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Friday 18 February 2011 - Issue 2 - CHF 3.50 excl VAT

LOCAL PERSONALITY

Reverend Arnot Morrison ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

· Hotel & condo complex planned in Saanen · Drive to historic Saanen, park & shop · Restoring the ­railway viaduct · Urs von Unger exhibition · Patrons dinner at the Gstaad Yacht Club · A continued ­tradition of iceskating in Gstaad · Private school to transform old Saanen schoolhouse COLUMN

· Gstaad My Love

An outdoor ­affair

MAGAZINE


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Friday 18 February 2011 Page 3

Contents

Gstaadlife is available in these Hotels

Letter from the Editor������������������������������������������������������� 3 Local Personality Scottish-Swiss pastor talks about his past 53 years in Switzerland ������������������������������� 5 Local News Hotel and condo complex planned in Saanen������������������������� 7 Drive, park, and shop in historic, beautiful Saanen ������������ 9 Balloons filled January blue sky����� 10 Viktoriastrasse becomes new shopping street ������������������� 10 Restoring the railway viaduct������11

Editors Column Local News Events Local News Column Local News

Patrons dinner at the Gstaad Yacht Club����������������������� 13 Etiquette 3 – The good guest����� 15 Urs von Unger exhibition����������� 17 Events calendar����������������������������� 18 A continued tradition of ice-skating in Gstaad������������� 19 Martin Bachofner appointed director of tourism bureau �������� 19 Gstaad My Love �������������������������� 20 Private school to transform old Saanen schoolhouse������������� 21

Letter from the Editor - Gstaad delivers the snow

On the 6th February 2011 it was 13.7 degrees centigrade in La Chaux-de-Fonds, 11 degrees on the summit of the Moléson at 2000 meters, 3.9 degrees on the glacier of les Diablerets at 3000 meters and 8.5 degrees in Gstaad. With pretty much a month of blue skies it leaves one with mixed feelings about the weather. Around this time of the year, we are usually complaining about the extremes of cold and thoughts of spring are most welcoming. Further for those of us who live on or close to the slopes, by this time of the year we have had so much good skiing, that we are in a firm ‘take it for granted’, mind-set. It all seems a little different this year and it is a topic of intrigue for both locals and visitors alike. As a family, we have a home in Chardonne in Canton Vaud as well as a chalet in Schönried. In Chardonne, the daffodils and tulips in our garden are pushing through the no longer fro-

UPFRONT

zen ground whilst the leisure boats gently cross a picturesque Lac Leman on sunny open sky weekends. In Schönried, the meadows of the Rellerli have long lost their snow and the cows are frequently seen out of their winter sheds moving onto the land. The juxtaposition to all of this is the condition of the piste. A few weekends ago, my son and I, after a few warm up runs on the Horneggli – skied across the Hornberg region and traversed down to St. Stephan. The condition of the piste was fabulous. Yes, a compacted hard surface, but well groomed and an autobahn experience. The rest of the morning we skied around the Saanersloch area and the conditions were equally splendid. The following week delivered a similar experience on the Eggli down to Rübeldorf, albeit a little icy and similar on the Videmanette. It is a strange feeling being on the slopes in February with what feels to be, a

spring experience. One expects it is all going to change tomorrow and a big storm front will move across the Alps and deliver a thousand tons of snow. The next day, however we awaken to another glorious open sky day. As for the condition of the ski slopes of the Saanenland, we have a lot to thank the visionaries for, who laid the plans of the ski slope snow cannon campaign of recent times. The result being a work of man and nature that together provide us these fantastic prepared slopes to ski on, no matter what the winter weather moods may be. So I guess that is what the mixed feelings are about. Getting used to the fact that whatever the weather, within reason, Gstaad delivers the snow. Now that’s news worth knowing. Happy skiing Peter

***** Gstaad PALACE: +41 (0)33 748 50 00, info@palace.ch ***** GRAND HOTEL PARK: +41 (0)33 748 98 00, info@grandhotelpark.ch ***** GRAND HOTEL BELLEVUE: +41 (0)33 748 00 00, info@bellevue-gstaad.ch ***** WELLNESS & SPA HOTEL ERMITAGE-GOLF: +41 (0)33 748 60 60, ermitagegolf@ermitage-gstaad.ch **** Hotel Alpenrose: +41 (0)33 748 91 91, info@hotelalpenrose.ch **** Golfhotel Les hauts de gstaad: +41 (0)33 748 68 68, mail@golfhotel.ch **** Grand Chalet: +41 (0)33 748 76 76, hotel@grandchalet.ch **** HOTEL ARC-EN-CIEL: +41 (0)33 748 43 43, www.arc-en-ciel.ch **** Hotel BERNERHOF.: +41 (0)33 748 88 44, info@bernerhof-gstaad.ch **** Hotel Christiania: +41 (0)33 744 51 21, info@christiania.ch **** Hotel GstaadERHOF: +41 (0)33 748 63 63, gstaaderhof@gstaad.ch **** CHALET HOTEL HORNBERG: +41 (0)33 748 66 88, willkommen@hotel-hornberg.ch **** HOTEL OLDEN: +41 (0)33 748 49 50, info@hotelolden.com **** Hotel Steigenberger: +41 (0)33 748 64 64, gstaad@steigenberger.ch *** Hotel Bellerive: +41 (0)33 748 88 33, bellerive-gstaad@bluewin.ch *** Hotel Alpenland: +41 (0)33 765 91 34, hotel@alpenland.ch *** Hotel Alphorn: +41 (0)33 748 45 45, office@gstaad-alphorn.ch *** Hotel Alpine lodge: +41 (0)33 748 41 51, info@alpinelodge.ch *** Hotel Kernen: +41 (0)33 748 40 20, info@hotel-kernen.ch *** Hotel Landhaus: +41 (0)33 748 40 40, landhaus-saanen@bluewin.ch *** Hotel Saanerhof: +41 (0)33 744 15 15, hotel@saanerhof.ch *** Hotel Solsana: +41 (0)33 748 94 94, info@solsana.ch *** Hotel Spitzhorn: +41 (0)33 748 41 41, hotel@spitzhorn.ch *** Posthotel Rössli: +41 (0)33 748 42 42, info@posthotelroessli.ch *** SPORTHOTEL VICTORIA: +41 (0)33 748 44 22, info@victoria-gstaad.ch *** Z'loft Hotel: +41 (0)33 744 69 69, info@zloft.ch Hotel Bären: +41 (0)33 755 10 33, hotel@baerengsteig.ch

Peter Sonnekus-Williams Editor in Chief

Gstaad LIFE, Anzeiger von Saanen, Kirchstrasse, P.O. Box 201, 3780 Gstaad, Phone: 033 748 88 74, Fax: 033 748 88 84, E-Mail: info@gstaadlife.ch, Website: www.gstaadlife.ch Management Board: Frank Müller, Peter Sonnekus-Williams Publisher: Frank Müller frank.mueller@gstaadlife.ch; Editor in Chief: Peter Sonnekus-Williams peter.sonnekus@gstaadlife.ch; Pro­ject Management and content coordination: Sanet Sonnekus-Williams Columnist: Mandolyna Theodoracopulos Translations: Diana Oehrli Editorial: Diana Oehrli, Anita Moser, Sheila Matti, Peter Sonnekus-Williams, Tina Dosot, Januaria Piromallo, Christine Eisenbeis. Polygraph Team: Jonas Bach Printing: Müller Marketing & Druck AG, Gstaad Advertising: Peter Kuntze-Schneider peter.kuntze@gstaadlife.ch, phone 033 744 46 64 Subscriptions: Fabienne Koitka tel. 033 748 88 74

Hotel Geltenhorn: +41 (0)33 765 30 22, F: +41 (0)33 765 32 31 Hotel Sanetsch: +41 (0)33 755 10 10, F: +41 (0)33 755 18 11 Hotel Viktoria: +41 (0)33 755 10 34, hotel_viktoria@bluewin.ch Hotel Wildhorn: +41 (0)33 765 30 12, hotel@wildhorn.ch


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Friday 18 February 2011 Page 5

LOCAL PERSONALITY

Scottish-Swiss pastor talks about his past 53 years in Switzerland By Diana Oehrli

Sitting in his sunny living room, Morrison began to tell me his story. His snowy, bushy mustache moving and his blue eyes smiling, he spoke in a deep, rich voice. Rolling his R’s in his distinctive Scottish way and peppering his sentences with Swiss German words, he explained how he left Scotland for Switzerland, where he has lived and worked within the Swiss Reformed Church for 53 years. He didn’t strike me as a ministerial type. He didn’t quote from the Bible nor did he insert theological verses into his sentences to make a point. He seemed too down-toearth, too funny, too self-critical, and too forthright to be a typical clergyman. I began to understand why people from contrasting backgrounds— from the famous person to the alpine farmer—have chosen him to marry them, baptize their children, and bury their grandparents. Several years ago, Morrison baptized a grandchild of Elizabeth Taylor; he performed the wedding of actor Robert Loggia, the service during which Julie Andrews sang; he also officiated the burial service of David Niven, attended by Audrey Hepburn and Prince Rainier of Monaco with Yehudi Menuhin playing a violin solo.

ing in the living room, the pastor suddenly asked: “Would you like to come here?” Surprised, Morrison answered that it hadn’t crossed his mind, as the church already had a pastor. The pastor said he no longer had the energy to climb steep, mountain paths to make house calls. The church needed a young pastor. Morrison looked at the Wildhorn mountain through the sunny window, and felt good.

Photo: zvg

“You can call me a minister or a pastor, but not a priest. That’s reserved for Catholics,” Reverend Arnot Morrison said with a laugh. “But, minister does sound a bit political.”

Reverend Arnot Morrison came to Switzerland in 1958. On April 12, 1934, Arnot Morrison was born in a small town near Edinburgh. Confirming a link to the Morrison clan from the Isle of Lewis, the largest island of the Outer Hebrides, he explained “the Isle of Lewis had a tradition of producing judges and priests.” At 20, Morrison achieved a university degree. At 24, he completed his theological studies, became a minister, and was ‘consecrated’ to work in an African mission. The Church of Scotland had a relationship with the Basel mission. Arriving in Basel in 1958, he pursued studies that would help him in his work in Ghana. As his studies ended, the political situation in Ghana had so deteriorated, that the church advised him against going there. Being fairly fluent in French but wanting to learn Swiss-German, he chose an assistantship in the parish of Wohlen bei Bern. One year later, he joined two other pastors in the parish of Kirchberg,

where he was responsible for three villages. Residing in Ersigen, a typical Unter- Emmental farming settlement, he bicycled to and from village schoolhouses to give sermons. He borrowed horses from neighbors who were members of the Swiss cavalry, and rode through fields stopping at farms to make house calls. While touring parishes in the Thun area one grey day in early October 1964, Morrison and a friend drove up the Simmental Valley searching for sunshine. By Diemtigen, they noticed how the sun poked through the clouds and how a sprinkling of snow sparkled on the fields. As they rose higher into the Alps, his spirit awakened. They ended up in Lauenen. Morrisson was left alone to check out the church, a habit he has when visiting a new town. For some reason he cannot explain, Morrison rang the vicarage bell. The door opened and an older man, the pastor, invited him in. While talk-

Ten days later, he received a letter offering the pastor’s position with a six-month trial period beginning December 1, 1964. By March, the parish had already granted him a fulltime contract. Morrison felt accepted by the people of Lauenen and stayed there until 1972. In 1973, he took over the post of regional minister of the Obersimmental-Saanenland region and filled in whenever needed. Often, he worked in Gsteig, where he logged six years on a temporary basis. In 1981, he was asked to be pastor in Lenk. Now retired, Reverend Arnot Morrison calls upon his experience and organizes tailor-made weddings in Switzerland or anywhere else. He plays tennis and skied until recently. For his 75th birthday, he visited the Isle of Lewis, which he described as beautiful, windy, and isolated. He prefers Lauenen, his Heimatort or hometown, as he became Swiss in 1979. His favorite spot is the Lauenensee restaurant. “I feel more at home here than in Scotland,” he said. “My family is here.”


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Friday 18 February 2011 Page 7

LOCAL NEWS

Hotel and condo complex planned in Saanen Translated and adapted from the article by Anita Moser AVS 04.02.2011

The five chalets are to be demolished and replaced by a contemporary development, including a 50-room hotel with 100 beds. Planned are a wellness and fitness area, a conference room for up to 50 people, a restaurant with lobby and bar seating 120, as well as a garden terrace. On the first floor, a smoking room is planned. The hotel will be positioned in the three-star (superior) category. “It is to be a connoisseur hotel in the middle price segment that speaks to families as well as seniors and

that is suitable for seminars,” said Bissegger. “We consciously left out unnecessary luxury features and aimed instead for a good inexpensive standard. We intentionally omitted an indoor swimming pool, providing solely a sauna, steam bath, fitness room, and a quiet area in the wellness area.” The hotel is to be financed by the sale of 17 apartments to be built in three chalets, two of which connected. The two to five-and-a-halfroom apartments will be offered for sale as condominiums. Bissegger confirmed interested buyers for the apartments but no signed contracts. The hotel complex will be built according to the Minergie standard, a registered quality label, that is attained when the following is provided: high grade, airtight building envelopes and the continuous renewal of air in a building using energy-efficient ventilation. The development will be hooked up to Saanen’s district heating network, and the use of solar power will be examined. The entire development is to be built in chalet style. Compared to the existing facility, the planned hotel is

Photo: zvg

“The existing hotel property needs an extensive refurbishment,” said Hans-Peter Bissegger, manager of Immobilien Schweiz and representative of Basler Leben AG, the insurance company that owns the 70-year old Spitzhorn Hotel. “A renovation, however, doesn’t make sense, as our preliminary studies concluded. The property with its five unconnected structures is unsuitable for operating a modern hotel operation. After examining all possibilities, we have decided to rebuild at the existing location in order to meet current and future guest requirements.”

A photo of times past. double in size with a gross floor area of 3,760 square meters. The adjoining residences will add a gross floor area of 2,460 square meters. Underground parking garages will be built under both the hotel and the residence. The area will be accessible via a private road, which is to be taken over by the commune and rebuilt, a change that has not yet been decided, confirmed Claudio Schmidt, communal building administrator. The hotel owner has made a condition that the current ban on bus traffic on the road be lifted. “If it can be proven that enough bus turning radius space is provided, then the request to the canton can be submitted,” Schmidt explained. In this regard, the hotel is working in co-operation with the neighboring

Photo: zvg

The planned development with the hotel facility in front and the apartment residence in the back.

youth hostel, which is also planning a total rebuild. Whether the two construction projects can be implemented simultaneously remains to be seen. The hotel owner hopes to have a building permit by early summer 2011; the application was submitted in late January. If all goes as planned, the hotel will reopen on December 1, 2013, and the condos will be ready by summer 2014. The hotel and the restaurant will remain in operation until March 2012. For eight years, Martin and Dolly Riedi managed the business. “It would be our goal that the two manage the new facility,” Bissegger said. The Basler insurance company purchased the property before the World War II and built the hotel in the 1940’s. During the war, the company used the hotel as a reduit, storing its valuable assets and art objects in a walk-in safe. Throughout history, the term reduit was a recurring theme in the Swiss concept of defense and refers to a heavily defended, “untakeable” region that provided a last hard spot of resistance.


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LOCAL NEWS

Friday 18 February 2011 Page 9

Drive, park, and shop in historic, beautiful Saanen Translated and adapted from Gewerbeverein Saanenland AVS 17.12.2010 After 20 years of talk and planning, the Saanen bypass is now a reality. Today, one can walk through the market town of Saanen and enjoy the view of the rustic houses— some dating to the 15th century— without suffering the noise and pollution of motor traffic. Young and old can walk through the village without constantly looking over their shoulders in fear of oncoming cars.

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Hotel Landhaus

Dorfplatz

Tourismusbüro

Dorf Saanen Zentrum

Hotel Saanerhof entrum

nach Rougemont

of, Z aanen nach SPost, Bahnh Bank,

After the bypass’ inauguration on August 20, 2010, barriers were erected to stop traffic from entering Saanen’s overused alleyways. Ruth Knutti, president of the vilThe book “Faszination, Historische Treicheln & Saanerglocken” has captured the craft of making “treichels” and bells, as well as its development, and to echo its authenticity and love. The book costs SFr 50 and is available in all bookstores in the Saanenland and at the Museum.

Following the village fire the “Kleines Landhaus” was built entirely in masonry in 1581. Up until 1665 it served the Berne government as the bailiff of Saanen’s quarters. In 1665 it became the possession of the region and was used as a tavern until the property was sold. After a lengthy renovation period of this historical building, Urs von Unger has transformed his store into a mecca for lovers of selected antiques from the 17th to 20th century, as well as of exclusive contemporary furniture.

lage association, reminds us that the heart of the village remains accessible by car from the west and from the east (see map). The number of parking spaces is unchanged: 10 spaces in front of the Molkerei at Dorfplatz; 15 spaces between the pub and Chalet Daheim; the large parking lot at the train station and the spaces along Bahnhofstrasse and Floraplatz remain accessible from both sides. Erich Oehrli, trade association board member and manager of the Early Beck Bakery, wrote that the 100-meter village shopping strip offers everything to satisfy one’s daily shopping needs: fresh vegetables and fruits, oven baked breads, local cheeses and dairy products, meats, organic foods, and household products. Also, there are coffee shops, hotel/restaurants, a drug store, a post office, and the headquarters of the Saanen Bank. Now, it’s so easy to drive, park and shop in beautiful, welcoming ­Saanen.

Bahnhof

Photos: Diana Oehrli

The village of Saanen, a cultural and historic gem, is proofing to be a useful and pleasant shopping destination. In December the Saanenland Trade Association publicized the village’s easy accessibility by car, and its convenient and varied shopping.

Saanentunnel Ostportal nach Saanen ➞ Hotel Landhaus Hotel Saanerhof Bahnhof, Rübeldorf


Local News

Friday 18 February 2011 Page 10

Photo: Sheila Matti

Balloons filled ­January blue sky

This was the view from 2,000 meters above sea level looking towards Rougemont and Saanen. Despite one too windy day, the 33rd International Hot Air Balloon Festival Château-d’Oex took place without a hitch from January 22 to 30. There were balloon competitions, airshows and parachute drops, paragliding displays, fireworks, a night show with glowing balloons, and parties. The first balloon to fly around the globe without stopping took off from Château-d’Oex in 1999. Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones piloted the balloon named the Breitling Orbiter 3 and accomplished the 45,755km trip in 19 days, 21 hours, and 47 minutes.

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Viktoriastrasse becomes new shopping street in Gstaad by www.gstaadlife.com

Photo: Jonas Bach

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Sports, Bach’s Bazar, and a new gallery/antique shop with the most original of names, Galerie d’Art.

Vertex in particular is leagues above its previous incarnation as Hermanjat Sports, replete with all the

woody/granite/white stucco coolness found at the renovated Park Hotel and kitted out with vintage gondolas from the Wispile’s heyday. All-in-all, it’s a nice aside to the Promenade. Check it out next time you are in town.

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Friday 18 February 2011 Page 11

In-depth article

Restoring the railway viaduct: a monument’s past, present, and future Translated and adapted from the article by Sheila Matti AVS 28.01.2011 To build a railway between Lake ­Geneva and the Berner Oberland was an idea that began more than 120 years ago. At that time, the economy in Saanenland was in bad shape: numerous bankruptcies were recorded and people emigrated. Things changed in 1898 when the federal assembly gave a concession for an electric train from Montreux to Zweisimmen. Rail planners saw Saanen as an “important station on the line” but left Gstaad out of the planning, as they could not see “any possible advantage in the fivekilometer detour.” The line was to run directly from Saanen to Schönried, bypassing Gstaad entirely. It wasn’t until SFr 100,000 could be secured that Gstaad got its railway.

viaduct. “With its harmonious pier supports and a perfect melding into the landscape, the bridge exhi­ bits superior architectural quality,” writes Gottfried von Siebenthal. “The constructional design, right up to the technical detail, corresponds to the rules of the art of its time. Today, the bridge is regarded as an historical monument and landmark for Gstaad.”

From 1903 to 1904, Buss AG ­engineered and constructed the

After losing the fight over the first bridge, he prepared himself for the

In 2005, the civil engineering project to repair the viaduct went out to bid. An initial selection pro­ cess narrowed the field to five consortia. Richard Kummrow, director of the Montreux-Oberland-Bahn (MOB), wrote: “…the conditions of the protection of historical monuments is to be carried out as far as is technically possible and financially supportable…”. Although work on the viaduct was not scheduled to begin until 2007, von Siebenthal submitted a petition in January 2005. It had 115 signatures and required the viaduct be protected as a monument. But four

Foto: zVg/Gottfried von Siebenthal

Its landscape would be shaped by the ensuing construction that is best exemplified by its viaduct now undergoing restoration.

At a 1984 meeting, von Siebenthal – eager to preserve local historic houses and structures – fought ­futilely to save the old railway bridge over the Gstaad Promenade. “As no one had foreseen an automobile-free Promenade, I was unable to convince those present of the historical significance of the bridge: I received only 11 votes and the ­elegant arches lost to the concrete structure,” von Siebenthal said.

upcoming aging viaduct meeting. “I acted in advance of the discussion and used my former position as local council member and as chairman of the planning commission to have the viaduct placed under monument protection in 1994,” he said.

After construction ended, hotelier Adolf von Siebenthal of the Hotel Bahnhof (renamed Hotel Bernerhof in 1912) purchased the scaffolding wood, which he used in 1905 to build the Bernerhof barn, located behind the Early Beck bakery.

of the five consortia argued that the existing structure could not be kept due to the high risk involved. In spring 2006, the MOB chose Groupement d'Ingénieurs Gstaad (GIG), a consortium that included local firm Egger Engineers AG and the only team that had suggested a restoration. A competitor, dis­ satisfied with the decision, drew the case before federal courtand won.The court stated that the MOB had “failed to make sufficiently clear to which extent its chances of winning the bid would drop, if it proposed a rebuild rather than the recommended restoration. ”Thus, the railway company was forced to put the project back out to bid, this time with the clear condition that the structure not be replaced. In May 2007, the GIG team won again. Nevertheless, the federal office for culture objected, stating that the unique architectural style of the MOB’s cultural assets was not sufficiently preserved. Saving the day was the discovery of the Dutch “Silent Bridge technology, a cost-effective installation that reduces external train noise. Total restoration costs are estimated in excess of SFr 4m. Work on the viaduct began in ­autumn 2010, albeit with a ­weather delay. If temperatures allow in March, the concrete, sandblasting and painting work will begin. Optimal weather conditions are crucial to protect the structural steelwork from corrosion. During the two weeks after Easter, that part of the railway line will be closed and bus service will be provided.


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Friday 18 February 2011 Page 13

LOCAL NEWS

Patrons Dinner at the Gstaad Yacht Club Back to the future: 5 sailors for the Olympics This year‘s Gstaad Yacht Club Patron‘s Dinner of the 28th December was attended by five talented sailors who, due to their achievements – are hoping to win medals for Switzerland and the Gstaad Yacht Club in the sailing competitions of the 2012 Olympic Games in Weymouth, England. The fundraising launched to support the necessary training, coaching, and material purchases, was supported by a tombola and an auction during the Patron’s dinner. Guest of honour for the evening was his Majesty

the club aiming for precious medals for Switzerland and Gstaad. Three Gstaad Yacht Club teams are members of the Swiss Sailing Team, two of them are currently in the top five of the ISAF world rankings. Peter Erzberger, Commodore of the Gstaad Yacht Club, opened the dinner in the clubhouse by saying he was very proud to personally welcome the former winner of the gold medal in the dragon class, His Majesty King Constantine. “In the future, we want to replicate his success,” Erzberger explained to

titions and training. To provide the financial support for the training, regatta preparation, and necessary equipment, the Gstaad Yacht Club launched a fundraising campaign approximately a year ago that will continue until the Olympic Games in 2012.

King Constantine II of Greece, Patron of the Gstaad Yacht Club. Exactly 50 years ago he won an Olympic gold medal sailing for Greece.

approximately 90 club members. “It is necessary to use our best endeavors to support the five talented sportsmen of the three teams for selection in the Olympic Games 2012 at Weymouth in England.”

in Argentina/Australia. “The training in Australia is so important, as the qualification for the Olympic Games will take place next year in Melbourne.” Marazzi became a father again and wanted to spend Christmas with his family; Nathalie Brugger celebrated at home this year, relaxing after her success in the World Cup in Melbourne, being second in her class. Simon Brügger only entered the team this summer. He replaces Felix Steiger, who stepped down from the Olympic preparations for private reasons. Brügger has participated three times in Olympic Games and comes with as much experience as Matías Bühler. “I don’t know any other yacht clubs in Switzerland supporting upcoming sailors in such a way

Fundraising for five Olympic hopes Erzberger didn’t only mean the morale, but financial support too. Stars of the Club, Flavio Marazzi and Enrico De Maria sailing in the Star class; Matías Bühler and Simon Brügger, sailing in the 470 class, as well as the only woman Nathalie Brugger, already a world-class sailor in the Laser R class. They always have to be travelling away from ‘water-free’ Gstaad to different places around the world for their sailing compe-

as the Gstaad Yacht Club,” enthused Brügger. “Now, Matías and I have to combine our experience together to become a team. That way our chances are good to go to England in 2012.” Support for the sportsmen The Patrons Dinner was used to raise money for the sailors. A tombola and an auction provided action for the fundraising. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of His Majesty King Constantine’s Olympic Gold medal, two special 50 year-old Greek stamps were auctioned as well as the ‘first day’ issue stamped envelope, all autographed by His Majesty. Honorary president George Nicholson acted as auctioneer, achieving good prices with the resulting funds going to support the young sportsmen and women. Luckily, one example will remain at the GYC as a souvenir.

Photo: Tina Dosot, GYC

This year’s GYC Patrons Dinner was sub-headed ‘Olympic Night’ with the motto ‘Back to the Future’ for a good reason. Exactly 50 years ago, the Patron of the club, His Majesty King Constantine won a gold medal sailing for Greece in the Olympic Games in 1960. Although only 12 years old, the GYC is very proud that some 15 of its members have participated in Olympic sailing challenges for their countries, some before they became members of the club. For the 2012 Olympics in England, the sailors have set their goals high:

New partner for Matías Bühler Three out of the five Olympic hopes joined the evening: Simon Brügger, Nathalie Brugger and Flavio Marazzi. Enrico De Maria and Matías Bühler couldn’t leave their training

Sailor Simon Brügger sells ­tombola tickets.

Flavio Marazzi, His Majesty King Constantine II, Nathalie Brugger and Peter Erzberger.

Peter Erzberger, President of the Gstaad Yacht Club, hands His Majesty King Constantine II a gift commemorating his Olympic victory 50 years ago.


MANUELA ZERVUDACHI

«RESONANCE»

PHILIPPE LARDY

«C’était à Mégara, faubourg de Carthage, dans les jardins d’Hamilcar.» Salammbô, Gustave Flaubert

Ce sera à Farb, commune de Saanen, dans la grange des Freymond… Vernissage & cocktail inaugural

Menus Plaisirs

SOLUTIONS

Chalet Farb

et sur rendez-vous: Caroline Freymond +41 (0)79 456 9181

CONGRATULATIONS

en présence des artistes le dimanche 20 février de 16:00 à 20:00 du lundi 21 février au dimanche 6 mars 2011 au Chalet Farb de 16:00 à 19:00

Antiqua Menus Plaisirs

OSCILLATION / DETAIL

6 attractive apartments in the heart of the car-free village of Saanen. This construction project will be completed by the end of September 2011.

Parents, Alumni, Teachers and Friends of the John F. Kennedy International School in Saanen are happy to announce the publication of «Our Big Family Cook Book» in honor of the Lovell Family. The Cook Book will be on sale, starting Monday, 21st February, at John F. Kennedy School, Cadonau, Müller Marketing & Druck AG, Gstaad Palace and Eagle Ski Club.

Information & Sale:


Friday 18 February 2011 Page 15

Editors Column

Etiquette 3 – The good guest By Peter Sonnekus-Williams

That being restaurants, what about being invited to a Swiss persons home? Well first of all don’t forget the present. The present reflects a little about whom you are, the host

and the level of invitation. So going around for coffee or tea may warrant a little something from the patisserie or chocolate shop. If invited to an ‘Apéro’, it would be fitting to take a bottle of wine or some flowers. This is also suitable for a dinner, albeit one may upgrade the level of the wine for dinner. The idea of the gift is because the Swiss are very thankful to what is a generous invitation, to someone’s home. No one expects a thank you note for the dinner or the gift to the host, as the exchange has already taken place and it would not be logical to repeat this. The final part of being a good guest is being just that. It is not Photo: Count*0 / photocase.com

When it comes to eating out with the Swiss, be that at somebody’s home or at a neutral venue, there are three broad considerations to recognise: the invitation, the present and the participation. In comparison to Anglo cultures, the Swiss do not invite outsiders to their homes easily. It is more regular for a Swiss person to invite someone to a restaurant rather than their own home. A Swiss invitation means that the guest pays nothing, and it is not usual to suggest contributing something. Going ‘Dutch’ is only acceptable in Switzerland if both parties have agreed to meet for a meal rather than one inviting the other. To the Swiss this is logical, however to others of an Anglo persuasion, it can be a little confusing. In England if it is your birthday and you decide to celebrate by inviting out a group of friends to a restaurant it is perfectly acceptable for everyone to pay their own way as well as all contribute to a part of the host’s bill. This is all done in recognition of the host’s arrangement as well as in recognition of the moment, being the host’s birthday. In Switzerland it is the exact opposite. If a host invites out a group of people it is expected that the host foots the bill. It can be quite a shock for a Swiss person to be invited out and be expected to pay for themselves as well as a portion of the person’s bill who invited them out. Just as shocking for an Anglo to invite out a group of Swiss friends and at the end of the evening be faced with having to settle to whole table’s bill.

expected of a guest to help in a Swiss home. Never set foot in the kitchen, never refill drinks, never clear plates. You can offer to help once, which in most cases will be gracefully declined and that is where you leave it. A second offer or helping unasked implies that the host is not properly organised and requires assistance. This is a sure way to not being offered a second invite. Other do’s and don’ts include, never make the ­toast, this is the host’s task. Always hold your glass by the stem when the toast is made and ensure that you clink glasses with each guest around the table, making eye contact with each when you announce ‘zum Wohl’ followed by the ­person’s

name who you are clinking glasses with. Be sure to not lift a fork when the meal arrives before an ‘En Guete’ is announced, which is usually a communal affair, with all of the guests repeating and ­acknowledging the same. Last but not least there is always the issue of time in Switzerland. Like with all other arrangement, be they business or leisure, arrive on time. Not late not early, both are considered rude, and there is no relaxation of this rule for a social affair. Of course reciprocation of an invite is always welcome but not expected. It is the pleasure of the host to have people around in Switzerland and not a chain effect of a social activity continuum.


Advertorial

Friday 18 February 2011 Page 16

The Grand Hotel Park Spa – Relaxation & wellbeing for mind and body… The luxurious Spa at the Grand Hotel Park covers an area of 1000m2 and is the ideal refuge for restoring wellbeing for both the body and mind. Guests can choose between the saltwater pool, Jacuzzi area, Turkish baths, saunas, fitness room and 10 treatment rooms to ensure total relaxation and pampering. to live a new kind of experience and indulgence.

The fragrant air, zen music chosen by artist Français Alcôve, soft lighting, sensual curtains, raw materials and minimalist design, allow guests

The vast saltwater pool, heated to 32°C, is an invitation to relax and distance yourself from everyday life. Modern and up-to-date fitness equipment is on offer to the health conscious, while the saunas and Turkish baths (separate for men & women), provide a vital and much sought-after space for relaxation.

A wide range of treatments are on offer by the team of aestheticians and therapists. Ten spacious treatment rooms are available, each decorated in simple, modern lines, and some equipped for hydrotherapy and balneotherapy. The menu includes two signature treatments, the Swiss Chocolate Seduction (with its Swiss chocolate mask) and the revitalizing freshness of Mountain Indulgence, with eucalyptus and pine oils. Amongst these, there is also a range of massages, body treatments, and facials using Aromatherapy Associates products, available. These British products are

made from 100% natural essential oils to help soothe bad moods, reduce stress, re-balance the emotions, dissipate muscular tension, and regenerate the skin. Available exclusively at the Grand Hotel Park, is the 4 Euoko facials, from the luxury Canadian brand which focuses on innovation and research, combining science, nature, and beauty and promising quasi-miraculous results. Information & reservation Grand Hotel Park info@grandhotelpark.ch +41 33 748 98 00


Advertorial

Friday 18 February 2011 Page 17

Urs von Unger exhibition Urs von Unger shows unique creations by Aristide Najean on the 1st floor of his gallery in the “Kleines Landhaus”.

The exhibition “VERRE ET ­LUMIÈRE” gives an insight into the work of this internationally known artist.

The French Aristide Najean, now living in Murano, spent his years of study in Paris, Munich and Florence. During those years, Aristide Najean extended his art from painting to sculpture, and glass became his favourite expression. In 1986, Mario Badioli, “maestro vetraio” in Murano, accepted him to join his workshop, where he was able to start a fruitful cooperation of research and creation. The encounter with Philippe Starck was another important moment in Aristide Najean’s life which lead to a rich and creative collaboration. Both Najean and Starck share a lot of artistic references, evocative images and a rich sensibility. Toge-

ther they have created and realized projects such as The ­Palazzina Grassi in Venice, The  Royal ­Monceau in Paris or the Mori Venice Bar. The exhibition lasts until 5th March 2011.

Saanen A perfect 90m 2 -pied-à-terre in the heart of the car-free village!

Livingroom with fireplace, access to the south-facing balcony, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, garage, cellar, elevator. Great, unspoiled view, sunny and very quiet. CHF 1 450 000.–

dekostine@sinetempore.ch – www.dekostine.ch


Events

Friday 18 February 2011 Page 18

Events Calendar ■■FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18

February 18 2011 until Friday March 18 2011

■■TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22 & 15,

Sledge tour by full moon. Locality: Berghaus Wispile, Schlittelweg Wispile-Gsteig. Rate: SFr45 – SFr65. Reservation possible. Contact +41 (0)33 748 96 32.

■■FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 25, & APRIL 23 11h00-18h00: Market in Gstaad. Local products and handcraft for sale at the Kapälliplatz. For more info, contact Patricia von Grünigen, +41 (0)33 744 78 83. ■■SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19 High Fly 2011 at Rübeldorf. This freestyle event in the midst of the Swiss Alps, considered the only winter event of its kind in Switzerland. Freestyle motocross, freeskiing & snowboarding combined with pyrotechnic effects, will ensure a loud show spectacle. Advance sale: Pure Snowboard shop or Pure Street, Gstaad. www.high-fly.ch

MARCH 1 & 8 Tuesday Nights, in the Berghaus Eggli. The restaurant on top of the Eggli is open from 07h00-21h30. Christian & Fleur Oberson Kessel welcome all. Contact +41 (0)33 748 96 12.

■■WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 23 & MARCH 2 19h00-21h30: Night skiing on the Wispile: Costs: Adults SFr10, Children 10-16yrs, SFr5 and children up to 9yrs, free. Season and day skipasses are not valid. Contact +41 (0)33 748 87 37 for more info.

■■FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25 19h00: SnowNight 2011 at the Skischulplatz Rütti, Ajo Bar. Show, action & fireworks on the lighted ski school area, with a party afterwards! Rate -SFr10. If you have any further questions, please contact +41 (0)79 343 24 27. ■■SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 26

■■SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19 18h45-24h00: Full moon snowgolf at the Wispile, Gstaad. Driving-up hill at 18h45, driving-down at 24h00. Fondue Chinoise, golf competition, hot spiced wine at the snowbar, desert & awards ceremony – SFr115, including ticket for cable car. Contact +41 (0)33 748 96 32 for more information.

& SUNDAY, 27 10h00-17h00: Swiss Championship of the Snow Cross Motoneige. Locality: Boden, Gsteig. Program: Saturday 10h00-11h40 training, 13h00-17h00 races. Sunday 10h00-11h30 training, 11h30-16h15 races. With kids paradise & refreshment stands. Phone +41 (0)33 755 11 20 for more info.

■■SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19 – ­SATURDAY, ■■SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 26 FEBRUARY 26 Final Swiss Championship Curling 2011, Gstaad. Locality – Curlinghalle Gstaad. Phone +41 (0)33 748 80 90 for more info.

40th National cross country race, Feutersoey. “Berner Langlauf Cup”. Locality – Umgebung Dorf, Gsteigstrasse. Phone +41 (0)79 206 24 94.

Exhibition 39 Scherenschnitte (scissor cuts) and collages by the artist

Ueli Hofer in the lobby and the restaurant until April 3th 2011

■■SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 26 &

­SATURDAY, APRIL 2 “Youth on fire” in Schönried, with live band. Locality – Mehrzweckhalle. www.youth-on-fire.com

■■SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 26 – SUNDAY, 27 25h Freeride Dominique Perret Wispile, Gstaad. This event is organized by the famous freeride skier and is a 25-hour team race during which money will be collected for two childrens charities, for every kilometer covered. Anyone can sign up, fee SFr120 per team. www.25freeride.ch ■■SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 26 – SUNDAY, 27 70th Björnstadlauf – International FIS race (cross country ski), Feutersoey. Swiss and international University championship cross country ski. All details: www.scgsteig.ch Locality: Schulhaus. Phone +41 (0)79 206 24 94 for more info.

■■SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 27 Traditional sledge race, Saanenmöser. Start at 13h00 at the Lätzgüetli. Reservation possible, contact +41 (0)79 356 14 45. Rate – free.

■■SATURDAY, MARCH 5 Gstaad meets on ice. Once a month, guests & locals meet on the ice skating rink. Sausages & drinks available. For further info, contact +41 (0)33 748 80 90. ■■SATURDAY, MARCH 5 Snow Golf Trophy of Boërl & Kroff in Gstaad. An exclusive tournament on snow. From 08h30 – pick up of the “Snow Golf Pass” at the Wispile (Gstaad) cable car desk and lift up to the Wispile Chalet. Start of competition at 10h00, prize giving at 16h30 at the Berghaus Wispile Chalet. At 20h00 – evening gala at the Gstaad Palace & nightclubbing at El Greengo. For more info: www.snow-golf.ch ■■SUNDAY, MARCH 6 10h30: Rugenbräu cup, snow-golf day tournament, Wispile. Start at 10h30. Price is SFr85, incl tournament, snacks & drinks at the snow bar, 3 balls and prices. Clubs can be rented at SFr15/set. Contact +41 (0)33 748 96 32 for more info. ■■MONDAY, MARCH 7 Quersicht/Filmpodium Saanenland – new Swiss films – at the Kino, Gstaad. Reservation possible, contact +41 (0)33 744 14 74. ■■SATURDAY, MARCH 12 19h00: Concert of the International Menuhin Music Academy in the Saanen church. For more info, contact Mrs Mordasini, +41 (0)26 672 25 54. ■■FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18 – MONDAY 28 Exposition by Pedro Luis Raota at hair_ room_gstaad, from 09h00-19h00. For further info, contact +41 (0)33 744 98 88. ■■FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18 –

Come by – it’s worth it! Tel. 033 748 63 63 / Fax: 033 748 63 60 gstaaderhof@gstaad.ch

www.gstaaderhof.ch

SATURDAY, MARCH 5 Exhibition of glass & light at the Kleines Landhaus, Saanen. Opening hours: Mon-Sat 11h00-13h00, 15h00-18h00.

■■FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18 –

SATURDAY, MARCH 12 Exhibition of Afi Nafissy at the Bijouterie Adler Joailliers, Gstaad. Opening hours: the

exhibition is open when Adler Joailliers is open.

■■FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18 –

SUNDAY, APRIL 3 Exhibition of Ueli Hofer in the lobby of Restaurant Gstaaderhof. Ueli is exhibiting his cut-out figures & collages. The exhibition is open when the Hotel Gstaaderhof is open.

■■FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18 – APRIL 15 Exhibition of Michel Comte at the Galerie Lovers of Fine Art. Under the patronage of Chopard. The exhibition is open when the gallery is open. ■■FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18 –

SUNDAY, APRIL 24 Exposition Funi in the museum der Landschaft Saanen. Open on Tuesdays until Sundays, 14h00-17h00. Phone +41 (0)33 744 79 88.

■■Rotary Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings every Monday 12h00 Palace Hotel Gstaad (033 / 748 50 00), President: Rot. Ernst Niederhauser (033 / 744 21 90), Program: Rot. Andreas Hurni (033 / 744 36 28)

■■Lions Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings normally each first and third week of the month on Thursdays, either at 12h00 a.m. for lunch or at 7h00 p.m. for dinner. Meetings in Wellness & Spa-Hotel ErmitageGolf, Schönried, Tel. 033 748 60 60. For details and program contact Urs Wittwer, president, 033 748 99 11, info@wittwer-fleurs.ch, htttp://gstaad-saanenland.lionsclub.ch ■■Church Services St Peter’s English-Speaking Anglican Church, Château-d’Oex 19 February 2011, 10h00 – 12h00 Open Church, Rev. Penny Frank. 20 February 2011, 17h30 Evening Prayer, Resident Chaplain, Rev. Penny Frank. 25 February 2011, 10h00 – 10h30 Prayer Circle, Rev. Penny Frank. 26 February 2011, 10h00 – 12h00 Open Church, Rev. Penny Frank. 27 February 2011, 17h30 Evening Prayer, Resident Chaplain, Rev. Penny Frank. Information: 026 924 60 92 Web: www.allsaints.ch/chateaudoex ■■Important Numbers Ambulance 144, Police 117 Police office 033 356 84 31 Fire-brigade 118 Saanen Hospital 033 748 02 00 Château-d‘Oex Hospital 026 923 43 43 Car accident service 033 744 88 80 Veterinary 033 744 35 31 / 033 744 06 61 Medical emergency 0900 57 67 47 Dental emergency 033 748 02 00 For additional useful numbers please visit www. gstaadlife.ch/usefulnumbers For the latest local weather forecast visit www.gstaadlife.com/weather


Local News

Friday 18 February 2011 Page 19

A continued tradition of ice-skating in Gstaad BY Januaria Piromallo

For the bold and the ­beautiful - twirling, spinning and ­pirouetting on ice.

“It had the size of the actual parking place of the hotel and the ice was built from scratch every year, by a team of dedicated workers led by the legendary “Pepe”, head gardener during the summer and “Master of the Ice” in winter time. It was much colder. It was an era of non professionals who were doing it for passion”, recalls Gianni Biggi, the historic memory of Gstaad. Later, in the 1970s, the golden era of Gstaad, the ice-skating rink became the kingdom of the beautiful blueeyed Doris, who charmed every male guest of the hotel. Adnan Kassoghi and Karim Agha Khan were twirling on the ice with frequent falls due to distraction caused by the spins of beautiful ice-skaters. Waiters in tailcoats, balancing glasses on silver trays, were serving drinks to the thirsty sportsmen, like the legendary ice rink hotel in Saint Moritz. Peter Notz was there to play hockey as amateur (actually, he was a real “amateur”) at the Park, and his future wife Brigitte, a

young Austrian beauty, was more effective than Doris, as she seduced him dancing on ice, on the notes of the Blauen Donau Waltz.

ice-skating teacher (who will also follow the San Valentin Gala on ice) of the smallest star ice-skater in Gstaad. Princess Astrid Von Lichtenstein has just hosted a very special ‘High School Musical’ themed ice-skating party with beautiful costumes, for her daughter Theodora.

The tradition of ice-skating returns, thanks to Dona Bertarelli, the new owner of the Grand Hotel Park, and captain of LadyCat, who radiates the same old passion, with the creation of an ice-skating rink, built over the tennis court, for the pleasure of her guests. To celebrate the first century of the Grand Hotel Park, the rink was christened by an ice-skating party.

Delightful treats - suited to little skaters - such as crepes, popcorn and other sugary treats, are served at the ice-skating rink kiosk in the afternoon. While Coca Cola is served on an ice sculptured bar, this reflects the new philosophy of the Grand Hotel Park, the first child-size five star hotel: kids are greeted at the reception with a small magnetic key and a backpack stuffed cow, called Felicity - the Grand Hotel Park’s new mascot. And if they wish for an adventure, a hot air balloon is awaiting them, for a flight over the valley... The highlight of a magical day twirling, spinning and pirouetting on ice.

The day of the opening of the Grand Hotel Park, the rink hosted few of the most promising young Italian ice-skaters, Sara Martuscelli (champion figure), Ginevra Caldo, Tiare’ von Meister (their coach is Marina D’Agata, a legend in the iceskating world). Spectators include Kirsty Bertarelli, beautiful wife of Ernesto, with their three children. Mary, ex star of the famous show “Holiday On Ice”, is the dedicated

Martin Bachofner appointed director of tourism bureau

Photo: zvg

Once upon a time ice-skating was “the winter sport” in Gstaad. Skiing was not yet “invented” as a leisure activity, so any pond or little lake available became the perfect venue for a day of fun. The Grand Hotel Park, the first international luxury hotel in Gstaad, took it seriously from the beginning. They built the first ice rink in the village, which quickly became an important sport lounge for both the guests of the hotel and the locals. Amongst the guests were royals, Hollywood stars and celebrities. This list includes Grace of Monaco, Audrey Hepburn, David Niven, Salvador Dali and Marshal Montgomery.

Translated and adapted from an article that appeared in AVS 04.02.2011 The executive committee of the Gstaad Saanenland Tourism (GST) office has appointed Martin Bachofner the new director of tourism effective May 1. He replaces Roger Seifritz who served in that capacity for the past 13 years and who has stepped down to serve as CEO of the Schweizerischen Reisekasse REKA in Bern. “We are pleased to have won a personality like Martin Bachofner, who will motivate and actively further

develop the multifaceted vacation region of Gstaad,” wrote Andreas Hurni, GST president. Born and raised in canton Bern, Bachofner (38) worked as a consultant at a human resources consulting firm in St. Gallen. He brings experience from various fields, including years in the banking and financial service sector as well as in the media world. He worked for Credit Suisse in various capacities. In 2005,

he won a casting show “Dream Job” on Swiss television that enabled him to pursue a project in an international media group. Bachofner has know-how in human resources and law; he carries the Swiss masters title of “lic. iur HSG” and holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship. He will meet the members at the general meeting on March 15, 2011. The tourism office’s selection committee wrote that they were con-

Martin Bachofner. vinced of the fact that their new pick would be similar to his predecessor, who likewise was a career changer, and who was able to successfully lead the organization.


Column

Friday 18 February 2011 Page 20

Gstaad My Love BY MANDOLYNA THEODORACOPULOS wealth, it was about natural beauty and bravery in the face of the elements.

I remember riding up to the Eagle Club huddled under dirty old blankets on that rickety chairlift like it was last night. Getting up to the club for parties while drinking gluvine, chatting with friends, and looking out over Gstaad under the night sky was a little bit of heaven even from the frigid two-seaters that crawled up the mountainside. As children we used to sit on the ancient side-facing chairs and watch Roger Moore making his way down the mountain intently focused on every turn, skiing over the mud and through the fields to get to the old base station by the river. The lift was obsolete by the time it finally came down, and the Wasserngrat’s high-speed quad has been a mighty improvement from a safety and convenience standpoint. Even so, a lot of us were sad to see the old lift scrapped. It had been part of the local scenery. For people like me, who have been visiting Gstaad for more than three decades, the Gstaad of old is the Gstaad we know and love; the Gstaad where going up to the Palace meant taking a hairpin turn so sharp one narrowly escaped death every time. It was a place where glamour wasn’t necessarily about comfort and shameless displays of

Alas, change is inevitable. But is it always necessary? Surely some things are better left untouched. Renewal and expansion can be the lifeblood of a place, but too much can also kill its spirit. With construction, development, and plans for increasing local tourism, one wonders what happened to that old regional advertising slogan, “Come Up, Slow Down.” I guess it went by the wayside along with the old Wasserngrat chairlift, the Palace barmen who robbed everyone blind, and many of the locally owned shops. The new and improved Gstaad has made everyday life more comfortable; jobs have been created, new chalets built and money made. But Gstaad is at a delicate point in its evolution, and the road ahead must be handled very carefully or else our little wonderland will be a thing of the past. The village’s most significant improvement came when the tunnel was built to cut traffic through town. The project was necessary as all the cars and carbon-monoxide fumes had become intolerable. The redesign improved pedestrian life dramatically, though some of the changes were created with practicality more than aesthetics in mind. I’m no Mies van der Rohe, but I imagine there was an even better design solution. The concrete tunnel and parking lots are overbearing. Additionally, the extra distance one has to travel to get from one end of town to the other is a hassle. Fortunately some mistakes can be remedied, and just

recently the nonsensical bricks were removed from the foot of the roundabouts. I’d also like to see some of that concrete come down, or at the very least covered with wood or greenery. More recently, the local heating system, the train station, the stables, the Eagle Club, and the interiors of the Park and Palace hotels have had a facelift, and after a number of years, the Alpina is set to be completed. One hopes the addition of a new luxury hotel will accommodate existing tourism rather than attract a slew of unsavory characters. But to the chagrin of some traditionalists, they’ve come to town already looking to cash in on the boom. It is hard to miss the new luxury-goods shops springing up. One can now purchase tacky evening gowns, and in a few months garish Graff diamonds, to wear to a fondue party. A number of residents and local developers are lobbying to remodel the traditional chalets on the High Street while German developers are attempting to rebuild new, wider storefronts. Modern construction is usually more economical than remodeling an existing landmark, so one can understand the need to be cost-effective. But for God’s sake, let us not destroy what’s left of the charming Gstaad of yesteryear just to make a buck. What is good for business is not necessarily good for Gstaad. The latest project on the horizon is Les Arts Gstaad, a proposed CHF 185 million cultural center near the train station. No one disputes the fact that culture is a necessary thing, but opponents of the

venture feel it would be a shame to bring in busloads of conventioneers and to further tax the commune for something that isn’t vital to the village’s survival. Expansion’s benefits can be illusory, and maintaining Gstaad’s elite status should be the highest priority, not competing with music festivals, and cultural events in cities and overrun resorts like Verbier. Furthermore, no one who owns property in Gstaad is keen to see their property value diminish in order to appease the whims of culture vultures and business first types. For Gstaad’s future to remain genteel, development must be curbed not only so that sky-high prices remain intact, but so next week we aren’t building a giant volleyball stadium or multiplex cinema. A simple new concert hall might be an equally valuable way for arts patrons to invest their millions without turning Gstaad into a carnival fairground and jeopardizing its greatest asset, exclusivity. Indeed, I am all for a bit of culture. In the Gstaad I know and love there is plenty of it already. Pretentious, highfalutin events and venues for such things abound for those who want that sort of thing. Though I come here to get away from all of that. Gstaad has seen a good deal of change in the past two decades. Some of the changes have been good while others have been poorly planned. Perhaps now it is time we slow down as the old slogan says, and enjoy what we have before moving ahead too quickly and erring. Please email mandolyna@takimag.com with your thoughts on the future of Gstaad.


Friday 18 February 2011 Page 21

LOCAL NEWS

Private school to transform old Saanen schoolhouse into energy efficient building Translated and adapted from the article by Christine Eisenbeis AVS 04.02.2011 This year, the John F. Kennedy School celebrates its 40th birthday and plans to begin the renovation of the old Saanen schoolhouse. It has been nearly 11 years since the commune donated the 130-plusyear old building to the John F. Kennedy School’s foundation. Asked whether a demolition and rebuild would make more sense than a restoration, director of the school Bill Lovell smiled. “Good question,” Lovell said. “First of all, we wanted to keep the building because it belongs to the townscape of Saanen, and secondly, it would have been much too expensive to tear it down and rebuild it in a similar way.” A rendering showing how the old Saanen schoolhouse will look like after its renovation. Meanwhile, the building was put under monument protection anyway. Now, it is to be restored and partly converted to comply with the latest requirements. Lovell can imagine the premises be used not only by JFK pupils but by the ­general public for English courses or similar offerings. The exterior will not change much, as it must retain its historic character. “The three dormers on the roof must be removed to allow for solar ­panels,” Lovell said. The building will be a “super low energy building.”

Solar energy will produce elec­tricity and hot water; the building will be hooked up to Saanen’s district heating network; and the windows will allow for maximum natural light. “The pupils are to be able to see how much energy is used,” Lovell said. The school has grown to 85 pupils from 28 different countries. “The space has gotten a bit tight,” Lovell said. There will be eight new classrooms. The attic will be turned into a student lounge. On the ground floor next to a modern

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science room and an arts space, a kitchen and cozy cafeteria will be built. These spaces are to be multifunctional and rentable for events or presentations.

If everything goes as planned, construction should begin in April. Pupils will be able to move into their new classrooms by September 2012.

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Gstaad 033 748 77 88 · Feutersoey 033 755 19 51 www.raiffeisen.ch/saanenland

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For the last 147 years, John Taylor has been the reference in luxury real estate thanks to its international clients who entrust John Taylor with the delicate mission of making their dreams come true. Prime real estate remains a sure value in a volatile environment and John Taylor is the privileged partner for both professionals and private investors thanks to an established reputation based on professionalism, high moral values and a recognised savoir faire, John Taylor has successfully built a network of fifteen agencies across the years and intents to pursue its expansion by consolidating its presence in Europe while targeting new prestigious locations worldwide.

Friday 18 February 2011 Page 22

of education make Switzerland a very attractive market for potential investors. A solid mortgage market coupled with less restrictive laws for pro­perty acquisition by nonresidents, allow Switzerland to continue to enjoy a stable growing housing market despite the global economic environment. The new high end address in Gstaad matches the reputation of John Taylor, well known for representing in its portofolio the most beautiful properties in the world.

We are proud to announce the opening of the Geneva office and Gstaad office, which marks the first step of John Taylor’s will to develop its presence in Switzerland. We provide a mix of prime services and luxury lifestyles of stunning pro­ perties for rent or sale in France, Italy, Monaco, Spain, and Switzerland.

Ideally situated in Europe, Switzerland is politically stable and economically strong. Switzerland’s economy is ranked as the most competitive in the world while the Swiss franc remains one of the world’s strongest currencies. Strong domestic purchasing power, a safe and “green” environment, strong privacy laws and high level

If you are looking for a dream ­chalet or if you wish to entrust your property to luxury real estate professionals, Thierry Fischer and ­Olivia Ausoni are happy to welcome you at the office in Gstaad: Untergstaadstrasse 2, “Dubi-Kreisel” (roundabout) opposite Migros. For any information and appointments call +41 33 748 33 60 Email: gstaad@john-taylor.com www.john-taylor.com


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HOLDING THE KEYS TO LUXURY REAL ESTATE

JOHN TAYL O R G S TA A D N O W O P E N 4"-&4t1301&35:."/"(&.&/5t3&/5"-4

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GstaadLife  

GstaadLife, tho exclusive monthly publication about the good life in Gstaad.

GstaadLife  

GstaadLife, tho exclusive monthly publication about the good life in Gstaad.

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