E XCLUSIV E
LIFES T Y LE
M AG A ZINE
GS TA A D
Issue 4 | 14 July 2017 CHF 3.50
LES ARTS GSTAAD Updated project plans on review
FONDUELAND A giant caquelon goes Germany
CHALLENGES AND CHANCES Christian Hoefliger talks tourism GstaadLife 4 I 2017
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LES ARTS IS ON TRACK Les Arts Gstaad took yet another important step. After revisions to the plans and the bundling of the three parts of the project it has been approved by the municipality of Saanen and the Canton of Bern in a preliminary viewing. But still, after all these years of hard work, it’s not finished yet. More steps are to be taken, more money to be collected and more people to be persuaded. A Herculean task! I guess it’s not supposed to be a walk in the park because it’s not the average concert hall. It’s a visionary project with its location, size, acoustics, and architecture. It’s outstanding and provocative. It will be a landmark. A project of this scale will have rough edges that are not to everybody’s liking. It’s even prone to polarise. But what I admire is the patience, resilience and efforts of the founding board. No matter in which direction this very project will go in the end, their work has been immensely important for Gstaad. That’s the kind of commitment a region needs. At least on this, I hope, we all can agree.
CONTENTS LOCAL NEWS Flea market is back in town
4.3-Magnitude shock felt in Château-D’oex
New GST director
Les Arts Gstaad publishes updated plans
No ban on fireworks
Book on local weather history
Challenges and chances
GSTAAD LIVING Changes at Lake Arnen
Aerial photos worth a thousand words
Air quality in the Saanenland
SPORTS & LEISURE A sight to see
Gstaad Major 2017 in pictures
Today’s champions meet tomorrow’s stars
Markus Iseli, Publishing Director
Cover Photo: Hannes Niederkofler GstaadLife, Anzeiger von Saanen, Kirchstrasse 6, P.O. Box 201, 3780 Gstaad, Phone: 033 748 88 74, Fax: 033 748 88 84, www.gstaadlife.com Management Board and Publisher: Frank Müller, firstname.lastname@example.org Publishing Director: Markus Iseli, email@example.com Contributors: Januaria Piromallo Layout: Epu Shaha, Aline Brawand Advertising: Eliane Behrend, firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 033 748 88 71 Subscriptions: Flurina Welten, email@example.com, Phone: 033 748 88 74
GstaadLife 4 I 2017
F L EA M A R K ET IS BACK I N T OW N It will be the 14th edition of the flea market in Saanen on 5 August, where all can be found from second hand to antiques, food, and entertainment.
The market opens at 9am and if you are looking to get the best deals make sure you get there early. If you just want to take a stroll through the village and enjoy the festive atmosphere there is no rush. Local restaurants and shops will be open all day and live music will be played intermittently until midngiht. MARKUS ISELI
Photo: Brocante & Markt Saanen
Brocante & Markt Saanen is on the annual agenda of many bargain hunters and vendors alike, some of which have been returning every year since 2003.
Take home a proper Swiss souvenir that you won't find in the odd souvenir shop, like these original cow bells.
4. 3 -M AGN I T U DE SHOCK F ELT I N CH Ă‚T EAU-D'OEX An earthquake struck on 1 July at 10.10am with the epicentre about 4km under the village of ChĂ˘teau-d'Oex. Several aftershocks have already occurred.
The seismicity in this zone has been elevated since 2016, the SSS says, related to a geological fault with an east-west orientation. MARKUS ISELI
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The map indicates the epicentre of the earthquake and the intensity.
Map: Swiss Seismological Service
According to the Swiss Seismological Service (SSS) the earthquake was felt in the canton Vaud, Fribourg, in the Valais and in canton Bern. Despite the relatively high intensity no road damage or major damages to buildings have been reported. Several aftershocks, two with a magnitude above 2, have already occured. More are likely to follow within the next weeks or months but they will probably not reach the same intensity.
The choice has been made: Sébastien Epiney will take on the role of director of Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus. Epiney will succeed Martin Bachofner, who successfully served for six years as tourism director in Gstaad.
n Epiney, a Paris-born Valaisan with family roots in Val d’Anniviers, the Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus board of directors has found an expert polyglot who is at ease in several languages – including Swiss-German. This fluency is especially important in the Saanenland, where despite the local population’s preference for their native dialect, French is widely spoken amongst long-term guests. “It is certainly of added value if a person with roots in French-speaking Switzerland takes over the helm,” says outgoing tourism director Martin Bachofner.
Epiney has served as director of Nendaz Tourisme for 15 years, during which time his work has been greatly appreciated. The touristic and economic development of Nendaz has been evident under his tutelage; the region launched several new themed parcours and devoted special attention to the renewal of “bisses”, the ancient aqueducts that are now popular hiking trails and a big tourist draw. The 49-year old is also a top mountaineer and long-distance runner David Matti, GST president, designated director Sébastien Epiney and current director Martin Bachofner (from left).
NEW GST DIRECTOR
known for his athletic performance. Epiney has competed as a skier-mountaineer and mountain rider, and he was a member of the Swiss National Ski and Mountaineering (Swiss Athletics), winning dozens of high-level national and international competitions in both disciplines. Sébastien Epiney and his companion Béatrice, a former lawyer for a Geneva-based firm, will come to settle in the region after seven years of living together in Nendaz. He will take up his position 1 October with an office in the Haus des Gastes on the Promenade. “I am particularly pleased to work with people with an open mind and their feet firmly on the ground,” says Epiney, when asked about his future team. “The combination of typical Swiss traditions, high quality standards, and an international flavour make Gstaad unique in all the Alps,” explains Epiney. As for Martin Bachofner, he will leave his position at the end of the summer to take up the professional challenge of CEO of the new company Bern Welcome. The communi-
ty considers it a great success that Bachofner was so quickly replaced once he had given his three-month notice back in April. Given that the succession was to be settled in such short time, GST president David Matti believes this is a positive sign for the destination, but also for the smooth running of the recruitment process. “We are delighted to secure the services of a passionate and experienced tourism professional and a seasoned industry expert for Gstaad in the candidature of Sébastien Epiney, who will lead our complex resort region in a committed manner toward the future,” says David Matti. The members of the selection committee are convinced that this new man at the head of GST will continue to keep the organisation on the road to success and continue its development. According to a GST press release, their steering committee is very pleased with the future collaboration with Sébastien Epiney, and say he will be able to count on a very well-run management team to focus quickly on the destination. ALEXIS MUNIER
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he second version of the plans for Les Arts Gstaad have been published by the municipality of Saanen and the Canton of Bern. In order to accelerate authorization procedures, the updated plans now include all three parts of the project– the construction of the cultural centre by Les Arts Gstaad Foundation, the MOB’s expansion of the Gstaad train station, and the municipality’s plan to dig a connecting tunnel. The updated project plans can be reviewed by the public until July 21. A subsequent municipal assembly hearing will decide whether the proposed project will go ahead. “The municipal council has always supported the project. I will continue to do so in my position as municipal council president. I fully embrace Les Arts,” says Toni von Grünigen, According to Les Arts Gstaad a second public viewing of the updated plans ensures all residents of the Saanenland have another opportunity to assess the project in its entirety before the hearing. The new destination strategy for the region adopted last year stipulates that the Saanenland must take steps toward becoming an attractive year-round tourist destination. Les Arts Gstaad Foundation sees their project as part of these necessary developments and a platform and guide for future change. Speaking about the project, Les Arts Gstaad foundation president J. Markus Kappeler said: “We are open to developments and to exchanging ideas with i nstitutions and organizations in the Saanenland.” Once the second public viewing of the plans has concluded, all objec-
The poles outlining the proposed cultural centre give a good sense of the project dimensions.
LES ARTS GSTAAD PUBLISHES UPDATED PLANS
tions have been answered, and financing has been secured, local residents will be invited to vote on the project and its financing. The cost of building the cultural centre alone is estimated to be around 105m CHF. 76m CHF have been secured so far. Private donors, including the family of Swiss entrepreneur Stephan Schmidheiny and long-time guest of the Saanenland, Aline Foriel-Destezet, have pledged 41m CHF. Furthermore, applications to the Swiss Lottery fund and Canton Bern’s fund for regional development (Neue Regionalpolitik) have been made for 15m CHF and 5m CHF respectively. An additional 15m CHF have been made available to the project via a
mortgage. Currently, the Foundation is still short 29m CHF to build the centre as well as another 20m CHF plus 1.5m CHF per year for the first 20 years in order to secure the longterm viability of centre. Building the tunnel and expanding the train station will necessitate around 28m CHF. The residents of the Saanenland will also vote on whether the municipality can bear those costs. According to Kappeler, “securing the financing for the project remains a challenge, but we are more confident than ever that we will be able to present the municipal assembly with a proposal for a fully funded cultural centre.” ANNE CHRISTINE KEMPTON
GstaadLife 4 I 2017
Some are afraid of the dark. Others have a fear of spiders. But one man’s greatest fear – losing the Saanenland’s historic barns – has pushed him to great lengths to ensure his worst
Michi Gehret with a model of the Saanen landmark he is trying to save.
nightmares don’t become reality.
ocal architect Michi Gehret has long ties to the Saanenland; he grew up here and runs his architecture studio out of Feutersoey. After a few years of study in Zurich, he returned home eager to make his life in the Saanenland once more. While out in the countryside, Gehret began to take notice of the Schürli, barns on the pastures. Some were badly damaged and would disappear one day – leaving only empty field where the historic structures once stood. Gehret observed the decay and demolition, and started Club Schürli to fight for these structures – founded especially to counteract the destruction of barns. The club now has over 130 members, and the interest in saving the barns is growing.
“These small, simple barns give our landscape its unmistakable character…”, insists Gehret, “they belong to the cultural heritage of our region.” According to Gehret, the decline of agricultural facilities like barns is due to a decrease in use. They are no longer needed in the age of silo bales by today’s savvy, technically proficient farmers. Unfortunately, as soon as the roof of a barn is no longer watertight, decay begins and the whole structure can be ruined in just a few short years. Due to Switzerland’s
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Photo: Jenny Sterchi
strict spatial planning laws, the barns cannot then simply be rebuilt. Once Schürli have gone, the land under them becomes agricultural zone, and under 2013 regulations, rebuilding is nearly impossible. Gehret has now finished a project designed to draw attention to the problem. He catalogued the existing barns in the Saanenland, mapping their location and identifying details. Working with schoolchildren from Oberschule Gsteig-Feutersoey, photographs were taken to accompany all the information and published in a book. Yet despite the interest in saving the barns, sceptics are vocal in their concerns. Namely, why force the expensive upkeep of simple buildings that are no longer of use? Gehret believes they could be used as alternative energy “islands”, or even converted for tourist use, and is doing his part to talk to farmers about it. He says both
options offer the owner the opportunity to benefit from the conversion, and at the same time actively participate in the protection of landscape and cultural heritage. Presently, an advisory council is being set up to elaborate on possible uses for the barns as well as a defined strategy. “We would like to offer the owner a vision of what it means to invest in the preservation of the barns,” says Gehret. “Our idea is the sustainable preservation of barns; they are to remain self-sufficient even after renovation, so respect for nature can be preserved.” In total, Gehret counts approximately 185 Schürli standing in the Gsteig area, with over 1000 in the Saanenland. The Foundation for Landscape Conservation Switzerland says 100,000 barns still exist in the country as a whole. www.schür.li ALEXIS MUNIER / AVS
NO BAN ON FIREWORKS After considering a petition to ban fireworks by a group called Celebrations Without Fireworks back in February, the municipal council has released a list of requirements for their use, excluding the possibility of a total ban.
The municipal council fully considered the request, and the security commission met with representatives of the interest group Celebrations Without Firework, which included critical reviewers as well as professionals to establish a firm grasp of the situation and different options available. Data favoured by the municipal council showed that six to eight fireworks displays per year were reasonable and proportionate. However, the council has now published certain qualifications for the use of fireworks. Namely, fireworks may only be kept and used in such a way that people, animals, and things
are not endangered. They must be approved for use by the municipality beforehand, and can last for a maximum of 15 minutes excluding 1 August and New Year’s Eve. In the summer, they must be finished before 11pm (10pm in the winter), and cannot b e used during noise-sensitive events like the Menuhin Festival. Outside a specific area, only silent fireworks are permitted, and at loud fireworks displays, a sum of CHF 300 must be donated to an animal protection organisation. Fireworks have been an integral part of the Saanenland’s holiday celebrations for decades now, and are favoured by an overwhelming majority
of the population. There are, however, several undeniable disadvantages to their use. Animal welfare organisations and veterinarians confirm that light and sound explosions during nocturnal hours contribute to animal suffering. Some claim that using fireworks produces unnecessary air pollution as well. Others disagree, and as a magnet for tourism, believe fireworks are an integral part of the region’s offering. At least for the moment, a full ban on fireworks seems to be the last resort for the municipality, and one that is not likely to come to pass. ALEXIS MUNIER / AVS
BOOK ON LOCAL WEATHER HISTORY NOW AVAILABLEIN ENGLISH The German book Wetterkapriolen in früheren Jahrhunderten is now available in English as Vagaries of the Weather in P ast Centuries.
Back in 2007, Theodor Romang was invited to give a talk at a “Saaner Abesitz” – a series of talks by locals on their topic of expertise – on extreme weather conditions in the past. Based on the Mösching-Gander-Chronik, he showed the weather to be as extreme in the past as it is today. He expands this in his book and argues that extreme weather conditions are no novelty. Titles such as Severe Cold, Massive Snowfalls,
Terrifying Avalanches, or Ferocious Storm, hint at the vividness of Romang’s accounts of weather extremes from the 17th centuryuntil today. He also uses these insights to comment on global warming. While he agrees with modern science that “Global warming is a fact”, he finds it debatable “whether the warming is man-made or not”. Romang qualifies that he is “no scientist” and that he considers these
issues from his “own personal perspective”. He is convinced, though, that the current warming will be followed by “another cooling period”. Whether one agrees with Romang or not, his collection of weather incidents in the Saanenland in the course of the last centuries makes for an interesting read. MARKUS ISELI
CHALLENGES AND The four profile interviews this summer explore different perspectives of innovation and sustainability in the Gstaad region. Christian Hoefliger, president of the Hotelierverein Gstaad Saanenland, discusses challenges and chances in tourism.
Mr Hoefliger, how do you undestand the term sustainable tourism and
motivation for people choosing their destination.
why do you consider it important?
I feel it is very important because guests want to be in an environment where their presence has an economic and ecological benefit. They don’t want to leave a footprint that they regret. So you feel that the desire for sustainable tourism actually comes from the guests themselves?
Absolutely. Holiday destinations are driven by an emotional choice. Tourism is, however, an industry like any other and needs to be profitable. So, it’s a challenge to meet the expectations of the guests whilst maintaining economic sustainability. What role does sustainable innovation play in the destination strategy?
Sustainability and innovation are one of the main poles of the destination strategy since guests come here primarily to experience nature and feel good. Innovation is important because we compete in a very dynamic market worldwide and have to search for a unique selling point (USP) that makes us different. What is the unique selling point for this region, according to the destination strategy?
I would say it is nature. Here we have what most city dwellers don’t have: the privilege of sleeping in a calm environment, breathing fresh air, hearing birds in the morning, smelling the rain and the fresh-cut hay, seeing wild flowers growing. There are of course also social motives like meeting up with friends, or going where others go, and that is often also a
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Can you tell me what efforts are being made to evolve to four-season tourism?
Many of us realize that we need to have four-season tourism because it gets more and more difficult for hotels if they are only open for short periods of the year. Fortunately, we do have the ability to provide four-season tourism in the region as all the seasons up here are absolutely beautiful. We have identified this as one of our strengths and listed it as a pole in the destination strategy. But it will take time to achieve this; the economy at the moment is challenging and being open almost all year round is a big investment for a hotel, especially at the beginning. But we can be very proud of the great efforts made by many hotels to evolve a four-season tourism. Gstaad has a number of diverse events such as the Menuhin festival, the tennis, the country music festival, the beach-volleyball, the polo, the Glacier 3000 run and many more. These initiatives seem to be gaining in importance.
Yes, that is absolutely correct. I think the generation before us, say 30 years ago or more, really did the pioneer work; others have contributed in our time and we all benefit from it. Many other mountain destinations rely mainly on winter tourism so perhaps 80% of their turnover is in winter and 20% in summer. The Gstaad region, however, is fortunate to have these high level events throughout the year. With regard to climate change, we need to build on these initiatives
and develop them further. Les Arts Gstaad for example would provide essential support in such activities. Are there any particular initiatives that contribute to the sustainability of the hotel sector?
Absolutely. We try to be very innovative in hotel management but it is necessary to ensure that whatever we do is not only sustainable but also provides a return on investment. Several recent initiatives are proving successful. For example, we have created a procurement association whereby the twenty participating hotels pool their purchases and try to source them as locally as possible. This enables us to submit larger orders to suppliers, it cuts individual costs and reduces the number of deliveries. It also means less delivery vehicles on our roads, less noise and less pollution. I recently read about the central laundry cooperative and was impressed by the energy savings that they have achieved.
Yes, this is definitely a success. The laundry cooperative was formed over 40 years ago and moved to a new, bigger building two years ago. The cooperative model is extremely energy-efficient when compared with individual hotel laundries. In fact, this laundry is extremely modern and has become a role model for other laundries around Europe. I would say that, in general, the solidarity between the hotels and the shared sense of the need for common action is just great; it’s an immeasurable asset for tourism in the region.
Photo: Hannes Niederkofler
Gstaad region. The events that we mentioned earlier – the Menuhin festival, the tennis, beach, polo, etc. – seem to reinforce the image of a region that is dynamic, culturally rich, healthy and sustainable. Would you agree with this?
Christian Hoefliger runs the Romantik Hotel Hornberg together with his wife, Brigitte Hoefliger - von Siebenthal, in the third generation.
How important do you think the Gstaad Authentique label is for tourism?
I think it is important. Gstaad Authentique helps local producers – farmers, bakers, butchers – to sell their products directly and it is very much in keeping with the destination strategy model. It guarantees high quality, local products with natural ingredients and promotes an image of productive sustainability in the region. How much support does local tourism receive from the representative bodies at the cantonal and confederation levels?
Hoteliers and other actors involved in tourism complain that there is far less support at that level for tourism than for other industries. If you look
at neighbouring countries such as Austria and others, they receive far more support from their governments. I believe this is due to the fact that we only have a few parliamentary representatives who have a background in the tourist industry. Having said that, I personally don’t entirely regret the lack of support. I believe it strengthens us and makes us more competitive. The removal of the central bank’s peg against the Euro is an example. It was perhaps an inevitable decision but it was, and remains, a huge challenge for Swiss tourism. We have to face reality, however. It wouldn’t help us to be kept in the market artificially. Nonetheless, sometimes it would be encouraging to get a little more support. It seems to me that a great deal of care is taken in marketing the
Yes, absolutely. I think one of the strengths of the region is that we think carefully about the direction our strategy should take then apply it consistently, not for one or two years, but for 10 or even 30 years. If I look back, I am grateful for all that the previous generations have done towards making the region what it is. If you focus, for example, on the building regulations. The stipulation that all buildings have to be built in a certain way – what we call “chalet style” – has been incredibly important in maintaining the coherence of the architecture that contributes so much to the beauty of the region. This helps the destination strategy to promote an image of authenticity and sustainability. I think adherence to conventional norms is in our genes. We may have many faults but this is definitely one of our strengths. So basically, you feel that there is a solidarity in terms of understanding your goals and a commitment to respect and improve on them?
Yes, I think we have a common understanding. Nevertheless, we do indeed have challenges. The world is changing so quickly that we cannot assume we are not affected. Our past successes may sometimes blind us but we cannot allow ourselves to forget that we also need to evolve fast and change on and on…! Thank you very much Mr Hoefliger for taking the time to talk to us for GstaadLife. GUY GIRARDET
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In last month’s issue, we carried an article about Lake Arnen and its history. Since, there have been some notable developments about the lake’s future.
The power grid will be extended from the transformer near the barrier in Feutersoey via Tuxberg and Hindere Walig to the lake.
here has been speculation by locals that things were different at the lake, mainly because during spring, the highest water levels in years were recorded. As is well known, the water from the lake passes through a number of hydroelectric power plants during its journey along the Grande Eau River, before reaching the Rhône. Guillaume Gros, from Romande Energie SA, has clarified the reason why water levels have been higher than usual. It is because one of the power stations is undergoing maintenance work and therefore more water has been retained at the lake than usual. Licence renewal
Romande Energie’s licence to utilise Lake Arnen for hydroelectric power is set to expire. However, the renewal process has proved to be more complicated for the company than first anticipated. After submitting their application an objection was received from the WWF, which the company is now analysing. When the facility became operational in 1957, there was no discussion concerning the residual water and the amount necessary for a healthy fish population. According to today’s regulations, residual water in the Tschärzis must be maintained to a certain level. Consequently, a pump will have to be installed to direct residual water into the Tschärzis. New connections
So far, no electricity has been available near the lake, which will change with the new licence. With the in-
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Photos: Blanca Burri
GSTA AD LIVING
CHANGES AT LAKE ARNEN
To get the new licence, residual water will have to be pumped through the dam into the Tschärzis River.
stallation of underground pipes from Feutersoey to the lake, buildings around the lake and on the way up (Hindere Walig) will be connected to the power grid. In 2008, land owners were informed of the planned works and asked if they were interested in having electricity connected to their buildings. The construction will be carried out in an environmentally friendly manner using a process that requires barely any excavation, with
little to no disruption to local nature and wildlife. The cost of the work will be in the region of 800,000 CHF. The license renewal process must first be completed before construction work begins, with a decision due in autumn 2018. After relevant planning permissions have been received, construction is scheduled to start in 2019. DAVINA GATELEY / AVS
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he Federal Office of Topography, swisstopo, provides high-resolution images of the Swiss landscapes taken by high performing cameras. The aerial pictures offer indispensable and valuable information that allows us to perceive and identify essential details of the territory where our lives take place. Every year a third of Switzerland is covered and this year images of Western Switzerland and the Valais will be shot. Natural habitat, urban areas, archaeological sites, every element of physical space is revealed and displayed in its unique features. The number of applications is limitless: from the study of glacier development, to agriculture and forestry, from spatial planning to the actual management of natural hazards. Achieving sharp and crisp looking photographs, with an incomparable degree of detail, requires the use of the finest technology and particular types of cameras, which ensure
an ideal basis for measurements and v isualizations in three dimensions. Swisstopo’s aerial images are taken with two new high-tech cameras, named ADS100 (Airborne Digital Sensor), which are installed in two aircrafts. Derived from the space industry, this ultimate technology allows capturing images in three dimensions with a ground resolution of 10cm. The resulting pictures are not only incredibly precise; somehow they also convey a mysterious sense of beauty and literally transport the viewer into another space. If you stare at them long enough, you can inhale their inner splendour. Like a veritable form of art, these images display unique shapes and harmonious colours combined in a picturesque view, which has an unexpected romantic effect. The rough edges that outline the powerful mountains, the soft and sinuous lines of valleys and hills, riv-
ers and lakes, the fascinating ensemble of the chalets with their classic sloping roofs; every unique detail of our charming region comes to light, in a dream-like image of a boundless space, so calm, so free. The picture above has been made with the latest technology: the details of branches and trees are so clear and the colors so vibrant you can almost smell the fresh scent of the pine trees and hear the sweet music of the river flow. These aerial pictures have something magical about them, they offer us a new perspective on the world around us and break down the barrier between human scale and natural scale. Exploring a landscape can now be experienced by a large public at a different level, real space and virtual space finally find a common ground and we are honoured they can actually meet… right here on our mountaintops! ARIANNA PROTO DI SANTA DOROTEA
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Photo: Felix Nรถthiger
SCHWEIZERHOF Learn more about the once top secret military facilities, reaching 150 metres deep into the mountains of Gstaad, in our next issue.
GstaadLife 4 I 2017
Air pollution levels are constantly monitored throughout Switzerland. Assuring the fight for clean skies, measuring stations work around the clock to detail levels of several known pollutants.
here are two air quality measuring stations in the Saanenland. Standing on the promenade in Gstaad, a station has been in operation since 1990 to measure nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The NO2 load has been halved in the past few years, due mainly to two things. Firstly, engine technology has greatly improved and particle filters have been installed in diesel vehicles. As a result, fewer pollutants are produced and released into the atmosphere. Secondly, the reduction in the village centre can be attributed to the opening of the bypass road in 1997. Another measuring station has been located at the factory yard in Mettlen since 1993, which measures ozone load. Ozone levels tend to be less pronounced in the mountainous area of Switzerland versus the plains, due both to lower emissions and fewer
Photo: Pexels – Donald Tong
GSTA AD LIVING
AIR QUALITY IN THE SAANENLAND
clouds that influence ozone formation. The threshold value for ozone pollution in the air should only be reached once a year. In the Saanenland as well as in most other Swiss locations this has not been achieved so far, even though the overall level is dropping. There is no measuring station in the Saanenland for fine dust PM10. The closest measurements are taken in Frutigen and Thun. Since the 1990s, the fine dust load in traffic-rich locations has decreased. However,
the share from diesel vehicles and combustion engines is still too high. The PM10 annual limit was hit last year in Frutigen as well as at other cantonal measuring sites, so the natural conclusion is that it was hit in the Saanenland as well. Despite single exceedings of maximum values, the maeasuring stations prove what we expect and e xperience most of the time: we are spoilt with clean and healthy air in the Saanenland. ALEXIS MUNIER / AVS
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SPORTS & LEISURE
A SIGHT TO SEE It’s not everyday that you come across a giant caquelon (fondue pot) in the mountains, and it’s not just for show. You can actually sit in one, eating fondue whilst enjoying spectacular local views. These eccentric caquelons have become well known and loved locally, whilst also gaining some notoriety abroad.
There are three caquelons in total, with the first two made in 2014 as part of Fondueland. The idea was conceived in the framework of the Gstaad 2020+ project of the municipality and tourism authority, aiming to work towards sustainability in the region. Fondueland became part of the existing Fondue Trail on the Rellerli, which is also where the inspiration came from.
The caquelons are made from local wood by carpenter Reto Burri and his team at Chaletbau Burri, Lauenen. They are expertly constructed following precise plans and have a mountain panorama painted on the outside by painter Albert Würsten. They are big! There is enough space for a bench and table, comfortably seating up to eight people. It is also possible to order a rucksack with a fondue making kit from local dairies and hike to one of the two giant caquelons. One is located on top of the Wispile and the second can be found in Schönried. Frankfurt calling…
The third caquelon features as one of
GstaadLife 4 I 2017
the highlights of the Picnic Time exhibition at the Museum Angewandte Kunst (Applied Arts) in Frankfurt, running until 17 September 2017. Dr Charlotte Trümpler, the exhibition curator, found out about Fondueland online and contacted Gstaad in mid2016. After an anonymous donation, work began in early 2017 on construction of the third caquelon.
This new caquelon will be exhibited in a public park next to the River Main, with deck chairs surrounding it. Added, the Swiss Consulate General in Frankfurt is making the caquelon a centrepiece of their Swiss National Day celebrations on 1 August. Guests
will be offered specialities from the Saanenland and welcomed by the sound of the alphorn. After its adventures abroad the caquelon will return to Gstaad to be used by locals and tourists alike. Kerstin Sonnekalb from Gstaad Marketing is a little concerned that the caquelon might be covered in graffiti
during its visit to the big city. However, she remains sanguine saying that if the worst case occurs, it could be remarketed as an urban style caquelon. It is still a mystery where the third caquelon will be placed upon its homecoming to Fondueland. All suggestions welcome! DAVINA GATELEY / AVS
A GIANT CAQUELON IN THE MAKING
Constructing engineer Reto Burri studies the construction plan (left) and and inspects the work done so far in the workshop (above).
Photos: Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus
Albert WĂźrsten paints the Saanenland panorama onto the caquelon and adds the names of the main peaks.
GstaadLife 4 I 2017
SPORTS & LEISURE
GSTAAD MAJOR 20 Despite occasional drops of rain, the weather remained stable enough throughout the beach volleyball tournament. Tough games, fair players, busy helpers and a cheering crowd made it a first-class sports
Photo: Mihai Stetcu
Photo: Daniel Grund
Photo: Mihai Stetcu
Photo: Daniel Grund
event. We look back at the best moments of the Gstaad Major 2017.
GstaadLife 4 I 2017
Photos: Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series / Red Bull Content Pool
Photo: Michael Kunkel Photo: Mihai Stetcu
Photo: Mihai Stetcu
Photo: Mihai Stetcu
Photo: Mihai Stetcu
17 IN PICTURES
GstaadLife 4 I 2017
With Roland Garros and Wimbledon behind us, the tennis world now turns to Gstaad. Today's tennis champions and tomorrow’s stars will meet up in the Ladies Championship Gstaad, which runs from 15–23 July, as well as in the men's J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad, which will take place from 22–30 July. Last year's winner Feliciano López (left) and Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky (below) are returning to Gstaad.
up and coming players Maria Sakkari (WTA 99) from Greece and the United States’ Louisa Chirico (WTA 128), both 21 years old, as well as by the tournament’s youngest players: Sara Sorribes Tormo (WTA 84) from Spain, Serbia’s Nina Stojanovi´c and Rebecca Šramková (WTA 127) from Slovakia, all 20 years old.
Photos: Swiss Open Gstaad / Ladies Championship Gstaad
SPORTS & LEISURE
TODAY'S CHAMPIONS MEET TOMORROW’S STARS IN GSTAAD TENNIS
s in previous years, the Gstaad tennis tournaments offer young ambitious players the opportunity to gain valuable experience playing against top ranked opponents. The Ladies Championship Gstaad, now in its second edition, will welcome last year’s winner, Viktorija Golubic (WTA 65), to defend her title. Golubic along with Timea Bacsinszky (WTA 31), who recently played Roland Garros and will also be playing in Gstaad, are currently two of Swit-
GstaadLife 4 I 2017
zerland’s best female tennis players. The top seeded player in the Ladies Championship Gstaad, Kiki Bertens (WTA 18) from the Netherlands, who missed out on a win against Golubic last year, will be looking for an all-out win this year. She’s got tough competition from France’s Caroline Garcia (WTA 27) and former Grand Slam winner (US Open 2011) and French Open 2010 finalist Samantha Stosur (WTA 22). The well-established names in women’s tennis will also be challenged by
In the men’s competition, now in its 102nd year, three previous Swiss Open Gstaad winners will be competing against one another: Feliciano López (ATP 33) and Mikhail Youzhny (ATP 86) hope to win the Wimbledon of the Alps a second time, and in the case of Thomaz Bellucci (ATP 57), he hopes to raise the Gstaad trophy for a third time. All the players in this year’s J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad are ranked in the ATP top 100. The top seeded player at the tournament will be David Goffin (ATP 13) from Belgium. Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut (ATP 19) and Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi (ATP 36) will also battle it out on the Gstaad courts. Unlike in the women’s tournament, Switzerland will not be represented in the men’s competition unless a Swiss player receives one of the wild cards. Promising young players such as 23 year old Thiago Monteiro (ATP 96) from Brazil, 26 year old Marius Copil (ATP 91) from Romania and Japan’s 24 year old Taro Daniel (ATP 93), will however ensure a high level of excitement for spectators as they battle it out against previous Gstaad trophy winners and other hopefuls. ANNE CHRISTINE KEMPTON
EXPAT ADVENTURES "Red tape will often get in your way. It’s one of the reasons I carry scissors." So says Sir Richard Branson, serial entrepreneur and businessman.
’m sure local people everywhere have their fill of bureaucracy, but completing forms that make no sense in a language you don’t yet understand is par for the expat course. Happily it turns out that the Swiss do administration rather well, especially when it comes to buying a house.
Eleven months after moving to the region we found the chalet that was to become our family home. I approached the house purchase with trepidation. My experience in other countries was an endless stream of bureaucratic demands to sign scores of disclosures, request building surveys or initiate land registry searches. The house-buying process was mired in red tape and focused largely on mitigating future legal challenges.
Photos: Harald Biebel – Fotolia
But if buying a house in the US is like planning a Star Trek-themed wedding on a remote volcanic island for 250 guests complete with one-piece red jumpsuits, doors that go swoosh and goblets of powder-blue Romulan
ale, the Swiss equivalent is inviting a few friends over to the local park for a picnic. It was painless and easy and swift. It took just two signatures in apple-green ink for us to become the proud new owners of our very own Swiss chalet.
dence permit available, but for stays of longer than 90 days the main options are: • B permit: valid for up to five years; • C permit: awarded after you’ve lived in Switzerland on a B permit for a continuous period of five or ten years (depending on your nationality).
You don’t need to be resident to buy a property in the region. But to make Gstaad your permanent residence, you must register with the local authorities (Einwohner- und Fremdenkontrolle/Population étrangère). They’re a patient bunch. They probably have to be. You’ll be asked to fill out a registration questionnaire (helpfully available in English) and provide a number of documents. The list is long, but it’s all fairly straightforward: employment contract, ID, passport-sized photo, social security details, proof of health insurance, copy of rental contract or proof of house ownership and, if applicable, marriage certificate and birth certificates of any children.
There was a time when gaining a C permit was a grand occasion, a fine excuse to toast your good fortune with copious amounts of Yvorne or Fendant. It’s still a significant milestone for many expats because it offers increased employment flexibility, but beware! Your permit also impacts how you pay tax. How taxing
If you hold a B permit your employer deducts income tax at source, just like in the UK, the US and many European countries. But with a C you get scooped into the ‘Swiss’ system. This means saving up your tax every month and paying it in one lump sum at the end of the year. I rather liked the idea of staying on a B.
If you are financially independent you can skip the bit about the work contract; proving you have oodles of cash to look after yourself will suffice.
In Gstaad we had no choice but to take C permits when our Bs expired. But it was a different story in Vaud, just seven kilometres up the road.
B or C?
“Could I keep my B permit?” I asked the lady at the Rougemont commune. I didn’t hold out much hope. She seemed confused by the request, as though faced with a qualified driver who wanted their ‘L’ plates back. But she pulled out her scissors and cut through the red tape: the canton of Vaud let me keep my B.
There are several categories of resi-
Richard Branson would have approved. ANNA CHARLES
GstaadLife 4 I 2017
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GstaadLife 4 I 2017
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GSTA A D S A A N E N LA N D 2018
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The exclusive news and lifestyle magazine of Gstaad.