundred years and more. The event, raced in a pursuit format with staggered starts, features an especially created and constantly refined handicap system, allowing very different boats in size and rig to compete on equal terms, with the first boat to cross the line off the Saint-Tropez breakwater to be declared the winner. Tilly XV made the best possible debut at the regatta by snatching the well-deserved victory for a handful of seconds from Spartan, with Linnet coming off third. Tilly XV was built in 1912 in Germany for Prince Heinrich von Preussen, the brother of Kaiser Wilhelm II, and is the fifteenth of a series of boats that all carry the same name. She is a Sonderklasse racer, with a contemporary design that won the Kiel Week in the very same year she was launched. There are still some 40 Sonderklasse boats, mostly sailing in Austria, Germany and the USA.
Siegfried Rittler has owned and cared for Tilly XV for over 27 years. “I’m a mountaineer and a sailor. I have been building and sailing wooden boats since the age of 15. In 2012, when she was turning 100 years old, I restored Tilly XV to her original state and since then she has been on a winning streak, both in the USA and in Europe. Winning the Centenary Trophy is something special, you cannot just show up but you have to be invited and sail well”, explained Rittler. Not only the Centenary Trophy was awarded at the prize-giving gala night. Additionally, the winner of the 2014 regatta, the Yacht OLYMPIAN, received the first GYC Centenary Trophy’s collection pictures, a limited edition of images featuring the winning yachts of the first six editions that have been selected by the club board and the official photographer Juerg Kaufmann. The production is limited to ten copies, which will be presented each year together with a black and white print of the Centenary Trophy’s picture. “It was another magical edition of the Centenary Trophy”, said Peter Erzberger, Commodore of the Gstaad Yacht Club, during the prize-giving ceremony. “I am especially pleased to see such a positive attitude from the crews. They may compete on the water for victory, but ashore the atmosphere is super friendly and we all share the same values. It is something I am particularly proud of”. GSTAAD YACHT CLUB
GstaadLife 7 I 2017
NEW HIGHLANDER Dr Andrew Weeber on his wine farm, Gusbourne Estate, in Kent
on an academic exchange. By that time I was married and had five children and they all came with us. At the end of 1991 we decided to move permanently to Britain.
This is the first of a series of four articles where GstaadLife interviews “New Highlanders” – individuals from various professions who have come to live in the Saanenland and Pays-d’Enhaut region. Coming from diverse backgrounds and bringing a wealth of experience, they add to the rich mosaic of our multicultural life in the region.
n this article we sit down with Dr Andrew Weeber, a former orthopaedic surgeon, who went on to establish a wine farm, Gusbourne Estate, in Kent. Andrew and his wife Caroline currently live in Rossinière. GstaadLife: I am here with Andrew Weeber, who was born in South Africa and has lived in the Pays-d’Enhaut since 2002. Can you tell us about your early days in South Africa.
Andrew Weeber: I studied at Stellenbosch University and took a bachelor of science degree in chemistry and biochemistry. I decided I would continue and study medicine. I put myself through medicine with a mixture of scholarships and holiday work, at one time working nights as a stoker on the steam locomotives in use at that time. After attending only two lectures on orthopaedic surgery, I decided that I wanted to become an orthopaedic surgeon. I didn’t deviate from that decision and, throughout my career, have never regretted it.
I was fortunate enough to win a fellowship at the Inselspital in Berne to study complicated hip surgery. While in Cardiff, I initiated arthroscopic surgery of the knee. I practiced in North Yorkshire as an orthopaedic surgeon for about fifteen years. This was a rewarding time as I was Head of Orthopaedic Surgery and Trauma Surgery and my department grew from a fairly small unit to employing 21 doctors in orthopaedics. It became a Centre of Excellence in Orthopaedic Surgery and Trauma. After retiring as an orthopedic surgeon you became involved in producing sparkling wine. What inspired you to do this? How did this particular business venture evolve?
Well, it was a mixture of love of wine and a belief that it was a sound business decision. As I mentioned earlier, I went to Stellenbosch University, which is in the Cape winelands of South Africa. The students there naturally drink great quantities of wine. And I was no different! I developed a love of wine and took a particular interest in all its aspects – growing, producing, and tasting. A year or two before I left South Africa I bought a half share in a wine farm with a friend. He died shortly thereafter so I ended up selling it – something I frequently regret. Years later I came across an article in the Financial Times about a new industry producing top-end English sparkling wine; initially I thought it was an insane idea. However, after doing some research, I realized there was a sound basis for it:
So you started your career in medicine in South Africa before going to the United Kingdom?
a) Due to climate change, the climate envelope that had existed in the Champagne Area around Epernay in France now existed in the south of England.
Yes. I specialised in South Africa and my graduate education included a combination of training in both the United Kingdom and South Africa. I worked in Cardiff
b) In the United Kingdom there was a gross disparity in price between residential/business properties and agricul-
GstaadLife 7 I 2017
tural land. In 2003 agricultural property was astonishingly low and I was presented with an opportunity to buy a beautiful piece of land that was an ancient estate. I bought 500 acres (200 hectares) of arable land and started converting it to viticulture. You came from a totally different background. Was there a very steep learning curve for you? Did you find it difficult?
No I didn't. I knew my limitations. But medicine is good training for a lot of occupations because you have to be astute, correlating all the facts before making significant and often difficult decisions. And I think the same thing applies to growing grapes and wine-making. As a surgeon I read a lot to prepare myself before an operation; in growing grapes and making wine I do the same. I attended courses on the subject and I employed a well-qualified vineyard manager. It could have been seen as a high-risk strategy but, in truth, it was not. I had made a sound business decision and I timed the market correctly. Throughout the years, when I was investing heavily in the business, the price of the land that I had bought was going up faster than I could spend the money. So I was always in a situation where, had everything gone wrong, I'd still not have lost money. Your vineyard, Gusbourne Estates, has been very successful.
Yes. I funded the vineyard single-handedly for the first ten years of its existence. We started with 50 acres (20 hectares) of vineyards and our wine won an astonishing amount of awards quite early on. It was gratifying for us and attracted quite a bit of attention. We were subsequently approached by a company that wanted to invest in English wine. This has been a very happy relationship. We have hugely expanded the size of the vineyard and now have 91 hectares of vines. Our wines continue to win an unprecedented number of
gold medals and accolades in international competitions. We have also been voted wine producer of the year in Britain for three of the last five years. One of our wines was entered in seven international competitions and won gold medals in five of them and silver in the other two!
countryside – in summer we have great walking and in winter great skiing. We have a very high standard of living here. We are fortunate to have good transport links and great accessibility to the whole of Europe. And we find that people are friendly and welcoming.
We produce mainly sparkling wine, using the traditional champagne method and champagne clones. We export to fifteen countries, including Switzerland.
Looking back over your two successful careers, what advice would you give to youngsters who are just starting out?
We have opened a beautiful visitor centre which was designed by Francis Court. It is proving to be very successful and we are planning further expansion in this area of the business, while holding firmly to our ethos of excellence and exclusivity. What made you decide to come and live in Switzerland, particularly in this region?
To go back to my medical days, as I said earlier, I was fortunate enough to spend time in Berne at the Inselspital where I had a fellowship. I enjoyed it immensely – not only the medical aspect but also the Swiss experience. I had a mountain bike and rode everywhere. I saw quite a bit of Switzerland and really loved it, especially the Bernese Oberland and the Pays-d'Enhaut. This experience is why I now find myself living in the Pays-d'Enhaut. Back in Britain, after my stay in Berne, work took over my life again and I forgot about it all. Years later, the weekend edition of the Financial Times once more presented me with a new idea. It had an article on property that foreigners could buy in this particular area. My wife and I organized a trip and bought a home here. Having lived here for around fifteen years, what do you most like about the Pays-d'Enhaut and the Saanenland region?
Well there's the obvious, and that is the really beautiful and accessible
Well first, the bad news: I have come to the conclusion that, sadly, in whichever direction you go, there has to be some hard work. But the good news I have found is that, when doing something you enjoy, you do not mind how much hard work is involved. If I divide my life into three formative stages – school years, university/ study years, professional years (medicine and wine making) – I would say each stage has had 20% of pure hard work, not all of it enjoyable, and 80% of fun and satisfaction. It is important to choose your working life well. I enjoyed working as an orthopaedic surgeon. It was a satisfying job with the optimistic prospect of substantially improving the quality of life of my patients. Having happy patients made for a fulfilling existence. My last comment is to emphasize the need to confront any new situation with critical analysis and honest scrutiny of the worst case scenario. If your analysis doesn't have any elements of self-delusion you should follow your instincts and take the risk; if your risk assessment has been correct and you pursue your aims with single-minded application, you have a very high probability of being successful. Thank you. GUY GIRARDET
GstaadLife 7 I 2017
WHAT TO DO AND WHEN OVER THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON The Christmas and New Year season is finally here and it is time to celebrate. The tree is up, the cookies are ready and it is officially OK to be seen with a mulled wine in hand at all times.
he Saanenland is a great place to be over Christmas and New Year, with plenty of different events happening around town to enjoy with friends and family. So, it’s time to get your hats and scarves, wrap yourselves up and join in the festivities. With many events starting before Christmas itself we have taken the opportunity to fill you in on just a taste of what is happening over the next few weeks. Nothing gets you in the Christmas spirit more than enjoying the festive surroundings with family and friends. It is even better when you can do that with a warm drink in hand. The place to go is the Gstaad Alive winter bar, which is in the middle of town. Gstaad Alive is an outdoor bar located right in the heart of the promenade beside the big town Christmas tree. You can’t miss it. From 15 December through 6 January, 11am – 8pm you can stop for a drink or a snack while you are roaming the town, out shopping or on your way home from a day skiing. Who doesn’t love a good après-ski drink after being on the slopes? Stop in and enjoy a coffee or mulled wine (remember it is acceptable now) and soak in the town over this beautiful time of year. After Christmas is the annual bar on ice party in Gstaad and you guessed it, it’s on the ice-rink. On 28 December from 6pm you can enjoy music, drinks and ice-skating. No problem for those who are not so inclined to the ice-skating sport. Instead just
GstaadLife 7 I 2017
linger by the bar and enjoy the music, or grab a drink and watch your family and friends skate around the rink. Now, we couldn’t have you read an article about events over the holiday season without there being something about New Year’s, right? There are so many ways to ring in the new year, and many spots around town will be able to help you celebrate. Saanen Pub, Rialto, Chesery and the Gstaad Alive winter bar are all here to help you get ready for 2018. All with great atmosphere, each place is perfect for your friends and families to celebrate. Party on the promenade by Gstaad Alive with the DJ from late until 2am or cosy up inside one of the many restaurants and dance your way into the best year yet. Last,
New Year’s would not be New Year’s without fireworks. Feel free to make your way back onto the promenade on 1 January and watch the fireworks take over the sky. So, there you have it. The Christmas and New Year season is definitely one of the best there is, and what makes it even better is spending it in a winter wonderland where you have so many different things to try with friends, family or both. Whether that be enjoying the promenade with a hot drink, having a party on the ice or enjoying New Year’s Eve with fireworks to finish off the festive season. The Sannenland has it all. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. SOPHIE RIEDER
It’s 1 December and time to start work on my next article for GstaadLife. I grab my laptop and switch on the radio. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” croons Michael Bublé in an updated version of the classic penned by Meredith Willson in 1951. I stare out of the window: the glacier is dazzling white under a blistering sun and the forest green firs to left and right are sagging with snow. Mr Willson could have been writing about Gstaad. Suddenly I don’t mind hearing my first Christmas song so early in the season. Christmas Past
Without wading into the realm of hyperbole, there is no denying that Gstaad is an extremely special place to spend Christmas. I remember my very first season here, an unbelievable twenty-six years ago with my then boyfriend, now husband. The journey from Amsterdam had been long and tiring, but as we inched our way to Gstaad on less than adequate tyres, it was impossible to not marvel at the beauty of the region. That feeling has never left us and it’s hard to imagine Christmas anywhere else. After settling here with our young family, Christmas traditions flourished. While some have melted with time (I imagine our adult sons would baulk at the idea of donning scarlet t-shirts to sing in a choir) and others are beyond our control (will the Rialto once again run an oyster and champagne stall?), we’ll still bake mince pies and no doubt forget to remove the holly before lighting our brandy-soaked Christmas Pudding. We will also attend the Christmas Eve carol service in St Niklaus Ka-
pelle, Gstaad, as we have for many years. It’s a special event, crammed with families old and young, often with standing room only.
gether. Afterwards we shook hands, wished each other a Merry Christmas, switched off the chapel lights and went our separate ways.
Carry On Regardless
We have St Peter’s Anglican Church in Château-d’Oex to thank for organising this service. A lot of thought and work goes into making it special. Only one year the carol service was memorable for different reasons. It had been cancelled as there was unfortunately no one available to lead it. This was well publicised in advance, yet still the congregation poured into the chapel at the usual hour.
There are no such concerns this year. Reverend Wendy Wale, Chaplain at Wadham College, Oxford, will be in the valley for ten days to lead a number of English services at Gstaad and Château-d’Oex. I’m sure there will be a strong turnout to welcome Wendy, from residents and visitors alike.
With no reverend to lead the service, no organist to provide the music and no song sheets to help us through the invariably obscure verses three, four and five, we carried on regardless. There were enough people who knew enough words of enough carols to spend a cheery thirty minutes to-
My sons may no longer fidget their way through the carol service, but thankfully other things remain as they ever were. In these days of what often feels like health and safety gone mad, I will once again gaze at the chapel’s Christmas tree, its branches adorned with real candles. Real candles glowing with real fire, looking a lot like Christmas. ANNA CHARLES
GstaadLife 7 I 2017
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GstaadLife 7 I 2017
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