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Issue 2 | 14 February 2020 CHF 3.50

PIGUET MEETS PICTET An auctioneer and an architect discuss Gstaad



Adapting framework for GPs

Friendly games on skates and skis










CONNECT Where have the good old times gone? Down in time, of course, but people have a tendency to revel in the past (despite the fact that guests at the Gstaad Palace had to share a bathroom per floor, to name just one example). One often related point is how locals and Gstaad guests were closer. Visitors were glad to see and (in moderation) participate in the ‘simple’ and ‘traditional’ life. Maybe the anecdote of the farmer who put a hay fork into a patron’s hands – without much commentary and the natural assumption that everybody is to help before the rain ruins the feed for the next winter – is an invention. If so, it is a good one and it nicely illustrates the proximity that has supposedly been eroded by time, new money, modernity, you name it. Charles Pictet’s recipe to get closer again is convincingly simple: sharing a fondue au fromage! An event that brings the worlds of the Einheimischen and regulars closer is The Alpina Cup. Students of Gstaad Gymnasium and Le Rosey compete in friendlies and spend an evening together. (It has not been reported if they enjoyed a fondue...) Some curiosity and a little openness on both sides may do the region a favour. The youngsters show us the way. Best regards,

CONTENTS LOCAL NEWS Coronavirus: Little impact on the Saanenland


Solution for parking space problem sought


Post office Saanen


Reviving a tradition


Weekend service of GPs to be compensated


“The Innovation Award makes me proud!”


Three persons arrested


Tom Price and Kris Lamba at Urs von Unger Gallery



2020 Fireside chat

GSTAAD LIVING Marie-José: Alumni voices


Once upon a time


The season’s seasoning


ARTS & CULTURE Grus vigilans


When the audience becomes part of the music


SPORTS & LEISURE Science enters the Balloon Festival


Dominic Thiem returns to Gstaad


Safe skiing


Ski, hockey, gala dinner


The charms and challenges of the ocean


COLUMN Markus Iseli, Publishing Director


Expat adventures

Cover Charles Pictet, architect, and Bernard Piguet, auctioneer (Eric Nicolas) 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, Bernard Piguet Layout: 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" in the author line refers to the Anzeiger von Saanen. Contact the editor for more information.

GstaadLife 2 I 2020


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

Exhibition J. Krishnamurti in Saanen 1961 – 1985

© Rameshwar Das

EXTENDED 0 02 to Easter 2

The Saanen Museum (next to the Tourist Office) is hosting a multiple-language exhibition on the philosopher and educator J. Krishnamurti. It highlights his work and long association with Saanen, where he gave public talks for thousands of people from around the world every summer from 1961 to 1985.

14. 12. 2019 – 12. 04. 2020 Tuesdays – Sundays 14.00 – 17.00

On the following days, there will be a short video followed by an open dialogue:

Free entry for students.



z 29 January:

16.00–17.30 (Eng/Ger)

z 13 February:

16.00–18.00 (Ger) – with aperitif

z 01 March:

15.00–16.30 (Fr)

z 22 March:

16.00–17.30 (Eng)

z 05 April:

15.30–17.30 (Eng/Ger)

Wine is our Passion Your specialist for Bordeaux, Burgundy and Italian wines, spirits and champagnes Rare large-size bottles Wine accessories Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 9.30 am – 1 pm and 2.30 pm – 7 pm Sunday: 2.30 pm – 6.30 pm

Pr om e nad e 3 8 – 3780 GSTAAD – 033 748 13 7 1 w w w.ca vea udeba c c h us.c h 27.11.2019 / DL64-736



FORMAT: 209 x 140 mm


The grus vigilans in the Saanenland and beyond

see page 26

GstaadLife 2 I 2020


The effects of the new coronavirus, which is currently keeping the world on tenterhooks, are limited in the Saanenland. Certain effects of the impending pandemic are also being felt in the Saanenland. For example, several trips to Glacier 3000 of groups from China, including one from Wuhan, have been cancelled, Bernhard Tschannen, managing director of Glacier 3000, informs. Marianne Kropf of the Dr. Kropf Pharmacy in Gstaad also notices slight changes in customer behaviour. They mainly observe an increase in sales of face masks. Flurin Riedi, managing director of Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus, on the other hand, does not see any direct effects in the Saanenland. “As we have not yet recorded very high numbers of overnight stays from China, we are not currently expecting any major losses,” says Riedi. In general, everyone should ensure that the usual hygiene and protective measures are observed, as is customary with similar diseases such as influenza or norovirus. Regular and thorough hand washing is important as a preventive measure. BASED ON AVS/KEREM S. MAURER

Adobe Stock



POST OFFICE SOLUTION FOR SAANEN PARKING SPACE PROBLEM Since May of last year, the post office has been housed in the new tourSOUGHT Over the holidays there was such a surge of tourists in Saanenmöser that the regular parking spaces were far from sufficient. In a meeting called at short notice, the BDG, the municipality of Saanen, the cantonal police and the district governor agreed on the creation of an emergency car park between Lätzgüetli, winter hiking trails and the Romantik Hotel Hornberg as a short-term solution. However, many did not approve of this car park. In addition to complaints from some residents about blocked accesses during the holidays and the unfortunate choice of the site immediately adjacent to the children’s ski area, the legality of this use of the land was questioned. In this area, the building regulations provide for intensive use, for example for snow sports, but not for use as parking areas. Bruno Künzi of the cantonal office for community and regional planning was able to offer a short-term emergency solution, limited to this winter, with no red tape. Those responsible have faced accusations of lack of initiative in the past and insufficient communication. The problem had been known for some time, and projects such as a bridge to relieve the village had been considered but not pursued further in the past. With the new Saanersloch cable car the situation severely increased. Those responsible at Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus, Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad and the municipality of Saanen have stated that they are aware of their responsibility and intend to work on a permanent parking solution this summer. The village organisation Saanenmöser will also be consulted. BASED ON AVS/JENNY STERCHI

ist office near the village square in Saanen. Many people in Saanen find the location problematic. The main bone of contention is the traffic this location brings to the village centre. The old location or the train station are deemed better options. “We have recognised the problem”, said the president of the village organisation Niclas Baumer. The managing director of Gstaad Saanenland Tourism, Flurin Riedi, adds: “We have set up a working group to deal with all these problems as well as the opening hours. A meeting will be held soon to seek solutions.” Without the integrated post office, the tourism office will have difficulties to remain open with only nine people visiting on average per day for tourist purposes. The fourfold amount, 36 people, come by for the postal services. BASED ON AVS/BLANCA BURRI

REVIVING A TRADITION On Saturday, 1 February, riders galloped with their horses over the race course at Salzwasser/Ebnit in Saanen – with skiers in tow. With incredible weather luck and numerous spectators, the third skijoring tournament Gstaad took place. The condition of the slope was perfect after extensive preparation the days before. Spectators were enthusiastic: “When do you ever get the opportunity in our latitudes to experience this impressive form of winter sports live?” they commented. Participants came from all parts of Switzerland. They were enthusiastic about the organization of the tournament and the condition of the race track. BASED ON AVS/JENNY STERCHI

GstaadLife 2 I 2020



VILLIGER GSTAAD AG – WATCHES AND JEWELLERY IN NEW HANDS A visit to the Promenade in Gstaad continues to be a personal and exclusive shopping experience

Zigerli+Iff is the oldest watch and jewellery shop in the Swiss capital. Beatrice Stebler-Iff and Reto Iff manage the family business in the fourth generation. The passion for watches and jewellery is deeply rooted in the family. Together with the next generation, Marc and Patrick Stebler, the venerable establishment is opening a new chapter in Gstaad in its 127-year history. Villiger Gstaad and Zigerli+Iff share many characteristics. Villiger has also been family-run ever since its foundation in 1904. Another common feature is the exclusive brand representation, which includes some of the most fascinating names, the crème de la crème of the watchmaking universe. For decades, both com-

From left: Livia-Noelle Schelesen, Marc Stebler, Varinja Giger

panies have maintained a close partnership with Patek Philippe, Rolex and other renowned watch and jewellery partners. The coveted timepieces of the watch manufacturers Patek Philippe, Rolex and IWC will remain in the attractive range of products at Villiger Gstaad. An exquisite selection of jewellery rounds off the range. Of course, maintenance and repair work, alterations or the professional refreshing of jewellery are also part of the service offer. The two long-standing employees Varinja Giger and Livia-Noelle Schelesen will, together with co-owner Marc Stebler, continue to provide high-quality customer service and advice, as clients have known and valued it for years.

HANDING OVER THE BATON WITH A HEARTFELT THANK YOU With great respect and the same amount of enthusiasm and courage, we could take over the longestablished watch and jewellery shop Villiger in Gstaad in 2007. We look back with pride on twelve exciting and successful years. A success that we owe primarily to the many loyal customers as well to our loyal employees. We are grateful for many interesting encounters and experiences over the past years. We sincerely hope that the trust placed in us will be extended to our successors. We wish the Stebler-Iff and Iff families together with their team much joy and satisfaction in this wonderful region.

Pia and Beat Schaffer

GstaadLife 2 I 2020

A CORDIAL WELCOME Since early childhood, our family has had strong ties with the Saanenland. With the successful takeover of Villiger Gstaad we will be even more closely connected to the Saanenland. The satisfaction of our customers and employees is a sincere concern for us. Appreciation, loyalty and fairness are key elements for us. With the necessary prudence and long-term thinking, we want to successfully continue the life’s work of the Villiger and Schaffer families. We are very fortunate to be able to count on a committed and long-standing team in Gstaad and would like to take this opportunity to thank Pia and Beat Schaffer for their trust in us. We are looking forward to our new, exciting task in the Saanenland!

Sincere thanks and see you!


Varinja Giger will join the management of Villiger Gstaad AG as a new member in the role of sales director/COO. The exact date for the construction of the new “Villigerhuus” has not yet been determined. It is guaranteed, though, that the Villiger boutique will be able to move to a temporary facility in a central location in Gstaad during the construction phase and then return to its current location. The team at Villiger Gstaad looks forward to your visit and extends a warm welcome!

From left: Patrick Stebler, Beatrice Stebler-Iff, Marc Stebler


WEEKEND SERVICE OF GPS TO BE COMPENSATED Starting in the summer, the on-call service of general practitioners shall be compensated. Interregional cooperation during the off-season could provide additional relief for doctors. Corresponding talks are being held with all parties concerned.


he eleven municipalities of the Simmental and Saanenland jointly founded Gesundheit Simme Saane AG (GSS) on 15 October 2019 and the company was entered in the commercial register in December 2019. In the meantime, financing has been provided by the municipalities. The municipalities, the canton and Spital STS AG have secured the funds for the current year, as chairman of the board Stephan Hill writes in a press release. The municipalities contribute CHF 300,000, the canton CHF 100,000 and Spital STS AG CHF 50,000. What infrastructure is needed?

GSS has two main tasks. “Together with STS AG and the canton, it will be defined how and in what dimensions the Zweisimmen hospital will be rebuilt, extended or newly built. Together we will assess the future space requirements before the detailed building documentation is drawn up,” says Hill. It is not primarily about today’s needs. “We need to look into the future and assess as best we can what infrastructure we will need in the next 15 to 20 years.” The future of outpatient care

However, the future of outpatient care is currently more urgent. “That’s where the shoe pinches immediately.” In the course of about 17 individual and group discussions with the doctors of the Saanenland and the Simmental, the current situation was analysed. “In the coming years there

will be numerous retirements of the GPs. It is therefore a primary goal for us to offer support here so that these gaps can be closed as soon as possible”. It is not easy to find primary care physicians and even more so for a region that is so far from any urban centres. “This is a challenge that not only we are struggling with, it is a national issue,” says Hill. Compensation for weekend service

In order to relieve the burden on GPs, they are to be compensated for weekend services during the low season as from this summer. “In high season, this service is largely funded by patients who visit a practice or who need to be visited,” Hill explains. “In the off-season, the doctors here perform an on-call service, which ties them to the practice and which is often not compensated because very few patients come”. The GSS is currently working on the framework to determine under which circumstances these compensations could be paid. This will also be coordinated with the GSI (Health, Social and Integration Directorate). The canton will have the option of making such compensations, but only starting from 2021, explains Hill and emphasises: “We can’t wait that long, we need an interim solution.” He intends to use part of the CHF 450,000 to finance this transitional solution. “Since many questions are still open, we will refrain from hiring a managing director for the time being, which means that we have a large budget position available.” He

had discussed this idea in advance with the director of health and the cantonal medical officer, who both signaled support. Interregional service

As the discussions with the GPs had shown, the number of working days was also a burden for them. This is why Hill proposes an interregional cooperation – at least during the off-season. “Over the holidays and a few weeks in February and March there is a lot going on, so we need doctors on duty in both regions,” Hill explains. But in the off-season, interregional cooperation – the exact perimeter of which remains to be defined – would bring great relief. “The number of working days could be almost halved,” says Hill. These two measures – compensation for weekend services and reduction of the number of days of service – would also make employment conditions more attractive, which would make it easier to find new doctors. “We are currently talking with doctors and other circles who can put us in touch with doctors,” says Hill. “We offer our support for a branch office and networking with other doctors in the region and the hospital. At present, various medical professionals are considering becoming active in our region.” Specifically, it is about Saanen, Lenk, Zweisimmen and the lower Simmental. “We are in exchange with the local authorities concerned, who actively support this common cause”. BASED ON AVS/ANITA MOSER

GstaadLife 2 I 2020


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In Rolf von Siebenthal’s Fleischtrocknerei Saanenland GmbH up to 15 tonnes of fresh meat are processed annually. The business has now been awarded the Bernese Oberland 2019 Innovation Award in the category of Alpine Agriculture.


rying meat has a long tradition – but not so in the Bernese Oberland. In the Saanenland itself there has been little to no tradition for this type of meat processing, says award-winning master butcher Rolf von Siebenthal from Lauenen. Meat from local slaughterhouses intended for drying was previously transported to the Valais for processing and then returned to the Saanenland for consumption. These transports have been eliminated by von Siebenthal’s initiative. This was one of the reasons for the jury of experts to award the Saanen meat specialist the Innovation Award. “The fact that the meat products no longer have to be transported to the Valais and back makes perfect ecological sense,” says Susanne Huber, managing director of Volkwirtschaft Berner Oberland. Equally decisive was the fact that von Siebenthal uses the waste heat generated during the drying of the meat products to heat the hot water in his private home.


Multiple awards

Von Siebenthal has set up the drying rooms in the garage of his house, which he has converted especially for this purpose. He refines up to 15 tonnes of fresh meat annually: mainly beef and pork from local production. If demand of dried meat exceeds supply, he also processes meat from outside the region. Pork in particular is not very abundant in the Saanenland, he says, emphasising that he uses only Swiss meat. “It is very important to me that regional products gain in value,” he says, pointing out that all products are salted with Sel des Alpes from Bex. Depending on the product, the drying time is up to six months. The products are available in all branches of Buure Metzg and in the village shops. Local gastronomy is also an important customer. Von Siebenthal is pleased: “The Innovation Award makes me proud!” He values this as recognition for his work.

Von Siebenthal has been drying pork and beef in Lauenen since 2014. In April 2016, he founded the Fleischtrocknerei Saanenland GmbH and has since been producing impressively successful regional products such as dried meat, two types of dry-cured ham, coppa, salami and dried bacon. He intends to invest the prize money of CHF 3,000 in another regional product. However, the new laureate does not yet want to reveal any details. It will be interesting to see what comes to the mind of the innovative entrepreneur next. BASED ON AVS/KEREM S. MAURER

INNOVATION AWARDS BERNESE OBERLAND Every year the Tourism Award and the Innovation Award for Alpine Agriculture are awarded in the Bernese Oberland. The two awards recognise innovative projects that enhance the region’s appeal. This year, the Tourism Award went to the snowfarming project on Tschentenalp. The winners were selected from a total of 21 project submissions. The prices are provided by the tourist destinations in the Bernese Oberland and the organisation Volkswirtschaft Berner Oberland. Rolf von Siebenthal receives the Innovation Award forhis local meat drying business. Kerem S. Maurer



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GstaadLife 2 I 2020


Coordinated action against labour exploitation led to three arrests. On Tuesday 14 January, the Bern cantonal police, under the direction of the cantonal public prosecutor’s office, carried out a coordinated operation against labour exploitation in Gstaad and Saanen. Three Serbian nationals were arrested and subsequently remanded in custody. As reported by the cantonal police, the strong suspicion that the three persons of Serbian origin were illegally employing foreign workers and massively exploiting them, especially in terms of workload and wages, has been further substantiated after the first interrogations. In the course of the action, seven women of Serbian nationality were also stopped. They were presumably victims of exploitation. Protective measures have been initiated. Result of longtime investigations

The investigations, which have taken almost a year so far, were triggered by information from the population and findings from police investigations. The cantonal public prosecutor’s office subsequently opened proceedings on suspicion of human trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation, usury, extortion, coercion and violations of the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act. The investigations, in which not only the suspects and presumed victims but also numerous informants are questioned, are, according to the report, complex and time-consuming and are still ongoing.

“Counterpart”, Tom Price – commission for Chatsworth House

Courtesy of Chatsworth House Trust



The two British artists Price and Lamba to show bold new collection at the Urs von Unger gallery that invites viewers to question the notion of “art vs design”


wo of the UK’s leading process driven artists share a curated collection of over twenty-five works displayed in one of Gstaad’s most prestigious gallery spaces. The collection, including sculpture, paintings, lighting and several collectible design pieces, focuses on the intimate relationship between the artists and the works themselves. Both Lamba and Price are well known for works that challenge traditional artistic practice, choosing innovative and ground-breaking materials as well as techniques often developed in the artists’ own studios. Tom Price’s recent Synthesis series is the study of a dialogue be-

tween two contrasting materials – resin and tar – and their negotiation for space and identity when forced to become a single unified entity. What appears to be petal-like inclusions are actually cracks and fissures created through a careful manipulation of the catalysing process of the resin. Kris Lamba works with a variety of plant-based biopolymers, which he manipulates whilst still molten, often at extreme temperatures. Using a combination of great force, gravity and a pioneering technique of polymer-stretching, he creates otherworldly forms; shapes that defy convention and echo the spontaneous and often violent moments of interstellar creation. The exhibition runs from 14 February until 7 March 2020. www.ursvonunger.com “Abstraction II”, Kris Lamba




COUCH CLASS: MARC NEWSON’S EXTRAORDINARY FURNITURE LANDS IN GSTAAD Few individuals have occupied the territory shared by design and art with the conviction and originality of Marc Newson, for whom the discipline of industrial design presents a rich and endlessly renewable opportunity to explore new ways of thinking about form and function, materials and production. Over the past thirty years, the Australian-born designer has applied his distinctive vision and boundless technical acumen to everything from watches and footwear to concept cars and aircraft interiors. “In the age of the specialist,” writes author and journalist Nick Foulkes, “he is one of the last polymaths.” Newson has worked with highend and mass-market brands alike, and has joined creative forces with industry titans such as Jonathan Ive, former chief design officer at Apple, for whom he helped craft the distinc-

tive profile of the Apple Watch. Central to his practice is the making of innovative limited-edition furniture. This pursuit sprang initially from Newson’s training as a jeweler – for his thesis project at Sydney University, he presented a chair as an item of jewelry because it was “worn” close to the body – and his innovative approaches to form, color, and texture all originate from a jeweler’s embrace of imaginative detail. He also continues to use furniture as a platform for experimentation with new materials and production techniques. From the iconic Lockheed Lounge (1986) – constructed from sections of aluminum riveted together over a carved foam interior in a striking fusion of the mechanical and the organic – to 2006’s Extruded Tables and Voronoi Shelf, all of which were carved from single blocks of Carrara marble, Newson has

made the element of unprecedented surprise a hallmark. This February, Gagosian will exhibit a group of Newson’s chairs, lounges, desks, and tables from 2017 and 2019 at Switzerland’s Gstaad Airport, an appropriate site given his extensive work in transportation and aerospace. Gagosian has exhibited Newson previously, in its New York, Hong Kong, and London locations, and this presentation will remind viewers just how singular his vision is. His work emulating the unity and flow of natural forms, Newson also finds inspiration in errant scientific and natural histories, and in emergent and rarified technologies. His is not a practice that aims to refine through reduction, but instead one for which unexpected and hybrid influences lead the way; it is contemporary precisely in its elision of the programmatic

Installation view, Marc Newson, Gagosian, West 21st Street, New York, January 17–February 20, 2019. Artwork © Marc Newson


GstaadLife 2 I 2020

and the doctrinaire. Newson also relishes the risks inherent in working with delicate materials and make-orbreak processes. Gagosian’s presentation in Gstaad includes four cast-glass chairs made in 2017. Produced using a vast kiln at a factory in a remote Czech village, they are comprised of pairs of hollow quarterspheres, each richly colored upper half resting on a cloudy, translucent base that reflects and refracts its hue. Exquisite objects in their own right, these distinctive seats offer a further reminder of Newson’s immersion in craft, and hint at broader narratives of historical research and timeless beauty. The chairs also possess a biomorphic quality in their suggestion of eyes or sea creatures. While relatively simple in terms of final shape, they are nonetheless the results of extraordinarily time-consuming production, with each piece spending up to six months in the kiln. “It takes three months to heat up to the right temperature and then it takes another three months for the thing to cool down,” Newson explains. “They’re then cut and finished by hand. They’re deeply, deeply labor-intensive.” The making is a slow, transformative process that he characterizes as “pure alchemy.” Also on view in Gstaad are works from the 2017 Murrina series, each in a different format: a console, a desk, and a low table. Manufactured in accordance with a classical Venetian glassmaking technique – one that involves heating and fusing glass rods before slicing them to reveal patterned cross sections, refiring the resultant sheet, and then slumping it over a mold – these pieces combine sleek outer surfaces with vivid internal coloration, again suggesting biological inspiration in their resemblance to cellular structures. The low table in particular was also inspired by Italian architect Carlo Scarpa’s glass dishes of the 1930s and 1940s. In emulating such small objects at a vastly inflated scale, Newson aims to underscore the peculiar qualities of the material, as well as the unpredictability of its treatment.

Marc Newson, Cloisonné Blue Chair, 2017, cloisonné enamel and copper, 26 ¹⁄8 × 40 ¼ × 37 ¼ inches (66.5 × 102.1 × 94.6 cm) © Marc Newson

Finally, six further pieces in Gagosian’s space are united by Newson’s use of Chinese cloisonné, an intricate enameling technique that originated in the Mediterranean some three thousand years ago before spreading to China around the fourteenth century. Involving the application of wire to create partitions, or cloisons, into which enamel is introduced, the technique demands precise, meticulous craftsmanship in order to avoid the potentially disastrous effects of temperature variation. Constructed by hand and fired in a custom-made oversize kiln in a factory outside Beijing, Newson’s copper chairs, lounges, and desks boast distinctive patterns – from interpretations of traditional Chinese floral motifs to his signature amoebic “orgone” design – that reveal his wide-ranging aesthetic interests and love of striking color. Newson was careful, however, not to make the cloisonné works’ forms too dominant, instead working toward a harmony between object and surface

that allows each vital component to retain its individual impact. This led him to employ an algorithm, developed at the designer’s London studio by his associate Nicolas Register, which generates forms that approximate the subtle irregularities of nature. Newson then reverse engineered these precisely rendered structures to arrive at objects that were possible to physically create. This way of conceiving of and making concrete an idea is characteristic of Newson. As he admits to Foulkes, “I am my own worst taskmaster because I set myself seemingly impossible projects, complex technical things that I know will be really challenging and have probably never been done before. But that’s what makes it worthwhile for me. I certainly don’t want to do things that have been done.” Gagosian will present a group of pieces by Marc Newson at the Gstaad Airport, Switzerland, 13 February – 20 March, 2020.

GstaadLife 2 I 2020






VER NEY MICHEL ERMELIN PARIS / HAUTE JOAILLERIE Exposition dès le mardi 25 février

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2020 FIRESIDE CHAT Auctioneer Bernard Piguet discusses Gstaad and aesthetics with the architect Charles Pictet.

A year ago, in this very same issue, I had the honour of interviewing HRH Princess Marie Gabrielle of Savoy, a Gstaad habituée. She observed that Gstaad differs from other ski resorts. What connects you to this region and how do you see it in comparison with other resorts?

Having spent my holidays and many weekends since my childhood in our family chalet just half an hour from Gstaad, I know the region and its heritage very well. I particularly appreciate the beauty of the landscape and the many well-preserved valleys for walks and hikes. “Dios le da pan al que no tiene dientes”: a proverb in Spanish, which loosely translates to God gives bread to those without teeth. Is lack of taste emblematic of new arrivals in Gstaad?

Culture is not the exclusive preserve of local people. I know of heirs who

squander the legacy they inherited. So, I don’t think there is a rule in this area. One of my five sisters was head of landmarks for the Canton of Geneva. Do you see Gstaad as respectful of its architectural history?

As a father of four, I am eager that my children bear witness to the ever-evolving aesthetic vision of our forefathers. Your work embodies what I see as our 21st century ethos: human and humane; urban and urbane. How has it evolved?

Your sister Sabine is indeed one of my acquaintances and I have benefited from her expertise for many years. Like many rural communities in Switzerland, Gstaad cultivates a socalled traditional image. This idea of tradition has gradually taken root over years, even though buildings that invoke this tradition nowadays are fundamentally at odds with the historic constructions of the region. However, over time this new idea of tradition ends up establishing itself as a tradition.

In construction, we need not only to focus on the form of things but also consider what they evoke. I have a long-standing attachment to Alpine architecture and I know its characteristics very well. I have built several residences in this region as well as projects in other ski resorts both in Switzerland and in France. My first project was in the Pays-d’Enhaut. It was an alp that I renovated for my father. This first project received an architecture award and figures in numerous publications.

Each September, I look forward to the journées européennes du patrimoine (European Heritage Days).

In a village where film stars and royal highnesses mingle easily with locals, and one of the

Initial project, winner of the architecture competition for the Erli Campus 2010

Courtesy of Charles Pictet

GstaadLife 2 I 2020




Restoration and modification of an 18th century chalet into a holiday home.

train link and the private airport will catapult the region into this market. What is your opinion of the much-needed concert and conference facility here in Gstaad?

world’s most prestigious boarding schools—Institut Le Rosey—is in residence over the winter months, the highly sought-after balance of village life here strikes me as unique. How do we preserve this?

but architects can only plant vines. What should Gstaad plant?

Sharing a fondue au fromage!

If Gstaad is to survive climate change, it must offer conference facilities to organisations around the world. The excellent

To paraphrase Frank Lloyd Wright, physicians can bury their mistakes,


GstaadLife 2 I 2020

I like the aged pear trees that grow against the facades of old farms, whose trunks merge with the old planks blackened by the sun.

Given the exceptional quality of the landscape and the preservation of the environment prevalent in the Gstaad region, we can understand those who wish to make it a place for this type of meeting. Who would not be made aware of the preservation of our extraordinary biotope by discovering this place? You won the pitch for the new Rosey campus in Schönried. Eventually, it could not be built

because cantonal authorities did not approve it. What was your vision and where did you spot the biggest challenges?

the region without shocking. Unfortunately, the project fell victim to a number of pitfalls.

Philippe Gudin, director of Le Rosey, had a visionary idea by proposing to rebuild the campus above Schönried. I was delighted to win the competition between ten other firms. The main challenge was to design a set of buildings whose silhouette could blend in with the landscape of

Was it a big disappointment when the Erli campus project had to be dismissed due to cantonal intervention?

At that time, I was no longer involved given the construction phase ahead. I can but imagine the disappointment of the Roséens. The Erli campus and the Les Arts Gstaad are two examples of large and essential projects that could not be realised. Is there a common lesson to be learned from these experiences for future projects?

I am unfamiliar with the Les Arts Gstaad concert and convention hall proposal. However, generally speaking, successful projects of a public nature are the fruit of a very long maturation and a delicate process of deliberation. So, there is no recipe! You had the opportunity of turning an old, partly damaged barn into a holiday home in the Pays-d’Enhaut. A great portion of the original substance was kept and complemented with modern

elements. Is this kind of work a labour of love?

Yes, absolutely. I converted a chalet in Rougemont for my older brother. This project was important to him, and so it was to me. I believe the result has met our respective wishes. The old farmhouse has kept its soul and all its heritage while becoming a comfortable holiday home. A Swiss national, you were born in Ankara, Turkey in 1963. How did this shape your world view?

I love nature, knowing the names of plants, trees. Knowing where the mushrooms grow and which are edible. I like to watch the insects in the grass. Observe a fly that is in a frenzy against a window pane in the sun. Open to see it go to freedom. Time and contemplation are the places, where I draw the foundations of what I try to convey in projects. Time is a dense and precious material. We talk a lot about architecture by emphasising materials; texture. I tend more and more to see it in the emotion that it is capable of awakening in those who live in it.



GstaadLife’s sister publication, the Anzeiger von Saanen, announced a projected chalet in Saanen designed by you seeking an official imprimatur.

Born in 1963, Charles Pictet, like his diplomat father, did not answer the call of his family’s Swiss private bank but rather his passion for architecture. After graduating from Geneva’s School of Architecture, Pictet first worked in Berlin before founding the firm that bears his name. Currently a visiting professor in Paris at the National School of Architecture Malaquais, he also lectured in both Switzerland and Germany.

Born in 1967, Bernard Piguet, like his surgeon father, did not answer the call of his family’s Swiss private bank but rather his passion for the commerce of art and the art of commerce. After graduating from the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Lausanne, Piguet pursued further training in the history of art in London before joining Sotheby’s Geneva, after which he now runs the auction house that bears his name.

This project located in the heart of the village of Saanen is interesting because it opens on a small garden to the north, at the end of which very beautiful old facades are aligned. Saanen Church towers above them. I like the scale of this project. It’s a small volume, in which you have to be clever to organise a complex programme. Modest in appearance today, the small building from the 1950s will gain in height and blend with the materials and proportions of the traditional dwellings of old Saanen. BERNARD PIGUET

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the first private school in Gstaad, alumni share their memories. Henry Reid is sixth from the right in this picture of one of the regular ski outings.

I went to Marie José from 1963 to 1966. As an English boy and thus an English speaker I remember being instructed to look after John John Kennedy (as he was known as then). John John Kennedy and his sister Caroline were sent to Marie José briefly after the assassination of their father. This was to remove them from the limelight of the press and provide some peace in their lives. I remember tracing pathways in the gravel of the playground to create “roads” for our toy cars. Meeting up with “Les anciens du Marie José”, of which there are a large number in the Saanenland, is always great fun as each and every one has a different memory of the place. HENRY REID



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My parents were travelling in Europe for three months during the summer in 1939, during which time I and my sister Sheilah stayed at the Marie-José. My memory of that time is mixed. It was a vivid but also rather unhappy time due to the difficulties to communicate as an English speaker but nevertheless I did make a friend from South America called Mito and also befriended a family member of the Royal House of Romania. My love for (European) history, nature and in particular for the mountains has remained ever since. CHRISTOPHER ROSS

Christopher Ross and his sister Sheilah Ross (later Waters) playing tennis. Courtesy of Christopher Ross

I was a student at the Marie-José for two years. I arrived there in 1964 with my older sister Melina and the following year with my younger sister Alicia. I remember a lot of things: long and beautiful excursions with chocolate syrup and boiled eggs. Once a year, we would go down at night with torches and have a fondue. I remember the ski equipment of the time and the rides on wooden sleighs down on snowy roads with the whole school. I also remember my friends Fiona, and Franchesca with her red hair, and my Turkish friend Aiche, who sometimes let me try some of her black olive cream. At the end of the year, we prepared the theater performances with fantastic costumes. When I counted the days that were missing to go home, I was 9 years old.

Courtesy of Isabelle Jolly-Nève

Isabelle Jolly-Nève with pupils and another teacher during an excursion.

In this last installment of the miniseries on the Chalet Marie-José,

Courtesy of Henry Reid



UMNI VOICES At the age of 10, as a skinny little girl, I was lucky enough to be one of those thirty or so children, privileged yet subject to strict discipline. Indeed, many of the children came from families of leaders or diplomats and the parents were particularly demanding in terms of good manners. At the request of the headmistress, I returned there at the age of 23, as a primary teacher. I found there the essential value of the institution: the health of the children. For example, a small chalet entirely open at the front had been built as an “outdoor classroom”. Needless to describe the virtuosity required on the part of the teacher to transport, in a biscuit tin, the 5 open inkwells that were to be used by the pupils! In my memory of the Chalet Marie-José I keep many episodes and treasure those who gave part of their lives to the children entrusted to them.

Our childhood was strange since we had no family life and our mother worked so hard that she could only save short instants for her two sons: her life was devoted to the children and adults she had to take care of. On the other hand, we had many friends "at home" (some of them are still in touch with us) and the cultural life was very stimulating, as well as the varied outdoor activities. CHARLES-EDOUARD RACINE, SON OF HÉLÈNE RACINE-MAEDER


There were no ski lifts then. We went by bus or train to the foot of some mountain, fastened pony skin strips to our skis, and climbed to the top. The angled-back fur gripped the snow, so we could walk up quite steep slopes. At the summit, after winding the skins around our middles, and eating a snack of bread and chocolate washed down with an orange, we would set off down the glorious snowfields, fifteen or twenty boys and girls from five or six countries. That was the reward after the exhausting climb, an hour or more of swooping and gliding down the unmarked slopes, weaving through the snow-laden pines, under the sparkling sky. FROM THE MEMOIR OF JANE HARRIS HUBBARD, PUPIL AT THE MARIE-JOSÉ FROM 1932 (COURTESY OF TOM HUBBARD)

I remember building huts in the forest behind the school and playing footy. My first kiss took place at the Marie-José! The girl was taller than me, so I had to step up onto a rock. Many former students still return to Gstaad on a regular basis. The Marie-José was part of the social tissue of Gstaad and, to some extent, still is today. The alumni are a close-knit community. MICHEL DE YOUGOSLAVIE

I went to Chalet Marie-José for one year (1950/1951) for “the good Swiss air”. I fell deeply in love with Corinne Roland, then of the 16th arrondissement in Paris, and simultaneously with the Princess Shahnaz of Persia (as it was). All lessons were in French, which was tough to start with but I became reasonably fluent & still speak with a decent accent. I learnt to Ski. I only stayed one year as the school could not prepare me for Common Entrance exams for Harrow especially in Latin, although they tried & a young mistress learnt at the same time as me!! A Madame Schwab taught us Maths & I think another subject & I still have one exercise book where in respect of the Maths she felt strongly that I was not learning fast enough – the comments were quite pointed!! It was a great time. SIR PETER OHLSON BT.

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A singing festival in Saanen 110 years ago, on 22 May 1910 (Courtesy of Anzeiger von Saanen reader Susi Schwenter)

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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: Format: Binding: Content: Price: Order online:

english, german and french 305 × 305 mm hardback with dust cover 192 pages CHF 98.– www.mmedien.ch/falcon

Available in local bookshops, the tourism office and select hotels and outlets in the region.

© Marie-Laure Dhennin

© Mark Bobrowicz

© Garrett Fisher

© Christopher J. Ladley

© Nick Wallace

© Eye Candy Publishing, www.eyecandypublishing.com, Christopher J. Ladley


Recently, I was paging through Bendicht Hauswirth’s excellent Saanen: ein historischer Dorfführer, an informative historical guide about the town of Saanen, when I came across the Salzhüsi, or ‘salt house’. It piqued my interest. What was a salt house?


he explanatory paragraph helped a bit. The Salzhüsi was built in 1757, and salt was sold there until the 1950s. It noted that cheese production and cattle breeding, two important Saanenland industries, depended on a sufficient and secure supply of salt. Got it. But why would a whole building be needed to store and sell something as common today as, well… salt? Turns out that’s a relatively recent state of affairs. According to Mark Kurlansky’s Salt: A World History, from the beginning of civilization until about 100 years ago, salt was one of the most sought-after commodities in human history. Wars were fought over it, and cities were founded based on its proximity (think Hallstatt, Salins-les-Bains, and Salzburg). Salt is the mineral sodium chloride (NaCl). Chloride is essential for digestion and respiration, and sodium, which the human body does not produce, transports nutrients and oxygen transmits nerve impulses and moves muscles, including the heart. We constantly lose bodily salt through exertion, and it must be replaced if we are to remain going concerns. Animals need salt too, and their requirements created our landscape. Game wore paths to salt licks, hunt-

ers followed, trails became roads, and settlements grew beside them. When post-Neolithic humans shifted from salt-rich game to a grain-based diet, finding more salt was a necessity. Brine from natural springs was boiled in pots, and salt pans built on seashores. Governments subsequently got in on the act, and salt tax revenues funded armies and massive construction projects like the Great Wall of China. Salt infuses our culinary vocabulary. Salad comes from the ancient Roman term for salted greens, and salami is derived from the Italian to salt. In Roman times, a man in love was called salax, ‘in a salted state’, reminiscent of what we say today about chefs who put too much salt in our dinners. Until modern times, salt provided the principal way to preserve food. Ancient Egyptians may have been the first to cure meat and fish with salt, which kills bacteria and has the effect of unwinding flesh’s proteins like cooking. Milk was preserved by heating it and adding rennet, and often salt (depending on the variety), creating cheese. In today’s Saanenland, Alpkäse is given salt brine treatments after the curd is formed in a mold and pressed, replicating processes

described by the Roman Colu mel la in c. 50 AD. So, back to the Salz- hüsi… In the late Middle Ages, Bern did not have its own salt supply, and imported it on mule- back from Austria, Germany, and Bu r g u ndy. In 1475, Bernese invaders started boiling salt brine from the springs at Bex, and in 1623, Bern established a salt monopoly to prevent exorbitant pricing and ensure sufficient supply. Salt from Bern might have been stored in the Saanenland’s Susten, or warehouses, for transshipment of goods, before being kept in a predecessor of the Salzhüsi. Today, Switzerland has its own salt monopoly, Saltworks AG, owned by the 26 cantons and Liechtenstein, which ensures an adequate supply for all its various uses. Only ten percent of the approximately 600,000 tonnes of salt produced annually is used domestically, with 30-50% allocated to keeping ice off the roads and sidewalks. Ergo, while salt is truly the seasoning for all seasons, in winter it really sits at the head of the table. ALEX BERTEA

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Adobe Stock



It is almost a year ago that a daily newspaper published a report on an annual meeting of the village organisation Saanen, which was about the ”Saanen heraldic animal – the Saanen goat” receiving more presence in public. The heraldic animal, the Saanengeiss? There must have been a misunderstanding.


Above: The crane house in Otterndorf Left: In the church of Rougemont.

Helmuth Gehlken

y chance, this recently crossed my mind again. As we all know, “Die Kryen uff dem bergen” (the crane on the mountain), as the old writings say, is still the heraldic bird in the Saanenland and in almost all villages along the river Saane to Gruyères and Bulle. As a heraldic bird, the crane has been depicted in many different ways. One of them is of particular interest and can be found sporadically throughout Europe and – in our region – on the gable of the Salzhüsi in Saanen. It shows the bird standing on one leg, with the other foot holding a stone. I know this representation from northern Germany, from the Kranichhaus (crane house) in Otterndorf, near the mouth of the Elbe. There is a large sculpture of this Vogel mit Stein (bird with stone) on the roof of the house.

The building bears the following inscription: The crane holds the stone, to resist sleep. He who surrenders to sleep, never comes to good or honor. This representation, also known as grus vigilans (watching or watchful crane) since ancient times, is intended to highlight the well-known vigilance of the shy birds. The Sámi people, original inhabitants of northern Scandinavia, say, for example, that the crane has an eye on each feather. A quotation from a naturalist from around 200 B.C. gives the folAbove: On the Salzhüsi Left: Inn sign in Rossinière

Helmuth Gehlken



lowing explanation for the bird’s behaviour: “When they are tired and meet land somewhere, the others rest at night and sleep; but three or four watch over the others and, so as not to fall asleep during the guard, they stand on one leg and, with their foot raised, hold a stone firmly and carefully with their claws, so that if sleep should creep over them, the noise of the falling stone will wake them up!” The Greek scholar Aristotle debunked this theory as early as the 3rd century B.C. but the crane with a stone or grus vigilans has remained a symbol of caution and vigilance over the centuries, even if this attributes more intelligence to the birds than is due. In addition to the depiction on the Salzhüsi in Saanen, the grus vigilans is represented on a coloured heraldic disc in the church of Rougemont and on an inn sign at the Hôtel de Ville in Rossinière. BASED ON AVS/HELMUTH GEHLKEN


Miguel Bueno


They performed the Triple Concerto and the First Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven: Renaud Capuçon, Edgar Moreau, Kit Armstrong and Elena Schwarz (from left).

Les Sommets Musicaux launched their 20th anniversary festival on the weekend of 31 January with two magnificent and festively sublime concert evenings of music by Beethoven. The church of Saanen once again offered a unique atmosphere.


n opening night of the festival, the Triple Concerto was performed, followed by Ludwig van Beethoven’s First Symphony. The soloists Kit Armstrong, piano, Renaud Capuçon (artistic director of the festival), violin, and Edgar Moreau, cello, matched perfectly. The warm tones of the two string soloists brought out the fullness of the beautiful music. The young pianist Kit Armstrong added character to the concert. He played charmingly, joyfully, and racy, and was also convincing in his role within the trio. The performance of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Elena Schwarz in a somewhat sterile

and reserved manner, turned out to be rather well-behaved. Only in the following First Symphony by Beethoven did Schwarz’s conducting become freer and more artistic; the orchestra followed light-footedly. It was a real pleasure. Outstanding musical personalities

On Saturday, another Beethoven concert stirred up the listeners’ souls. Not a single note missed the audience’s innermost feelings. Joshua Weilerstein conducted the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne magnificently! What a personality! He danced, reveled and was completely taken in by the music. The Second

Beethoven Symphony was pure pleasure, musically perfect and exciting to the end. The accompaniment in the 5th Piano Concerto was also outstanding. To be carried by the orchestra in such a way, a pianist must simply feel at home. Bertrand Chamayou’s piano playing was grandiose, powerful, and wonderfully interpreted. It was easy for the listeners to immerse themselves in it and forget everything around them, and they became part of the music. The encore, the Adagio from Haydn’s last sonata, was tender and delicate. Chamayou played tremendously beautiful. BASED ON AVS/LOTTE BRENNER

Miguel Bueno

Bertrand Chamayou (piano) and the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne with its conductor Joshua Weilerstein in the church of Saanen

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The 42nd International Balloon Festival in Château-d’Oex is entirely in keeping with the motto Adventure, Science and Freedom. Especially the scientific activities and events were a central theme of the festival.


thematic orientation of the traditional balloon festival is new and a captivating idea. But how does that fit together: colourful hot-air balloons that float in the sky above Château-d’Oex for nine days, and science? The balloon in the service of science

Balloons and science are a perfect match, as the public lecture on the opening day of the festival showed. One of the main speakers was Hans Peter Beck, researcher at Cern, president of the Swiss Physical Society and lecturer at the Universities of Bern and Fribourg. He explained one role of balloons in science: cosmic radiation is the magic word. The German physicist Albert Gockel discovered cosmic rays on several balloon flights up to 4500 metres from 1909 onwards, even if he had not yet named it that way at the time. In 1912, the Austrian physicist Victor Franz Hess ascended seven times in a balloon to prove that a previously unexplored radiation from space penetrates the atmosphere. In 1936 he received the Nobel Prize in

Physics for his discovery. According to Beck, the hot-air balloon has been in the service of science for quite some time. Science meets art

Another approach to science was presented by the scientist and artist Michael Hoch, who is a friend of Beck and has been working on his project Where Science Meets Art for several years. He showed, for example, works in which he cut up scientific photographs to represent matter and antimatter and interspersed them with close-ups of flowers. This year’s cooperation developed rather accidentally. After the director of the Espace Ballon, Jacqueline Trenta-Dubé, had seen Hoch’s works, she brought his art to Château-d’Oex. It was through her that the contact between the Cern scientists Hoch and Beck and Fred-Paulin Gétaz, the chairman of the organising committee of the International Balloon Festival, was established. Once they had met, the motto idea for the festival seemed like a logical consequence.

Major awards

Another presentation focused on adventure. After the explanations of the Cern scientists, Nicolas Tièche and Laurent Sciboz, the winners of the gas balloon competitions Gordon Bennett 2019 and America’s Challenge 2017, reported of their gas balloon adventures. At the Gordon Bennet the team spent over 82 hours and 1774 km in the air, at the America’s Challenge it was over 59 hours and 3670 km. “Can you imagine what it’s like to spend 82:03 hours in a one by one meter basket with your team partner? You have to get along very well”, joked Tièche. They only sleep four hours a day during such competitions, two times two hours. Food supplies and technical equipment are also stored in a minimum of space. In order for these projects to succeed, the pilots can rely on a team of about 20 people at the base in Freiburg, who take care of the flight arrangements, in particular of the weather conditions. “We want to keep the motto concept for the festival”, reveals Gétaz after the successful 2020 edition. BASED ON AVS/SONJA WOLF

The 42nd edition of the balloon festival has it all: Besides the view of beautifully colourful hot-air balloons in the sky, visitors could find out about interesting facts in the field of science.

Sonja Wolf




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The confirmation of the tennis player Dominic Thiem from Austria (ATP 5) for this year’s Swiss Open Gstaad allows a positive outlook on the sportive summer in the Saanenland.


ccording to the press release Dominic Thiem (ATP 5) has confirmed his participation at the Swiss Open Gstaad. An aspiring tennis player, he marched through the Gstaad tournament in 2015 and triumphed in the final against the Belgian David Goffin. Career launched in Gstaad

The victory in Gstaad marked the beginning of the career of the now 26-year-old Austrian. In the following years he was able to win several ATP tournaments. The surface was apparently of no importance to Thiem. He won on clay in Barcelona (2019), Kitzbühel (2019) and Buenos Aires (2018 and 2016) as well as on grass (Stuttgart 2016) and hard court (Beijing 2019). The last year was his most successful. He brought home five tournament wins. Among them was his biggest success so far, the tournament victory in Indian Wells. In this ATP

1000 tournament, he won the final agains Roger Federer in three sets. Odds-on favourite

Tennis experts consider Thiem a serious candidate for a Grand Slam victory this year. It is therefore all

the more pleasing that, between the many major tournaments, he has also put the Gstaad tournament on the agenda. “I have incredible memories of the tournament. In 2015, I celebrated one of my first ATP titles in Gstaad in a wonderful ambience. I can hardly wait until I am back,” the Austrian said. BASED ON AVS/JENNY STERCHI

Five years ago, Dominic Thiem surprised the audience and his opponents with his imaginative and intrepid play.

Archive AvS



SAFE SKIING Every year 76,000 people are injured on Swiss slopes when skiing and snowboarding. In most cases, these are not collisions, but rather self-inflicted accidents.


he main reason for the accidents is excessive speed. In order to avoid serious injuries, it is essential to always adjust the speed, for which one must also know one’s abilities and limitations. In addition, attention must be paid to the right material, the weather and the condition of the pistes. Winter sport enthusiasts should also listen to their body and take suf-

ficient breaks. Accidents are more frequent before lunch break in particular. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that there are a lot of people on the slopes at this time of day. On the other hand, the first signs of fatigue appear around midday – especially if a long drive to the ski resort requires an early start. It is therefore important to take breaks in time and to eat and drink sufficiently.

TIPS FOR MORE SAFETY IN WINTER SPORTS INCLUDE • adjust speed • always wear a helmet • regularly check the material • observe winter sport rules • take breaks when fatigued


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SKI, HOCKEY, GALA DI ”The same procedure as every year” was the motto for the eighth edition of The Alpina Cup. Once again, the giant slalom on the Wasserngrat was about best times and the hockey match between the Le Rosey and HC Gstaad-Saanenland was about goals. In the end the Gymnasium Gstaad and the HC GstaadSaanenland managed to gain the upper hand. The event came to a convivial conclusion with a gala dinner at The Alpina Gstaad – sponsored by the hotel.

The giant slalom had been prepared by race director Patrick Zürcher, who works as a teacher at the Institut Le Rosey. Information about icy passages quickly circulated among the participants. “Watch out at gate seven, it’s icy there. And the terrain drops off, it takes you out quickly”, could occasionally be overheard as a well-meant advice at the start. The instructions about the key points in the giant slalom were given in all kinds of languages to everyone who wore a number. While three young girls on the chairlift analysed their ride in English, pupils from both schools puzzled over who would finish the course with the best time in the finish area. The answer to this question is Livio Herrmann from the Gymnasium Gstaad, who won with over a second lead to the runner-up. Nadja Bircher, also from the Gymnasium Gstaad, was first in the girls’ competition.


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Frank Müller

Watch out for gate seven

The captain of the hockey team HC Gstaad-Saaneland, Tim Staub, received the bell for the winning team. He is framed by the best players Flurin Müller (left, Team HC GSL) and Svatoslav (right, Team Le Rosey) as well as the general manager The Alpina Gstaad, Tim Weiland).

No run remained uncommented: Joannah Spencer and Sarah Ueltschi shared the commentary box, keeping people informed and entertained.

Jenny Sterchi


he combination of giant slalom and ice hockey match is a tradition by now and seems to guarantee excellent weather conditions. The sun provided moderate temperatures, which made both watching at the side of the slope and waiting before the start bearable. The many spectators at the ice hockey match also stayed until the last minute, which was made easier with warm punch and tasty waffles offered by The Alpina Gstaad.

Frank Müller

Frank Müller

The team of HC Gstaad-Saanenland (mixed team junior and senior players) and the team of the Institut Le Rosey (mixed team students, teachers and friends)

The best ski racers of the day with Tim Weiland (The Alpina Gstaad), Patrick Zürcher (Le Rosey) and Christoph Däpp (Gymnasium Gstaad): from left to right Alexandre (Le Rosey, 3rd), Michael (Gymnasium Gstaad, 2nd), Livio (Gymnasium Gstaad, 1st), Bigna (Gymnasium Gstaad, 2nd), Nadja (Gymnasium Gstaad, 1st) and Rahel (Gymnasium Gstaad, 3rd).

NNER The students of the Gymnasium Gstaad eventually took the lead in all categories and thus secured the coveted bell for the team victory.

“It’s not about points or anything like that,” revealed one of the players for the Le Rosey ice hockey team briefly before the match. There is no doubt he did not mean it. However, right from the start you could feel the will to win in both teams. The players of Le Rosey hockey club found their way into the game faster and soon took the lead with two goals. In the second period, HC Gstaad-Saanenland, who were on the ice with a mixed team of young and senior players, managed to catch up. In the final period, the hockey players from Saanenland found their rhythm and took the lead with two more goals after having drawn level. The final result was 4:2 for HC Gstaad-Saanenland. Despite heated emotions and an unbroken will to win, the focus was on fair play all the time. In the end, both teams were happy about a balanced match and beamed into the camera for the group photo. The lucky outcome of the game for HC Gstaad-Saanenland was awarded with the second bell of the event.

Frank Müller

Ambition despite friendship

They were responsible for the successful 8th edition of The Alpina Cup: from left to right Andrew Spencer (responsible hockey team Le Rosey), Christoph Däpp (headmaster Gymnasium Gstaad), Patrick Zürcher (race director Le Rosey), Tim Weiland (general manager The Alpina Gstaad), Kim Kovacevic (head of school Le Rosey) and Frank Müller (hockey team Gstaad).

Finale at The Alpina Gstaad

The successful ski and hockey day came to a successful conclusion with the prize giving ceremony and the gala dinner at The Alpina Gstaad. Students, teachers, hockey players and guests reviewed the day and conversed multilingually. Bonds between local and Le Rosey students were formed that will continue beyond this event. Tim Weiland, general manager The Alpina Gstaad, Nachson Mimran, chairman The Alpina Gstaad, and Kim Kovacevic, head of school Le Rosey, welcomed the 100 invited guests to the gala dinner. In his address, Mimran stressed that the students of Le Rosey and the

Gstaad Gymnasium are the “future change makers”. It is important, he pointed out, that they keep an eye on social and environmental responsibility. Kovacevic for his part stated that we must look back so that we know where we come from in order to shape the future. Traditions from the past are important and should be continued. This includes in particular The Alpina Cup. “The Alpina Cup is very important for the school and the connection between Le Rosey and Gstaad and has a firm place in the agenda of Le Rosey,” he concluded. BASED ON AVS/JENNY STERCHI

GstaadLife 2 I 2020



THE CHARMS AND CHALLENGES OF THE OCEAN Looking at the deep sea through the lens of art and science Two mountains, one mission:

The Gstaad Yacht Club is excited to join forces with The Klosters Forum, a global environmental platform, situated in Grisons. On Monday, 17 February 2020 a stellar cohort of speakers will be taking the audience into the depth of the oceans, discussing the charms and challenges of the deep blue. Members of the GYC as well as guests and friends of The Klosters Forum are getting together for a fascinating evening of talks, films and drinks. A panel discussion is moderated by Markus Reymann, co-founder of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art 21 Academy. TBA21–Academy is the exploratory soul of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary and an itinerant site of cultural production and transdisciplinary research. Conceived in 2011 as a moving platform on the oceans, it brings together artists, researchers, and thinkers from various fields concerned with today’s most urgent ecological, social, and economic issues. Through its expeditions on sea and land, the Academy seeks to reinvent the culture of exploration in the 21st century, while inciting knowledge creation, new modes of collaboration, and the coproduction of solutions for the pressing environmental challenges of today.


GstaadLife 2 I 2020

Amongst the panellists is Dr Arturo Castillo Castillo, who is specialist in energy policy and techno-economic analysis of waste to energy and materials technology. He has worked as a consultant in the area of innovation policy relevant to hydrogen and fuel cells, where he co-authored the UK fuel cells development and deployment roadmap. At the Centre for Environmental Policy he has worked in two main areas. He has worked as lead-researcher in biological and thermal waste treatment techniques. He is member of the Industrial Symbiosis Platform of the European Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community, which preceded the introduction of the Sustainable Production Systems theme. William Winram, another of the panellists, is an ocean explorer, filmmaker, photographer and world record breaking athlete working with governments, scientists and the private sector to conduct critical conservation-focused research and awareness-building exploration projects globally. For more than 10 years, William and his team have been collaborating with scientists, national and local governments, as well as companies and private donors as they seek to not only support key research but also to communicate about the expedition process, sharing with the world the challenges, solutions and the need for change.

An innovator in design he has, in collaboration with industry, created new shark tagging methods and materials to more effectively study difficult-to-approach shark species. To date he has led over 28 open ocean expeditions, which have resulted in 9 published scientific papers that contributed to new government policies and expanded protection in many different marine ecosystems around the world. His photographs and films have been seen by millions globally and his exceptional stories and story telling skills make him a sought-after speaker. He has been captivating Gstaad audiences since 2012 in his collaborations with the Gstaad Yacht Club and their Ocean Stewardship initiatives. Castillo and Winram will be joined by Clare Brook, CEO of the Blue Marine Foundation, who was a pioneer in environmental investigation and sustainable investment management. Blue Marine Foundation fills a niche in the world of NGOs, enabling marine conservation to happen fast and effectively. The team of Blue Marine Foundation is well connected and determined; they seize opportunities as they arise and get things done. They forge new partnerships and challenge the status quo. GSTAAD YACHT CLUB




port you from A to B without giving it a second thought. Suffice it to say, there was no need that evening for the driver to make any kind of detour and on reaching the Chlösterli we headed straight for the bar to cup our hands around warming glasses of brandy. Our return journey lasted a matter of moments in a taxi.

staad offers visitors breath-taking scenery, a respite from the hurly-burly of modern life and a dazzling array of entertainment and experiences where you can “come up, slow down”. But if, like me, you’re not keen on whizzing down hills at breakneck speed and are seeking a less energetic activity, why not try a sleigh ride? You’ve undoubtedly seen the sleighs parked outside St Niklaus-Kapelle during the winter season, complete with magnificent horses and sleigh bells. They really look the part and are, not surprisingly, a popular attraction with visitors and locals alike.

An unexpected turn

Twelve years later we were back in Gstaad, this time with our young family. We had recently moved to the region and were ambling along the Promenade, taking in the sights and sounds. It was one of those beautiful winter days, freezing cold yet bright and sunny. As we came across the sleighs parked outside the chapel our middle son raced up to pet the horses. He began pleading with us to go on a sleigh ride. Mindful of our chilly trip years before, we opted for the shortest route. In hindsight we were mightily glad of this decision, but for an altogether unexpected reason.

I experienced my first horse-drawn ride here many years ago, when my husband booked a sleigh to take us from Gstaad to the Chlösterli. Aware that we would be travelling no great distance – only six to seven kilometres – I distinctly remember him asking the driver to “ride around for a bit” if there was any risk of our arriving at the restaurant too early. As the horses trotted along the tracks, sure-footed despite the compacted snow, I remember feeling a tremendous sense of calm as we shushed along in the sleigh. I have little doubt the temperature was well below zero, but we were cosily bundled under countless layers of blankets. We’d been travelling for quite a while before I realised that despite the horses’ measured pace, we were still a long way from our destination. It’s at times like this you realise how quickly and efficiently cars trans-


Courtesy of Johann von Grünigen

Slow down

Everything started well. Our boys were almost too excited to sit still as they oohed and aahed at the horses and waved madly at every passerby. But it didn’t take long for us to realise that something was amiss with our eldest son. It started with a sneeze. Followed by another. And another. And another until his face turned a speckly red and the skin around his eyes started to puff up in a rather alarming manner. Uh oh. He was clearly having an allergic reaction to the horse hair and a trip to the pharmacy became our top priority. Happily he was soon as right as rain and there was even a silver lining from the whole episode: our son is at least now armed with the knowledge he should avoid sleigh rides when romancing girlfriends and skip straight to the bar instead. But for me there’s nothing quite like the sense of calm you get from being drawn across a snowy landscape. So why not “come up, slow down” and book yourself a sleigh adventure of your own?

GstaadLife 2 I 2020


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

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


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

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

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

Hotel Garni Saanerhof 033 744 15 15, hotel@saanerhof.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

Hotel Kernen 033 748 40 20, info@hotel-kernen.ch

Ultima Gstaad 033 748 05 50, info@ultimagstaad.com

Hotel Landhaus 033 748 40 40, info@landhaus-saanen.ch

ERMITAGE Wellness- & Spa-Hotel 033 748 04 30, welcome@ermitage.ch

Posthotel Rössli 033 748 42 42, info@posthotelroessli.ch

Golfhotel Les Hauts de Gstaad 033 748 68 68, mail@golfhotel.ch

Sporthotel Victoria 033 748 44 22, info@victoria-gstaad.ch

Hotel de Rougemont

026 921 01 01, info@hotelderougemont.com

Alpine Lodge B&B 033 748 41 51, welcome@alpinelodge.ch

HUUS Gstaad 033 748 04 04, welcome@huusgstaad.com

Ermitage Maison d’Hôtes 026 924 25 00, info@ermitage-chateaudoex.ch

Boutique Hotel Alpenrose 033 748 91 91, info@hotelalpenrose.ch

Hotel Restaurant Bären 033 755 10 33, info@bären-gsteig.ch

Hotel Arc-en-Ciel 033 748 43 43, info@arc-en-ciel.ch

Sun&Soul Panorama Pop-Up Hotel Solsana 033 748 16 17, info@solsana.ch

Member of Design HotelsTM

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 Hotel Olden 033 748 49 50, info@hotelolden.com Romantik Hotel Hornberg 033 748 66 88, willkommen@hotel-hornberg.ch

Hotel Valrose 026 923 77 77, welcome@valrose.ch Hotel Wildhorn 033 765 30 12, hotel@wildhorn.ch Jugendherberge Gstaad Saanenland 033 744 13 43, gstaadsaanenland@ youthhostel.ch

IMPORTANT NUMBERS Ambulance 144, Police 117 Fire 118

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

St Peter ’s Anglican Church English-Speaking, Château-d’Oex Service every Sunday, 5.30 pm www.stpeters.ch Contact: cliveatkinson@bluewin.ch

Medical Emergency: 0900 57 67 47 Dental Emergency: 033 729 26 26

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

Car Accident: 033 744 88 80

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

Château-d’Oex Hospital: 026 923 43 43

GstaadLife 2 I 2020

Soroptimist International President: Ursula Breuninger 033 744 05 80 Programme: Patricia Glauser Edreira 076 426 16 11


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


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: Thomas Staub, 033 744 94 34 tom.dusty@bluewin.ch

Police Station: 033 356 84 31 Zweisimmen Hospital: 033 729 26 26 Veterinarian: 033 748 08 58 / 033 744 06 61

DEATH NOTICE We regret to report the death, on 16 January 2020 in Lausanne, of HE Count Edouard Decazes (1921–2020) Honorary president of the Eagle Ski Club.

There is a pattern for good sleep – it´s blue.

Sleep by nature. Since 1852 we have been working sustainable and use exclusively renewable raw materials for the construction of our beds. We are convinced that there are no better alternatives for natural materials such as wood, cotton, wool and horsehair. With a Hästens, contributing in making our environment a little greener has never been easier – simply close your eyes and Sleep. BE AWAKE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YOUR LIFE­® | HASTENS.COM

Hästens Store Bern | Bundesgasse 20 | 3011 Bern | Tel.: +41 31 311 24 24 Hästens Store Genève | Rue du Rhône 65 | 1204 Genève | Tel.: +41 22 300 08 87 Hästens Store Gstaad - Saanen | Dorfstrasse 66 | 3792 Saanen | Tel.: +41 33 744 20 12

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GstaadLife 2/2020, 14 February  

The exclusive news and lifestyle magazine of Gstaad

GstaadLife 2/2020, 14 February  

The exclusive news and lifestyle magazine of Gstaad

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