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Issue 3 | 23 June 2017 CHF 3.50

NEW SKI PASS BDG goes Bernese Oberland


NO SMOKE SIGNALS Claude Minder on sustainable heating GstaadLife 3 I 2017


23rd June – early September: Outdoor Pool Season

Take a swim in our olympic outdoor pool surrounded by the beautiful alpine scenery and treat yourself to a break at our snack bar. Our pool is open every day from 9.30 am to 7.00 pm (weather permitting).

Every Sunday in July and August (Except 20th August): Palace Brunch

Is there any better way than kicking off a Sunday morning with a big buffet and grilled specialties on our sunny terrace, accompanied by Swiss live music and entertainment for young guests? Welcome to our Sunday Brunch!

4th July: Saveurs Gstaad on mount Wasserngrat

Enjoy the unique combination of culinary delights and jazz music. As an extended edition of the renowned gourmet festival, we are proud to indulge you with creations from our head chef, Franz Faeh and his team surrounded by the inebriating sounds of the Montreux Jazz Festival. Reservations on +41 33 748 50 00 or at concierge@palace.ch.

13th July – 2nd September: Gstaad Menuhin Festival and Academy

Let your classical evening end with culinary delights and stunning views on our terrace – our Grand Restaurant remains open longer during the Gstaad Menuhin Festival and Academy.

28th July: White Night and season opening GreenGo night club

Be part of our traditional season kicking off White Night at the GreenGo night club and dance the night away at Gstaad’s place to be since 1971!

1st August: Swiss National Day

Celebrate Switzerland’s 726th birthday together with the Scherz family along a cocktail reception followed by a buffet of Swiss and international specialties, the traditional fireworks as well as a night of celebration at the Lobby Bar and our GreenGo night club.

6th August: Palace Kid’s Grand Prix

Big day for our small guests! Our inaugural Palace Kid’s Grand Prix with DJ, snacks and way more will create a fun atmosphere.


BRANDNEW You may have seen (and felt) some changes to the magazine. We revamped it from cover to cover. It went from glossy to matte, has new fonts and many new layout features, which will hopefully make your reading more enjoyable. Some other changes are less obvious, such as the editorial focus. The very first issue of GstaadLife was published in 2004 because there was a need for local news in English in our community. This has to be the main goal of our magazine and so we put this back to the very core of our work. More news, more on recent developments, and more on the projects that make and shape Gstaad. Add a good measure of history and culture, top it with a hint of lifestyle – et voilà – there is your GstaadLife. Another change concerns our team. I am absolutely thrilled to welcome our new contributors. They all bring their own voice, which creates a wonderful variety on the pages. It was a pleasure to fill the magazine with new ideas and new styles. So, we’re ready to provide your monthly high season fix of Gstaad news and lifestyle.

CONTENTS LOCAL NEWS New managers and chefs in top hotels


Intensive tourism zone on­the Hornberg


New ski pass collaboration



No smoke signals

GSTAAD LIVING Lake Arnen past and present


“Turpach” or “Turbach”?


ARTS & CULTURE The sky’s the limit for local composer Sandra Avilova


SPORTS & LEISURE Saanenland continues to lure beach volleyball stars


GYC teams up with William Winram to educate the young


Ojjeh’s racing skills still on track


Second season for Grand Tour Switzerland



Expat adventures

Best regards,

Markus Iseli, Publishing Director

Cover Photo: EBL GstaadLife, Anzeiger von Saanen, Kirchstrasse 6, P.O. Box 201, 3780 Gstaad, Phone: 033 748 88 74, Fax: 033 748 88 84, www.gstaadlife.com Management Board and Publisher: Frank Müller, frank.mueller@gstaadlife.com Publishing Director: Markus Iseli, markus.iseli@gstaadlife.com Contributors: Januaria Piromallo Layout: Epu Shaha, Aline Brawand Advertising: Eliane Behrend, advertising@gstaadlife.com, Phone: 033 748 88 71 Subscriptions: Flurina Welten, subscriptions@gstaadlife.com, Phone: 033 748 88 74 The notation of "AVS" next to the author of an article indicates that the text is (partly) based on material from the Anzeiger von Saanen.

GstaadLife 3 I 2017



EVOLUTION OF THE GSTAAD LIFE In 2004, Frank Müller, Netti de Scheel and Diana Oehrli presented the very first issue of GstaadLife. Since then, the magazine has undergone seven major layout changes. 2007 saw a completely new header, which remained in place – in various forms – until last winter. In 2009 the magazine went glossy, and 2013 introduced the profile interviewees on the cover. Now it is matte again, we kept the profile on the cover and played around with various elements from the past for the header. We hope you like the result!

15 July 2005


Andrea von Siebenthal On the Via Ferrata page 7

The editorial team – Diana Kiker-Oehrli, Frank Müller-Brand, Netti de Scheel

by Netti de Scheel Years of translations; years of questions; years of misunderstandings; years of my friends wanting to know what the Anzeiger von Saanen was going on about. And now, finally, the English speaking members of the public in Gstaad can read their local newspaper! This process did not happen overnight of course. After letter upon letter from people requesting an English page, I called Mr. Frank Mueller, co-owner, and asked for a meeting. This was two years ago, and Frank had liked the idea. But for ages nothing happened. Perhaps, he thought that I would not follow through; perhaps he was busy running the German side; perhaps he thought that I would forget about the whole thing. He soon found out just how persistent I can really be. We began to have meetings on the subject shortly thereafter. I was so pleased that we were getting somewhere after so long. However, I began to notice a trend in these meetings; after each one, the pile of papers, red

tape, ideas and problems seemed to double. Everyone had input. So naturally it took us a while to agree on even the length of the English section; it went from a half page, to two pages and then eventually came full circle back to one. When I left Gstaad in the fall, it looked as if the first paper would be out in middle of December. Than I received an E-mail in Arizona from Frank which stated that although we were still on track, there would be a slight delay in the release date. This left me feeling a bit apprehensive at the prospect of my usual winter in Gstaad spent translating, answering questions and yet again taking letters. Then in January, I received a new mail asking for a meeting at the office of the Anzeiger von Saanen. To my utmost surprise there was a four-page English Anzeiger von Saanen lying in front of me. We had accomplished this, at times, very daunting task with only a few more meetings necessary to discuss people’s roles, what

should appear in the first issues and who else could help to make this project a success. We were very lucky to find that there were many budding journalists and helpful citizens in Gstaad to come to our aid. So my friends, I do hope that you will become members of our yearly subscribers, so that we will be able to publish it in the winter and summer once a week. I also hope that we are going to receive many stories and letters to fill some of the pages. I also would like to thank Frank for taking quite a risk to include the English-speaking public in the every-day workings of Swiss life. I am sure that his hard work and generous time will pay off. There have been 124 successful years of the Anzeiger von Saanen in German; hopefully there will be as many years to come of Gstaad Life. It has been prompted by your letters and created for your convenience by your ideas. This is really a section for you, and I hope that you will all enjoy it.

by Frank Müller-Brand Editor-in-Chief You – dear readers – will ask yourselves, who is behind the Anzeiger von Saanen. Here is a short look into history: One hundred and twenty four years ago – namely in 1881 – city official and teacher Rudolf Wehren founded the Anzeiger von Saanen. He had the following goal: with this new publication, he wanted to unite people through the promotion of dialogue and understanding. This, he succeeded in an impressive way.


Emil Müller – grandfather of the current owners – was able to purchase the Anzeiger von Saanen’s printing rights in 1923. He became its publisher and editor. In the 1950s, he handed the business down to his son Martin Müller. By the end of the 1990s, we brothers – Richard Müller and myself – took over the printing and editorial responsibilities. Each and every year, the Anzeiger von Saanen has steadily grown. In 1970, the Anzeiger von Saanen had a circulation of 3,000 copies. Today, it has risen to more than 5,000.

A handicap, however, remains: numerous guests, chalet owners and friends of Saanenland cannot speak German! Now, out of this gap arises the English edition Gstaad Life. And the goal is clear: to promote an understanding between locals and English-speaking guests and friends: What is going on in Saanenland? Why are the skilifts being restructured? What’s the Milk Farm Gstaad all about? Gstaad Life will answer these and other questions in its coming editions. Are you with us? We, very much, hope so and would be thrilled if you would take out a subscription and with it stay on top of what is going on in Gstaad.


New School in Session Bringing relief to many PAGE 6

Swiss Politics How much do you know? PAGE 6

Finance Overview of Saanen’s 2004 fiscal year PAGE 7

Culture Marc Rome’s column returns to GstaadLife

Greener winters, drier summers

With its center court stadium and skyboxes towering above the Eisbahnmatte in Gstaad, the stage is set for this year’s installment of the Allianz Suisse Open tennis tournament, which runs from July 7 to 15. This year’s star participant is 26 year-old Russian, Nikolay Davydenko (ATP world number 4), who was a semifi nalist against continued on page 3

On Saturday night an unusual spectacle took place at the Palace Hotel in Gstaad.

PAGEs 4 & 5

Saveurs How it all began...

page 1/3

Friday, July 6 2007 No. 10 gstaadlife.com

Swiss Open Gstaad begins this weekend


Gstaad News Flash Police surveilance, complaints from residents, renewed interest in old topics, new changes and much more…

Ex-bishop of cheese

page 1/3

Increasingly extreme weather conditions, diminishing permafrost, melting glaciers and more frequent natural disasters all send a clear message. The climate is changing, and several figureheads in Swiss tourism have realized this. Last year various tourism authorities in the Bernese Oberland commissioned a report to study the effects that climate may have continued on page 4

Editorial by Alexandra de Scheel Reaction to recent events in London

Locals as well as guests from all around the world – including residents of Australia, New Zealand and the USA – read the Anzeiger von Saanen.

Hanspeter Reust

Defending his Gstaad title

Photo: MMD

Light up the night…

Nr. 1 Feb 3, 2004

It finally happened

Richard Gasquet


Photos by Marc Rome


No. 11

Light artist, Gerry Hofstetter, was commissioned by ABN AMRO Bank of Switzerland, in association with Gstaad Saanenland Tourism and the Palace Hotel, to project a series of images onto the rear of the hotel to celebrate the bank’s 50th anniversary. Artistic ‘happenings’ of this type normally occur under the auspices of a museum or through a philanthropic individual, so it was refreshing to witness a major bank investing in an artistic venture of this scale. Hofstetter (43), a qualified helicopter pilot, currently runs his own marketing and design agency, although he has an unusual background, having previously worked as a banker. His commercial, non-art background, however, does not detract from the power of his projected images upon the façade of buildings such as those witnessed at the Palace. One only wishes that the show could have lasted longer and that perhaps there could have been even more variety of imagery to look at.

Now online… In the GstaadLife Garage Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and much more on gstaadlife.com

Little did these Saanenland Cows know that their cheese would become the subject of a criminal investigation.

Cheese matters There is much to be learned from the Gstaad cheese affair By far the biggest local news story in the local press during the off-season revolved around cheese. Dairy farming is a crucial component of the local economy and the third largest employment sector in Saanenland. Many believe it is essential to the wellbeing of the region especially with regard to maintaining Saanenland’s authenticity.

The cheese saga traces its routes back to last summer, when a buyer from Migros Aare (located north of Bern) ordered eight tons of alpine cheese – or AOC Berner Alpkäse – from the Molkerei Gstaad, a co-operative that processes milk from more than 100 Saanenland farmers. AOC, or Appellation d’Origine Contrôlé, is a label commonly associated with French wine. AOC Berner

by Diana Oehrli Alpkäse must satisfy strict criteria; the cheese must be made from unpasteurized cows’ milk. milk must come from cows that have been grazing higher than 1,500 meters, and the cheese must be produced within 18 hours of milking. Furthermore, production must occur during a summer period lasting roughly 100 days. Finally, the cheese cannot be sold before the continued on page 3

PAGE 7 by Marc Rome

Hofstetter’s fantasy comes to life. 1



And one more thing: what do you think of Gstaad Life? We are very interested in your opinion. Call me at tel. 033 748 88 74, drop by, or E-mail me at frank.mueller@mdruck.ch.



Schönried + Saanenmöser Open daily www.frautschi.ch


Avalanche threat

Chalet re-development

Christmas whistles


p. 3 p. 5 p. 7 p. 9/10 p. 11


Tuesday, December 30 2008 No. 21 gstaadlife.com


Friday 27 November 2009 - Issue 19 - CHF 3.50 excl VAT

Cartoon: Oliver Preston, www.oliverpreston.com

GSTAADLI FE IS AVAI LABLE IN THESE FINE HOTE LS ***** Gstaad Palace: Le Restaurant, La Grande Terrasse, Snack & Barbecue, The Lobby Bar, Le Bar du Grill & GreenGo Nightclub, Beauty & Spa, Outdoor Pool & Snack, Tennis. Tel 033 748 50 00, Fax 033 748 50 01, info@palace.ch, www.palace.ch ***** Grand Hotel Park, Gstaad: 99 luxurious rooms, exclusive Guerlain-Spa Chakra, Restaurants & bars: Marco Polo, Le Grand Restaurant, Greenhouse, Chalet Waldhuus, Le Bar and Marco Polo Bar. Tel 033 748 98 00, www.grandhotelpark.ch


Hospital location agreement Saanenmöser

***** Grand Hotel Bellevue, Gstaad: 114 beds, 2,500 m2 SPA, Restaurant Prado, Restaurant Coelho, Brasserie, Bellevue-Bar, 911 Club, Carnotzet. Tel 033 748 00 00, www.bellevue-gstaad.ch

Stock up for Winter


For the latest local weather forecast visit www.gstaadlife.com/weather CHURCH S E RVICES St Peter`s English-speaking Anglican Church, Château-d’Œx: Every Sunday 16h30. Chaplain Reverend Atkinson. For Information: Tel 026 924 60 92.

Photo: Unsplash

Roman Catholic Church St Josef, Gstaad: Wed Dec 31 18h00 eucharistic ceremony, 19h30 piano concert. Thu Jan 1 11h00 eucharistic ceremony, 18h00 eucharistic ceremony. Fri Jan 2 18h30 eucharistic ceremony. Sat Jan 3 18h00 eucharistic ceremony. Sun Jan 4 11h00 eucharistic ceremony, 16h00 Santa Messa (Italian). Wed Jan 7 16h30 rosary, 17h00 eucharistic ceremony.

“After you.” – “No please. After YOU.”

Goodbye 2008 – Hello 2009 By Peter Sonnekus-Williams Bringing in the new year for many, I am sure, will be a welcome relief. 2008 has been a year, that I feel hopelessly unqualified to comment on, when considering the greater scheme of things. Being certain however, that I will not make any more sense of global commentary in 2009, than I have in 2008, I rather look towards our local Saanenland scene for a dose of sanity and positivity. In 2008 work began on the Saanen bypass, a wonderful project that will ultimatly pedestianize the

main thouroughfare of the village of Saanen. This will amplify Saanen’s charm and I am sure, lead to some glorious and successful business evolutions. Fernwärme, Saanen land’s answer to the global renewables revolution, powered up this year, allowing us all to be a part of a feel-good green conciousness. Amongst so many new additions to our lives here in the Saananland, we got a good looking new Pernet, some new Spa’s, another Sushi venue, improvements to the


ski lifts and a well appreciated follow through of our Gemeinde’s much needed local housing initiative. All this was accented by a fi ne summer, a mild and beautiful autumn, and the onset of winter brought with it, all the snow we need for a super ski season. It’s difficult not to see the silver lining that envelopes our lives here in the Saanenland. I wish all the readers of GstaadLife well over the coming festivities and a steadfast 2009.



Winter Sports equipment and accessories. ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

Polanski The Rosey © imagenation - Fotolia.com

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 Medical emergency 0900 57 67 47 Dental emergency 033 748 02 00 For additional useful numbers please visit www.gstaadlife.ch/usefulnumbers

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NO SMOKE SIGNALS Claude Minder on sustainable heating GstaadLife 3 I 2017



There are big changes in management for several local luxury hotels. From new general managers to innovative executive chefs, a wealth of incoming talent is sure to raise the already lofty bar here even higher.

Post to deliver at Park Gstaad

The experienced hotelier Stephan Post has been appointed the new general manager of Park Gstaad. He will move from his current job as general manager at the Intercontinental Davos Hotel to Gstaad this summer.

ful winter seasons in 2016-17. In addition, he oversaw the rebranding of the hotel and the implementation of two new concepts for hotel restaurants, Chubut (2015) and Avenue Montagne (2016). Managers set to leave Ermitage

Post will take over from current general manager Daniel J. Ziegler, who has been managing the hotel since September 2015 and is leaving the company. Ziegler, who would like to pursue other private and professional projects in the future, will hand over the alpine luxury resort to Post in July. Under Daniel J. Ziegler, Park Gstaad saw one of its most success-

According to the Swiss tourism publication Hotel Revue, there are changes in store for the Wellness & Spa-Hotel Ermitage. After just one year, Gregorio van Kuyk and Katja Gridling are leaving the Schönried hotel in the autumn. The couple took over 1 November, 2016, carrying on in former long-time manager Stephan Walliser’s footsteps. Other news includes a new deputy director, Raphael Balthasar, who took over in May from his predecessor Richard Keiser. Keiser had been

with the hotel’s management team since 2014. Inventive chef for The A ­ lpina­Gstaad

Martin Göschel has been a­ ppointed executive chef at The Alpina G ­ staad. The 45 year old German succeeded Marcus G. Lindner in May, who is leaving the hotel at the end of the 2017 winter season for a new ­challenge in Zurich. In his new role, Göschel is responsible for the hotel’s two acclaimed restaurants, Sommet and MEGU, as well as for the Swiss Stübli. Martin Göschel received training at the Ritter Hotel in Durbach, Germany, and went on to cook at several important restaurants, earning Michelin stars and numerous GaultMillau points. At the Paradies Hotel in Ftan, Left: Martin Göschel has been appointed executive chef at The Alpina Gstaad from May. Right: Stephan Post will move from Davos to Gstaad in July.

Photos: The Alpina / Park Gstaad




GstaadLife 3 I 2017

Photo: Anita Moser

Handing over the ladle: Andrea Scherz, Franz Faeh, Peter Wyss, Hugo Weibel, and Ernst Scherz (from left)

Göschel developed a particular style of cuisine that he dubbed “Chadafö unica”, a concept based on transforming specialities from regional producers and suppliers into haute cuisine creations.

farewell party for their chefs Peter Wyss and Hugo Weibel earlier this year. They both worked for the Gstaad Palace for several decades, showing a commitment and loyalty that is rare in this trade.

The end of an era at the Palace

Wyss and Weibel pass on the ladle to Franz Faeh, a truly local chef. He

The Scherz family gave a fabulous

grew up in Gstaad and earned his first professional experinces during his apprenticeship in the Gstaad Palace. After a decade in Asia, Faeh returned to Switzerland and worked in various places until he returned to the Gstaad Palace in 2015. ALEXIS MUNIER / AVS



eli Thoenen, president of the Hornberg Alpine Cooperative, is one of the initiators of the development plan. Also behind the project are the hotel owners on the Hornberg and the cable-car operators of Gstaad (BDG), in cooperation with the municipality of Saanen. Wide support

the concerned offices and nature conservation organizations have been informed about the project as the initiators have been working on it for four years. So far, it has been pre-financed by the Hornberg Alpine Cooperative and by Ueli Thoenen privately. He explains his engagement for the region: "We live here and must keep our eyes wide open to

the future. It is immensely important that we develop our region further." Larger storage lake

For the BDG, the development of the offer at the Hornberg is important for a successful future. Both Heinz Brand, president of the BDG, and Matthias In-Albon, managing director of the BDG, support the project. "In order to prepare appealing ski runs despite the climate change, the BDG needs a larger water reservoir," says Matthias In-Albon. The lake on the Hornberg has to be expanded from 30,000m3 to 100,000m3. Ski school and trend sports

The project would facilitate various trend sports. The ski school could

also be located in the Hornberg basin. In this context, it would be important to build a child-friendly cable car, says In-Albon. And trend sports would have a real chance on the Hornberg. Various activity parks are planned for winter and summer, for example snow tubing, fat bike, freestyle, wakeboarding on the lake or mountain biking. Chalet village for hotel guests

Another project is a chalet village at the Hotel Hornfluh. "There would be small chalets in the higher price segment which function as suites", ­explains Ueli Thoenen. Hotel services could be provided by the ­ Hotel Hornfluh. MARTIN GURTNER / AVS

GstaadLife 3 I 2017


A look inside the new kitchen of The Alpina Gstaad

Photo: Bernd Grundmann

When Martin Göschel returns from his travels, his memories are filled with foreign flavours, tastes and textures. He fine tunes and modifies them, then adds a personal touch, producing dishes that carry their country of origin in their heart, but become something quite unique. This 45-year old star-rated chef loves exploring other cultures and sharing his experiences through his cuisine. Martin Göschel has already clocked up some excellent experience in Swiss gastronomy – as Head Chef at the Paradise Hotel in Ftan, and more recently at the Alpenruh Hotel in Mürren. Now in Gstaad, he immediately felt "captivated" by The A ­ lpina – a feeling that was nevertheless tinged with a certain amount of awe for his new duties.

nize the origins of his dishes while being surprised by his interpretation. "Then I consider my dish to be a success," he delights.

His intention is to serve ­authentically­ alpine fare, but with an international twist. He loves it when diners recog-

Be one of the first to experience Martin Göschel’s creations at The Alpina Gstaad.

For Martin Göschel, it is extremely important to use regional produce. Take Indonesian tempeh, for example. He prepares it not with fermented soybeans, but with l­ocal cereals, producing a truly and authentic flavour. Not to mention his “spätzle carbonara” with runny egg yolk, bacon powder and parsley ­pesto. A Martin Göschel classic! He is not a fan of complicated dishes in which too many nuances collide, or ephemeral trends with no solid foundations. "My dishes have to explode with colour and flavour, and they have to be enjoyed!"

Restaurant Sommet restaurant@thealpinagstaad.ch 033 888 9866 Open daily from 7–11 pm

Photo: The Alpina Gstaad




GstaadLife 3 I 2017

The off-season has been busy for Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad (BDG), the Saanenland’s beleaguered mountain railways company. From the purchase of Hamilton Lodge to a new collaboration with adjacent ski areas, a variety of news shows the company tries everything to reach a secure financial future.

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tioning of the Rinderberg hiking and skiing area. The Rinderberg is crucial as an eastern entrance portal to the Saanenland and so the Hamilton Lodge has been found to be a central element. BDG has decided to buy the property in order to better control the d ­ evelopment on the mountain.

Hamilton Lodge

The future of the hotel Hamilton Lodge Zweisimmen was determined at the latest meeting of its governing body. BDG decided to make use of its pre-emptive right as part of the “post-mortem” procedure and become actively involved in strategic considerations regarding the posi-

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A new solution for Gstaad locals has also been announced, a tailored seasonal pass that will encompass the BDG lift zone, Wasserngrat, and both Lauenen and Gsteig. Skiers can then add additional lifts or zones to their pass for a fee. Additions to the pass include Glacier 3000, a parking pass, and a summer pass, amongst others. This special pass, which replaces the Super Pass, is available to anyone who has their primary fiscal address in the Saanenland, Pays d’Enhaut including Rossinière, or Simmental down to Erlenbach.


BDG has hired the company ­Hüttenzauber, which already operates the Rinderbergspitz restaurant, to run Hamilton Lodge. They are hopeful that this can lead to further ­synergies.


to reel in expenditures will mean that several stations will remain closed this summer. Horneggli is part of the group of services that will not operate until further announcement. With only an average of 80 customers per day, the Schönried-Horneggli lift has relatively low numbers. As soon as the Rellerli cableway closes, the plan is to reoperate the Hornegglibahn once again as a supplementary mountain offer. However, this will depend on the landowners decision and potential for the Schönried catchment area 2017_05_19_Karte_Saisonabonnemente.indd 1 with regards to the planning of an intensive use zone.

Summer closures

As stated earlier this spring, a plan


GstaadLife 3 I 2017



The four largest ski areas in Canton Bern have now united in a new partnership. Gstaad joins Meiringen-Hasliberg, Jungfrau Ski Region, and Adelboden-Lenk to offer a new joint season pass that will allow skiers to frequent any of the locations for a wide variety of terrain. Glacier 3000 will no longer be included in the BDG ski pass, which has raised some concern. The new season pass will cost 666.– CHF for adults. “Market pressure is strong and calls for new measures,” says Matthias In-Albon, managing director of the lifts belonging to Gstaad AG. “I’m happy that we have found a common solution and that Wasserngrat and both Lauenen and Gsteig are also on board.”

Infographic: Müller Medien AG





NO SMOKE SIGNALS The four profile interviews this summer explore different perspectives of innovation and sustainability in the Gstaad region. For this issue we sat down with Claude Minder, head of project management at EBL, the enterprise responsible for the central heating plants in the Saanenland.

region are connected – about 220 to the plant in Saanen/Gstaad, about 60 in Schönried and about 30 in Gsteig. 30 to 40% of the energy goes to heating big buildings and hotels – about 15 hotels are connected. In each of these areas, how many litres of heating oil would have been used to generate the heat that is now supplied by the ­heating plants?

GstaadLife: Thank you, Mr Minder, for receiving me on behalf of GstaadLife. We're here to talk about the district heating plants in the municipalities of Saanen and Gsteig. Before we go into the details and why you consider them a good thing for the environment and the local economy, can you tell the readers of our magazine a little about the background of these district heating plants.

For Saanen/Gstaad, the district heating plant supplants 3.3m litres of oil, and in Gsteig and Schönried about 0.3 and 1m m litres respectively.

Claude Minder: My company – EBL – has been working in renewable energy for many years and we were happy to have the opportunity to take our expertise to this part of Switzerland and come to Saanen. This project was a major challenge since it is one of the biggest installations that we have built. Fortunately, we were able to partner with excellent local enterprises.

It represents 10,000 to 12,000 tonnes of CO2.

What was the timeline for the installation of these plants? When were they built and put into operation?

Saanen/Gstaad came online in 2008 and Gsteig in 2013. We are currently working on a new district heating plant for Schönried, which will be finished in the summer of next year, ready for the 2018/19 winter. A part of the existing heating plant will be connected to the new installation. How many buildings receive heat from the district heating plants?

Totally over 300 buildings in the


GstaadLife 3 I 2017

That's litres of heating oil per year?

Yes, that’s correct: litres of heating oil that would have been used per year. What does this represent in terms of CO2 emissions?

So basically you're saying that, by installing and using district heating in the region, we are preventing 12,000 tonnes of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.

Yes, that’s correct.

How much energy is supplied by each district heating plant and how much power can be connected?

Saanen produces about 30 million kWh . This corresponds to the power of 15,000 kW which is totally connected to the installation. In Schönried it’s about 11 million kWh (connected power of 5,500 kW) and Gsteig produces 3m kWh (1,500 kW of connected power). So Saanen has ten times the capacity of Gsteig. How does this compare to the amount of energy used to heat a normal household?

The three installations have a total of 22,000 kW of connected power and the energy sold over a year is more than 40m kWh. This is the amount of energy consumed by approximately 8,000 apartments over a year. There has been concern from residents in Château-d’Oex about the danger of small particle emissions from district heating plants. What precautions does EBL take to ensure that harmful emissions are not released into the atmosphere?

Saanen, Gsteig and Schönried all use wood from local forests. One of the arguments in favour of biomass district heating plants (your third point above) is that it uses local resources with stable prices. How much wood is required for each plant and where is this sourced?

The Saanen district heating plant requires between 45,000 and 50,000 cubic meters of wood chips a year. On a cold day, the Saanen plant requires about 200 cubic meters.

Photos: EBL

Some people are concerned that the use of these heating plants could lead to deforestation in the area. Could you address this issue?

The Canton of Bern has very strict regulations about flue gas emissions. Each of the district heating plants in Saanen, Gsteig and Schönried are equipped with special electric filters that keep the emissions to an absolute minimum. Furthermore, they are checked by the Canton on a regular basis.

Yes, it is a very important point. If you install a biomass district heating plant, you need to be certain that the forests are not depleted. We ensure that all harvested wood is fully replanted. This aspect is also strictly supervised by the Canton of Bern. Where is the wood sourced?

People think that the emission is smoke but in fact it’s simply water vapour.

From the surrounding forests of Gstaad, Gsteig and Schönried. The type of wood that can be used as fuel is, again, strictly controlled on a regular basis by the Canton of Bern. Our two main sources are 70% from forests and sawmills in the region. This includes branches and off-cuts that are normally discarded during timber production. 30% are from old wood, taken from demolished or refurbished buildings.

Why are these district heating plants a good solution for heating rather than oil or other sources?

How are the district heating plants financed, operated and maintained?

Biomass district heating has three primary advantages: First, it uses carbon-neutral, renewable energy sources. Second, it produces less pollution than that produced by individual heating systems that use wood and/or oil. Third, the investment in the fuel to produce the heat is stable and remains in the region. The district heating plants in

EBL is responsible for the investment, the maintenance and the operation of each district heating plant. We invested about CHF 45m in Saanen and 4m in Gsteig. The estimated investment for Schönried is CHF 8m. So we will have invested a total of over 57m francs in these three plants. Our responsibility is to operate and maintain the plants;

When you drive past the Saanen heating plant, you often see smoke billowing out of the chimneys. What produces it?

this includes billing our customers. We take a great deal of pride in our installations. By having control over the entire operation, we can ensure that customers receive the level of service that they require and expect. Can you tell us about your customers? How satisfied are they about receiving heat from the district heating plants?

I can say with certainty that our customers are very satisfied! EBL operates 50 to 60 district heating plants in Switzerland and this has been my area of responsibility for 13 to 14 years. During this time we have never lost a customer. It can sometimes be difficult to enrol a new customer in the beginning but, once they are connected, the level of satisfaction is very high. Are you at the maximum capacity for each of these heating plants or is there still room for further expansion?

We foresee a possible 10% expansion in Saanen and 40% to 50% in Gsteig. Once the Schönried plant is completed, I believe we will be able to add another 50% there. We have just had a very significant vote where the Swiss people opted to phase out nuclear power and move more to renewable energy sources. How do you see this affecting your business over the next 10 years?

We have been working in renewable energy for 25 years and this vote is very important for us. If you look at the total heating market in Switzerland, just 8% is currently provided by district heating. So, over the next 20 or 30 years, I believe we can expand district heating by a factor of five. It’s enormous and we have a lot of work to do to reach this target. I am sure many people will join me in wishing you good luck in this endeavour! Thank you, Mr Minder. GUY GIRARDET

GstaadLife 3 I 2017


Lake Arnen is a natural lake, supplied by water flowing from the Tschärzisbach and intake from Ayerne. The lake is tucked behind the village of Feutersoey and holds a captivating history. From being a potential source of drinking water for Lausanne to playing a central role in the production of

New beginnings – hydropower

hydroelectricity for Canton Vaud,

The water level of the Grande Eau River (see infographic) is determined by melting glacial snow and ice, resulting in varying depths throughout the year. Lake Arnen had the potential to replenish river levels in winter and also compensate for reduced production of the Les Farettes hydroelectric power plant, constructed near Aigle in 1905. Once license was granted for usage of the Lake in 1912, the Société Romande d’Electricité applied for, and successfully received, an additional license for the section of the Grande Eau River from Les Aviolats to the intake of Les Farettes power plant.

this little known Swiss lake is more than just a natural beauty.


iscovering Lake Arnen’s potential early in the 20th century, spring water from the Pays-d’Enhaut region was supplied to Lausanne via pipeline, but during winter months there was a deficit. In 1906, Société Romande d’Electricité, which after a merger in 1997 became the Romande Energie SA, purchased the lake and surround-

mountain stream Le Plan, an inflow to the Grande Eau River. In 1913, construction began of a small masonry dam at the Lake but was delayed because of the first world war. The dam was finally finished in 1920, increasing the lake’s depth by 1.5 metres and a reservoir of 6.5m cubic metres became available. The company had built a second hydroelectric power plant, Pont-de-la-Tine, which became operational in 1913. So, the water from Lake Arnen was used to supplement the Grande Eau River via a sluice system, and was utilised by the turbines of both Pont-de-la-Tine and Les Farettes plants as required.

ing land. The intention was to supplement Lausanne’s drinking water during winter. Despite the excellent quality of the lake’s water, a proposal in 1910 to use it for drinking water was rejected by Lausanne’s city council. Instead, another purpose for the lake was discovered.

After the second world war, electricity consumption increased considerably, making it necessary to enlarge the existing reservoir. This was done by increasing the level of the lake through construction of an embankment dam that still stands today. However, the existing water was not enough to fill the newly established reservoir, therefore a new water supply was sourced and directed into the lake. The new dam increased the water storage capacity by 11m cubic metres. The entire facility was completed in 1957 with the construction of the power plant in Les Diablerets.

Construction work begins

A 4.5 kilometre long tunnel was built to divert Lake Arnen’s water to the

An important energy supplier

Above: Construction work at the lake Left: Lake Arnen with the embankment dam today


GstaadLife 3 I 2017

Photos: 1960 Bulletin Technique De La Suisse Romande / Romande Energie



This modest lake’s water passes through five hydroelectric power plants, providing over 140 GWh of electricity per year, the equivalent to the annual average consumption of 38,815 households. The water from Lake Arnen is first directed to the power plant of Les Diablerets, after the water has been utilised there, it then flows through the remaining four hydroelectric power plants. This year, a sixth hydroelectric power plant will become operational. DAVINA GATELEY / AVS

LAKE ARNEN RESERVOIR Highest level: 1,542m (mainly in summer) Lowest level: 1,515m (from autumn to spring) Storage capacity / reservoir: 11m cubic metres = 11bn litres of water DAM WALL Height: 17m Lenth: 140m LAKE ARNEN TORRENT D’AYERNE

LES DIABLERETS POWER PLANT 14.3 GWh per year Covers the average annual electricity consumption of 3,972 households. LA GRANDE EAU




0.65 GWh electricity per year 180 households Legend





Return channel

36.52 GWh electricity per year 10,145 households

Hydroelectric power plant

Town GWh

Gigawatt hours


87.21 GWh electricity per year 24 225 households

MINI-FARETTES POWER PLANT 1.05 GWh electricity per year 291 households AIGLE



Infographic: Müller Marketing & Druck / Romande Energie



SUMMER AT THE PARK Park Gstaad offers plenty for guests and visitors including new summer menus, an innovative new spa partnership and Lovell Kids Camps, ensuring there’s something for everyone. local ingredients. Introduced specially for the summer season, Park Gstaad invites you to "cool down by the pool” with a menu of refreshing sundaes and delicious ice-cold drinks. Every Sunday, you can also indulge in a “culinary journey at the Park,” where you can discover masterpieces from the hotel’s Chefs.

Photo: Park Gstaad

With Executive Chef Axel Rüdlin on board, the Park promises an impressive line-up of dining options for this summer. Avenue Montagne, the hotel’s newest restaurant, will offer fresh and surprising dishes using the finest

Also new for the summer season, the Park have partnered with Lovell Camps to offer a new kids club for Gstaad. With 40 years experience in running childrens programmes, you can be sure your little ones are in safe hands with Lovell Camps. Offering kids clubs for children between two and six years old and summer camps

WE FRAME bookbinding

If the 1,000m2 spa featuring a heated saltwater pool isn’t enough to tempt you already, this summer, the Park’s spa will be introducing a new range of treatments from the innovative skincare brand JK7. Created by Dr Jurgen Klein, Park Gstaad is the only hotel in Switzerland to offer these treatments. You can enjoy the benefits of the JK7® Detox and Refresh Facial, which uses lymphatic drainage techniques to aid the body’s n ­ atural ability to eliminate toxins, or, for head to toe revitalisation opt for the JK7® Total Body Works.



for children aged six to 15 years old, the programmes will allow children and teens to develop new skills, make new friends and u ­ ltimately, have fun!


*Saanenland Calendar

handmade gifts


Pre-order your Saanenland Calendar now.




Tue – Fri 2–6pm Sat 10am – 4pm Kirchstrasse 7 3780 Gstaad T 033 744 89 66 GstaadLife 3 I 2017

Order online or visit our shop www.kalendersaanenland.ch Müller Medien AG Kirchstrasse 6 3780 Gstaad Tel. 033 748 88 74 www.mmedien.ch

Photo: Massimo Corsini


THE SKY’S THE LIMIT FOR LOCAL COMPOSER SANDRA AVILOVA Composer and musician Sandra Avilova now lives in London but her hometown of Gstaad still frames her compositions. Her music is defined as contemporary classical and incorporates acoustic piano with light, melodic harmonies. Her new album, Musical Box, is now being featured by British Airways on their in-flight playlist.


rowing up in Gstaad, Avilova had not always wanted to be a composer or musician, but an actress and singer. She always had a musically creative vein as a child and would invent melodies, initially playing the flute and guitar. She finally settled on the piano because she found its sound mesmerising. Avilova credits her family for supporting her ambitious nature as well as her “fantastic and patient” piano teacher, Marianne Hurni. Having left Switzerland to pursue

a Masters in Music Composition at London’s Kingston University, Avilova finds inspiration wherever she goes in the world. However, Gstaad inspires two songs on her new album. With Footsteps, Avilova says she was hoping to convey tranquillity, a little bit of magic and joy. When composing it, she envisioned a wide snowy field and the silence of the first snowfall in town. The song Wisdom of Nature is inspired by Gstaad’s surrounding nature, especially the flowing water of the river Saane. Ultimately, she hopes that her music

encourages listeners to dream and that it creates a space for reflection. Her music is all about letting one’s mind wander. Avilova also composes for film, most notably a documentary on filmmaker Sophie Fiennes. In the fierce industry she has chosen for her career, she understands the challenges ahead and yet, always manages to see the silver lining. For her, it’s the journey that counts, every time she doesn’t succeed is a moment to learn and grow in her creative process. In addition to her album Musical Box, Avilova will be releasing new songs throughout 2017. For the latest news visit www.avilovasandra.com. DAVINA GATELEY

GstaadLife 3 I 2017


Have you ever asked yourself whether the word Turbach is spelt with a “b” or with a “p”? Interestingly, even though the word is most commonly spelt with a “b”, the land registry actually lists the “Turpach” region “Turpach”. So why the confusion?

“This is a curious case”, says local historian Benz Hauswirth. “Today, the name of the area is typically written “Turbach”, despite the fact that in the official land survey that same area is called “Turpach.” The evolution of the area’s name is also quite peculiar says Hauswirth. “In the 19th century, both spellings were commonly used, but by the 20th century, “Turbach” became the predominant spelling. Hauswirth also points out that people just used to know where was meant even though the spellings might differ. Differing village and region names

Philipp Hefti, a survey engineer at Baumann Vermessung AG, highlights another quirk of the “Turpach”/“Turbach” conundrum. The village and region names, which are typically spelt the same way in the land registry, do not match in this particular case. While the region is called “Turpach” the village is named “Turbach”. Hefti states, "the commission

for nomenclature is responsible for allocating these names.” Hauswirth explains that “the commission has very strict naming conventions”. “Linguists systematically recorded the names and it seems that for the naming of the region, the oldest known spelling, “Turpach”, was upheld”, says Hauswirth. Is a typo to blame?

Sebastian Erler, project manager at the municipal administration, has a lot to say about the spelling of Turbach. Even though he mostly sees Turbach spelt with a “b”, from time to time he also encounters it spelt with a “p”. In such cases, he says, a typo is usually to blame. There are local rumors that say the reason the village’s name is nowadays spelt with a “b” is because a bureaucrat from Bern did not listen closely enough, otherwise he would have heard that it is spelt with a “p”! A humorous explanation for the confusion, but one that Hauswirth says must not be taken

too seriously. He doubts a Turbacher would ever allow a federal administrator to change the name of the ­v illage so easily. Or is it “Türpach”?

What is clear is that both ways of spelling Turbach, either with a “p” or with a “b”, can be justified. The land registry includes both spellings so if you want to err on the right side of caution, you should spell the village name “Turbach” and the region ­“Turpach”. That said, even though nowadays the most common spelling is with “b”, a pronunciation from the 16th century still prevails in the local dialect. Hauswirth notes that “Türpach” or “Türbach” would be more authentic, since that is what the locals have been calling it since the “olden days”. So if you want to sound like a local, go with: “Türpach”. ANNE CHRISTINE KEMPTON / AVS

Map: Baumann Vermessungen AG




GstaadLife 3 I 2017

SPORTS &LEISURE Full house in the Gstaad arena with an amazing view of the surrounding mountains in 2016.


The tournament, which will take place from 4-9 July in Gstaad, is part of the Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series 2017, a FIVB World Tour competition. Preparations are currently underway to transform the Gstaad ice rink into a beach volleyball arena which will be the backdrop for world champions, Olympic medalists and top Swiss teams to

battle it out for a chance to win a prestigious Gstaad cow bell. It does not take much to persuade elite players to come to Gstaad, says tournament director Ruedi Kunz. This year’s lineup includes beach volleyball queen, Kerry Walsh, who won a bronze medal in Rio for the United States, and Robert Meeuwsen from the Netherlands, who also won bronze at the last Olympic Games. Swiss beach volleyball star, Anouk Vergé-Dépré, will also be hitting the sand in Gstaad, but this time with a new partner, Joana Heidrich. The tournament, now in its 18th year, offers fun and excitement both on and off the center court. The Beach Village will host a number of food

stands as well as promotional tents from event sponsors. Legendary beach parties will also be held in the Village and will include a concert from Swiss band Dabu Fantastic. “We have been surprised by the high number of advance ticket sales this year”, says Kunz. “We’ve sold twice as many tickets this year compared to the same period last year.” Kunz is not sure why this has happened, but is obviously very pleased. Tickets can be obtained online or during the tournament at the ticketing desk. Matches are free to watch until Wednesday and children under the age of 9 years can attend the whole tournament for free. ANNE CHRISTINE KEMPTON / AVS

Top player Kerry Walsh will be back to play in the Swiss alps.

Photos: Unknown


hen you think of beach volleyball, you typically think of tropical sandy beaches, palm trees, maybe even a Piña Colada. Well, think again because the Gstaad Major returns to our alpine paradise in just a few weeks’ time, and is set to bring along with it a whole lot of beach vibes and some serious beach volleyball star power.

GstaadLife 3 I 2017


What have the Swiss Alps to do with the worldwide oceans? This and other questions were answered by William Winram, IUCN Oceans Ambassador, Ocean Explorer and Deepblu Brand Ambassador in a first-time presentation to a total of 60 students from 7th to 9th grade of the Volksschule, the secondary school in Zweisimmen, in collaboration with the Gstaad Yacht Club.

Winram is a double world record holder and holds a historic record with his dive through the Arch at Dahab’s Blue Hole, Egypt. He has been exploring the underwater world on a single breath of air and sharing stories of his endeavours for more than four decades. In 2012, he founded The Watermen Project, a Geneva-based registered charity dedicated to ocean conservation. Lending his breath-hold diving skills to a meaningful cause, he has dedicated his life to ocean conservation projects. He photographs large marine animals and participates in shark tagging expeditions, in which he places tracking devices on these apex predators for researchers. While Winram still competes at an international level, he shares his time between underwater filming, teaching specialty seminars on breathing and breath-hold as well as coaching other freediving competitors. A waterman at heart, the wish to share his experience and to raise awareness was at the start of a series of talks at local schools. In 2012, Winram gave a first presentation to the members of the GYC during an awareness dinner for WWF at the clubhouse in Gstaad. That’s when he fell in love with the area and a wonderful friendship has grown between him and several guests. When


GstaadLife 3 I 2017

Photo: © Luke Cresswell



Ocean explorer William Winram freedives along side a female great white shark in the Pacific ocean during the filming of IMAX film Great White Shark 3D – © Luke Cresswell .

Winram returned last winter with another presentation, he and the GYC pondered on an idea to engage the next generation. An opportunity to do so was found at the local school in Zweisimmen, where Winram shared stories of his many adventures. Pupils learned about his dives with dolphins, whales and sharks. He also told them what it takes to achieve a 145m dive with no oxygen or any other support and how he can lower his heartbeat to an amazing 28 beats per minute in order to reduce oxygen consumption and to support the pressure. But it’s also a sport with serious risks: “Make no mistake”, he emphasises, “breath-hold diving is a very challenging ­ activity, both for the body and mind, which requires proper training and knowledge, particularly around s­ afety concerns.” Winram grew up in a small village, not unlike Zweisimmen, but

in the Canadian Pacific Northwest. ­ Mountainous forests and the oceans have more in common than one might think, he pointed out. Like trees, the oceans produce oxygen and play a vital role in providing humans and other animals with what they need most: air to breathe. There’s oxygen from ocean plants in every breath we take – it is believed that ­ phytoplankton contribute between 50 to 85 percent of the oxygen in e­ arth’s atmosphere. Unfortunately, by the time some of the pupils will visit the oceans to swim, sail, snorkel or dive, the water may no longer be as pristine and unspoilt as in their hometown. Therefore, the afternoon concluded with a message as important for Winram as it is for the GYC: “Together we can create relevant friendships in support of mutually important conservation objectives – the forest or the sea – one needs the other.” GYC CINDY SCHÖNRICH

Local racecar driver and Schönried resident Karim Ojjeh has had a wild ride this past year. A late starter at age 36, Ojjeh managed to move from Am Am to Pro Am status in early 2016 – yet by the autumn after a difficult season, Ojjeh was forced to rethink his car, and his career. But the tides have turned and with his recent win at the Silverstone circuit, Ojjeh proves that his racing skills are still on track.


ilverstone was held early May, welcoming cars from around the world to its c­elebrated events. After the FP1 under the rain, the FP2 was set to begin in good weather. However, Ojjeh’s luck changed when the rain began to pour just 30 minutes before the race. A ­ fter just one lap, the team pitted right away and decided it wasn’t worth the trouble to continue. Tragedy struck when after only eight minutes a car lost control on the first corner and crashed into the wall. ­ Luckily the driver survived, but the c­ar­ was ­destroyed. In the qualifying round, Ojjeh was again presented with tricky conditions but with less rain. He built slowly on his times after each lap, but the session was red flagged ­a fter two cars had hit the wall. He had

two more laps to go and attempted to push a bit without taking on too much risk; it worked and he qualified in fourth place. In the qualifying race, the car next to Ojjeh nearly went into a spin on the first corner but was able to thankfully maintain his position. As the field settled, the first two cars were out of reach and Ojjeh had to fight for third. Five minutes into the race he got a lucky exit from Beckets, which allowed him to be side by side and upon braking, pass the car and take third. Despite trying to reach the lead cars, which at this point were far ahead, Ojjeh settled for third place with the best lap time in­ ­t he­ ­race. In the main race, Ojjeh started in third but lost his place on the first

corner. As the race was long – 40 minutes – there was no point in having a contact. The first two cars again created a gap very quickly, but within five laps Ojjeh had passed the car in front and retaken third place. By that time he was by himself and could concentrate on the track, which allowed him to drop his lap times and catch up to the front-runners. After a good fight, the first car was sanctioned with a 30 second penalty of track limits, so Ojjeh finished second with the fastest time of the race. All in all, Ojjeh’s performance at Silverstone showed there is no reason for the driver to retire anytime soon. To witness his racing skills search for Blancpain Sports Club on ­YouTube. ALEXIS MUNIER Photos: Unknown



GstaadLife 3 I 2017


Photo: Gstaad Saanenland Tourism

SECOND SEASON FOR GRAND TOUR SWITZERLAND Switzerland offers visitors the ultimate road trip with the new Grand Tour, a countrywide scenic journey. From mountain villages to buzzing cities, the 1600km-long tour encourages tourists to drive its vast road network in a car or on a motorcycle. At the WAVE Trophy last June, electric vehicles of all kinds and shapes stopped by in Gstaad.


The Grand Tour suggests at least five hours of driving time daily in order to cover the core route in one week. The www.myswitzerland.com website lists a variety of network options, from hotel suggestions to photography tips along the entire itinerary. During the journey over 44 top attractions are visited, including 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sights and two biospheres, as well as 22 lakes. The suggested driving season runs from April to October, in order to avoid heavy snowfall and closed mountain passes.

he Saanenland features on the tour, in the portion that runs from the Col des Mosses to Saanenmöser. Last summer was the Grand Tour’s first season. As the tour gains popularity worldwide, the hospitality industry is hoping it’s just the thing to grow revenue. At this moment it is unclear how much of a boost in tourism the tour will actually bring, as participants are expected to continue through on the road trip rather than spend a week, for example, in a specific location like Gstaad. One of the BDG’s goals – increased use of the mountain railways in summer – is not likely to be affected by the Grand Tour.

reaus are focusing on green tourism and public transportation options for visitors, it may come as a shock that Switzerland is instead focusing on bringing even more road traffic to the already congested country. One group, however, is proving that a lengthy road trip and environmental responsibility aren’t mutually exclusive – the WAVE Trophy. The world’s longest all electric vehicle rally sped through the Saanenland on 15 June, bringing 115 participants to the region on their way from an overnight stopover point in Aigle to the next destination of Attalens, Fribourg.

The WAVE Trophy

While many national tourism bu-


These two Johammer bikes may look futuristic but their state of the art electric drives are reality.


GstaadLife 3 I 2017

Photos: Sarah Trummer


Amongst the regular cars with electric engines and the obligatory Tesla, a range of custom made vehicles caught the attention of the spectators and fellow participants of the WAVE Trophy, like this old Opel Rekord.

Sting sang about an Englishman in New York. I’m an expat in Gstaad. Isn’t that the same thing? Sort of? OK, so I’m not a multi-platinum singer-songwriter, but after 13 years as a "legal alien" I do know about expat life.


he Oxford English Dictionary defines an expat as someone who lives outside their native country. Over the years I’ve been asked dozens of questions about life in the mountains (“is it true you’re not allowed to flush the toilet at night or wash your car on a Sunday?”). So when GstaadLife asked me to pen this column what, I wondered, should I tell future expats about life here? How would I encourage

Photo: Anna Charles


EXPAT ADVENTURES ment-and-chalet-hop on short-term leases (anything from two days to four months) until we decided where to settle.

I would do the same again because it you ­ to get started with a new life­ gave us the chance to try out different types of housing. An ancient chain Gstaad? let with masses of scarlet geraniums tumbling from window boxes may Taking the plunge I moved to the region with my f­ amily­ look idyllic, but our experience was in 2004. Like many expats before far from the dream (terrifically dark and since, we’d been holidaying here and draughty on rainy days with a for years before we took the plunge. microscopic galley kitchen). We tried We’d toyed endlessly with the idea a modern apartment in Saanen (great of r­ elocating, dreamily running insulation, optimum room layout, through various “what if?” scenarios but bland as beige) and an unforgettable chalet clad in acres of 1970s (sound familiar?). pine. Vol-au-vent anyone? Then one Sunday we tired of California and decided to take the plunge. Location, location, location Life had become an endless shopping Moving around also gave us a taste trip for the latest gadget we didn’t for different villages and views. Early need and, corny as it sounds, we on we decided to live within walking hankered after teaching our boys to distance of a train station (a decision ski and eating rösti with fried eggs we have never regretted), but perhaps whenever it took our fancy. you prefer solitude up a remote track to the bright lights of Gstaad? Sounds A mere five weeks later we waved off great on a sunny day, but winters here a shipping container to Europe and can be harsh if you’re not used to snow. boarded a plane to Zürich. The fun very definitely stops when the diesel in your car freezes as you navigate icy hairpin bends on your way Home sweet home Unlike the lucky few who own a hol- back to get the eggs you forgot when iday home in Gstaad, our immediate you bought that packet of Berner Rösti­­ challenge was to find somewhere to for dinner. live. We wanted flexibility so decidYour location also determines which ed to rent. authorities administer the fun stuff House hunting in those pre-Airbnb like taxes and permits. While much days involved picking up the phone of the local area lies in the canton of to local estate agents. This is still Berne, venture seven kilometres up the way I’d go about it today. Airbnb the road to Rougemont and you’re in offers some interesting options, but Vaud. I could never have imagined Gstaad is a small market and local how stark the difference in administration between these cantons, but agents have the contacts that count. that’ll have to wait until next time. The only wrinkle was that most rental contracts required a minimum For now I’m off to have a cup of tea. term of one year. Twelve months felt Just like Sting. like a lifetime so we opted to apartANNA CHARLES

GstaadLife 3 I 2017


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

Hotel Alpine Lodge 033 748 41 51, info@alpinelodge.ch

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

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

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

Hotel Solsana 033 748 94 94, info@solsana.ch

The Alpina Gstaad 033 888 98 88, info@thealpinagstaad.ch

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

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

Hotel Alpenland 033 765 91 34, hotel@alpenland.ch

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

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

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

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

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

Hotel Ermitage 026 924 25 00, info@hotelermitage.ch

CLUBS Rotary Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings every Monday 12 noon Gstaad Palace (033 748 50 00), President: Rot. Andreas Hurni (079 359 46 44) Secretary: Rot. Markus Iseli (033 748 92 08) Lions Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings each first and third week of the month on Thursdays, either at 12 noon for lunch or at 7 pm for dinner. Meetings in Ermitage, Wellness & Spa Hotel, Schönried, 033 748 60 60. For details and programme contact Arthur Reuteler, president, 033 744 51 33, info@bikesport-reuteler.ch, gstaad-saanenland.lionsclub.ch. Soroptimist International President: Ursula Breuninger 033 744 05 80 Programme: Patricia Glauser Edreira 076 426 16 11 Club des Leaders President: Jean-Sébastien Robine www.clubdesleaders.com contact@clubdesleaders.com

026 921 01 01, info@hotelderougemont.com

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

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

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


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

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

Ambulance 144, Police 117 Fire 118

Hotel Bernerhof 033 748 88 44, info@bernerhof-gstaad.ch

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

Hotel Christiania 033 744 51 21, info@christiania.ch

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

Hotel Gstaaderhof 033 748 63 63, info@gstaaderhof.ch

Hotel Restaurant Bären 033 755 10 33, welcome@baerengsteig.ch

Hotel Le Grand Chalet 033 748 76 76, hotel@grandchalet.ch

Hotel Geltenhorn 033 765 35 91, brand@hotel-geltenhorn.ch

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

Hotel Viktoria 033 755 10 34, hotel_viktoria@bluewin.ch

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

Hotel Wildhorn 033 765 30 12, hotel@wildhorn.ch

Hotel de Rougemont

Member of Design HotelsTM

Medical Emergency: 0900 57 67 47 Dental Emergency: 033 729 26 26 Police Station: 033 356 84 31 Car Accident: 033 744 88 80 Zweisimmen Hospital: 033 729 26 26 Château-d’Oex Hospital: 026 923 43 43 Veterinarian: 033 748 08 58 / 033 744 06 61


GstaadLife 3 I 2017

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

SALES | RENTALS | ADMINISTRATION THE ADRESS FOR YOUR HOME IN GSTAAD SINCE 1970. Gschwendstrasse 2 | CH-3780 Gstaad Tel. +41 33 748 45 50 | Fax. +41 33 748 45 51 info@gerax.ch | www.gerax.ch



ONLY 1/23 APARTMENTS LEFT! 300 meters from the center of the village, without nuisances and close to the station, this new residence enjoys a stunning view and offers all the conveniences. You will benefit from an underground garage, an elevator, a big cellar and a common laundry. Geothermical heating system.

3.5 rooms (100 sqm) on the 1st floor Large cellar (12 sqm)- large balcony (21.5sqm) More information on our website

DEDON COLLECTION MBRACE Design by Sebastian Herkner www.dedon.de

Come to visit this magnificent apartment. It will allow you to appreciate the high quality of construction CFIMMOBILIER COMPAGNIE FONCIERE SA Rue du Village 40 – 1659 Rougemont Place du Village 2 – 1660 Château-d’oex 026 924 53 55 – info@cfimmobilier.ch www.cfimmobilier.ch

Your local interior decorator. www.staubgstaad.ch

s t a a d.c h RZ_Staub_Inserat_GL_97x139mm_Feb_2017.indd 1

09.02.17 16:01


Profile for Müller Medien

GSTAADLIFE, 23. June 2017  

The exclusive news and lifestyle magazine of Gstaad.

GSTAADLIFE, 23. June 2017  

The exclusive news and lifestyle magazine of Gstaad.

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