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Issue 4 | 12 July 2019 CHF 3.50

HAPPY BIRTHDAY The Swatch Major Gstaad turns 20

STOP! No development of the Hubelstrasse

WINE WITH ALTITUDE Pascal Rittener-Ruff fights for the right to produce Alpine wine

You only live once …*

*… we show you where

Engel & Völkers Gstaad · Phone +41-(0)33-65565-05 Gstaad@engelvoelkers.com · www.engelvoelkers.ch/gstaad @engel.volkersgstaad @engel_volkers_gstaad ·

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handmade gifts


AND WE’LL WELCOME YOU IN OUR CREATIVE ATELIER Tue – Fri 2–6pm Sat 10am – 4pm Kirchstrasse 7 3780 Gstaad T 033 744 89 66

HIGH SUMMER The beach volleyball tournament has just begun as I am writing these lines. That’s when the Promenade is getting more crowded again and one knows for sure that high summer has arrived. The Swatch Major Gstaad celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, which makes it the most traditional stop of the World Tour since its first edition in 2000! This sounds like an achievement that took passion and determination from organisers and volunteers, some of which have been part of the tournament since the very beginning. Pascal Rittener-Ruff is also full of determination. In a daring attempt to cultivate wine grapes in high altitudes, he had to realise that cantonal regulations are the bigger challenge in this endeavour than the Alpine climate. Last but not least, Emilie Tschanz displays her determination in what she likes doing best: sailing. Braving the elements can be tough and so is reconciling sailing, school and family. She puts every spare minute (and quite a few school days) into her sport and is representing Switzerland at the World Championships at the tender age of 16.

CONTENTS LOCAL NEWS Big refurbishment at Hotel Ermitage


Drought is preying on the Swiss forests


No developments to the Hubelstrasse


J. Krishnamurti in Saanen, 1961–1985


New play area


Bee colonies: Losses not as bad as expected


The Eisbahn AG is planning renovation work


The Schafwald is fit for the future


PROFILE Pascal Rittener-Ruff – Alpine Wine


GSTAAD LIVING Sustainability connects people


Deadly debris on cow pastures


SPORTS & LEISURE A Tennis tournament with exciting side events


20 years Swatch Major Gstaad


Emilie Tschanz rides the waves all over the world


Tunnel for the new Cabane-Pillon piste


Nostromino at stormy Bol d’Or Mirabaud 2019



It’s that time of the month again Best regards,

COLUMN Markus Iseli, Publishing Director


Expat adventures

Cover Photo: Markus Iseli 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, frank.mueller@gstaadlife.com Publishing Director & Editor in Chief: Markus Iseli, markus.iseli@gstaadlife.com Contributors: Alex Bertea, Anna Charles, Guy Girardet, Justine Hewson Layout: Michael Matti, Dorina Reichenbach, Epu Shaha Advertising: Eliane Behrend, advertising@gstaadlife.com, 033 748 88 71 Subscriptions: Esther Brand-de Groot, subscriptions@gstaadlife.com, 033 748 88 74 "AvS" after the author of an article indicates the the text is based on material from the Anzeiger von Saanen. Contact the editor for more information.

GstaadLife 4 I 2019




The rustic chalet boasts 22 charmingly furnished hotel rooms. All have a spacious balcony, with guaranteed fresh mountain air and an unobstructed view of the 3,000-metre Niesehorn, Geltenhorn or Wasserngrat peaks. The cosy Alpine restaurant, with probably the most beautiful sun terrace in the Saanenland, is a treat for the palate. Menus, composed of regional and seasonal products, will leave you wanting more, in winter and summer. RESTAURANT ALPENLAND

Since 8 June 2019 guests will be able to

sample and enjoy the new cuisine phi- SUN TERRASSE losophy. The ground floor was conver- Seated on the sun terrace with its tet into an open space for relaxation and breathtaking view of the peaks, you fun, with a bar, lounge and restaurant. can enjoy delicious dishes from the The interplay of gnarled wood and pre- Alpenland Restaurant’s menu all day cious stone lends the space an Alpine long. From a luscious cheese fondue, RENTALS | ADMINISTRATION tasty | Alpenland beefburger or some and cosy atmosphere. A place for you to SALES THE ADRESS FOR YOUR HOME IN GSTAAD cakes, there’s something relax and unwind, and somewhere you home-made SINCE 1970. will want to return to time and again! for everyone. The Hotel Alpenland Restaurant serves Gschwendstrasse 2 | CH-3780 Gstaad Alpenland a selection of the finest traditional Tel. +41Hotel 33 748 45 50 | Fax. +41 33 748 45 51 5 Swiss dishes with a hint of internation- Hinterseestrasse info@gerax.ch | www.gerax.ch al flavour, from morning to evening. In CH – 3782 Lauenen bei Gstaad addition to Swiss classics, the menu +41 33 765 55 66 includes coq au vin, home-made potato hotel@alpenland.ch www.alpenland.ch gnocchi and other delicacies.


Sujet: Orchidee - 27.1.17

Sujet: Cheminee - 29.12.17


SALES | RENTALS | ADMINISTRATION SALES | RENTALS | ADMINISTRATION THE ADDRESS YOUR HOME IN GSTAAD THE ADRESS FOR FOR YOUR HOME IN GSTAAD SINCE 1970. SINCE 1970. Gschwendstrasse | CH-3780 Gstaad Gschwendstrasse 2 | 2CH-3780 Gstaad | Fax. Tel.Tel. +41+41 33 33 748748 45 45 50 50 | Fax. +41+41 33 33 748748 45 45 51 51 info@gerax.ch | www.gerax.ch info@gerax.ch | www.gerax.ch

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Book your appointment early for the curly moon cut! (See page 24)

GstaadLife 4 I 2019



SAANEN BANK MARKET VIEW Looking back at a positive year so far

Who would have predicted it? After painful losses across the board last year, the capital markets have already made up the lost ground in the first half of 2019. Equity markets have risen sharply and rewarded investors with impressive returns in the year to date. The capital markets currently seem unmoved by either the political or economic uncertainty. Central bank policy as the decisive factor

When it comes to investing, there is of course a thin line between good and bad performance. That has been impressively confirmed yet again in the past months. What lay behind this sudden shift? The answer resides – as has been the case with almost all major market sentiment reversals of the past ten years – in the monetary policy pursued by central banks. Until last year, the general view of investors was that the expansionary monetary policy, and growing money supply all around the world, was (at long last) coming to an end, allowing economies to slowly leave “crisis mode” behind. Far from it! The uncertainty as to how far the trade dispute between the US and China might escalate and


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the general slowdown of the world economy have triggered a radical change of course from central banks. Current speculation is not about if but when a rate cut will come. This monetary policy reversal – which should really give us cause for concern – was received euphorically on the markets and has resulted in handsome gains. Interest rate normalisation deferred indefinitely

The abandonment of the path towards normalisation will first and foremost hit traditional savers. Higher interest rates on savings accounts or bonds have probably once again been delayed for several years, and even maintaining purchasing power is becoming a challenge. For example, since the EUR/CHF exchange rate floor was removed, the yield on a ten-year Swiss Confederation bond has been around 0.20% per year at best. For the most part, it was even in negative territory. The interest rate is currently at -0.50%. There are now many reasons to suppose that the first generation familiar with the word “interest” only from their history books are currently growing up in Switzerland and other parts of Europe. That has already been the case in Japan for a long time.

Consequences for our investment policy

With many share indices already having made double-digit gains since January, it would be utopian to expect this trend to continue at the same pace throughout the year. Nevertheless, we are maintaining our preference for real values. In an environment of negative interest rates, we believe that blue-chip stocks with stable dividends offer the most attractive risk-return profile. It is worth waiting until the next “summer storm” on the markets, which is certainly on its way. We will also maintain the overweighting of gold and underweighting of bonds in our portfolios. Implications for your portfolio

Are you interested to know whether your portfolio is ready to deal with the challenges ahead? If so, the client advisers at SB Saanen Bank will be delighted to provide you with personalised advice. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time. SB SAANEN BANK AG

Courtesy of Ermitage


Within just ten weeks, the saltwater pool at Hotel Ermitage has been extended and the 40-year-old pool replaced by a plastic basin to hold the water.


he schedule was tight: at 1pm on Sunday 17 March, the last guests departed and five minutes later, the work started with the first refurbishment preparations. “On Monday morning at seven o’clock, the first construction workers arrived,” said David Romanato, director of the Ermitage Wellness & Spa Hotel since October 2018. “Then things really took off.” Ten weeks later, on Wednesday 29 May, the day before the handover, the last workers left the premises shortly before noon. A little later, the first guests arrived.

Happy with the successful refurbishment and the project running to time: Roman Gerber (technical director), Simone Wyssen (marketing director), Eveline Coretti (vice director), David Romanato (director)

Anita Moser



The new saltwater pool is made of polypropylene. In the background, the modernised lounge with a real-effect fire.

and installed on site with the latest saltwater pool technology. “Technology has come on in leaps and bounds over the past forty years,” said technical director, Roman Gerber. To ensure the saltwater is thoroughly purified, a completely new water treatment system with a filter and modern salt electrolysis is used. Four million francs

A new pool and state-of-the-art saltwater technology

In 2011, the hotel was closed for eight months for the largest conversion and extension in its history. In the spring of this year, the saltwater pool was completely renovated, expanding 20 square meters laterally and also externally, replacing the 40-year-old pool with a plastic basin. The pool was tailor-made by a special company in Gwatt near Thun

The whole interior of the saltwater pool has been redesigned with high-quality materials such as wood, glass and natural stone. A Thai wellness theme has inspired the new Banyan Lounge. The relaxation lounge, formerly the gym (which has a new location), is reserved exclusively for hotel guests. The walls are decorated with wooden carvings imported from Thailand. “The owners, the Lutz family, have a personal relationship with Thailand,

so this seemed a natural thing to do,” explains David Romanato. The owning family has invested over four million francs in the renovation and expansion works. As the hotel manager emphasised, wherever possible, local businesses were involved. David Romanato: In post since October

The Hotel Ermitage was built in 1955. In 1977, hoteliers Heiner Lutz and Laurenz Schmid bought and managed it. In 2014, they sold it to Heiner Lutz’s brother, Jürg Lutz, and his two sons, Julian and Ambros Lutz. This five star hotel employs around 100 people and since October 2018, David Romanato has been its manager. BASED ON AVS/ANITA MOSER TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON

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The Mermaid Swimming Course, available for children aged from 8 years onwards, makes every kids’ dream come true. From 2pm to 3pm and from 3pm to 4pm on 17, 24 and 31 July as well as on 7 and 14 August 2019, we meet at the outdoor pool – but don’t wait to book, there is limited availability! All equipment is provided and included in the cost of CHF 50 per child. Adults can become mermaids on Wednesday, 31 July and 7 August 2019. Book in advance to get your mermaid costume. GUIDED GROUP MEDITATION

On 17 August 2019, master Dr Ananda Kambli from India guides you towards transformation and pure health with a meditation at the Palace Spa followed by a private session on request. Please reserve your spot. Group size with a maximum of 7 persons, costs are CHF 50 per person or CHF 250 for a private lesson. DETOX BODY TREATMENT

Give yourself the gift of the new detox body treatment by Margy’s Monte Carlo. The products of Swiss-by-choice beauty expert Margie Lombard are developed and packed in Bulle. They contain pure substances produced in the body, imitated with Swiss biotechnology. Their body detox treatment of 50 minutes is available at CHF 190. YOGA IN THE PALACE GARDEN

Do your sun salutations in the idyllic Palace garden, surrounded by the pure beauty of our natural paradise. And if Shavasana wasn’t enough to cool you down, we recommend diving straight into our Olympic-size pool. Pure summer bliss!


From Gstaad to Rossinière, come and enjoy our lovely 50 minutes Alpine Glow body treatment. Through the use of locally sourced products and scents: Flowers from the Jardin des Monts Garden, honey and salt from Gstaad… we invite you to embark on sensory journeys of an authentic treatment from near and far. AQUAFIT SPINNING

Enjoy our 30 to 45 minutes sessions of Aquafit spinning in our swimming pools. An activity which improves blood circulation, stimulates your cardio system and improves your vitality. Reservation at the spa reception is required. CHF 40 per person, a minimum of 4 people is required. FOR RESERVATIONS, PLEASE CONTACT OUR PALACE SPA BY EMAIL: SPA@PALACE.CH OR BY PHONE: +41(0)33 748 58 90 BETWEEN 8.30AM AND 8PM.


DROUGHT IS PREYING ON THE SWISS FORESTS The summer of 2018 with extremely low rainfall has left its mark on the forest in ways that weren’t expected. Numerous silver firs have now withered, when these were thought to be “climate-proof”.

We’ve realised that silver firs are dying off,” says forester Thomas Studer, head of the Leberger forestry business in the canton of Solothurn. Around 30 percent of the silver firs, well over 1000 trees, had to be felled. Studer puts this down to the extreme lack of precipitation in

recent years. “The trees haven’t received as much water as they need. They’re almost dying of thirst,” according to his sobering conclusion. The silver fir was long considered “climate-proof” as its roots run relatively deep, but last summer was apparently too much for the trees. “We’ve done

nothing since last autumn but fell these dying trees in the forest,” said the forester. BASED ON AVS TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON

NO DEVELOPMENTS TO THE HUBELSTRASSE AS ORIGINALLY PLANNED The development plans for the Hubelstrasse have suffered the consequences of Institut the Le Rosey withdrawing its campus project and the administrative court of Bern now disallowing the hotel zone here. According to the federal court, the planned developments are too extensive to comply with the current planning permission.


ack on 5 April 2013, the municipal assembly approved the expansion of the Hubelstrasse, including the Institute Le Rosey’s proposed Erli campus. This went through with a large majority. As part of a local planning review on 11 March 2011, the court had already clearly approved the rezoning of a former holiday home plot to create a hotel zone. In addition, this hotel zone was granted an extension of 800m2. Plot 2453 was earmarked for a new hotel where the former Lengnau holiday home once stood. However, a resident took their complaint to the administrative court and this was upheld in December 2016. The losing parties (the municipality of Saanen and the owners of the property) were disappointed, but accepted the verdict and decided not to

refer it to the Federal Court. At the same time, Institut Le Rosey withdrew the Erli project. The plans to develop the Hubelstrasse were not affected by this and were strictly upheld by the local authority. “The Hubelstrasse is too narrow to meet the needs of today’s agriculture, houses that are permanently occupied, second homes and slow traffic,” noted former construction manager, Adrian Landmesser. The opponents have won

Helvetia Nostra and two opponents took their objections to the Federal Supreme Court and they were upheld. “The municipality does not have the right to carry out expansion works that will affect access roads more than necessary”, wrote the Federal Court in its ruling. Based on the official report by the

Civil Engineering Office for the Canton of Bern, the planned expansion works on the Hubelstrasse were deemed to be too extensive in relation to the current planning permission,” concluded the Federal Supreme Court. Moderate improvements

The municipality of Saanen has accepted the decision. “The municipality of Saanen’s planned expansion of the Hubelstrasse is off the table,” confirms mayor Toni von Grünigen when asked to comment. On the other hand, minor improvements can go ahead such as upgrades to passing places or bridges “a little like on the Turbachstrasse,” according to von Grünigen. BASED ON AVS/ANITA MOSER TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON

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J. KRISHNAMURTI IN SAANEN, 1961–1985 The Museum der Landschaft Saanen is hosting an exhibition this summer – 13 July to 22 September – on the spiritual philosopher and educator J. Krishnamurti. It will highlight his work and long association with Saanen, where he gave public talks for thousands of people from many parts of the world every summer from 1961 to 1985.


he depth of Krishnamurti’s insight has been acknowledged by many philosophers, psychologists, religious people and serious inquirers in every field. He was adamant that what was important was his message and not ‘the speaker’. The truth he was talking about could only be discovered by each person. He saw his teaching as a mirror held up to the human condition. His work is a remarkable inquiry into the universal human psyche, its destructive aspects as well as humanity’s deep potential. While he felt that a religious mind is required for this potential to come to fruition, for

him this did not imply any sectarian association or doctrinal stance. According to Krishnamurti we have been programmed, conditioned to live in conflict. Most of the problems emerge from illusions generated by the accumulated psychological past. The central illusion is that there is a psychological agent or self. But there is no separate agency, there is no thinker. There is simply conditioned reaction that is given continuity by the cumulative momentum of experience, knowledge, language, education and tradition. The human condition can be radically changed if we have the intention, if we observe very clearly

without any prejudice, without any direction, without any motive, what we are. Such first-hand inquiry is the state of meditation, the essence of the religious mind, with its beauty, compassion, intelligence and silence. For Krishnamurti, only in such silence, in the total absence of the psychological self, can truth reveal itself in timelessness and in our actual living. Naturally, an exhibition of this kind can offer only a glimpse into a vast perspective on the human condition. But even a glimpse of a remarkable vista can be enough to change a person. C G HERR AND J GOMEZ-RODRIGUEZ

12. Juli Gstaadlife


J. Krishnamurti in Saanen 1961 – 1985


“When the me is absent, totally, there is beauty.”

& Market Saanen

J. Krishnamurti

Photo: Rameshwar Das

3 August 2019 · 9am – 5pm 14 July – 22 September 2019 Tuesdays – Sundays 14.00 – 17.00

F&B and music until 11pm Dorf- und Bahnhofstrasse 3792 Saanen

The Museum in Saanen is hosting a multiple language exhibition on the spiritual philosopher and educator J. Krishnamurti. It will highlight his work and long association with Saanen, where he gave public talks for thousands of people every summer from 1961 to 1985. On the following days the museum also hosts a short video followed by dialogue z z z z z


Kulturkommission Dorf Saanen und Musikschule Saanenland-Obersimmental

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20. July: 16.30–18.00 21. July: 15.00–16.30 10. August: 16.30–18.00 25. August: 15.00–16.30 08. September: 15.00–16.30




The new façade play area and external redesign of the Berghaus on the Rinderberg are proof that the BDG has taken the first step as part of a large project to create an experience for summer tourists through design features.


ompleting this first step confirm that the BDG is concentrating on making the Rinderberg an attractive gateway to the area for summer tourists. The building has been redecorated inside and out and blends well with the landscape. The interior is much better protected from snow and rain, thanks to new wooden walls. Young guests will also find entertainment behind the Berghaus. A multi-level playground has been added to the new façade. Children of three or over can climb to an upper level using climbing nets. There’s also space for parents to sit when accompanying their children. A covered slide promises an adventurous ride while yet another slide allows children to descend together. With striking decorations, the façade playground has taken on a character of its own. New ideas to make the Rinderberg an adventurous mountain in

the summer are already on the table. These include a hiking trail suitable for prams going over to the Hornberg and a viewing platform, offering an all-round panorama. BASED ON AVS/JENNY STERCHI TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON

Jenny Sterchi



BEE COLONIES: LOSSES NOT AS BAD AS EXPECTED Over the winter of  2018/2019, 13.6% of bee colonies dwindled in Switzerland. In addition, 12.1% of colonies were too weak after the winter to develop into worker colonies.


he hot summer of 2018 confused the beekeeping calendar. The fight against the Varroa mite was not as effective for a while due to the high daytime temperatures. A very late regional honeydew flow caused the bees additional stress. So, many beekeepers expected higher losses over the winter. In fact, at 25.7%, the loss is

about 2.5 percentage points higher than the previous year, but still mediocre in comparison to the last ten years. This was the outcome of the Apisuisse annual survey of 1,246 beekeepers across Switzerland, who looked after a total of 20,000 bee colonies in 1908 apiaries before last winter.

There are great differences between cantons. At altitudes over 1000 meters, it is a known fact that the strain placed on bee colonies by the Varroa mite is lower than in the central plateau, which could explain the lower levels of loss in the mountainous cantons. BASED ON AVS TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON

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The ice rink and car park complex are in need of renovation. So, Eisbahn AG Gstaad is in contact with the local council and the people in the area who use the facilities. Up for discussion, among others, is the renovation of the grandstand and also an extension of Unter-Gstaad car park.


hat will happen next to the rink area in the centre of Gstaad? The Eisbahn AG Gstaad board of directors informed the numerous shareholders of the plans at the general meeting in the Hotel Bernerhof. President Stefan Romang described the rink’s past year as rather quiet, despite the fact that onsite activities had increased in comparison to the previous year. This is due to good organisation by the operator, the Sportzentrum Gstaad. Also, collaborations with the municipality of Saanen have proved to be an asset as the municipality is the leaseholder of the site.

Renovation of the area

“The fact that the municipality now manages the project Les Arts Gstaad separately from Eisbahn AG, means we’ve been able to put more energy

into tackling our own projects.” Both major and minor repairs to the rink and a renovation of the grandstand are up for discussion, said Romang. Next, there’s the question of expanding the underground car park. “20 years after the last major renovation of the facilities, these are natural steps to take.” The board of directors has asked the partners involved about their concerns. These partners include HC Gstaad-Saanenland, the Beach Volleyball Major Series Gstaad, the private school Le Rosey, the Swiss Open Tennis Tournament and Gstaad-Saanenland Tourismus. The board of directors for the shareholders and the municipal council have already summarised their wishes as part of an overall concept. “Now, we can get on board with our partners,” said the president at the Annual General Meeting. It’s

also important to make sure that the projects don’t interfere with events. Right of first refusal to parking spaces

“When the Unter-Gstaad car park was expanded in 2005,” said Romang, introducing a separate agenda item, “Eisbahn AG didn’t have enough funds to acquire its own parking spaces.” In the meantime, the financial situation of the organisation looks better and they want to invest their money in a meaningful way. The shareholders unanimously granted the board of directors the right of first refusal to purchase up to two parking areas within the next four years. The annual financial statements closed with a profit of CHF 20,000, half as much as in 2017. According to cashier Jürg Horn, the reason for this was the complete renovation of the ticket office. Eisbahn AG currently shows a high level of equity on its balance sheet, with almost 85 percent. BASED ON AVS/SARA TRAILOVIC TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON

Ice rink with a view

Sara Trailovic




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For the past five years, the Hotel Gstaad Palace has been financing the afforestation of the Schafwald on the Oberbort. The well-maintained trees are now fit for future.


early twenty years ago, Storm Lothar ripped through the forest, creating an aisle in the southern part of the Schafwald in Gstaad and leaving an ugly picture of destruction. In June, a group of six people strolled up to the protected forest and picnic area. Amongst them were the forester in charge, Daniel Bütschi, the director of the Gstaad Palace, Andrea Scherz, and a representative from the cantonal office for forestry and the divisional manager for forestry regulation, Christina Zumbrunn.

up to the Schafwald. It’s a beautiful spot, and a great vantage point over Saanenland and the hotel.” Maintenance work

“Nature would have regenerated by itself, albeit much more slowly,” informed Christina Zumbrunn during the visit. Daniel Bütschi has coordinated the maintenance work of the last five years together with the local forestry company, Hefti and Ryter AG. “Trees were planted where there was minimal natural rejuvenation. We filled in the gaps left by the Lothar.”

A sustainable anniversary project

“It was a peaceful and beautiful project,” said Andrea Scherz. To celebrate the 100th anniversary, in addition to festive events, he wanted to invest money in something sustainable for the entire region. The connection to his hotel was also important to him. “My grandfather liked to hike

Equipped for climate change

How is climate change visible in Saanenland? Christina Zumbrunn says: “In addition to the rise in temperature, we’re experiencing more and more extreme weather events like storms.” Some plants are better equipped to cope with these changes

compared to others. For example, as the native conifer has a shallow root system, a pure spruce forest would be vulnerable to drought. That’s why trees like the sycamore have been cultivated during reforestation as it has deeper roots. A picnic area that invites you to linger

At the lower edge of the forest, Andrea Scherz commissioned an attractive picnic area, which has been built and maintained by Mike Hauswirth. For safety reasons, there’s no hearth, according to the owner of Mike Hauswirth Natursteinarbeiten GmbH. “The slope is exposed to the sun from morning to evening and the fire risk would be far too great.” His family has owned the afforested area for several generations. BASED ON AVS/SARA TRAILOVIC TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON

From left: Christina Zumbrunn (Forestry Office, BE), Andrea Scherz (Palace Hotel owner), Benz Hauswirth (forest owner), Daniel Bütschi (forester), Mike and Mara Hauswirth (forest owner)

Sara Trailovic



GstaadLife 4 I 2019



ALPINE WINE Pascal Rittener-Ruff has spent the last couple of years in bringing winegrowing and winemaking to the Pays-d’Enhaut. The project is all but straightforward, however Rittener-Ruff is determined to continue and receives a lot of support from the community. Pascal Rittener-Ruff, thank you for meeting with Gstaadlife. Can you tell us a little about your connection with the Pays-d’Enhaut?

I was born and brought up in Château-d’Oex. I completed my education and professional forestry training here then moved to live and work in Villeneuve and Lausanne. After training in insurance, I came back here as the regional manager for Vaudoise Insurance. I also spent a few years as an administrative board member at the Balthus Foundation. What gave you the idea of growing vines in Château-d’Oex?

I was motivated by the challenge. I take a keen interest in viticulture and I love nature, manual work, creating and landscaping. Your domain is located at an altitude of just over 1000 metres. Did this influence your choice of grape varieties?

Absolutely! With global warming we have gained 200 metres in altitude for planting vines. I actually chose varieties that can be planted up to 1100-1200 metres. These originate from the North Rhine region and were developed over 100 years ago at the German Freiburg Institute and also in north-eastern France. These varieties ripen and sweeten earlier and are highly disease-resistant, with 100% of the crop being used for wine production. I’m inspired by countries like Denmark and Poland, which also face tough growing conditions. Did you choose varieties that are more frost-resistant?

Not particularly. Riesling or Chardonnay grow well in the Pays-d’Enhaut. There’s a lot of Riesling in Al-


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sace yet temperatures there can drop to minus 15-20C. Under-ripening is more of a concern. We need to ensure that sugar levels are high enough for the grapes to be harvested in October. Riesling usually needs until the end of October to ripen but in this area it ripens by the end of September. Do you have plans for expansion?

Initially I wanted to cultivate 4000 square metres of vines below my chalet as an experimental project. I was in partnership with the president of the Swiss Oenologists; Agroscope, the Federal Research Station, was also involved. The Vaud authorities, however, refused to give me permission to do this. For reasons of quality control, they restrict wine growing above an altitude of 700 metres to a surface of 200 square metres. You aren’t allowed to plant vines on your own land? That is hard to understand!

These are old laws to prevent overproduction in areas where the wine quality cannot be guaranteed. Although Switzerland has no import restrictions on foreign wines, the canton upholds these laws which prevent local production. I personally disagree with this, especially since Switzerland imports wine from high-altitude Argentinian vineyards, which have questionable production methods. I follow strict ecological principles and professional standards, yet I am denied permission. Do other cantons have similar laws or is it just Vaud?

Some cantons allow 400 square metres of vines at this altitude and are prepared to consider special requests for greater surfaces.

Are you permitted to sell your wine?

I’m allowed to market my wine but, as I mentioned earlier, I’m banned from planting vines on more than 200 square metres of my land. My vineyard is currently 400 square metres and, even though I have told the authorities that my vines are not for commercial wine production, they still insist that I have to remove 200 square metres. Personally, I find this attitude dictatorial and absurd. I read recently that other people in the Pays-d’Enhaut are planting vines. Can you explain this trend?

Throughout my 3-year dispute with the Canton of Vaud, people have supported my project. They like my wine and they find the canton’s attitude to be unreasonable. So, planting more vines is a way of manifesting support for the project and uniting people from different backgrounds and social classes. It’s a wonderful inter-personal experience.

You’ve already taken this dispute to the Cantonal Court?

Yes. I am in dispute with the Canton of Vaud and this has turned into a legal battle, with specialists and experts involved. We’re currently appealing to the Federal Administrative Court. If we win, the old law will be abolished. If we lose, I’ll be confined to 200 square metres or try to relaunch the project in a neighbouring region like Gruyère or Saanenland. Do you make your wine yourself?

I use a specialist winemaker for this grape variety. I wanted to show the sceptics that they were wrong and the outcome has exceeded my expectations. Professional wine tasters have vouched for the quality of my wine and I’ve had very positive feedback. It is 12.3% proof and has a nice balance – residually sweet and very aromatic. My 400 square metres have yielded nearly 300 bottles. Now that the trend has caught on, we – myself and the other local residents who have each planted the maximum permitted area of 200 square metres – have a total area of 3000 square metres of vineyards, stretching from Rossinière to Rougemont. Have your friends used the same grape variety?

Yes, thanks to my 13 years’ experience and proven track record, I am qualified to act as their consultant.

Courtesy of Pascal Rittener-Ruff

Vineyard with a view in Château-d’Oex

Could you join forces with other viticulturists to form a winemaking cooperative?

No. That would be illegal. Officially, everyone works independently but recruits outside help with the vinification. Our aim is to establish a network of home growers. Your project has attracted a lot of publicity on Swiss television and in the local newspapers. Has this helped? Do people think it’s a bit of a David and Goliath story?

The publicity has really raised awareness and helped the general public understand the problems I am facing. Issues related to winemaking creates solidarity and I get a lot of support on social networks like Facebook and Instagram. The scale of the publicity is a reaction to the attitude of the authorities. The press recently got hold of a letter sent by experts from the canton’s vineyard registry to the minister of economy warning that, if they did not ban my project, it could lead to a catastrophic wine surplus that could destabilise the wine market! 24 Heures told me that the resulting press story was the second most-read article in French-speaking Switzerland. So yes, it’s a bit of a David and Goliath story. Are you optimistic about winning this battle?

According to my lawyer, we may well lose and the old laws will remain in force. However, at least we will have proved that wine can be produced at this altitude. If I lose, I’ll have to sacrifice half my vineyard and be content with 200 square metres. However, vinification will continue in the Pays-d’Enhaut and we could possibly ask Bern for support; the Bernese are prepared to listen.

interesting facets for scientific research and Agroscope would like to be involved. A local wine would complement the promotion of other local products, like our cheeses. People from the Saanen region have approached me about growing vines. Given the growing interest, I won’t be surprised if I my project gets the go-ahead from somewhere else. How can people who are interested get in touch with you?

It’s easy to find me on social media. Has this adventure left you feeling bitter or are you happy with your achievements?

I’m not bitter. The project has rallied support. Emotions run high when it comes to local projects in the Pays-d’Enhaut and winemaking seems to have united everyone in the region. We’re surrounded by enthusiastic people from different political backgrounds and social classes. In some ways, I can understand the Canton’s protectionist stance. It takes time to change mindsets. Some areas have already changed and it will eventually happen here. I see that you’ve called your wine “La Cuvée de la Discorde” – “The divisive vintage”.

Yes, the team at MEO came up with the name. They offered me several design options and I chose the simple line-drawing of a cracked wine glass incorporating an outline of the Gumfluh mountain to depict “La Cuvée de la Discorde”. The motif is beautifully silk-screened onto the bottle. It’s a little poke at the canton, highlighting our disagreement with the Lausanne authorities and our determination to go ahead with the project.

Do you think that Saanenland is more open on this subject than the Pays-d’Enhaut?

Gstaadlife wishes you the very best of luck for the future. It would be great to have vineyards producing local wines in the Pays-d’Enhaut.

Yes, I think the other cantons are more open. My project has many


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Based on the 17 UN Sustainability Goals, The Alpina Gstaad hosted its first exchange platform on Whit Monday. Young entrepreneurs and guests listened to exciting lectures and discussed their ideas on the topic of “life underwater”.


veryone is as quiet as a mouse in the cinema at The Alpina in Gstaad. The Swedish adventurer, Johan Ernst Nilson, is the focus of all the attention. Full of strength and charisma, he tells of his excursions to the most remote corners of the earth. He shows pictures of his ascent of Mount Everest and speaks of the shock he experienced at the mountains of waste he found there. Without further ado, he raised CHF 700,000 and organised a multiyear clean-up operation, involving 200 volunteers. Several tons of rubbish, including a million bottles of water were brought down from the highest mountain. These have been used to create works of art. Johan Ernst Nilson is just one of several speakers who discussed sustainability at the luxury hotel this past weekend, seeking solutions to the many environmental problems that are plaguing planet earth. An idea takes shape

Nachson Mimran, son of hotel owner Jean-Claude Mimran, has been work-

ing on sustainability for years. “Because I grew up here, I’m extremely connected to Saanenland.” In his youth, the countryside was a giant playground and he learned to handle natural resources with care. As an adult, he worked for several years in the family business in Africa, but came back to Gstaad when The Alpina was built. “After the opening, I realised that the hotel could be much more than just a luxury hotel." It could be a platform for incredible ideas where guests and locals can communicate and learn from one another. For example, Nachson Mimran imagines a dialogue between local farmers and farmers from other mountain regions. A series with different topics

The event brought together young people with initiative. They networked and shared ideas on sustainability. “It was very easy to get people to Gstaad,” said Mimran. As a result, he speaks of the wonderful area that has helped him to advertise his projects. People from his wide network also came to The speakers from the first sustainability conference at The Alpina Gstaad: sitting from the left Nachum Mimran, Sierra Quitiquit and Johan Ernst Nilson; standing from the left Nate Petre, Cameron Saul, Collin Foord, Oliver Wayman and Grant Kendzior

support him. “There was actor Michael Trevino, supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio and free-skier Sierra Quitiquit,” he happily announced. The topic of sustainability didn’t put anyone off. On the contrary: “Me and my circle of friends talk about this very often and it’s important to me.” He also runs specific projects: To.org is a foundation maintained by the Mimran brothers and it works on projects like alternative energy, nutrition, medical centres in emerging economies, refugee development programmes, education and more. No contradiction to luxury?

Sustainability doesn’t just mean readily available water or healthy food, but above all, fair wages, clean production processes and the appreciation of the population in the producing countries. Many Gstaad holidaymakers have global companies that operate in emerging markets. Is it a contradiction to talk about sustainability in a luxury hotel? Brenda Zimmermann, director of marketing and partnerships at The Alpina, explains: “Our job is to provide a platform where these topics are tabled and an open and honest exchange can take place. What guests go on to do with the insights they’ve gleaned is something we can’t influence, unfortunately.” However, there’s hope in her statement in so far as the seeds of sustainability that have been sewn will grow and influence the management style of the companies involved. BASED ON AVS/BLANCA BURRI





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DEADLY DEBRIS ON COW PASTURES Items that are carelessly discarded on meadows and pastures can end up in animal feed and cause internal damage to animals. The precise number of animals that are actually affected or even die is unknown, with the number of unreported cases unclear and autopsies usually too expensive to carry out.


oreign bodies in cows’ forestomachs are common, according to Christian Gerspach, head of bovine medicine at the Animal Hospital in Zurich. This is because, in contrast to horses, sheep or goats, cows aren’t selective when grazing as they swallow entire tufts of grass. Particularly when cows ingest mown food quickly, foreign objects hidden in the grass can enter their forestomach (one of their four stomachs). In the vast majority of cases, the debris are pieces of wire, nails or other metal objects, says Gerspach. These can pierce the stomach wall and cause inflammation.

saved. Otherwise it has to be put down. Before a cow is referred to the animal hospital due to ingesting a suspected foreign body, the farm veterinarian passes a magnet through the cow’s mouth to try to capture the foreign metal body. If it sticks to the magnet, this means the item is in the reticulum and won’t usually affect the cow’s digestion or health. Often, cows can be helped using this simple method, according to Gerspach. On farms where foreign bodies are commonplace, farmers give magnets to cows as a precautionary measure. Cans kill

Magnets to the rescue

X-rays and ultrasound examinations are sometimes used to determine the exact location of a foreign body inside a cow. On occasions, these items can find their way into the spleen, the liver or even the heart, explains Gerspach. If the infection is local, the animal can usually be

Unfortunately, magnets don’t help when it comes to aluminium due to cans thrown away on pastures and meadows. An entire aluminium can would not be quite so dangerous for a cow, mainly because it could barely swallow a whole can. However, it’s the splinters that cause the danger and these are created when a mower cuts

through the can or the sharp blades of farming machines shred the can. Farmers usually can’t see these cans, especially in tall grass. Aluminium cans are one of the most dangerous objects when casually discarded. This is because their splinters are sharp and small. Also, an aluminium isn’t magnetic so can’t be retrieved using a magnet. Splinters from plastics like PET plastic bottles or fireworks are other possible causes of internal injuries. Parts of plastic bags ingested by the animals can clog the feeding tubes around the forestomach. Not every cow suffering from ingesting a foreign body will make it to the animal hospital, because investigations and operations are expensive for farmers. Although littering isn’t always a proven cause of cow illnesses and even deaths, veterinarians support the campaign for litter-free meadows on farms. BASED ON AVS TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON

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In addition to defending champion Matteo Berrettini and Roberto Bautista Agut, last year’s opponents in the final, other well-known players will be stepping forwards for the imminent J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad. Innovations to the structure of the tournament’s programme promise a great week of tennis for all spectators.


his year, tennis fans from the Saanen region will give undivided attention to the gentlemen on the clay court. Among the top players are a number who’ve already been seen in action in previous years on the Gstaad Center Court. Well-known names

Will last year’s finals be repeated? This might very well happen, as both last year’s tournament winner Matteo Berrettini (ATP 22) and his previous opponent in the finals, Roberto Bautista Agut (ATP 20), will join the top players at this year’s J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad. Berrettini, just 22 years old, is highly motivated to play in the Gstaad tournament. At the ATP tournament in Stuttgart, he won on grass in two final sets. At the French Open, he met the Spaniard Pablo Andujar (ATP 82), who won the Gstaad tournament in 2014 and will be there again this year. The young Italian beat him in four sets. With old hands Fernando Verdasco (ATP 34) and Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ATP 101), the Spaniards are in a good position in Gstaad. Their compatriot Jaume Munar (ATP 88) moved into the quarter-finals in Marrakech and also made life difficult for the Croatian, Borna Coric, in the Monte-Carlo tournament. New names

Among those taking part are undoubtedly the stars of tomorrow. The only 20-year-old, Frenchman Corentin Moutet (ATP 102), attracted attention when he fought his way into the third round at the Grandslam tournament in Paris.


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Last year, the Italian, Matteo Berrettini (right) was victorious. However, his former opponent Roberto Bautista Agut (left) will leave no stone unturned this year to make it to the final again. Maybe they’ll battle it out again in this tournament.




An attractive programme

On the first day of the tournament, Saturday 20 July, a silent party will once more take place in the tournament village. For anyone who doesn’t remember, every visitor gets a set of headphones and can choose their own party music without disturbing the neighbourhood. It’s also the staff party for all who contribute to the tournament’s success. Of course, all other visitors are welcome too. The Family Day is another wellknown event, taking place on a Tuesday in the tournament week. This year, it will be on 23 July and is organised in collaboration with the Association of Swiss Tennis. Families can buy a comprehensive fixed-price ticket. In addition to the matches taking place on the courts, exciting games, competitions and autograph signing sessions will be part of the action.

the ladies will take to the stands and be among the visitors benefitting from the new programme. At the end, a surprise awaits: The day will round off with a musical finale in the tennis village. The second innovation to the tournament programme also promises to be exciting and entertaining. Starting from the Monday of the tournament week, players or other personalities from the tennis world will be interviewed daily in the Tennis Village. The commentators’ two voices are hopefully well known to the long-standing tournament visitors. Official presenters Davis Lemos and Christoph Bussard will ask all the right questions to get interesting comments and information from their interviewees.

Ladies Day on Wednesday

A new highlight to the programme is Ladies Day. On Wednesday 24 July,



The world’s elite of beach volleyball have barely had time to breathe after the World Cup in Hamburg.


aybe now’s the best time for a rematch? The Swiss ladies, Tanja Hüberli and Nina Betschart, played their way to bronze in the world beach volleyball championship. They came in behind the Australians, Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy. The two ladies from ‘down under’ had already caused problems in the Swiss camp in the second round. They came in behind duo Heidrich/Vergé-Dépré in three sets in the World Cup tournament. World Cup surprises

The jubilee edition of the Swatch Major Gstaad promises the best in sporting excitement. In Hamburg, the recently crowned World Champions, Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy (RUS) took the title with consistently strong performances. Second-placed Germans Clemens Wickler and Julius Thole surprisingly knocked out the world’s top-ranked player combination of Sørum/Mol in the semi-final. All three teams will play in Gstaad. Alongside them, many other top teams will be fighting for good positions. Not surprisingly, the tournaments are all about the ladies. The Canadians

Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes won the final in a rather cool Hamburg in two sets. Last year, they were the winners of the Gstaad tournament. A new match and a new stroke of luck!

Tanja Hüberli and Nina Betschart can count on the support of local spectators at the tournament in Gstaad and the same goes for Anouk Vergé-Dépré and Joana Heidrich plus Laura Caluori and Dunja Gerson. If Kim Huber and Melina Hübscher pass the qualifiers, they’ll be the fourth Swiss women’s team. The Swiss men’s teams of Quentin Métral and Yves Haussener, Nico Beeler and Marco Krattiger plus Mirco Gerson and Adrian Heidrich can also hopefully benefit from the local setting. Michiel Zandbergen and Gabriel Kissling could be the fourth team to qualify for the main field. Great perspectives

In addition to many sporting attractions, events supporting the tournament also provides great entertainment. The organisers are fully relying on entertainment by the two Swiss artists, Loco Escrito and Bastian Baker.

Author Maggi Kunz provides an entertaining look back over the 20 years of the beach volleyball tournament in Gstaad in her anniversary book. As a co-founder of the tournament, she’s been involved since the very beginning. Reliable sponsors

There’s good reason for the special atmosphere at the Gstaad tournament. For one, the tournament’s committee members have been involved for many years, some from the very beginning. The ambience reflects the spirit of solidarity and perpetual enjoyment. On the other hand, the organisers have been well supported by sponsors and partners for many years. Without sponsors such as Swatch, Coop and Red Bull, a tournament of this size would be almost impossible to run, according to tournament director Ruedi Kunz. Also, the Saanen municipality has supported the project from the word go. Finally, over 500 helpers lend a hand every year at the Swatch Major Gstaad. BASED ON AVS/JENNY STERCHI TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON

Last preparations on the side courts before the 20th instalment of the tournament begins.

Jenny Sterchi




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EMILIE TSCHANZ RIDES THE WAVES ALL OVER THE WORLD Emilie Tschanz comes from Mannried and attends grammar school in Gstaad. In her free time, the 16-year-old is constantly battling with the wind. This spring, she’ll take part in the European Championship and will also be at this summer’s World Cup.


he wind ruffles Emilie Tschanz’s hair, she leans right back over her boat as the waves splash her from behind. Then, she whizzes across the lake in no time at all. This is what the sailor’s everyday life is like when attending a training camp or battling it out in a regatta. I met her in the simple setting of a boardroom, where she talked about her passion. A true fairy tale

The young female athlete tells of how she attended a beginner course at the Gstaad Yacht Club (GYC) on Lake Thun when she was eleven. “I just wanted to try something new, I wanted to grab the opportunity.” Rightly so. “I really liked it and it wasn’t as expensive as I thought.” The water and wind fascinated her and she became a regular visitor. In the second year, she was asked by a replacement coach why she’d chosen sailing. “I have a lot of fun,” the girl with the copper-blond hair replied. The joy and the great ease with which she sets sail impressed the coach. He suggested that she should take her sailing a little more seriously. A week later, she took part in a camp. “I started in the bottom group, but by the end of the week, I’d reached the top.” Her clear, firm voice wavers a little when she talks about her career, which sounds like a fairy tale. Her first regatta was soon to follow, then her first Swiss championship and an opportunity to train with the German-Swiss team. “Of course, that’s what I wanted!”, she said, looking back. When she turned 15, she changed her boat class from an Opti-


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mist to a Laser 4.7. After getting used to the new size of the boat, she was invited to the Talent Scout event. “I was surprised to be even invited. The second big surprise was that I was immediately accepted onto the national team.” Last winter, numerous training events and regattas followed. The results on the leader board showed that Emilie Tschanz already qualified in her first year on the National Team for the European Championship in Hyère (France). Since the competitions that followed also turned out well for her, she achieved another ca-

reer highlight: from 16 to 23 August, she’ll travel to the World Championships in Kingston (Canada). “After a lot of hard training and long hours on windswept lakes, a dream has come true for me.” “The cold is the hardest” When Tschanz sails, her long loose hair is tied back in a bun and her eyes protected behind black sunglasses. The rest of her is covered under a 10mm-thick neoprene layer. She wears a grey life jacket over the top of this. Her hands are protected with grooming gloves. “Sometimes

Inspiration for the family

Emilie Tschanz started sailing relatively late. “I was eleven. Most of the people I sail with today started at Emilie Tschanz flies across the water.

16 years old and already going to the World Championships: the sailor Emilie Tschanz

Blanca Burri

we spend up to ten hours on the water. Dealing with the cold is probably the hardest thing in sailing.” Even with snow and rain well into low altitudes, the athlete doesn’t stop training on Lake Thun. There's another dimension to the race: depending on the wind conditions, it's never clear how many races will take place on any given day. Sometimes it's two, sometimes three. Each race lasts about an hour. “This isn’t for people who are the nervous type.” We only know just before the race starts that we’re about to compete. It’s also important that the athletes switch off immediately after the race and forget about it. “We have to be able to forget a bad race immediately so that we can fully concentrate on sailing the next one.”

seven.” In general, her family members don’t have a background in water sports. Her father comes from Blankenburg and her mother from Canada. The family has always lived in Obersimmental. “My parents are my biggest fans and they think it's a great sport.” Tschanz would like to inspire her two younger siblings. “But so far with only moderate success,” she confesses. For her, the feeling of whizzing over the waves and facing the wind is simply indescribable.


English is the language of sailing

Most winter camps take place in the Sailing Centre near Barcelona. “This place is the best equipped and the wind conditions are usually optimal. Days when we don’t train are rare.” The base is just 20 minutes from the airport. The accommodation is right by the sea. Also, in Spain, English is the language spoken for sailing. “At the regattas, all instructions and conversations between friends are in English.” That’s not all: “Since the Southern Europeans don’t speak German very well and we aren’t so good at French, we speak English in the National Team too. Everyone’s good at this.” It’s a great help to Emilie Tschanz that her mother’s native language is English.

School and sport

School is the biggest challenge for the young athlete. She visits grammar school in Gstaad. With many competitive young skiers, the school is accustomed to teaching young athletes. “Because I take part in a sport that’s not native to the Saanen region, it’s rather special.” Of course, care is taken to hold training camps during the holidays. Nevertheless, the girl from Mannried missed 50 school days last year. “I often study when travelling,” she says. During the training camps, time is only allocated for homework if the weather is too poor for training on the water. Otherwise, Emilie Tschanz’s day starts at 6.30am and ends at 9pm. Who’d have the energy for studying after that? “Still, I try to spend half an hour every day.” Every muscle counts

The physical demands of sailing are significant. “You use every muscle,” laughs the friendly sailor. This also means many hours of strength and endurance training and recovery time. “That’s all,” she says and closes the conversation. It’s natural for her that training is a part of the sport.


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Glacier 3000 continues to expand its network of pistes. Thanks to a new 265-metre long tunnel, the Pierres Pointes Piste is to reopen.


or over 30 years, Pierres Pointes was the highlight for ski-crazy freaks. The piste from Pierres Pointes to Col du Pillon was open from the 60s, offering a slope of up to 86%. In 1999, it was closed. Glacier 3000 wants to reopen this piste for the winter of 2020/21. “We want to expand the piste network. Skiers don't come to the glacier for the train ride, but for the best snow conditions and interesting pistes,” explains Bernhard Tschannen, CEO of Glacier 3000.

An objection

When setting up the project, Glacier 3000 deliberately chose a variant that had little impact on nature. “The tunnel aperture can hardly be seen from below,” indicates Tschannen. Pro Natura placed an objection at the launch of the project. “We’re in the middle of negotiations and hope to find a solution soon,” informs the managing director. If everything

goes according to plan, the first winter sportsmen will soon be skiing through the tunnel. These innovations on the Glacier will cost CHF 2.2m, which also includes a cavern for a snow groomer during tunnel construction. BASED ON AVS/BLANCA BURRI TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON



A connecting tunnel

Just below the Diablerets Cabane, a 265-metre long tunnel will be built for this very purpose. It connects the Martisberg piste with the descent to the Col du Pillon. Skiers will glide through the 2.4-metre wide and 3-metre high tunnel on a ski surface made of plastic. The two-kilometre piste to the Col du Pillon is only suitable for good skiers because it still has an extreme gradient of up to 86%.



A piste for freeriders

“The downhill will continue to offer many thrills,” promises Bernhard Tschannen. The first day of a snowfall, it’s well-secured, but not prepared. So, after a snowfall, you’ll ski through knee-deep, fresh snow. This will continue to appeal to freeriders who’ve been on the Pierres Pointes up to now.


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AvS/Flo Schmid





Mission accomplished for Nostromino, the brand-new Wally Nano MK11 007. There could be no better way to test its qualities than the 2019 edition of the Bol d’Or Mirabaud, which will probably remain in sailing history books for the tough, stormy conditions that hit the fleet.


hristened the day before its debut at the Bol d’Or Mirabaud 2019, Nostromino is owned by Sir Andrew Cook, an Englishman living in Switzerland, who also owns Nostromo, a 100-foot sloop designed by the late naval architect Ed Dubois. Sir Andrew chose the 81st edition of the world's most important inland lake regatta as the opening race for his new boat, captained by Sweden’s former Finn Gold Cup winner Thomas Lundqvist and teamed with Danish triple Olympic medallist Jesper Bank, Dutch builder Joop Doomernik, UK’s John Archer, multihulls’ expert Bertrand Geiser and Swiss artist Anthony Bannwart. But he surely would not expect Nostromino’s debut to be so tough. After a start with light south-westerly breeze, followed by a pleasant afternoon, gusts exceeding 50 knots blew over the water, bringing hail and very poor visibility. 212 boats quit the race, many were dismasted and several capsized. A number of sailors fell overboard. Sir Andrew remembers the storm: “In 60 years of sailing, I have never known a storm so violent and so sudden. We knew something nasty was coming when the orange warning lights on the coast started flashing, but I never expected a hurricane. One moment we were afloat on a flat calm with good visibility, the next we saw a grey mist racing towards us. We had less than a minute to get the sails in before the wall of wind, water, rain and hail struck us. Visibility was down to less than 100 metres. Thankfully we had ‘clocked’ the Le Bouv-

eret mark, and with the storm dead astern and Thomas working away skilfully on the tiller, we raced through the murk towards it under bare poles, at times exceeding 11 knots.” The crew kept their nerves and the afterguard Lundqvist and Bank contributed with their huge skills and racing experience. “After this race you understand that Lake Geneva is very complicated in every sense of the word. We finished 45th and it's fantastic because we were in 58th at Bouveret. Only 5 boats that rounded after us finished ahead of us in Geneva and we overtook 13 boats on the leg back. The Bol d'Or is wonderful but so tough at the same time,” commented Swiss Bertrand Geiser, who has

“In 60 years of sailing, I have never known a storm so violent and so sudden.” raced the Bol d’Or 20 times. Thomas Lundqvist is very happy with the result: “We scored an excellent result, considering it was a new boat and that the crew never trained together on Nostromino.” The GYC congratulates its members Dona Bertarelli for the good result of her Ladycat powered by Spindrift Racing and Ernesto Bertarelli for the D35 Alinghi. GSTAAD YACHT CLUB

The racing fleet with Nostromino at the centre

Courtesy of GYC




IT’S THAT TIME OF THE MONTH AGAIN Thinking of booking an appointment for the hairdresser, or planning on trimming your nails? Have you recently decided to dig a well? If you live in the Saanenland, and don’t want to leave things to chance, you may want to check the current lunar phase of the synodic month. Basics

As anyone who resides on this planet should be aware, the moon orbits earth on an approximately 29.5-day cycle, known as the synodic month, and displays a different profile to our planet every day. Timing events by lunar phases has a long history in all cultures of the ancient world, though they differ somewhat on the beginning of the lunar month. ‘Waxing’ is the growth of the moon from the new moon (i.e. dark) to the full moon, and ‘waning’ is its decline. Ancient and modern wisdom

Hesiod, the 7th-8th century BC Boeotian Greek poet, in his didactic poem Works and Days, relates that the 8th day of the waxing moon (i.e. after the new moon) is good for gelding boars and bulls, but advocates waiting until the 12th day to neuter mules. Also, on the 12th day he recommends shearing sheep and picking fruit, and counsels women to set up their looms. To unwind after all the hard work, Hesiod recommends opening a wine jar on the 27th day of the lunar month. Locally, Albert Hauser’s 1973 Bauernregeln, or ‘farmers’ rules’, is a go-to guide for correctly timing tasks by the lunar phase. He recounts that hair and nails be cut on the 3rd day after the new moon, and if one cuts children’s hair on that day in the sign of Aries, they will develop lovely curls. Toenails are to be cut in a waxing moon to prevent ingrowth, with the sign Scorpio promoting especially beneficial growth. Chimneys built during a waxing phase are reputed to draw better, and wells are


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only to be dug in this phase, lest they lose their water to the depths. Conversely, laundry washed during an ascending phase will cause flees to proliferate.

due to superior porosity. Wood for barrel staves, wood chimney planks, and violin sounding boards each have their own particular harvesting times.

Why does it matter?

Or does it?

Why are these activities linked with the phases of the Moon? Some postulate that the phenomenon of sap rising in certain plants during the waxing phase of the cycle, thus encouraging growth, has influenced what many consider superstitious beliefs. But there is some academic collateral for this view. Prof. Ernst Zürcher of the Bern University of Applied Sciences has studied lunar rhythmicity’s relation to plant and tree growth and has concluded that statistically significant connections do exist. Numerous 20th-century horticultural studies found vegetable, floral, and cereal species sown two days before a full moon showed better germination, stronger growth, and produced a more bountiful harvest than seeds sown two days before a new moon. Homegrown adages abound. The French maxim Bois tendre en cours/ Bois dur en décours translates to ‘soft wood in a waxing moon, hard wood in a waning moon’. Another saying from the Jura relays ‘when waxing, cut firewood; when waning, cut wood for building’. Wood felled in winter months during a waning moon is reputed to be stronger and more resistant to rot, and therefore superior for construction, while wood harvested during a waxing phase, with its higher water content, burns better when dried

So, about that hair appointment. Check the moon and make sure the Zodiac sign is favourable, unless you don’t want curls. Otherwise, go whenever you can get in. ALEX BERTEA


ot long after moving to Saanenland I decided that jigsaw puzzles and the local Scherenschnitt art were a match made in heaven. The monochrome patterns would make naturally difficult puzzles and the number of near identical cut lines doubly so. I asked Michel Villiger, a local master craftsman of Scherenschnitt, to create a special design, contacted a jigsaw puzzle manufacturer and before long a hundred or so boxes of my very own product landed on my doorstep. Call it a madcap scheme, but for one reason or another I didn’t sell them all. We stacked the leftover boxes at the back of the garage and largely forgot about them until a neighbour mentioned the Saanen Brocante. Saanen Brocante

This market is held every summer. It’s a wonderfully festive occasion and if you’re near Saanen on 3 August, I definitely recommend you take a look. There’s a staggering ar-

ray of items for sale, plus copious amounts of food and drink to enjoy. These days we attend the market as visitors, but that year, with the puzzles still consuming an annoying amount of garage space, I decided to have a go at selling them. The wonderful Marina von Grünigen found me a spot despite the last-minuteness of my request and with some trepidation I set up my stall that Saturday morning. I was joined by my husband and youngest son and our plan was simple: rather than any active selling (which I despise), we would stand there completing one of the puzzles and see if anyone was interested. Initially things were very slow. After an hour we had sold just one puzzle. Perhaps our approach was wrong? Worse, it had started to rain. Our makeshift market stall didn’t stretch to any kind of canopy, so we resorted to holding an umbrella above us. It was cold and rather unpleasant, and certainly not the kind of weather to bring visitors flocking to the market. It looked as though the day would be a washout. A fabulous jigsaw: one of the past treasures to be found at the Brocante

Anna Charles


EXPAT ADVENTURES But then something miraculous happened: despite the rain and despite the cold, people started to arrive and we began to sell puzzles. Lots of puzzles. So many, in fact, that we were in danger of running out of stock. My husband gallantly drove home to collect the remaining boxes and before the market closed that day, we had sold every single one. If you load in all the costs of design and manufacture, I’m pretty sure we didn’t make a ‘profit’ as such, but it was still, as my Dad would say “a job well done”. That evening we dined out on our earnings at a swanky restaurant. Handbags and gladrags

Not that this had been the original plan. During the day we had each taken short breaks from our stall and during one of these my husband excitedly reported there was a man on the market selling vintage Hermès handbags. The prices were high, but not outrageously so (considering this was a market, after all), and my husband insisted that if all the puzzles got sold, the earnings should be put towards a handbag for me. The only flaw was that we misread the price tags. The seller was (pretty obviously in retrospect) asking for thousands, not hundreds, of Swiss Francs for each bag – way beyond our day’s takings. So dinner it was, then. Join in!

I have long since hung up my jigsaw-making boots so you won’t see my stall again, but I do hope you pop along to the market and take a look at everything on offer. Maybe I’ll see you there? I’ll be the one loitering around the handbag stall. ANNA CHARLES

GstaadLife 4 I 2019


GSTAADLIFE IS AVAILABLE IN THESE HOTELS Gstaad Palace 033 748 50 00, info@palace.ch

Hotel Alpenland 033 765 55 66, hotel@alpenland.ch


Le Grand Bellevue 033 748 00 00, info@bellevue-gstaad.ch

Hotel Alphorn 033 748 45 45, office@alphorn-gstaad.ch

Park Gstaad 033 748 98 00, info@parkgstaad.ch

Hotel Bellerive 033 748 88 33, info@bellerive-gstaad.ch

Rotary Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings every Monday 12 noon Gstaad Palace (033 748 50 00), gstaad@rotary1990.ch www.gstaad-saanenland.rotary1990.ch

The Alpina Gstaad 033 888 98 88, info@thealpinagstaad.ch Ultima Gstaad 033 748 05 50, info@ultimagstaad.com ERMITAGE Wellness- & Spa-Hotel 033 748 04 30, welcome@ermitage.ch Golfhotel Les Hauts de Gstaad 033 748 68 68, mail@golfhotel.ch Hotel de Rougemont

Member of Design HotelsTM

Hotel Garni Saanerhof 033 744 15 15, hotel@saanerhof.ch Hotel Kernen 033 748 40 20, info@hotel-kernen.ch Hotel Landhaus 033 748 40 40, info@landhaus-saanen.ch Posthotel Rössli 033 748 42 42, info@posthotelroessli.ch Sporthotel Victoria 033 748 44 22, info@victoria-gstaad.ch

026 921 01 01, info@hotelderougemont.com HUUS Gstaad 033 748 04 04, welcome@huusgstaad.com Boutique Hotel Alpenrose 033 748 91 91, info@hotelalpenrose.ch Hotel Arc-en-Ciel 033 748 43 43, info@arc-en-ciel.ch Hotel Bernerhof 033 748 88 44, info@bernerhof-gstaad.ch Hotel Christiania 033 744 51 21, info@christiania.ch Hotel Gstaaderhof 033 748 63 63, info@gstaaderhof.ch Hotel Le Grand Chalet 033 748 76 76, hotel@grandchalet.ch

Alpine Lodge B&B 033 748 41 51, welcome@alpinelodge.ch Hotel Restaurant Bären 033 755 10 33, info@bären-gsteig.ch Sun&Soul Panorama Pop-Up Hotel Solsana 033 748 16 17, info@solsana.ch Hotel Valrose 026 923 77 77, welcome@hotelvalrose.ch Hotel Wildhorn 033 765 30 12, hotel@wildhorn.ch Jugendherberge Gstaad Saanenland 033 744 13 43, gstaadsaanenland@ youthhostel.ch


Hotel Olden 033 748 49 50, info@hotelolden.com

Ambulance 144, Police 117 Fire 118

Romantik Hotel Hornberg 033 748 66 88, willkommen@hotel-hornberg.ch

Medical Emergency: 0900 57 67 47

Hotel des Alpes Saanenmöser 033 748 04 50, info@desalpes.ch

Car Accident: 033 744 88 80

Hotel Spitzhorn 033 748 41 41, spitzhorn@spitzhorn.ch

Château-d’Oex Hospital: 026 923 43 43


GstaadLife 4 I 2019

Dental Emergency: 033 729 26 26 Police Station: 033 356 84 31

Lions Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings on Thursdays in the ERMITAGE, Wellness & Spa Hotel, Schönried 033 748 60 60. For details and programme refer to www.gstaad-saanenland.lionsclub.ch President: Aldo Kropf, 079 748 86 86 aldo.kropf@bluewin.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 contact@clubdesleaders.com

Ambassador Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings every third Tuesday of the month, usually for lunch but for dinner in the last month of each quarter. Venue: Hotel Spitzhorn, 3792 Saanen, 033 748 41 41 President: Robert Stutz robertstutz@bluewin.ch Programme: Stephan Bettler stephan.bettler@werrenag.ch www.ambassadorclub.org

CHURCH SERVICES St Peter's Anglican Church English-Speaking, Château-d’Oex Service every Sunday, 5.30 pm

Zweisimmen Hospital: 033 729 26 26 Veterinarian: 033 748 08 58 / 033 744 06 61

www.stpeters.ch Contact: cliveatkinson@bluewin.ch


The Saanenland boasts a landscape of immense beauty, as the many who have enjoyed its ski runs, mountain paths, and bike trails well know. But few have seen its wonders from the lofty perspective of the indigenous peregrine falcon, as she roams over its peaks and valleys. Let us fly with her. Let the vantage from her sheer heights and her spectacular stoops mesmerize you. Rediscover your favorite valley from a breathtaking new perspective, and encounter remote peaks for the very first time. Languages: english, german and french Format: 305 × 305 mm Binding: hardback with dust cover Content: 192 pages Price: CHF 120.– Selling points: Au Foyer, Cadonau, Müller Medien and Pfander Order online: www.mmedien.ch/falcon

© Eye Candy Publishing, www.eyecandypublishing.com, Christopher J. Ladley, Benoit Thumerelle, Nick Wallace, Garrett Fisher

New book

Profile for Müller Medien

GstaadLife 4/2019, 12 July  

The exclusive news and lifestyle magazine of Gstaad

GstaadLife 4/2019, 12 July  

The exclusive news and lifestyle magazine of Gstaad

Profile for mdruck