E XCLUSIV E
LIFES T Y LE
M AG A ZINE
GS TA A D
Issue 5 | 2 August 2019 CHF 3.50
GST New managing director
EGGLI A detailed update on the new project
SOLUTIONS Bertrand Piccard sees challenges where others see problems
SALES | RENTALS | ADMINISTRATION THE ADDRESS 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
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G A L E R I E CAROLINE FREYMOND
PROMENADE 6 . 3780 GSTAAD . SUISSE . T +41 33 744 9242 . INFO@MENUSPLAISIRS.CH
M E N U S P L A I S I R S . C H
INNOVATION Innovation is a key characteristic of humankind. I guess we’d still be sitting in caves without it. This issue is packed with innovation, both on a local and international level. Bertrand Piccard gave us the honour of discussing his previous achievements and his latest endeavours. All of his projects seek to reach further through innovation. He does not see problems but challenges and – most of all – believes that there are solutions. Piccard argues that technological innovation is one of the key factors in tackling some of the major challenges humankind faces today. We also remember an innovation made in Gstaad, namely the cable winch device now used on snow groomers all around the world. Three locals stuck their heads together more than thirty years ago with the aim of preparing the Tiger Run on the Wasserngrat. Another innovation recently visited Saanen. The airport is known for the steep landing and take off as well as the short runway. Nevertheless – or rather because of this – Bombardier chose to show off their new business jet, Global 7500, in Saanen.
CONTENTS LOCAL NEWS Hotel Alpenland: Traditional elements meet bold, modern features
New managing director for the Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy AG
Bombardier presentation in Saanen
The airfield is in the black
GST has a new managing director
A label for products from horned cows
GSTAAD LIVING Butterfly nuptials
No new building without investors
A Gstaad invention
LIFESTYLE The Saanenland’s original street art
SPORTS & LEISURE Bronze World Champions and Swiss Sailors of the year
Markus Iseli, Publishing Director
Cover Photo: Bertrand Piccard, initiator and founder of the Solar Impulse Foundation, © Solar Impulse 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, email@example.com Publishing Director & Editor in Chief: Markus Iseli, firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors: Alex Bertea, Anna Charles, Guy Girardet, Justine Hewson, Anne Christine Kempton Layout: Michael Matti, Dorina Reichenbach, Epu Shaha Advertising: Eliane Behrend, email@example.com, 033 748 88 71 Subscriptions: Esther Brand-de Groot, firstname.lastname@example.org, 033 748 88 74 "AvS" in the author line refers to the Anzeiger von Saanen. Contact the editor for more information.
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ARTIST GstaadLife’s new contributing cartoonist, Isabelle Fregevu, has illustrated feature stories in the last two issues of the magazine. But who is the artist behind the cartoons?
sabelle, born and currently living in Toulouse, France, with three dogs, has been drawing ever since she was able to hold a pencil. Encouraged by her concerned parents to study science at university, “Za” put her passion aside for a while. She couldn’t stay away from her true calling for long though. Af-
ter putting aside a more conservative career path, she followed her dream and began illustrating professionally for les editions Hachette. She is now an independent illustrator and works on projects for the fashion, automobile, and jewellery sectors, as well as illustrating books for editions Larousse, Le Robert, l’Opportun.
Courtesy of Isabelle Fregevu
Isabelle Fregevu is getting some help from one of her dogs in her studio in Toulouse (left) and her illustrated alter ego (above).
Her style is fresh, light-hearted, and above all very chic. She depicts the humour in everyday situations, sometimes very personal to her life, via a cast of delightful cartoon characters. While initially working extensively with gouache paints, Isabelle found that the colours and lightness of aquarelle reflect her personality and message more precisely. She is very active on her Instagram feed, sharing many of her drawings with her followers in what could be seen as her virtual gallery. A casual scroll through her latest posts is sure to incite a smile, and bring to mind the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”. So how did Za come to grace the pages of GstaadLife? She put it very simply: friendship. She was invited to come to the Saanenland by a friend who has a chalet on the Wispile. Isabelle says she fell in love with the region, which has become a strong source of inspiration for her. “There is always something going on, the Saanenland has an extraordinary appeal. I am particularly drawn to the landscape, the magical charm of its chalets, and the courtesy of the Swiss.” ANNE CHRISTINE KEMPTON
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Steep landings and steep slopes: a piece of cake with (See pages 8/9 and 20/21) the right innovation! GstaadLife 5 I 2019
HOTEL ALPENLAND: TRADITIONAL ELEMENTS MEET BOLD, MODERN FEATURES A surprise was in store, thanks to the hosts of this year's Züpfe zmorge. In a completely redesigned dining room, the two hotel owners Dr. h.c Willy Michel and former federal councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann spoke of old times and new ideas.
he ceiling is decorated with glass lamps, the floor, a combination of stone and wood. The seating near the fireplace creates a lounge area. In addition, upon entering the renovated Alpenland restaurant, the rest of the seating and furniture really catch the eye. Traditional wooden chairs, tables and decor bring the room to life. The new concept of the Alpenland restaurant is chic and appealing, as well as traditional, regional and pure. Numerous craftsmen, mostly from the region, have implemented
the ideas of managing director Michael Ming, also collaborating with architects Jaggi & Partner AG. After just eleven weeks of renovation work, an inviting and generous space was the result and was certainly not lacking in a cosy ambience. Owner interview instead of a guest speaker
Unlike the usual Züpfezmorge in the Alpenland, there wasn’t a guest speaker. Instead, the two owners of the hotel, Dr. h.c Willy Michel and former federal councillor Johann Schnei-
ONE WHO LOVES WINE AND KNOWS MUCH ABOUT IT Thankfully, as previously reported in this magazine, Gstaad is blessed with many. Buying wine at auction, however, is not only smart but also sensible as well as an art. To that end, contact our expert, who is at your service. Anaïs Vital Durand email@example.com
Rue Prévost-Martin 51 CH-1205 GENEVA +41 22 320 11 77 +41 22 320 14 74 FAX www.piguet.com
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der-Ammann spoke to the numerous guests. Organiser Regula Tanner led the question session with great charm. It was revealed that former federal councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann had originally started a degree in veterinary medicine, only to discover shortly afterwards that he wanted to study electrical engineering at the ETH. Since leaving the federal council, he still often wears a tie in honour of his duties during his term of office. On the other hand, Ypsomed founder Dr. Willy Michel admitted that he was better at delegating than using tools like a plane or screwdriver. Becoming a butcher as his father had wanted would have been impossible for him. His desire for an insight into the pharmaceutical
BASED ON AVS / JENNY STERCHI TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
The renovated interior: modern features blend in with traditional elements.
Courtesy of Hotel Alpenland
industry led him to Basel at just 15 years of age. There, he had to stand on his own two feet. During the conversation, both affirmed that they had discovered a great deal of the Saanenland and made good contacts with locals in. They both take a great interest in the region.
They dared to try something new without forgetting traditions: hotel owner and former federal councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann with managing director Michael Ming and hotel owner Dr. Willy Michel at the Züpfezmorge (from left) Jenny Sterchi
They dared to try something new without forgetting traditions: hotel owner and former federal councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann with managing director Michael Ming and hotel owner Dr. Willy Michel at the Züpfezmorge (from left)
NEW MANAGING DIRECTOR FOR THE GSTAAD MENUHIN FESTIVAL & ACADEMY AG The board of directors of the Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy AG has set up a new organisational structure, following a more detailed analysis of the existing structures and collaborating with office staff.
ortunately, an internal solution based on the human resources currently available could be found, according to the Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy AG. Lukas Wittermann is the new managing director responsible for operational management. He will continue to lead the Gstaad Academy & Gstaad Festival Orchestra. In the future Christoph Müller will focus on the programming side, designing content and further developing all parts of the festival. In particular, he will look at the festival’s profile both at home and abroad. The development has particularly focused on in-house productions for
the Gstaad Academy and the Gstaad Festival Orchestra, including the Gstaad Digital Festival. Tschanz & Partner Kultur Engagement in Saanen will continue to manage the fundraising side of things, represented by Hans-Ueli and Marlène Tschanz. The new organisational structure has been in place since 8 July 2019. Lukas Wittermann was born in 1983 and grew up in Weilheim. He’s been working for Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy AG since September 2015. Since the beginning of his role as project manager, he’s been responsible for the operational side of the Gstaad Academy & Gstaad Festival Orchestra.
He’s a cellist and worked as a chamber musician with his string quartet for several years before gradually switching to cultural management. Lukas Wittermann lives with his wife and five-month-old son in Feutersoey. BASED ON AVS/ANITA MOSER TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
Bombardier has developed a business jet capable of an incredible performance. The aircraft manufacturer showed off the Global 7500 to potential customers at Gstaad Airport.
n Thursday 4 July at 8am, the Global 7500 was inaugurated at Gstaad Airport in Saanen. Walter Egger, chairman of the board of Gstaad Airport AG, was thrilled: “It’s a real milestone to have the fantastic Global 7500 at Gstaad Airport in the middle of the Alpine foothills.” Last summer, a Dassault Falcon 7X landed in Saanen, having come directly from Los Angeles. “Now, we’ve been able to receive the brand new long-haul Global 7500 jet. We’re very proud and this shows the confidence in our renewed facilities, as well as in the airport staff.” The fact that Bombardier selected Gstaad Airport as the place for the presentation
A special moment for Christophe Degoumois, member of Bombardier’s executive committee. He enjoys spending time at his holiday home in Gstaad. Emotions ran high when the Global 7500 landed there.
just goes to show how important the updated airport facility is for the destination. The Saanenland as a dream destination
Landing in the Alps is a challenge for large aircrafts, but the Glob-
al 7500 has mastered it very well. “We’re very happy to prove we can carry out steep take-offs and landings, as well as use short runways in Saanen,” said a happy member of Bombardier’s executive board, Christophe Degoumois, who was present in Saanen.
THE AIRFIELD IS The Flugplatzgenossenschaft Gstaad-Saanenland (FGGS) is in the black, despite new construction work.
he financial year of 2018 was marked by the work for the new buildings, which started in July 2018 with an open day. “The final figures for the construction accounts weren’t available at the end of 2018, but all indications point to the estimated costs of around CHF 30.6m only having a one percent increase. Therefore, they can be met,” said FGGS president Walter Egger at the Annual General Meeting.
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Accounts showing a profit
A positive start
The annual accounts presented by Egger revealed a profit of CHF 81,700. A mortgage for CHF 2m is in place with the Saanen Bank. Marcel Bach, a member of the board, assumes that the loan will be depreciated over the next few years. With a profit of nearly CHF 25,000, the airfield operator, Gstaad Airport AG, was also in the black, according to airfield manager Marc Steiner. Both accounts were approved by the shareholders.
The company has got off to a good start, with customers appreciating the quality of services. Also, the airfield staff team has received positive feedback, Egger emphasised. A powerful yet agile operations team is in place and the quality of fire-fighting equipment has been massively improved. The same applies to the winter service. By contrast, the customs checks and registration waiting times have
NTATION IN SAANEN The employees of Gstaad Airport and Bombardier went through meticulous preparations for the big moment: Logistics, safety, fuelling, various procedures and catering needs all required detailed planning. Egger also acknowledges the outstanding work of Degoumois and his team in presenting the jet to potential customers with roots in Gstaad. BASED ON AVS TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
Eight years of development have gone into the Global 7500.
S IN THE BLACK been criticised by visitors. The cantonal police is responsible for identity checks whereas the border guards must check all goods. However, this situation could be improved in collaboration with the authorities. Safety remains a challenge, partly because walkers, people with dogs, cyclists and motorists donâ€™t always realise the dangers that flight operations can bring.
BASED ON AVS/ANITA MOSER TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
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A LABEL FOR HAS A NEW PRODUCTS FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR HORNED COWS In November 2018, Swiss voters rejected the Horned Cow initiative with 54.7 % of votes. However, the supporters won’t give up: The association hornkuh.ch has launched a label for horned cow products.
Flurin Riedi has taken on the post of head of Gstaad Saanenland Tourism (GST). In selecting him, GST has chosen a new managing director who has already proved his merits for mountain tourist destinations, according to a press release.
lurin Riedi has moved to the Saanenland with his family and is looking forward to his new role: “The quality of tourism experienced in Gstaad and the international charisma, together with authentic offerings motivate me to continue the successful and sustainable development of the destination in collaboration with service providers and partners.” Riedi grew up in the canton of Uri and is an expert in tourism, especially when it comes to mountain tourist destinations. “Prior to joining GST, for eight years he played a key role in developing in the holiday region of Andermatt. Most recently, he’s been director of tourism for four years,” according to the press release.
45.3 percent of the population voted in favour of the horned cow initiative. Now, work is in progress to promote the dignity of the animals. According to the press release, the new label H()H for horned cow products means that customers and producers can consciously work in favour of animals with horns.” The new label was launched by Michi Gehret, who is also president of hornkuh.ch. He says: “The H()H label is a platform where producers of horned cow products can find their customers directly. With the H()H Charter, they’re committed to stopping the dehorning of their calves and also to offering meat, milk and other products from cows with horns. In concrete terms, we’re supporting producers who value animal welfare over financial gain.” The label symbolises a return to happiness. Farmers need to be independent, says Gehret. “We customers are happy to pay the prices that are necessary for ecological products.”
An initial step
One aim of the label is to enable producers and consumers to decide for themselves whether the welfare of their animals is worthwhile and to consciously choose products from cows with horns. “This is a pragmatic initial step. We can only achieve so much ... ” The label runs on a virtual farmer’s market, allowing breeders and farmers to register when they have the horned cow label endorsement. “Customers then simply need to use post codes to find providers in their region,” explained Gehret. BASED ON AVS/ANITA MOSER TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
BASED ON AVS/ANITA MOSER TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
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www.hornkuh.ch | www.hornlabel.ch | www.mär.it
The newly published book called Gstaad Through the Eyes of the Falcon offers a staggering view of the Saanenland. With breath-taking imagery, the book mimics the world through the eyes of a peregrine falcon
as it circles the valleys and mountains of the region.
Photog raphy by Benoit Tumere
All imag es Â© Eye Can
dy Publishin g, www
.eye cand ypub lishi
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Travelling with a peregrine falcon
The journey continues
After the wild Turbachtal, the bird’s journey takes it south again to Lauenen, described in the book as a magical and entrancing place. In the golden autumn sunshine, the
by Gar ret t Fis
As you’ll probably know, there are many aerial photographs showing a classic bird’s-eye view of the Saanenland as on Google Earth. What’s different here, however, is the proximity and accordingly the wealth of details compared to satellite imagery. Sometimes, you can barely recognise the trees or their trunks and canopies along with the geometry of the districts, forests and land areas, which all look truly amazing. The images alternate from atmospheric panoramic views and close-ups, providing the viewer with multiple facets of the region. The pictures are accompanied by short texts at the start of each chapter. The book is organised according to villages, brought to life for readers through key details and characteristics.
bird flies over the Lauenensee, and, a little later a waterfall comes into view from the falcon’s incredible perspective. Thereafter, the bird arrives a few feet above a snowy forestry trail in Rohr, a hamlet between the lake and village. Then, it finds its way to Saanen, where it crosses the Gstaad Airport on a late summer evening. Buffeted around on the breeze, the journey continues to the villages of Schönried and Saanenmöser in the north, ending in the remote mountain settlement of Abländschen, where the falcon meets young chamoix and a Saanen goat. One final glance through the “Grossmutterloch” in the Gastlosen mountains and the bird leaves the Saanenland.
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Photography by Nick Wallace
Photography by Christopher J. Ladley
As this bird of prey reaches the mountain destination from Valais, it flies along the wintry Gsteigstrasse, coming to rest on a raised rocky area just a few meters from an Alpine ibex. Soon after, the views of the pastures in Feutersoeys and Lake Arnen open up, with the latter being a popular place for both locals and guests. The bird’s journey continues to Gstaad, where, after a courageous flight along the Promenade, it takes in the grandstands where the beach volleyball tournament is taking place, always taking care to maintain a safe distance. Then, he leaves the densely built-up area and heads
to the countryside of the Turbachtal, where only a few buildings are dotted around during his flight.
Pho tog rap hy
ave you also seen a falcon high in the sky and wondered what the Saanenland might look like from its eyes? This book, aptly named “Gstaad Through the Eyes of the Falcon” was published last month. Here, the viewer accompanies a peregrine falcon on a tour over the Saanenland. Despite the two-dimensional view and image format, the reader can imagine they’re flying, forgetting about the actual recording technique with perspectives opened up that are otherwise reserved for birds.
© Germain Arias-Schreiber
Photography by Christopher J. Ladley
Title: Gstaad Trough the Eyes of the
Falcon: An Aerial Perspetive of the Saanenland and its Surrounding Valleys Languages: english, german, french ISBN: 978-0-692-18109-6
A turbulent flight
Gstaad Through the Eyes of the Falcon gives the reader a diverse and paradise-like image of the region, not least through the atmospheric light and images, appealing to the emotions of the viewer. Many people will be moved as they recognise the landscape and buildings. The different image styles also create a sense of excitement. Arty and sometimes verging on abstract, they’re also in keeping with classical representations of traditional villages. The 190-page photo book comes highly recommended and is available for both visitors and locals to browse. It will appeal to everyone, including photography and nature enthusiasts. The book is a successful and novel insight into the destination of Gstaad, where even unknown parts of the region can be seen close up.
Price: 120.– Publisher: Eye Candy Publishing Publication date: Juli 2019
The book is available at:
Au Foyer, Saanen Cadonau, Gstaad Müller Medien, Gstaad Papeterie Pfander, Zweisimmen It is further available in the following hotels:
Hotel Spitzhorn HUUS Hotel Park Hotel Wellness- und Spa-Hotel ERMITAGE For more information and to order visit www.mmedien.ch/falcon.
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1,000 SOLUTIONS Bertrand Piccard grew up in a family of explorers and carries on their tradition of pushing the boundaries of what we think is possible. In 1999 he took off with Brian Jones from Château-d’Oex for the first circumnavigation of the planet in a hot-air ballon, which they commemorated at this year's International Balloon Festival. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Château-d’Oex International Balloon Festival. What attracts you to hot-air ballooning in general and to this festival in particular?
What I really like in Château-d’Oex is the alternation of different winds and the microclimate that makes it so enjoyable to fly in the valley as a balloon pilot. Today I landed in the spot where I took off, simply because the winds were always changing. We manage to exploit the wind currents at different altitudes to change direction. What’s interesting about hot-air ballooning is that we don’t know where we’re going to land. What we do know, however, is that we have to go with the forces of nature. If we want to get to a particular destination we need to change altitude and find a wind that’s blowing in that direction. I think life is the same – that’s why for me ballooning is a philosophy much more than a sport. Life will often take us in a particular direction whether we like it or not. But, if we change our attitude on a psychological or spiritual level, we can find other influences in other directions that will take us elsewhere. We need this spirit of exploration all the time, every day, not just when we’re in a balloon. With its exceptional microclimate, Château-d’Oex attracts the best balloon pilots from all over the world. And the scenery is stunning. Imagine flying over snow-covered mountains with 80 other balloons in the sky. It’s
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totally unique! I hope there continues to be sufficient sponsorship to keep this festival alive. It’s clear to me that it’s an event that is very important – not only for the region but also for Switzerland – so it has to continue. I have participated in every festival over the past 40 years and I would like be part of the next 40 too. A central theme of this year’s Balloon Festival is the 20th anniversary of your round-the-world flight with Brian Jones in the Breitling Orbiter 3. What special memories or emotions does this anniversary hold for you now, 20 years later?
It reminds me of the five years of work, hope, doubts, problems and crises that I had to go through before we succeeded in our 20-day flight round the world. It took five years to find the sponsor, to put the team together, to identify the best meteorologist, to get the balloon built, to participate in its construction and to obtain the overflight permissions. It was a huge, huge project. Added to that, we needed to organise all the training for the people involved. Then, when we took off, we had five years behind us and, in front of us, a huge hope of success but no idea of whether we would make it. We really had to live with a lot of emotion and a lot of doubt. You need to be very resilient to undertake a project like that. I understand that during the flight you launched the Winds of Hope
Foundation and subsequently worked with the World Health Organization in its fight against Noma. Could you describe the work of the foundation and your subsequent collaboration with the United Nations and its agencies?
The Winds of Hope Foundation was created when I was flying with Brian. We obtained the support of Breitling to use some of our prize money from our round-the-world flight to help children suffering from Noma – an absolutely horrible, completely neglected disease that very few people know or care about. It’s a mutilating disease, gangrene, absolutely horrible. Children in the poorest regions of the world lose parts of their faces. A victim doesn’t lose just a bit of skin, no. A victim can lose the nose or even the jaw. We thought, “This is an area where we can help because we have some financial resources and we have some fame and recognition.” So we created programmes in sub-Saharan Africa, where we try to prevent Noma and help people make early diagnoses. The illness often starts simply with a swollen cheek. Unfortunately, the locals don’t realise what’s happening and they take no action. Yet, if they knew that it was the beginning of Noma, they could save the victim with a couple of dollars’ worth of antibiotics. We have trained hundreds of health agents in several countries to help people recognise the symptoms and take action. Unfortunately, we cannot travel to the afflicted countries as much as we would like to because of terrorism and the associated dangers so we support local people to work against the disease.
Many people followed your flight in 2016, when you circumnavigated the world in the Solar Impulse, covering 42,000 kilometers powered exclusively by solar energy. To what extent do you feel this endeavor challenged the perceived limits of solar and renewable energy?
The goal was really to show that we can do impossible things with renewable energies and clean technologies. It was a time when a lot of people thought that having clean technologies would be a return to the past, a regression, that they would have less and could do less. I wanted to show that, on the contrary, with renewable energies and clean technologies we can do more and we can have more. Do you feel it was successful in changing the public's understanding about what could be done with solar energy?
© Germain Arias-Schreiber
Yes. It changed the perceptions of a lot of people, especially in the political world. They were impressed that solar energy can really achieve incredible things. It was not just a one-off anecdote. I am now using the Solar Impulse Foundation to select 1,000 solutions that can protect the environment in a financially profitable way. The objective is to bring tools to the industry and the political world that will not only protect the environment but, in doing so, create jobs and increase profit. It’s a way to speak the language of the people we want to convince. My foundation is 26 January, 2019, Château-d’Oex. Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones on a replica of the Breitling Orbiter 3 to commemorate their first round-the-world flight in balloon.
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At the recent World Economic Forum, the teenager Greta Thunberg said to world leaders, “I want you to panic... I want you to act as if the house is on fire.” In light of these statements and the recent reports that we have only 12 years to decarbonise, are you optimistic about the efforts we are making in climate change?
1 March, 1999, Château-d’Oex, Switzerland: Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones taking off in their attempt to complete the first round-the-world trip in a balloon with Breitling Orbiter 3
© Piccard Family
We need people to panic because of the extreme danger that we’re facing. But it’s not enough to panic. We also need to provide solutions. We need both panic and solutions because, if we panic and don’t change anything, the world will sink anyway. We need to panic, we need to be really afraid and to know that it will be a disaster if we don’t change. And then, we need to have and to use solutions to enable change. We need solutions that are, if possible, profitable because profitable solutions will be adopted much more quickly. We may have a head of state or a head of a big corporation who panics and says, “There is nothing I 23 April, 2016. Bertrand Piccard taking a selfie while flying over the Pacific with Solar Impulse 2
Solar Impulse/Bertrand Piccard
fully committed to this and I have to say that it’s going really well. We have many countries, regions and institutions – including the United Nations and the World Bank – asking us for help or support in implementing these solutions.
can do. I cannot change production because I need to consider depreciation and maintain my supply chain. I don’t know what to do; we’re going to sink if we change.” But if this person is presented with some profitable solutions, the response would be: “OK, I am able to diversify. We have new technologies and new solutions. I will be able to pay the salaries of my staff and maybe even more since we can make new types of products and use new types of energies. My staff can be more efficient in what they do. We can produce less CO2 and be more efficient, more effective, and more competitive. Yes, we can do it!” I’m very optimistic when I see the number of solutions that exist. However, having said that, I must admit that I am pessimistic when I see how long it takes to implement them. Thank you very much for meeting with Gstaadlife. We look forward to following the progress of the Solar Impulse Foundation in its quest to find 1,000 efficient solutions.
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GSTA AD LIVING Bert Inäbnit
hese two Common Blue butterflies (Polyommatus icarus) are enjoying their honeymoon. What you can’t see in the photo is that the ends of their bodies are firmly interlocked. This means they fly in synchronicity and the smaller brown female can be carried along quite easily. The Common Blue is one of more than 60 different types of blue butterflies in our country and the most common. It can be found in the lowlands but also up to 1800m above sea lev-
el. This blue butterfly proliferates from April to October, with about 2-3 generations between these months. You’ll mainly see them on flower meadows where they like to land on various butterfly plants such as the horn clover.
BASED ON AVS/BERT INÄBNIT TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
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GSTA AD LIVING
The impressively large construction site on the Eggli. Due to poor spring weather, the work is a few days behind
NO NEW BUILDING WITHOUT INVESTORS Construction work for the new cable car and the Eggli Berghaus are well underway. At the symbolic inauguration ceremony, investors commented on the project in public for the first time.
The construction of the gondola lift and the mountain restaurant has only been able to go ahead thanks to two organisations comprising Gstaad visitors. These are the Société pour la Préservation de l’Eggli (SPE) and the Club de Luge. During the planning for refurbishing the BDG, it became clear that they couldn’t afford the new building. So, supporters of the Eggli grouped around Michael de Picciotto to take action. “Six founding members sat down together to work out solutions,” said the project’s initiator. “Had we failed to act, the Eggli would probably not be here today,” he guessed. Heinz Brand confirmed this: “Without the investors, there would be no new building. So, thank you!” Along with Mani Raaflaub, Heinz Brand and the municipality, the two organisations were searching for solutions at that time and fleshed out the new building plans. They also looked for investors and made plans to further develop the Club de Luge. Today, the club has 400 members. “The project is ambitious and it needs each and every one of us”, said vice-president of the Club de Luge,
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Diana d’Hendecourt, explaining the high number of project participants. The investors haven’t revealed the extent of their contribution. Two builders, BDG and SPE, are behind the construction of the Berghaus, which is freehold and costs the SPE CHF 2m. The organisation is also reconstructing the restaurant to which the BDG will contribute around CHF 3m. “That’s relatively little when put into perspective and we’re grateful for this,” said Heinz Brand. The SPE is also participating in the construction of the new cable car and has pledged a sum of CHF 6m. The BDG is also reaching deep into its pockets, investing around CHF 14m. The SPE’s public commercial trade record reveals that Michael de Picciotto is chairman of the board. Also on the board are Ernesto Bertarelli, Rémy Best, Naveda Botin-Sanz, Emanuele Campanini Bonomi, Andrea Coelho de Botton, Alfonso Cortina de Alcocer, André Desmarais, Lawrence Sheldon Strulovitch and Diana Thermiotis Filesari.
The Gstaad Berghaus is sustainable and fit for the future: a massive timber frame has been used to build it instead of a concrete shell.
A solution-oriented approach
“There were some tricky issues during the planning phase, but we
Investors play key role
always worked to find solutions,” said Brand, referring to the investors, the municipality and all of the entrepreneurs. Special thanks go to the landowners, who have to deal with the impact of the construction site on a daily basis. He also praised the companies that are participating in the construction at a level of five percent of the total order amount. Brand said: “This contribution means that the companies have a deep commitment and the BDG is well-anchored in the region.” Awarding the building work to the various companies pleased the chairman of the board a great
Sustainable construction for the
The bespoke Eggli gondolas by Porsche are already being produced.
deal: “90 percent of the construction costs were awarded to local companies.” The architects also come from the region. Reichenbach Architekten AG from Saanen won the architectural tender for the valley and mountain station. The Berghaus was planned by Chaletbau Matti. BDG managing director, Matthias In-Albon, offered a brief insight into the complexity of the project. “The approval process was very demanding and took three years.” But this is now complete and the construction work is in full swing: In March dismantling work began and in April, the building material arrived. The rather damp weather in the spring was a challenge, delaying the construction.
On the ground floor of the Berghaus, locals and guests will be able to enjoy the public restaurant from the winter of 2020/21. The Club de Luge is on the first floor. When asked if this would foster the two-tier system, mayor Toni von Grünigen replied: “All guests will enjoy the same view, whether they’re in the public restaurant or the Club de Luge. Therefore it would not be correct to speak of
The key players in the new Eggli building: Diana d'Hendecourt (vice-president Club de Luge), Michael de Picciotto (investor and president Club de Luge), Heinz Brand (BDG chairman) and Matthias In-Albon (BDG managing director).
a two-tier system.” It became clear during the negotiations that the BDG would not have been able to build without the investors and vice versa. So, the project is a win-win opportunity for both. “We have a sustainable design innovation for the first time in our region’s recent architectural history,” said Daniel Matti of Chaletbau Matti. “We’re building a huge timber construction with no concrete core.” This is unique for a chalet of such
a size. “Using sustainable building materials means we’re pursuing an important environmental aspect.” Equally important to the builders is to ensure the guests feel at home on the Eggli, which has been integrated into the design and facilities. Enthusiastic about the future
Both BDG and investors are extremely positive about the future. “We’re enthusiastic about the work and look forward to the project,” beamed de Picciotto. d’Hendecourt said: “ There’s no other Club de Luge like this anywhere in the world and the same goes for the toboggan run, which is also being planned.” Neither of them will reveal the precise plans. “We’re in the middle of planning,” explains de Picciotto. Various permits are required to secure partners. He talks about a toboggan run with new tracks, which could be used by both the club and the public. Artificial lighting will be provided so it can be used after dark. Also, it will be equipped with snow guns, so the run can be prepared in different weather conditions. Although the Club de Luge is planning races, there’s no intention to create a professional bobsleigh track like in St. Moritz. Rather, the toboggan run is intended for both young and old. The precise time of construction depends on various factors such as the approval process, which is hard to predict. By contrast, the new gondolas by Porsche will be in operation next winter. BASED ON AVS/BLANCA BURRI TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
GstaadLife 5 I 2019
The cable winch device, now used on snow groomers all around the world, was developed in 1983 for the Tiger Run on the Wasserngrat. The idea for the invention came from Ernst Andrea Scherz, Fred Rölli and Konrad Brand.
or amateur skiers, there’s nothing better than taking the first gondola and gliding over a freshly prepared slope. However, steep slopes could not be prepared with precision until the 1980s. Wild mogul runs were the result. Then, cable winch technology was adapted to suit snow groomers. This technology helps to smooth out steep slopes and give them the perfect furrows. Who invented winch technology for snow groomers and similar types of machinery? Well, it was a case of teamwork: Konrad Brand, head of technology at the Wasserngratbahn and Fred Rölli, owner of the Fred Rölli Garage, were the creative inspiration behind the invention. Engineer Wiederkehr from Plumettaz AG, Mr Brändli, BIBUS Hydraulik AG and the company Gebrüder Würsten in Gstaad were also on board with the project. The solution: The winch in a central position
Ernst Andrea Scherz remembers well the 1983 Saturday night meeting in the bar of the Olden. “I asked Fred Rölli for ideas on how to make the Wasserngrat slopes more attractive in winter.” At that time, Scherz was president of Wasserngrat AG and was looking for additional sources of revenue: “Back then, the chair lift was always on unsteady ground financially.” Rölli was well aware that some of the appealing ski slopes on the Wasserngrat were too steep for slope
GstaadLife 5 I 2019
World first technology: secured by a cable, suddenly, the steep Tiger Run could be prepared.
GSTA AD LIVING
A GSTAAD IN
preparation and, therefore, only used as demanding mogul runs. He recommended to Scherz that the slope, later known as the Tiger Run, should be mechanically prepared. He also came up with the idea of the winch technique, which was also used in tanks and jeeps. These were also the thoughts of Brand, who had been dealing with the topic for many years. Tests showed how difficult it was to prepare a slope to a high standard using a winch. First, the team pursued the idea of mounting a stationary winch on the site. However, this was quickly dismissed because there were too many uncertainties. Employees would need to stand nearby to operate the machine. Also, the costs would be very high. In addition, it was feared that the winch was not as fast as the snow groomer, resulting in constantly fluctuating pulling forces. Finally, communications between the Pistenbully driver and the winch operator would have presented a challenge.
A second variant was to attach the winch directly to the vehicle, either at the front or rear, but too many uncertainties surrounded this. It was clear that this method would have rendered the snow groomer impossible to steer. Only one slope section could have been prepared before needing to hook the rope onto a new anchor point. After much fiddling around, it turned out that the winch had to be fixed in the centre of the snow groomer. This meant the vehicle was always steerable, even when secured with the rope. Tinkering about
Rölli put in a good word to Scherz about the credit for the development. After some to-ing and fro-ing, Wasserngrat AG secured a budget of CHF 30,000. Immediately, Rölli and Brand ordered a winch with 400 metres of rope, equipped to support two tons in weight. The next challenge was the operation of the winch. Like caterpil-
NVENTION Assembling the puzzle
The framework for attaching the winch and other elements was produced by the Gebrüder Würsten in Gstaad. Assembly was carried out by Brand along with structural mechanic, Michael Perreten. “I was quite nervous on our maiden voyage,” admits Brand, adding that his uncertainties were not only down to the new technology: “The winch was delivered without an emergency brake!” In truth, Brand had made several attempts to have the emergency brake fitted before the winter season, but this didn’t happen for various reasons. So, he prepared what was then the steepest slope in the Saanenland without an emergency brake.
The world famous Tiger Run with ski equipment from the 1980s
To reflect the thrill of the downhill run, the slope was named the Tiger Run. For a long time, it was considered to be one of the Saanenland’s major attractions. Sold too cheaply
News about the new invention spread quickly. Engineers and slope managers from far away visited the Wasserngrat to see the global novelty. It didn’t take long for the competition to start. By the following winter, the Schilthorn had already used the new technology. Brand helped with the construction of the second prototype. Was-
serngrat AG received CHF 50,000 for this. “This money was worth its weight in gold and helped our struggling finances,” said Scherz, looking back. Rölli regretfully adds: “We would have been better negotiating a piecemeal contract rather than a lump sum. We’d have been made today!” At a media conference, the Schilthorn presented the novel technology to a large audience. According to Brand, the then CEO of Kässbohrer said: “The system will never survive!” Nevertheless, the manufacturer jumped on the opportunity.
Fred Rölli and Ernst Scherz: Thanks to these two, the Wasserngrat has benefitted from the Tiger Run.
lars and snow blowers, a winch is hydraulically controlled. But how do you make sure that the cable has an equal pulling force at all speeds? The mooring system used in shipping solved this issue. “This system is highly sophisticated and was recommended to me by a technician from BIBUS Hydraulik AG,” recalls Brand. After the chief engineer had received the plans more tinkering and building followed.
“Just one year later, a series of four was produced and three years later, a series of 40,” recalls Brand. Rölli wanted to patent the invention, but this wasn’t successful, because parts that already existed were involved. So, the technology invented in Gstaad is now used by all snow groomer manufacturers around the world. BASED ON AVS/BLANCA BURRI TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
GstaadLife 5 I 2019
The history of displaying symbols on armor dates at least from the Bronze Age, with the Mycenean Greeks bearing symbols of gods, heroes and geometric designs on their shields. But the history of personal heraldry, a system of visual identification of individuals that was passed from one generation to the next is a much younger phenomenon, developing in the mid-12th century. The colorful heraldic shields (Wappen) that adorn many chalets in the Saanenland are younger still, and make up part of the lively héraldique paysanne of the Swiss.
GstaadLife 5 I 2019
The Wappen, or coats of arms, of the Saanenland are vivid examples of burgher or peasant heraldry that thrive to this day. In a time when many could not read, they were used primarily as a sign of ownership for residences and goods. The oldest coats of arms of Saanen families are on the third picture of the life of St. Mauritius painted in the choir of the church of Saanen, which was built around 1480, although today only the families of Hugi, Jouner and Mezener can be identified. Works by Robert Marti-Wehren (1946, 1949) and J R D Zwahlen (1967) give historically annotated drawings of local armory. Blackand-white depictions of Saanenland arms in the treatises bear small letters in certain sections, a display technique called ‘tricking’, which allows viewers to understand what colors the images contain.
raditional European heraldry is thought to have begun in the 12th century AD, with Raoul I, Count of Vermandois, credited by many as having the first true heraldic arms c. 1135 AD. Earlier imagery, such as the Bayeux Tapestry (c. 1077 AD), did show heraldic-type devices on shields, but no individual is depicted bearing the same arms twice, and sometimes the same device is used by opposing forces! Heraldry is thought to have originated for military, rather than nobiliary, purposes. Fighters were unrecognizable under the closed helmets of that period, which led them to paint their emblems on shields so retainers and heralds could identify them. After all, you would want to be certain that the opponent you were about to skewer on your lance was the right one. Bartolo da Sassoferrato, a medieval Italian jurist, who wrote the first treatise on heraldry c. 1355, concluded that any man can assume arms as he pleases, subject to the proviso that he does not harm another. In fact, until the first grant of arms by the Duke of Bourbon in 1334, all coats of arms were either self-assumed or inherited through families. Heraldry gradually spread from the nobility to other strata of society, and by the 14th century Swiss burghers, tradesmen and peasants were displaying their own coats of arms. No Swiss canton has granted a coat of arms to any of its subjects, but some Swiss received arms from foreign territorial sovereigns.
Canting arms are shields that represent the bearer’s name, or some other attribute or function, in a visual pun or rebus. The Reichenbach arms display a curvy river with fish (Reichenbach = ‘rich stream’), Baumer a tree (from Baum), Gyger a violin (from Geige), Hauswirth (Wirt = innkeeper) an inn, and the Brand arms feature two fiery brands.
All coat of arms illustrations courtesy of Müller Medien
THE SAANENLAND’S O
ORIGINAL STREET ART
© Museum der Landschaft Saanen
In the 17th century, individual and family Wappen were often depicted in small, but expensive, colored single stained glass panel, which were commissioned by local gentry and given as gifts of honor to a nobleman or to an honorable fellow citizen upon the construction of a new house. But because the stained-glass panels were pricey, and could darken a room, in the early 18th century transparent engraved glass panes called Schliffscheiben became fashionable. The style was likely brought to Switzerland from Bohemia or Silesia and was a reasonably-priced alternative to stained glass. In the early 19th century, engraved glass fell from favor, and, in a style that Marti-Wehren (1946) believed may be unique to the Saanenland, glass panes painted with chalk and turpentine oil became popular. These so-called Kreidescheiben resembled the engraved glass, and were much less expensive. Recipients of the donated panes would treat the giver to a meal, which was called a Fenstermahl (window feast).
© Museum der Landschaft Saanen; Vitrocentre Romont
Presentations in Glass
Stree art today
In modern society, taggers and stencilers supply most of the street art, and, unsurprisingly, it rarely features a coat of arms. But they don’t spray their messages on their own houses, instead claiming the streets and quarters as their territory. However, it all stems from the same foundation – ownership and pride of place. And since quite a few Saanenland families have been here for over 700 years, that pride runs long and deep.
Opposite page, top: the oldest depictions of coat of arms in the church of Saanen Opposite page, middle: black-andwhite depictions with letters indicating the colours Opposite page, bottom: Canting arms, which visually represent the bearer’s name
© Museum der Landschaft Saanen; Alex Bertea
Above: A single stained glass panel and an engraved glass pane, with representations of families’ coats of arms Left: Two examples of Kreidescheiben
GstaadLife 5 I 2019
All Gstaad Yacht Club Racing Team members continue suc-
Swiss Sailor of the Year 2017/18: Mateo Sanz Lanz
cessfully on their way towards qualifying for the Olympics in Tokyo 2020.
n 21 July, Nils Theuninck won the Bronze Medal in the U23 Finn World Championship, for the Jorg Bruder Finn Silver Cup. Competing with 27 other top athletes, he finished third. He is currently the world no. 15 and is positive to qualify for Tokyo. He has been in the class just under two years and still has 10 months to go to the final qualification event. Earlier this year he finished 8th at 2019 Final World Cup Series, Marseille, France. Racing team member Eliot Merceron has been fighting hard this season. He just finished “his” world championship in the Laser Standard in 30th position. It’s his best result on a World Championship race so far but was not yet enough to qualify. His next chance will be the World Cup in Genoa in 2020 same as for Nils. “I’m really motivated for the next season and for this big challenge!” were his words when leaving for some rest before heading off to Japan for the Olympic Test Event and the World Cup.
In springtime he finished 24 at 2019 Trofeo Princesa Sofia, Palma de Mallorca, Spain and 16th at 2019 Semaine Olympique Francaise, Hyéres, France. GYC Youth Team
The next generation was extremely successful in spring too. Gauthier Verhulst (Laser Radial) and Anja Von Allmen (Laser 4.7) won the Europa Cup on Lake Garda in the middle of May. Gauthier, Anja and Emilie Tschanz succeeded in the Europa Cup in Hoorn, NL a month later. Anja von Allmen was first among girls and fourth overall, Emilie Tschanz second girl. Team member Team Tilt and GYC Racing Team member Nils Theuninck (Finn) at the Swiss Sailing Awards
SPORTS & LEISURE
BRONZE WORLD CHAMPIONS AND SWISS SAILORS OF THE YEAR
Honours at the SUI Sailing Awards
GYC Racing Team member Mateo Sanz Lanz – currently in fourth place in the World Sailing ranking – was crowned Swiss Sailor of the year 2017/2018 in late February at the sixth SUI Sailing Awards in Berne. The best Swiss sailors were honoured in seven categories for their achievements in 2017 and 2018. In 2017, renown now as light and medium wind specialist, Mateo won the silver medal at the World Championships in Enoshima and at the World Cup opening in Gamagori he finished 3rd. Also, in 2018, at the start of the World Cup, he was second on the podium in Enoshima, and won gold just a few days later at Enoshima Olympic Week. Nils Theuninck was nominated in two categories and won the Sailing Team of the Year Award 2017/2018 together with the Team Tilt. The team took a third place in the Youth America’s Cup 2017 and the first World Championship title in the GC32 class in 2018, and silver in 2019. GSTAAD YACHT CLUB
GstaadLife 5 I 2019
Things have changed a lot since the 1980s. Now you can buy gas-fired barbecues that turn out food as consistently as if you’d prepared it in your kitchen or, at the other end of the scale, single use ‘instant barbecues’ that contain easy-light charcoal in foil containers. But for me there is still no better barbecue experience than cooking over an open fire in the great outdoors.
My first outdoor cooking memories are full of erratic British summers, Dad swearing at a barbecue that he couldn’t put together, and eventually eating charred sausages, feeling brilliant,” so wrote Jamie Oliver, TV chef.
Screenshot www.gstaad.ch, © A. Roweder APG Mountain
Bikes and barbecues
And outdoors is where Saanenland excels. Skiers love the slopes in winter, but for me it’s all about the summer. There are endless places where you can hike, run or cycle and, of course, eat ‘al fresco’. Our favourite picnic place is situated in a leafy glade just outside Feutersoey. It’s a thirty-minute cycle ride from Gstaad along quiet roads and pathways and while it’s uphill all the way there, this at least means it’s downhill all the way back. There are two barbecue areas in the glade. Each has a fire pit kitted out with a metal grill arm which you swing forward or back across the fire depending on how much heat you need. Between the fire pits is a shed stocked with wood and kindling for you to use and, with tables and benches to seat 15-18 people, it’s an absolutely terrific set up. A couple of years ago a portable toilet, neatly encased in a wooden frame sympathetic to its surroundings, was also added. These facilities are available on a first come, first served basis, but we’ve never had any problems using them. At worst you might have to wait a while until a fire pit is available, but this has the advantage of providing a ready-made pile of hot ashes that you just need to poke before unwrapping your sausages and burgers.
Nature’s wine cooler
Our favourite spot has a gentle stream running alongside the picnic area. There’s a large tree with a thick branch that extends over the stream; this gave our boys hours of climbing fun when they were younger. Now they’re older they still enjoy dangling their feet in the cool water. And to the left of the tree there’s a small cluster of rocks in the stream that serves as the perfect place to cool the obligatory bottle of white wine. On one memorable occasion this didn’t prove to be quite such a perfect set-up, however. With the salad laid out on the table and the pork steaks cooked, we sent one of our sons to grab the wine cooling in the stream. He lifted the bottle out of the water and held it aloft. “Someone’s been drinking it,” he shouted. Sure enough it was no more than two-thirds full, though we had only bought it that morning. We looked around, confused. And then we saw them: a group of three or four walkers slinking quietly away. We would have invited them back for a glass to laugh over the misunderstanding, but they seemed keen to get away. Try it yourself
Any of the local tourist information offices can provide you with a map of the local area. These wonderful barbecue spots are marked as ‘Grillplatz / Aire de grillade / Barbecue area” with a picture of a log and a flame. Whether you’re keen to cycle for miles or just want a gentle stroll, I’ve no doubt there will be a place to suit you. But if you spot a bottle of wine cooling in nearby water, hands off! It’s mine. ANNA CHARLES
GstaadLife 5 I 2019
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© Julien Benhamou
Bizet: «Carmen», opéra en 4 actes – représentation semi-scénique
Dimanche25.8 18h00 Tente du Festival de Gstaad
La Valse – Lahav Shani & Vilde Frang Vilde Frang, violon; Orchestre philharmonique de Rotterdam; Lahav Shani, direction
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Samedi31.8 19h30 Tente du Festival de Gstaad
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Gaëlle Arquez, mezzo-soprano (Carmen); Marcelo Alvarez, ténor (Don José); Julie Fuchs, soprano (Micaëla); Luca Pisaroni, baryton (Escamillo); Chœur philharmonique de Brno; Orchestre de l’Opéra de Zurich – Philharmonia Zurich; Marco Armiliato, direction
© Marco Borggreve
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© Felix Broede
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Samedi24.8 19h30 Tente du Festival de Gstaad
De Wagner à Ravel Klaus Florian Vogt, ténor; Orchestre National de Lyon; Gergely Madaras, direction
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«Rach 3» Yuja Wang, piano; Staatskapelle Dresden; Myung-Whun Chung, direction Rachmaninov: Concerto pour piano n° 3 en ré mineur op. 30; Brahms: Symphonie n° 2 en ré majeur op. 73
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