E XCLUSIV E
LIFES T Y LE
M AG A ZINE
Issue 4 | 13 July 2018 CHF 3.50
HOTEL BÃ„REN A silver lining for the establishment in Gsteig
GSTAAD AIRPORT Gstaad Airport opened its doors for the public
TEA IS HIS PASSION GstaadLife had an exclusive cuppa with Nirmal Sethia
GS TA A D
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ALL'S WELL THAT BEGINS WELL ... or how does the saying go? This issue seems particularly crammed with promising beginnings and fresh starts. One of my favourites is the wakeboard facility on Hornberg, which had the official opening in early July. Thanks to the positively quirky minds that came up with this! On a much – very much – larger scale the Gstaad Airport opened its new doors this month to the public while a stone's throw over across the Vanel Lo Carroz di Bossons, a vintage car storage facility, recently also had its grand opening. Back in Saanen the Alpenruhe could finally begin work on the new buildings after many years of delay and the construction of the new Saanersloch cable car is well advanced. And finally, a new beginning for the hotel Bären in Gsteig is on the horizon. We cross our fingers. So, good luck to all the enthusiastic, passionate and innovative people out there, who make a real difference to the region. Best regards,
Markus Iseli, Publishing Director
CONTENTS LOCAL NEWS Lo Carroz di Bossons, the new “home” for car collectors’ cars
Prix Lignum 2018
Gsteig’s Bären to reopen in December
Annual Brocante market
Hiking trails remain closed
Construction has begun at the Alpenruhe
Gstaad Airport inauguration
Tea time with Nirmal Sethia
GSTAAD LIVING 14
Saanersloch aims high
ARTS & CULTURE More than just concerts
SPORTS & LEISURE Another P-position
Summer wakeboarding on Hornberg
Light the night on fire
Cover Photo: © Ed Miller 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 & Editor in Chief: Markus Iseli, email@example.com Contributors: Alex Bertea, Anna Charles, Guy Girardet, Anne Christine Kempton, Karim Ojjeh, 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 "AvS" after the author of an article indicates the the text is based on material from the Anzeiger von Saanen.
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EINE GESCHICHTE – EINE ZUKUNFT UNE HISTOIRE – UN AVENIR This lavishly illustrated publication takes its readers on a journey back in time. Local historian Bendicht Hauswirth retells the agricultural and economical history of the region. All texts are in German and French. Author: Bendicht Hauswirth Content: 191 pages, richly illustrated, including an historical map ISBN: 978-3-907041-70-3 Price: Fr. 49.– Available at: Au Foyer, Saanen Cadonau Papeterie, Gstaad Müller Medien, Gstaad Museum der Landschaft Saanen Pfander Buchhandlung, Zweisimmen
N EW BO O K
Designed in Saanenmöser, Manufactured in Lenk, Switzerland. www.zbaeren.ch | +41 (0)33 744 33 77 Saanenmöser | Gstaad | Bern | Lenk
umerous car enthusiasts from near and far took part in the opening of Lo Carroz di Bossons in Château-D’Oex in late June. Many Damounais, as residents of Château-D’Oex are called, also took the opportunity to visit the new and improved premises of the refurbished storage space for cars. In the lively centre of Château-D’Oex, the new owner of the building formerly used by Chalet Matti spent almost a year rebuilding. The ground floor has been rented by “La Consommation”. Office space has been created on the upper floor of the building. Lo Carroz di Bossons is being run in the basement under the management of Jacqueline Roulet. The large space has room for more than 80 cars. Lo Carroz di Bossons offers a number of services ranging from storage to complete restoration. With reasonable rates the cars are stored under professional and climate controlled conditions. The cars can also be cleaned, checked and maintained if so desired. The comfortable and tastefully furnished lounge area with a great view
The spacious storage area with the lounge
LO CARROZ DI BOSSONS, THE NEW “HOME” FOR CAR COLLECTORS’ CARS
Managing director Jacqueline Roulet (left) and her chief car engineer Carolyn Twaites
of the automotive gems gives the customers an opportunity to hold private events. As shown by the successful inauguration aperitif, the large area is suitable for entertaining many guests. Having the possibility to divide the space in the room, it also makes smaller companies feel
at ease. Jaqueline Roulet emphasized that Lo Carroz di Bossons should also be a meeting place to exchange and have a good time with everyone. “We would like to contribute to the liveliness of Château-D'Oex” says Roulet. SOPHIE RIEDER / AVS
PRIX LIGNUM 2018 In September 2018, the Prix Lignum will be awarded to innovative and high-quality timber construction projects. There are a total of 465 registered projects with two from the Saanenland.
Proholz writes in a press release. The last prize was awarded in 2015 and marks the innovative, high-quality and future-oriented use of wood in buildings, interior design, furniture and artistic work.
The 2018 Prix Lignum has been advertised throughout Switzerland, with 465 applications received as
The participants of this year’s Prix Lignum also include the new building of the Saanen airfield, the En-
sohag wood chip hall and the new construction of the Simmental Arena in Zweisimmen. All projects can be viewed online. The jury assessed the applications in May and June, the award ceremony will take place on 27 September in the presence of Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard in Bern. SOPHIE RIEDER / AVS
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BE PART OF THE SUCCESS STORY
ent level of risk, and whose capital resources are much stronger than the regulations require?
regionâ€™s development based on a deep understanding of its entrepreneurial, social and public responsibility?
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FLORAL PALACE The world-famous Gstaad landmark has received a little sister in the village. At the centre of the Promenade the Village Organization Gstaad created a floral Gstaad Palace in collaboration with the MOB, the city council and Eschler Gartenbau. The flower bed is predestined to become a motif for pictures and selfies. The police inform that the location on the passage to the train station is in the shared space, where pedestrians have right of way over motor vehicles. Drivers are therefore asked to exercise due care.
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GSTEIG’S BÄREN TO REOPEN IN DECEMBER There was reason for optimism at a recent communal meeting in Gsteig: a new tenant couple for the Bären has been hired to reopen the restaurant in December. Gemeinde Gsteig
he question of what to do with the Bären has been on the local communal agenda for some time. After past attempts by various tenants to make a success of the restaurant failed, the future of the Bären looked uncertain. Doubting whether the Bären could be profitably managed at all, the Gsteig commune hired Gastro Bern, the cantonal employers' association for restoration and hotel business, to carry out a situation and operational analysis. To the surprise of everyone, the expert assessment revealed that there is potential for the Bären to be managed profitably as a gastro and hotel business. Just in time for the winter high season
A number of people responded to the call for new tenants and the expe-
rienced host couple Christian and Gabi Hefti-Felber were selected as the best fit to breathe new life into the restaurant. The two currently lead the restaurant at the Baldegg lake resort in canton Lucerne. Since Christian Hefti-Felber is originally from Gsteig, taking over the Bären will be a sort of “home coming” for him. His wife Gabi Hefti-Felber is also no stranger to the Saanenland: she gained valuable catering and hotel industry experience in establishments across the region. Since the high season on Lake Baldegg is currently in full swing, the Hefti-Felbers will only begin working at the Bären in the Fall in time for a December reopening, just in time for the winter high season.
council and responsible for real estate, explained that the Gsteig commune will use the time before the new tenants’ arrival to carry out some renovation work so that the restaurant is handed over to them in the best possible condition. The work will include the installation of a new goods lift as well as renovating the outdated ventilation system which will help reduce long-term operating costs. Gsteig’s president of the city council, Markus Willen, was optimistic about the new hosts: “This time, we are confident to have found a longterm solution for the Bären.” ANNE CHRISTINE KEMPTON / AVS
Renovations to reduce long term costs
Tom Schild, vice president of the city
ANNUAL BROCANTE MARKET With 15 years under its belt the Brocante market attracts large crowds to the Saanen Dorf every year. Marketeers from the region and elsewhere offer a wide range of objects, from small objects to large rarities. Some market stalls have been coming back for 15 years, just like some of the visitors. It’s not just about bargains and antiquities, though. Live entertainment and
a range of F&B options turn the visit to Saanen into a pleasant outing that will make it easy to forget about time. The Blaskapelle Stadtbachmusikanten and the Brass Band Harmonie Saanen will be playing against the backdrop of the bustling village streets. The Brocante will take place 4 August from 9am – 5pm. Live music and entertainment will be ongoing until midnight.
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HIKING TRAILS REMAIN CLOSED
The hiking trails Gsteig-Sanetsch and Rotegrabe-Burg were partly buried by rock fall last autumn. According to various experts and authorities they will both remain closed this summer. The option of an alternative route is currently being looked into and the good news is that according to the municipality of Gsteig the Sanetsch cable car could commence operations as per usual in mid-June. The rock fall that happened on the Spitzhorn covered part of the Sanetschpassweg and parts of the Rotegrabe-Burg hiking trail on 23 October 2017, making the routes impassable. For safety reasons and after careful examination of the damage the rock fall caused, the authorities have decided to keep the trails closed. Although there have been no rock activities observed in the past weeks, further slips cannot yet be ruled out. According to the media release, the situation remains dangerous and is likely to stay this way in the coming years. It is crucial to be aware of this
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blockage and under no circumstances should people enter the area of danger, emphasizes Paul Reichenbach of the municipal administration. In order to remain an attractive hiking area despite the recent closure the municipality of Gsteig have developed a project with the association Berner Wanderwege. This project involves creating new lines of the affected hiking trails. In order to open up these new sections of the route, a visit was required. The municipal administration organized a meeting with the representatives of various offices and associations. It is certain that the hiking trails are re-
quired to go through the procedure of obtaining building permission. The municipality of Gsteig is making a real effort to keep things moving for these trails. It is important to note that the Sanetsch cable car is not at all affected by the rock fall and could start operating as usual. It is not possible to cross by foot on the way to the Sanetsch yet or from there to Gsteig. Visitors must travel up and down via the cable car. The cable car is expected to be open until 21 October. The circular route around the Sanetsch reservoir is also not affected by the rock fall and can be enjoyed by foot. SOPHIE RIEDER / AVS
boutique as well as the outdoor zoo will be open as usual during the construction phase.” Completion planned for 2021
After a good ten years of planning, the Alpenruhe Foundation has finally begun construction of its new building. Although the popular playground will remain closed during the construction period, a new and even more attractive area for children is planned to open in the spring of 2021.
Anita Moser / AvS
Alpenruhe residents lay hands on at the ground-breaking ceremony (left). The new building will be modern and spacious (right).
The Alpenruhe had two reasons to celebrate in June: the beautiful summer weather attracted many visitors and families with children to its annual summer festival and construction of the new buildings finally began. It took a lot of patience until the excavators were able to begin their work. Planning for the project began more than ten years ago. Construction was expected to start in 2011, but only two years later, the project was put on hold due to the canton's precarious financial situation. Hope rekindled in 2014 when the canton allocated CHF 16.2m toward the CHF 24.63m project. Thanks to additional contributions from the local communes of Boltigen, St Stephan and Lauenen, as well as additional bank loans, financing for the project has now been secured. The playground is closed but the cafeteria and boutique remain open
The new building consists of three
The first step in the project is the construction of the new residential house. The ground floor of the new build will house administrative offices, a professional kitchen and the public cafeteria with a large terrace facing the river Saane. Residents’ accommodation will be located on the two upper floors. As soon as the main house is ready, the residents will move out of their current building and into the new one. Once this initial phase has been completed, the workshop will be relocated into the old residential building and the space where the workshop used to be will
CONSTRUCTION HAS BEGUN AT THE ALPENRUHE
slightly staggered structures. “On the one hand, they want to create a place of retreat and privacy for the residents. On the other hand, the children's playground and the petting zoo should be visible from the cafeteria,” explained Matthias Brunner, chairman of the Alpenruhe Foundation Board of Trustees. In order to accommodate the construction site, the playground has now been closed and the old farmhouse next to the main house demolished. “Even if there is no playground left for the time being, it is still worth paying us a visit”, emphasizes the Alpenruhe’s director, Markus Kindler. “The cafeteria and
be renovated. After its renovation, the workshop will move back into its original but newly renovated space and the old residential building will be demolished. Parking spaces and a green forecourt with raised beds will be established in place of the old residential building. If everything goes according to plan, the first phase should be completed in spring 2020, the workshop should be renovated by the end of 2020 and the entire outdoor facilities including the new playground, for which they are currently looking for donors, should be completed in spring 2021. ANNE CHRISTINE KEMPTON / AVS
GSTAAD AIRPORT After only 14 months of construction work, the new airport facilities have been completed. The teams of the Gstaad Airport AG and the Air-Glaciers AG could already move into the new buildings in May and in early July followed the official inauguration. One day was reserved for local and international VIPs and the next was open to the general public.
One of the biggest challenges was to keep the air traffic up throughout the construction of the new hangars and offices. In particular the security for everybody on site posed big challenges. Walter Egger, president of the Flugplatzgenossenschaft Gstaad-Saanenland, points out, however, that the close collaboration with the Federal Office of Civil Aviation was key and worked flawlessly. The final costs for the new development run up to CHF 31m, which is slightly over the budget. New machinery and equipment, such as specialized fire engines and snow ploughs incurred unexpected costs. The municipality of Saanen, the federal government and the canton of Bern contribute CHF 15m and CHF 13m come from private donors. At the official inauguration, the public was invited to take a closer look at the new hangars and office spaces. Demonstrations of the equipment, test flights with helicopters and entertainment for the little ones attracted a crowd of around 3000 people. MARKUS ISELI / AVS
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For once, people were allowed on the runway (above); inside the new hangar with the innovative rotation plate (left); the new offices provide a perfect view over the runway.
Mark Nolan und Anita Moser
From left: A new engine for the fire brigade is being inspected by curious visitors; Walter Egger is extremely happy with the result of the past 14 months of construction work; people seized the occasion to go for test flights.
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TEA TIME For this article Gstaadlife met with Nirmal Sethia, Chairman of the luxury UK company, Newby Teas, and two staff members: Aneta Aslakhanova, Global Marketing Director, and Jean-Baptiste Granger, Managing Director of Newby Teas Switzerland. The Newby Boutique Gstaad is located at the top end of the promenade in the former Adler building, renamed Chalet Chitra. Opened in December 2017, it contains Newby’s luxury teas and reflects the philosophy of the company’s founder, Nirmal Sethia. Newby Teas aims to sell the finest tea, revive tea culture and increase knowledge of the rich history of tea.
NIRMAL SETHIA, CHAIRMAN Mr Sethia, thank you for meeting with GstaadLife. I understand that you are on a mission to re-introduce the culture of fine tea; in addition to founding Newby Teas, you have established a significant private collection of historic teaware. Can you tell us what inspired you?
What makes Newby tea so special?
My first love was tea. After a career of running the family business, my late wife Chitra encouraged me to return to this first love. I feel that I’ve lived for hundreds and hundreds of years and that I've always known and been in love with tea. It's amazing. Something tells me tea is like a beautiful woman: never to be known for her appearance but to be judged by her character. And that's what tea is. In order to trace the history of tea and to honour the memory of my late wife I started the Chitra Collection. It is the largest selection of teaware in the world and includes almost 1,700 items, some of which date back thousands of years. The complete collection has been valued at over US$ 300m – one item alone, “The Egoist”, is a teapot worth US$ 3m.
How do you preserve your tea?
Can the Chitra Collection be visited online?
Yes. We have a wonderful interactive website at www.chitracollection.com.
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Newby has a network of suppliers and we only buy their peak-season tea. This is tea picked during the prime months of the tea season – what is known as the first flush for green tea and second flush for black tea. We only buy tea during these two months, then store and preserve it.
In 2005 we built a packaging unit to preserve our tea in the best possible conditions. The biggest “enemies” of tea are heat, humidity and contamination. Tea is a forest leaf; it absorbs humidity. Moisture destroys the character of tea. To counteract this, we designed a unique packaging facility where we treat the tea with utmost dignity: we have air conditioning, air purification and a dehumidification system. Once the tea has been packaged in this facility it can be preserved for many years without losing its character. I understand that tea can vary in price enormously?
Indeed. Fine tea can range in price from US$ 2m to 20m per kilo. The quality of the tea that we sell in the retail market is priced at approximately US$ 100 per kilo. The next quality level is the tea we use for gifting, for wedding anniversaries, mar-
riages and other events like Christmas and New Year. How has the tea culture evolved historically?
The Portuguese discovered tea in the 15th century in China and the finest of the fine teas were sent to Europe. Before that, in the 7th century, tea from China had already reached Japan, where it had become part of the culture of the Buddhist monks. Within their rituals, they established a ceremony where they made and drank the tea in order to keep awake during their meditation. Personally, I believe that there is a strong connection between meditation and tea. Would you consider fine tea as a good investment?
If you ask me, it’s the greatest investment on this earth. Fine tea, properly preserved and sealed for posterity, is better than any stock, better than gold and diamonds for your children and grandchildren. The tea you buy for US$ 1,000 today, may be worth US$ 50,000 or even US$ 500,000 in the future. ANETA ASLAKHANOVA, GLOBAL MARKETING DIRECTOR FOR NEWBY TEAS, LONDON With so much competition in the world of marketing, how do people
discover Newby luxury teas?
We recently conducted some research to find out where and how people found out about us. The majority said that they had tried Newby tea in the hotel or restaurant and loved it so had gone online to buy it. Our online portal is a good place to showcase our products and it's given us very good penetration into the market. Newby Teas seem to place a strong emphasis on design. What is your relationship with the design companies?
I would say that we are led by both quality and design. The philosophy of Newby is very much linked to design and the art of making tea. The Chitra Collection has many unique hand-made items that date back centuries; we have derived a great deal of inspiration from these pieces for our packaging. Through sponsorship and collaboration we work with various partners – for example London Fashion Week, which attracts a young affluent audience, interested and keen to try new trends. Last year we partnered with Frieze London 2017, the largest contemporary art fair in the UK. This year we sponsored Collect 2018, the Craft Council’s international art fair for contemporary objects. We have also sponsored the Clerkenwell Design Week, a festival of design. Would you say that young people are your principal demographic?
We've looked at our audience and it's not necessarily the very young; it is rather people who have reached a specific level in their careers and have a disposable income. We do, however, identify a young audience that is trendy and into eating healthy foods. Well-being is a significant part of this trend and tea plays a big part – for instance, people switch from coffee to tea, then to drinking green tea as opposed to
black tea. A prime demographic of our country audience is Generation X, the 45-55 age bracket. We also have a demographic that we refer to as “country wealth”. This includes people who are retired, have big homes and good pensions. Another demographic is mothers who are keen to develop healthier lifestyles. These “Mummy bloggers” as we call them are quite active. So, the audience is relatively diverse and I believe that we are in a good position because everyone drinks tea. JEAN-BAPTISTE GRANGER, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF NEWBY TEAS, SWITZERLAND What strategy have you adopted for the development of Newby Teas in Switzerland?
We started in 2014, focusing primarily on the Swiss Romande and, by 2016, had created a presence here. We have established partnerships with well-respected institutions that have exacting quality standards. Our initial focus has been on hotels and restaurants, tourism, education and health clinics. This is proving successful and we now have relationships with some of the most prestigious hotels, hotel schools and private clinics in the area. We have also had considerable interest from high-end retail outlets such as Globus and Caviar House. Our most recent development in the last couple of years has been w i t h the corporate sector
where we are developing an extensive range of products for corporate gifting. What is the role of your store in Gstaad?
Mr Sethia has always liked Gstaad. When he had an opportunity to purchase the Adler building, now Chalet Chitra, we decided to open our flagship boutique on the ground floor. It provides an excellent showcase for all our products, including the higher-end products for corporate gifting. We want the boutique to provide the public with an opportunity to discover fine tea. What is your philosophy with respect to your customers?
One of Newby’s objectives is not just to sell tea but to educate people about tea: its history, its culture and the different qualities and subtleties of the range of teas we produce. We have an extensive product line of fine teas, including loose-leaf, silken pyramids and teabags. Customers can discover these products at our boutique in Gstaad or visit our online site at www.newbyteas.com . We also have a network of high-end hotels that function as ambassadors for us; by serving our products they help to raise awareness of Newby Teas. We offer many private tastings of our tea to buyers and consumers. During the tastings we explain the origin and background of the tea, how it is preserved and the best way to prepare it. I think it is fair to say that all of us at Newby are enthusiastic about fine tea and try to share this enthusiasm with our clients. I’m happy to say that this strategy seems to be working. We find that many customers who have tasted our tea subsequently visit our boutique and connect with us online. GUY GIRARDET
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The construction of the new Saanersloch cable car follows a tight schedule; there must be no delay. So far the construction work is on time and the new gondola should be ready for next winter. We follow up with a few impressions.
The old gondolas are waiting lined up for their last journey (above). Dismantling the station (almost) brick by brick.
Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad AG
GSTA AD LIVING
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MS HIGH While the buildings of the base and the mountain station are being erased (above, right and middle right), the groundwork for the new mountain station is advancing (middle left) and the material for the new masts arriving (below).
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ARTS & CULTURE
MORE THAN JUST CONCERTS – AN INTEGRAL MUSICAL EXPERIENCE The Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy offers more than just concerts. In its 62 year-long history it has grown into an integral musical experience. Time to look at the big picture.
GSTAAD DIGITAL FESTIVAL
Since: 2017 What: Concert recordings, previews, artist interviews, live streaming Aim: Additional value for visitors, attract a younger audience (digital natives), marketing tool for the festival and the region
7 concerts at Festival Tent 1800 seats Large space for orchestras with a festive atmosphere
19 concerts at Saanen Church 28 concerts at other churches Intimate atmosphere coupled with perfect acoustics
Music extra: Alps / glacier / mountain huts
GSTAAD FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA
Since: 2017 What: Musical activities and concerts for children and adolescents For: Children and adolescents between 7 and 20 years of age
Since: 2010 What: Orchestra composed of musicians of the leading Swiss orchestras Aim: Gala concert at the festival and international guest performances
Since: 1957 Topic 2018: Les Alpes Various programme cycles with reference to the Alps
5 MASTER COURSES
Since: 2008 What: Classes led by renowned teachers, open for the public to attend For: Select young professional musicians Aim: Possibility to perform at the festival, networking and career support
PLAY@ Youth orchestra Amateur orchestra
Since: 2008 What: Development of symphonic orchestra literature under professional guidance For: 2x90 recreational musicians Aim: Final concert within the festival
ARTS & CULTURE
CHANGING PERSPECTIVE A
book project in the making will take its readers out of their comfort zone. Entitled Gstaad Through the Eyes of the Falcon, the coffee table book will show the Saanenland in a way that will startle and amaze. The peregrine falcon was elected bird of the year 2018 and she will be the guide throughout the book. The publication is a collaboration between Eye Candy Publishing (Christopher Ladley) and MÃ¼ller Medien and GstaadLife can offer an exclusive preview. MARKUS ISELI
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Again one of those non-BMW tracks! The goal was to score maximum points. First practice, second practice and qualifying were uneventful, learning and getting faster and faster. We managed to at least qualify P5 after the team manager radioed in that I better put my sectors together, otherwise I was P9. Apart from P1 that was 0.8 seconds ahead, P2 to P6 were only separated by 0.3 seconds. The start of the qualifying went well. After a few laps, with P1 gone, P3 was trying super hard to pass P2. P3
and P4 switched places, but it was simply impossible to pass P2. At one point P4 made a mistake and I was able to capture the position. I started the main race in P4. On the 6th corner of the first lap, P5 tried to overtake me but spun. A few laps later P3 spun and I overtook him. I finally closed in to P2. It was the same green Lamborghini that blocked everyone at the qualifying race. I tried a number of maneuvers but nothing seemed to work. I finally got my chance and exited a corner better than he did. However, that led me on the outside going into the next corner
â€“ so on the dirty side of the track. As I took the corner the rear drifted out causing an oversteer at the entry of the corner. I was ahead but needed to reduce my speed to control the car. As we sped up the straight we were head to head. I knew his weakness was braking in the next corner. At 210 km/h I overtook him and broke later. The pass was done and I was gone! I finished the race P2! We scored a great number of points and we are still leading the championship. Next stop: Spa. KARIM OJJEH
Ojjeh is closing in on the green Lamborghini.
SPORTS & LEISURE
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SPORTS & LEISURE
Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus
The wakeboard facility was officially inaugurated in early July.
SUMMER WAKEBOARDING ON HORNBERG There is a new summer activity this year organised by the association Wake up Gstaad. Located at the storage reservoir on Hornberg, it is the highest wakeboard facility in Europe and the people behind the project are full of pride and enthusiasm.
The Wake up Gstaad project started last winter with some crowdfunding. In the early summer the members of the project had been working over the weekends getting everything prepared, such as the power supply. It was all done eagerly with the want to be able to make the first wakeboard ride. A great amount of consideration about the set-up of Wake up Gstaad had to come into mind as it is a summer activity and must be completely dismantled in the fall in preparation for the winter season. The fitter from Sesitec, a German based manufacturer of the system, came to the Saanenland to help with the set-up. Together with the local initiators, they set up the two masts, hooked up the rope and put the sys-
tem into operation for the first time in early June. Wake up Gstaad initiators Björn Schär, Hannes Marmet, Frederic Thoenen, Raphael Wenger, Michel Hediger and president Marco Reinle took care of the first tests, of course. This wakeboard facility means people can have summer and winter activities in the same place. During the high season, the facility on the Hornbergsee will be open daily. When the summer is nearing to a close Wake up Gstaad is aiming to still operate over the weekends. During operating hours an extra person has to be hired in order to operate and maintain the system. All equipment needed for the activ-
ity can be rented on site. There is no need to worry about what to do if you are spectating or waiting for your turn to hit the water as the bar Pasatiempo has been set up by the shore of the lake. With this new summer activity, a number of offers for tourists are opening up. Gstaad Saanenland Tourism and Gstaad Marketing have Wake up Gstaad in their list of activities for the summer. There have also been discussions with the hoteliers’ association in order to integrate this new activity into the existing structure. Cooperation with the two restaurants on the Hornberg is also in the interest of Wake up Gstaad. SOPHIE RIEDER / AVS
GstaadLife 4 I 2018
LIGHT THE NIGHT ON FIRE The Swiss National Day bonfires, ignited every 1 August night on mountain peaks encircling the Saanenland, are an amiable and soulful way of celebrating the foundation of the Swiss Confederacy and honoring the memory of the Federal Charter of 1291 of Schwyz, Uri and Unterwalden and the Rütlischwur oath on a meadow above Lake Luzern. But the so-called Höhenfeuer has ancient and somewhat jingoistic beginnings that belie the bucolic harmony emanating from a crackling fire on a hot August night.
These toasty and agreeable mountaintop conflagrations, some of which are located upon top of 3,000+ meter prominences, have their hoary origins in warning beacons, signal fires located on well-known high places that alerted the local population to mobilize due to approaching enemy forces. There is good precedent. Beacon fires are recorded in 5th-century-BC Greece, as seen in Aeschylus’ tragedy Agamemnon, and perhaps go as far back as the Mycenaean era or even earlier.1 In 14–15th century Switzerland, the Hochwachtensystem, or ‘high-watch system’ of fire beacons was incrementally developed in Luzern, Bern, Zurich and Freiburg, as well as other places.2 The beacons not only warned the Swiss communities against incursions from the foreign armies of the Franche-Comté or Savoy, but also against assaults from neighboring cantons, a danger that increased significantly after the Reformation. The system consisted of Hochwacht (‘high watch’) posts on towers and mountains crewed by permanent sentries, who maintained the beacon pyres and kept constant watch. The typically pyramid-shaped bea-
GstaadLife 4 I 2018
cons were constructed to burn for an hour. Confirmation of a beacon was done by a sighting reticle attached to a pole or turntable – after all, one fire looks much like another at night, and the sentries wouldn’t want to mobilize the army because someone’s barn was burning. The Bernese system of beacons, called Chuzen in the local dialect, at its greatest extent had 156 beacons from the bailiwick of Aargau on the Rhine to the bailiwick of Vaud on Lac Leman.3 A warning message from Bern to Zurzach, relayed by eighteen Chuzen fires, took three hours; from Bern to Geneva, it took two and a half. During daylight hours, green fir boughs generated smoke. On foggy days, mortars were fired. Why do the Swiss so venerate 1 August 1, 1291? Aegidius Tschudi, Swiss historian of the Old Confederacy, put the date of the Rütlischwur oath binding the three forest cantons as 8 November 1307. But in 1889, the modern Swiss capital of Bern was planning to celebrate the 700th anniversary of its 1191 foundation. The convenience of simultaneously marking the 600th anniversary of the Swiss Confederacy
was too good to miss, and Bern promoted the 1 August 1291 charter, one of many from that period, as the foundational document. All well and good, but what does the more recent version look like? At some point before the mid-1960s, the traditional wood fuel of the Höhenfeuer was replaced with automobile tires – they were lighter to carry than logs and burned longer. A crew going up to, say, the top of the Wildhorn would carry a few tires and a couple of cans of fuel. And schnapps, of course. Since the route up from Lauenen might take north of seven hours, one needed some refreshment upon summiting. Today, the un-ecological tire blazes have reverted to wood, with a modern twist. A reputable source on one peak has divulged that 300 to 500 kilograms of timber is transported by helicopter the day before, with the contemporary beacon tenders hiking up the day-of. No longer, perhaps, to warn us of coming trouble, but to herald the essential Swissness of the national day. ALEX BERTEA
EXPAT ADVENTURES “Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean,” so wrote Goethe, the famous writer and statesman. I think he has a point. Moreover, it’s a lesson in responsibility we can and should teach children from a young age. “I’m bored”
Since moving to Gstaad I’ve seen first-hand Switzerland’s very progressive attitude towards giving children responsibility. When any major event comes to town it’s not uncommon to see pint-sized children deftly directing traffic and guarding car parks, their faces a study in concentration while kitted out in hi-vis jackets with sleeves rolled up and too-long, corrugated trousers. A couple of years after we moved to the region we decided this kind of thing would be good for our boys. Not wanting to suffer another summer of my sons claiming “I’m bored”, I set about finding my eldest a job at the tennis. Without telling him, of course. Why me?
When you move to a new country as an expat, you need to put determined effort into learning the language, meeting people and making friends. “It’s easier for children,” is the oft-quoted phrase and while I believe this to be true, it can still be intimidating for youngsters to fit in, especially if their mother decides to kit them out in an unofficial school uniform at the uniform-less local school (see Expat Adventures, GstaadLife Issue 6/2017). Having decided I’d look into jobs for children at the tennis tournament, I asked around and followed the links on the event website. I completed a simple application form and successfully signed my son up as a Platzan-
weiser (usher). He would be responsible for handing out wristbands, helping visitors find their seats, and guarding the players’ dressing rooms. For this he would receive the princely sum of CHF 200. But while the financial remuneration was welcomed and he didn’t really mind the idea of working, he was initially very reluctant. Our conversation on the way to his first shift went something like this: Him: “Why do I have to do this? I don’t know anyone.” Me: “Then this is a good way to make new friends.” Him: “They’ll all speak far better French than me.” Me: “Then you’ll have to listen and try hard.” Him: “No-one will talk to me. I’m going to hate it.” Me: “Well let’s just wait and see.” I left him with the group, standing sulkily to one side, arms crossed, looking miserable. Uh-oh. Not a promising start. By the second day, however, it is no exaggeration to report that we barely saw him for the remainder of the tournament. He came home to sleep, but that was about it. When he wasn’t working his shifts he was hanging out with his new pals, visiting their temporary digs in Saanen
and attending the event parties as though he’d known his new colleagues all his life. Needless to say he gave no objection to signing up the following year. I understand the same is true of the beach volleyball championship. I have friends whose children do everything from raking sand to clearing rubbish to handing out the ever-popular ‘freebies’, with the same remarkable results. The experience makes them feel included and responsible. Get involved
So if you’ve just moved to the area with children, I thoroughly advise you to get them involved. There are a variety of jobs available for different age groups and the care and support from the event teams is superb. Working at these tournaments is a brilliant way to integrate your children, to help them make new friends, gain confidence and get that all-important work experience for their CVs. It’s the turn of our youngest son this year. He’s excited to continue what he calls our “family tradition” of working at the tennis. Real broom in hand, he will learn that taking responsibility helps to keep the world clean. You see, I told you Goethe had a point. ANNA CHARLES
GstaadLife 4 I 2018
GSTAADLIFE IS AVAILABLE IN THESE HOTELS Gstaad Palace 033 748 50 00, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hotel des Alpes Saanenmöser 033 748 04 50, email@example.com
Le Grand Bellevue 033 748 00 00, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hotel Spitzhorn 033 748 41 41, email@example.com
Park Gstaad 033 748 98 00, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hotel Alpenland 033 765 91 34, email@example.com
The Alpina Gstaad 033 888 98 88, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hotel Bellerive 033 748 88 33, email@example.com
Ultima Gstaad 033 748 05 50, firstname.lastname@example.org ERMITAGE, Wellness- & Spa Hotel 033 748 04 30, email@example.com
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026 921 01 01, firstname.lastname@example.org Huus Gstaad 033 748 04 04, email@example.com Boutique Hotel Alpenrose 033 748 91 91, firstname.lastname@example.org Hotel Arc-en-Ciel 033 748 43 43, email@example.com Hotel Bernerhof 033 748 88 44, firstname.lastname@example.org Hotel Christiania 033 744 51 21, email@example.com Hotel Gstaaderhof 033 748 63 63, firstname.lastname@example.org Hotel Le Grand Chalet 033 748 76 76, email@example.com
Hotel Ermitage 026 924 25 00, firstname.lastname@example.org Hotel Kernen 033 748 40 20, email@example.com
Golfhotel Les Hauts de Gstaad 033 748 68 68, firstname.lastname@example.org Hotel de Rougemont
Hotel Alphorn 033 748 45 45, email@example.com
Hotel Landhaus 033 748 40 40, firstname.lastname@example.org Hotel Saanerhof 033 744 15 15, email@example.com Posthotel Rössli 033 748 42 42, firstname.lastname@example.org Sporthotel Victoria 033 748 44 22, email@example.com
Lions Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings each first and third week of the month on Thursdays, either at 12 noon for lunch or at 7 pm for dinner. Meetings in Ermitage, Wellness & Spa Hotel, Schönried, 033 748 60 60. For details and programme contact Arthur Reuteler, president, 033 744 51 33, firstname.lastname@example.org, gstaad-saanenland.lionsclub.ch. Soroptimist International President: Ursula Breuninger 033 744 05 80 Programme: Patricia Glauser Edreira 076 426 16 11 Club des Leaders President: Jean-Sébastien Robine www.clubdesleaders.com email@example.com
IMPORTANT NUMBERS Ambulance 144, Police 117 Fire 118
Dental Emergency: 033 729 26 26 Police Station: 033 356 84 31
Hotel Restaurant Bären 033 755 10 33, firstname.lastname@example.org
Car Accident: 033 744 88 80
Hotel Geltenhorn 033 765 35 91, email@example.com
Château-d’Oex Hospital: 026 923 43 43
Hotel Valrose 026 923 77 77, firstname.lastname@example.org Hotel Viktoria 033 755 10 34, email@example.com Hotel Wildhorn 033 765 30 12, firstname.lastname@example.org
Romantik Hotel Hornberg 033 748 66 88, email@example.com
Jugendherberge Gstaad Saanenland 033 744 13 43, gstaadsaanenland@ youthhostel.ch
GstaadLife 4 I 2018
Rotary Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings every Monday 12 noon Gstaad Palace (033 748 50 00), President: Rot. Pascal R. J. Rey (079 776 66 02) Secretary: Rot. Markus Iseli (033 748 92 08)
Medical Emergency: 0900 57 67 47 Alpine Lodge B&B 033 748 41 51, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hotel Olden 033 748 49 50, email@example.com
Zweisimmen Hospital: 033 729 26 26
Veterinarian: 033 748 08 58 / 033 744 06 61
CHURCH SERVICES St Peter's Anglican Church English-Speaking, Château-d’Oex Service every Sunday, 5.30 pm www.stpeters.ch Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
& Markt Saanen 4. August 2018 · 9 bis 17 Uhr Festwirtschaft bis 23 Uhr Dorf- und Bahnhofstrasse · 3792 Saanen email@example.com
Patronat: Kulturkommission Dorf Saanen und Musikschule Saanenland-Obersimmental
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