E XCLUSIV E
LIFES T Y LE
M AG A ZINE
GS TA A D
Issue 6 | 23 August 2019 CHF 3.50
HEALTHCARE First results in October
EYE CONTACT Cow portraits of a special kind
FAMILY-OWNED SUCCESS Hotelier of the Year Andrea Scherz
J. Krishnamurti in Saanen 1961 – 1985
Exhibition until 22 September 2019 | Tuesdays – Sundays 14.00 – 17.00 The Museum in Saanen is hosting a multiple language exhibition on the spiritual philosopher and educator J. Krishnamurti. It will highlight his work and long association with Saanen, where he gave public talks for thousands of people every summer from 1961 to 1985. On the following days the museum also hosts a short video followed by dialogue z 25. August: 15.00–16.30 z 08. September: 15.00–16.30
Photo: Rameshwar Das
When the me is absent, totally, there is beauty.
CULTURAL SUMMER Summertime is always Menuhin Festival time. Over almost two months one highlight of classical music follows the other. Our contributor Anne Christine Kempton relates her rapture of listening to Fazil Say in the Saanen Church. But the Saanenland does not only offer musical highlights. Various exhibitions deal with the region in one way or another. The museum in Saanen hosts a cow portrait series. Marco Felix displays this most typical of Swiss animals bare of the usual bucolic backgrounds and surroundings. Also in the Saanen museum, an exhibition remembers the visits to Saanen of Krishnamurti. His talks used to attract hundreds of people from all around the world. The exhibition may have a few answers as to what is left of his heritage and his teachings in the Saanenland. With the exhibiton Heimat the artist Alex Hank presents treasures of his personal collection of modern art. The title indicates that the artist has found Gstaad to be a home for him, too. Those of you who are not into culture, just go straight to the column. Anna Charles has some tips on how to enjoy the region in a differnt way. Best regards,
CONTENTS LOCAL NEWS Potatoes from Abländschen The right place at the right time Healthcare update The Gsteig-Sanetsch hiking trail is open again Tour de France legends at the Gstaad Bergkönig The Best Swiss Holiday Hotel is in Gstaad New administrative director The upward trend continues “Füür und Flamme” for the Station
PROFILE Andrea Scherz – Collecting awards
GSTAAD LIVING 16
Once upon a time
ARTS & CULTURE 17 Prisoners of war in the Saanenland and Pays-d’Enhaut 18 “Gstaad ist my homeland” 19 “Cow portraits – icon or just cattle?” 20 Music opens people’s hearts 22 Pianist Fazil Say celebrates the night 23 A twentieth birthday gift 24 K in the museum
SPORTS & LEISURE 25 26
Rain in Spa 13th GYC Rally & Yachting
LIFESTYLE 27 28
A diamond for every occasion Blessings upon your house
Markus Iseli, Publishing Director
6 7 8 8 9 9 9 10 11
Expat adventures Cover photo: Andrea Scherz, owner of the Gstaad Palace in the third generation and hotelier of the year 2019 (Courtesy of Gstaad Palace) 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, email@example.com Publishing Director & Editor in Chief: Markus Iseli, firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors: Alex Bertea, Anna Charles, Guy Girardet, Friedrich Grohe, Claudia Herr, Justine Hewson, Anne Christine Kempton, Karim Ojjeh Layout: Dorina Reichenbach, Epu Shaha Advertising: Eliane Behrend, email@example.com, 033 748 88 71 Subscriptions: Esther Brand-de Groot, firstname.lastname@example.org, 033 748 88 74 "AvS" in the author line refers to the Anzeiger von Saanen. Contact the editor for more information.
GstaadLife 6 I 2019
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Soon to be savoured: local potatoes from AblĂ¤ndschen (See page 6) GstaadLife 6 I 2019
POTATOES FROM ABLÄNDSCHEN
The potato field in Abländschen
Potatoes, agrotourism, a cooking competition and a trade fair. AvS
How do all these fit together?
he mountain hotel, Weisses Kreuz, in Abländschen belongs to the couple Geraldine and Patrik Rolle, who are still looking for a tenant. However, a business idea from the two creative brains, Hanspeter Reust and Thomas Frei, could make the search a whole lot easier. Their business idea is aimed at boosting the economy in the small village of Abländschen and encouraging people to stay there. “We want to develop agrotourism in Abländschen in partnership with the Weisses Kreuz,” explains Reust.
3000 kilograms of potatoes
Potato growing is part of this project. Hanspeter Dänzer, a dairy farmer from Abländschen, currently has 20 cows on Alpine pastures and, in the summer, he produces cheese. Since the spring, he’s also taken up potato farming. Although he doesn’t have much experience with potatoes, he really enjoys the project. “We wouldn’t have got involved otherwise,” he emphasises and adds: “You have to take a little risk sometimes.” He’s ploughed eight ares (1 are is equal to an area of exactly 10m by
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10m, or 100m2) of hay meadow and pasture land for the potato project and seeded around 400kg of potatoes at the beginning of June. So far, there’s been little damage to the crop and he’s only had to sprinkle a few slug pellets. If this continues, he expects to harvest about three tons of potatoes. The harvest will begin on Monday 9th September at 9am. Bratwurst and a cooking contest
“At the same time, Buure Metzg produces a sausage to accompany the potatoes,” says Reust. The recipe comes from the 19-point chef André Jäger. “This is a special sausage to go with this special potato – something from the region for the region,” says Reust, explaining the business model. The dish is served by Frei in the Bernerhof. Just like two years ago, this year, young chefs and apprentices will create the daily menu for the bi-annual trade fair Gstaader Messe as part of a competition. They’ll be using the potatoes from Abländschen. The dishes will be judged by a jury of experts – Peter Wyss and Hugo Weibel, as well as Robert Speth. The winner's menu will then be served at the Gstaader Messe as a main course.
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GstaadLife 6 I 2019
Meetings by appointment
BASED ON AVS/ANITA MOSER TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
The new managers at the Rössli Restaurant in Feutersoey: Sabine Köll and Simon Richard
new accents. Our dishes are refined and served to reflect our taste and style.” Five employees
The Rössli classics remain
Open until the autumn
“Simple and good,” is their credo, explains chef Richard. Meals are homemade and cooked with fresh and seasonal produce. “The Rössli classics such as trout, Wienerschnitzel and iced coffee are all staying on the menu,” so the couple have promised. “If you take away the classics, you take away the soul of the restaurant,” emphasises Köll. However, the recipes bear the signature of the new chef. “We combine familiar flavours with surprising
In the future, the Rössli restaurant will be open in summer and winter. In the summer, it will stay open until the end of October. “Autumn is becoming increasingly important and is lasting longer," explains Köll. “Also, autumn’s a great time for speciality venison dishes.”
made a home for ourselves over the years,” says Köll. When working at the Golf Club and the Chesery, they met many visitors.
Köll and Richard are starting off with a small team of five employees: two for serving, two in the kitchen and one trainee. The restaurant can seat 25 in the rustic dining room and 25 in the Rösslistube. Outside on the garden terrace, there’s seating for 35 guests. The restaurant itself has changed very little, with some interior renovations and technical improvements to the kitchen. Also, the buffet in the rustic dining room has been renovated and the garden terrace is new and inviting.
Sabine Köll and Simon Richard are the new managers of the traditional Rössli restaurant in Feutersoey.
ver the past few years, the Rössli in Feutersoey was only open during the winter season. However, this has just changed. At the end of July, the new managers Sabine Köll and Simon Richard opened the traditional restaurant for the summer season. For 10 years, they both worked in the Chesery restaurant with Robert Speth and over the last few summers in the Golf Club restaurant. Köll is in charge of service and her partner manages the kitchen. As from now, they’re taking a step into the realms of self-employment. In luck
“We’d been looking for a new challenge and, as luck would have it, up came the Rössli in Feutersoey,” says Köll. “We were in the right place at the right time,” emphasises the native Tyrolean. Both are glad they can stay in the region. “We’ve been based here in the Saanenland for ten years and our friends are all here. We’ve
BASED ON AVS/ANITA MOSER TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
The restaurant has been open since July. The garden terrace provides seating for 35 guests.
THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME
GstaadLife 6 I 2019
The future of the region’s healthcare is to be secured through an integrated health network, with a health campus in Zweisimmen and a health centre in Saanen. Concrete plans will be presented in October.
he initial position remains the same and the D4 model is the preferred choice, with a health campus in Zweisimmen, a health centre in Saanen and the involvement of the emergency services. The health campus includes a 24-hour hospital emergency service, an operating theatre, inpatient beds, medical practices, physiotherapy, ergotherapy, a pharmacy, Spitex services, sheltered accommodation for the elderly, a mother and baby centre (Maternité Alpine) and more. The health centre in Saanen includes a 24-hour point of contact, doctors’ offices, triage and emergency services. According to project manager, Stefan Stefaniak, there are three
major nuts to crack, one of which is the funding. The working group in charge estimates potential investment costs of CHF 67m. According to the hospital operator, STS AG, a CHF 6m annual deficit is to be expected. Further challenges come in the form of the 30-year planning timescale, with many changes expected between now and then. For example, there is no guarantee of financing the deficit until 2050. Of course, solving the financing also depends on the ownership strategy and whether self-funding takes place for the building, rent is paid, or the help of an investor is enlisted. These are issues awaiting clarification and are being worked on in discussions with the municipalities.
The form of the organising institution has not yet been determined either and this could be an association, cooperative, GmbH, foundation, AG or run by the municipality. Based on information so far, the working group favours an AG. Initial answers to these questions are expected by October, at which time the project management team will inform the general public about an information event to take place in the Simmental Arena in Zweisimmen. From now until the project’s implementation in 2024/25, health care in the region, including hospital services, will continue as before. BASED ON AVS/ANITA MOSER TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
THE GSTEIG-SANETSCH HIKING TRAIL IS OPEN AGAIN
n 23 October 2017, a rock fall covered large parts of the Gsteig-Sanetsch and Rotegrabe-Burg hiking trails. Since further falls couldn’t be ruled out, the hiking trail and dangerous surrounding areas had to be closed. As part of a long-term planning phase, a new layout was considered in order to circumvent the dangerous area, which remained closed. Specialist cantonal agencies were involved in this project and, although a building permit was issued on 12 November 2018, construction work could only begin on 16 July this year for reasons of wildlife conservation.
GstaadLife 6 I 2019
Thanks to the good weather, a competent and efficient construction company and the commitment of communal workers in charge of hiking trails, the new route was finished in quite a short period of time. As of Saturday 3 August 2019, the Gsteig-Sanetsch and Burg-Rotegrabe hiking trails are open once again. BASED ON AVS/MUNICIPALITY OF GSTEIG TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
The new bridge to cross Rotegrabe
TOUR DE FRANCE LEGENDS AT THE GSTAAD BERGKÖNIG Some of the greatest Swiss cycling legends from the golden age will be among the list of participants of this year’s Bergkönig, including Urs Freuler, Albert Zweifel and Thomas Wegmüller.
he Bergkönig Gstaad takes place from 6th to 8th September 2019 and is Switzerland’s largest international vintage cycling festival. Held for the third time, the event will now span three days. Racing bikes built before 1990 will be ridden in clothing from the
era, i.e. woollen jerseys, caps and lace-up shoes. The participants can choose from a wide variety of routes that follow minor, traffic-free Alpine roads with fantastic views. Around 20 food outlets will be important landmarks in the Bergkönig and places where cyclists can refuel
and keep up their strength with regional products. Sausage and cheese will be on the menu in preference to energy gels and power bars. Fans of the vintage era from all over the world will travel to Gstaad for this sporting event. Participants will come with their historic bicycles from Sweden, Denmark, England, France, Italy, Austria, Germany and even Canada. BASED ON AVS TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
THE BEST SWISS HOLIDAY HOTEL IS IN GSTAAD
NEW ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR
"At the height of the summer, the Gstaad Palace won first place in
lawyer Thomas Bollmann as the
the BILANZ Hotel Ranking 2019," announced the Gstaad Palace in
administrative director to
a press release. Another six hotels from the destination have also
replace Armando Chissalé, who
been ranked among the 50 best holiday hotels in Switzerland.
is taking retirement. Bollmann
very year, the business magazine Bilanz, selects the 300 best hotels not just in Switzerland but also across the entire world. There’s a distinction between holiday hotels and city hotels, which are in separate categories. The Gstaad Palace is now back in first place in the best Swiss holiday hotels category. Last year, the luxury hotel had to settle for second place, according to an article in the Hotel- und Tourismusrevue. Now, Gstaad Palace has toppled the Castello del Sole in Ascona, which took the top spot last year.
The municipal council of Saanen has appointed the 36-year-old
will take up his post on 1 March Other hotels secure top places
Other hotels from the destination haven’t been left in the shadows: Six have made it into the 50 best Swiss holiday hotels this year. The top places were awarded to the Wellness & Spa Hotel Ermitage in 26th place (in 32nd place in 2018) and the Romantik Hotel Hornberg in Saanenmöser in 29th place (in 30th place in 2018). Le Grand Bellevue defended its 15th position. Slightly below last year came the The Alpina Gstaad (now 6th, 4th in 2018), the Park Gstaad (now 31st, 27th in 2018) and the Huus Hotel Gstaad in Saanen (now 39th, 35th in 2018).
n November 2014, Thomas Bollmann joined the municipal administaration as head of the police department. Following his training as a head of department, at the start of 2017, Bollmann continued his education at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences in Public Management and Politics and in Leadership. He graduated from both courses with great success. Therefore, he is an ideal match for taking on the challenges of the post of administrative director. BASED ON AVS / MUNICIPAL COUNCIL
BASED ON AVS/BLANCA BURRI
TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
GstaadLife 6 I 2019
Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad AG (BDG) has ended with a positive balance sheet for the third time in a row. After its initial success, the results were up again by three percent in the winter and nine percent over the entire financial year, with revenue from visitors up by nine percent compared to the previous year. The BDG is counting on dynamic pricing this coming winter.
All good things come in threes,” says managing director, Matthias In-Albon, commenting on the third positive operating result in a row. The fact that the forward strategy is now bearing fruit is evident from the positive position compared to other top ski resorts in neighbouring countries, as well as from the Skiarea Test, where the BDG won awards in seven categories. “To get to the position we’re now in, over recent years, we’ve had to make many decisions, including tough ones,” emphasises the managing director. In-Albon compares the BDG to the SBB. “We’ve gone from being a company standing still and gathering dust to a modern service enterprise. However, we’re still a long way from the end of our journey.” One particular goal the company has is to embed its mountain railways deeper within the region. “We believe it’s very important for the BDG to have public backing and that people talk about ‘our mountain railways’ and support them,” says In-Albon.
Top4 ski pass a success
Since first-time admissions rose by 18 percent during the winter of 2017/18, the BDG also recorded a three-percent increase during the 2018/19 financial
year. Visitor traffic increased by nine percent compared to the previous year and the bottom line results show a symbolic profit of CHF 313,000 (the previous year was CHF 281,000). The winter got off to a sluggish start, with a lack of snow and rain over the holidays. “If it hadn’t been for our investment in technical snowmaking, we wouldn’t have been able to provide a coherent ski service,” says In-Albon. “The new Saanersloch lift and the Top4 ski pass have also helped to make positive progress.” The three-year contract for the ski pass will expire at the end of the year and talks will take place in November. “In principle, all four partners are in position,” says In-Albon. Also, talks will take place with the management of Glacier 3000. “The BDG is ready and willing to integrate Glacier 3000, but whether or not this succeeds is in the lap of the gods,” says Heinz Brand, president of the board. New: Dynamic pricing
Starting this winter, the BDG will implement a dynamic pricing system. “We’ve examined the topic in detail,” emphasises In-Albon. The digital transformation is changing the business model and visitors are less Happy faces: BDG managing director, Matthias In-Albon, and president of the board, Heinz Brand
THE UPWARD TREND CONTINUES
GstaadLife 6 I 2019
prepared to stand at the cash register when they can order their tickets online in just a few clicks. At the same time, technological progress facilitates new pricing strategies, he explains. The BDG has opted for a moderate price model, with the lowest price of CHF 49 for a day ticket and the highest price of CHF 74. In particular, those who book early or on quieter days (Mondays and Thursdays) will benefit. “Day visitors and families are the main focus of our dynamic pricing model as they’re price-sensitive and plan their holidays well in advance.” According to Brand, it’s important that hoteliers and landlords of holiday apartments are well-informed and let their guests know about the various offers. Long-term planning
The next step is to harmonise the arrangements for landowners’ indemnity insurance, which was initiated as part of the financial restructuring of the BDG. In future, everyone will be treated equally. “The concept is in place but we’re still in the middle of implementation,” explains Brand. “From a strategic point of view, we need to promote long-term planning and development to the best of our ability,” Brand emphasises. In the near future, the BDG will place as many as five superstructure planning applications. However, the aim isn’t to create new tracks or open up new areas, but to bring the existing tracks up to the latest standards and optimise them, including their line management. The Eggli toboggan run and the reservoir on the Hornberg are good examples. BASED ON AVS/ANITA MOSER TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
The former Saanen fire station is set to become a “creative world of experiences for both locals and visitors“. The association has been set up and the concept plans are in place. All that remains is to secure the financing. Once this has been established, the project can get underway. If everything goes to plan, the Station will open in July 2020.
ith the approval of the investment loan for renovating the former fire station and a monthly waiver of CHF 960 for the operators of the Station, the municipal assembly has paved the way for a unique project. The project was initiated by the Gstaad-Saanenland Hotel Association. Gstaad Saanenland Tourism is also involved along with Gstaad Marketing GmbH, the Gstaad-Saanenland Trade Association, the Saanen Village Organisation and Saanen Aktiv. Together, these five partner organisations have founded the association “Füür und Flamme Saanenland”. Playroom and experiments
Ropes and cableways are the main theme of the project, starting with the cloakroom. “Jackets and coats are hoisted up on ropes to the ceiling," sais the president of the association, Christof Huber. “On the ground floor, you’ll find a machine room with an accessible machine you can walk up to and turn cranks, observe or play with it and experiment further. It’s a fascinating criss-crossing of ropes, gears, cranks and ball valves,” according to the project description. Upstairs are ten workstations where you can make different objects. “For example, children can make a cable car, which they can
hook into the cable system on the ground floor and crank it through the room,” says Huber. There’s also a laboratory where you can get involved in various ideas. Ropes are also the focus of the outdoor area. Rope stations will be set up for the children to hang cable cars they’ve designed. The ropes garden is a place to test their skills. “The outdoor area is an unconventional playground that fits in with the concept,” explains Huber. To ensure the children don’t get bored and want to come back, the station needs to steadily develop. “The workstations are rotated every three to six months, but we’re only going to make small changes to individual parts of the major equipment and installations such as the laboratories, walk-in machines and machinery stations,” explains Patrick Bauer, head of product management at Destination Gstaad. There are many ideas in circulation.
“FÜÜR UND FLAMME” FOR THE STATION ever, the station isn’t a nursery and the children have to be accompanied and looked after by adults,” stresses Huber. “The facilities are not only aimed at visitors, but also locals. We also want to offer local families a new attraction that doesn’t rely on the outdoor weather conditions.” Financing still open
The concept is in place and, theoretically, the project could start as soon as the building is renovated on behalf of the municipality. The biggest challenge is yet to come: “We won’t start until the financing has been secured. Also, we don’t want to take any risks,” stresses Huber. The investment costs are estimated at several hundred thousand francs and the annual operating costs, according to the financial plan, amount to around CHF 250,000. The Gstaad-Saanenland Hotel Association has already promised CHF 195,000. “We’re hoping to receive for money from the canton too. This would come from the pot for business promotion managed by the Office of Economic Affairs and the Lottery Fund,” explains Bauer. “We’re also considering crowd funding,” adds Huber.
Opening in July 2020
The station is open all year. During the high season, it’s open from 1pm to 6pm Wednesdays to Sundays and in the low season, on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm to 6pm. The facility isn’t targeting a specific group, but the main focus is on children from 4 to 14 years. “How-
The timing is tight. Financing should be in place by December and the interior of the station converted between April and June. Then, in July 2020 the station will be all set to open. BASED ON AVS/ANITA MOSER TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
GstaadLife 6 I 2019
A GENTLEMAN’S COLLECTION Of private provenance, the contents of this gentleman‘s manor is remarkable both in the the variety and range of continental works of art.
Courtesy of Piguet
“TO THE MANOR BORN”
GstaadLife 6 I 2019
OF FINE AND DECORATIVE ART Left: The manor’s splendid facade and its gardens featuring European sculptures.
Courtesy of Piguet
Right: In situ, 19thand 20th-century Asian works of art to be sold.
Public viewing and auction in situ: Lutry is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site listed region of Lavaux. Located on the north-eastern shore of Lake Geneva in the canton of Vaud between Lausanne and Montreux, it is a 90-minute drive from Gstaad.
Sold without reserve – that is no minimum bid – this harmonious collection unites pieces dating from the 18th century right through to the end of the 20th century. It encompasses paintings, clocks, sculptures, and furniture, silver,
glass, carpets, jewellery, European and Asian porcelain and works of art. Such a broad and cosmopolitan collection invites a fascinating voyage through changing tastes across generations and continents.
PUBLIC VIEWING AT THE MANOR IN LUTRY
AUCTION AT THE MANOR
Friday, 6 September Saturday, 7 September 12noon to 7pm
Sunday, 8 September 56, route de la Croix 1095 Lutry Directions: Piguet.com
Call +41 22 320 11 77 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Piguet.com
GstaadLife 6 I 2019
Good news never come alone. After Andrea Scherz was nominated as Hotelier of the Year, the Gstaad Palace also received the award as Best Holiday Hotel of the Year in the prestigious Bilanz rating. The old lady of the Gstaad hotel business is far from getting fusty. Congratulations on your prestigious nomination as Hotelier of the Year for 2019. Can you tell us more about this award?
It’s an award that is given each year by the Swiss publicist Karl Wild in partnership with the newspaper SonntagsZeitung. I received it four days after my 50th birthday so it was like a slightly belated birthday present. The Palace is one of the few family-owned five-star hotels still operating in Switzerland – of which there are only two or three – so I think we were given some credit for this. As a family-owned and family-managed luxury hotel, how are you able to compete so successfully against the other luxury hotel chains, which have very deep pockets?
I think we do it with charm. If you look around, the Palace is not the most luxurious hotel you’ve ever seen. There’s no gold, no marble. We compete with the charm of our employees and the management, in combination with the continuity that has developed over the past
GstaadLife 6 I 2019
three generations under my family’s ownership. People like to know what they will get when they go on a holiday. Returning to the Palace, they know what they get here because it has been like this for three generations. Despite having done a good deal of modernization over the years, we try to keep up with the times and strike the right balance between continuity and modernity. The Gstaad Palace has a long history – you can feel that it’s rooted, like a tree that has been growing for a hundred years. It has authentic character and charm with no artificiality. A client once said to me, “You know, Mr Scherz, the world is spinning faster and faster. We love coming back to your hotel because it’s like a solid rock in a wild sea. It’s an oasis of calm away from the craziness of the outside world.” How do you maintain this continuity for existing clients while also trying to attract new clients? Is it a difficult balancing act for you?
I think our product has a great future. Most people have had enough of the stress of the digital age, where
everyone is hyper-connected. This is an aspect of life, which is increasingly reflected in the trend towards globalization and homogeneity of many modern hotels. By contrast, our kind of product offers a certain sense of stability together with high standards and an authentic charm that, I think, is moving back into fashion. People want to return to the roots of hospitality, which is good old-fashioned inn-keeping. Don’t get me wrong, I do try to keep up with the times: the Palace was the first five-star hotel in Switzerland to offer free wifi to its guests; it was also one of the first hotels to install LED lighting to reduce energy costs. I am, however, quite selective in adopting innovations. For instance, we prefer to provide guests with keys for their rooms rather than key cards. Wherever possible, I want to encourage interaction and conversation between our staff and our guests. The traditional concierge key service provides such an opportunity. After dinner, when guests ask for the key to their room, the concierge will enquire about their day, how they enjoyed their dinner and perhaps follow up to see if the hotel can arrange anything for them for the following day like, say, a private ski instructor. This personal interaction provides feedback and a channel for
Courtesy of Gstaad Palace
me to gauge how well we are performing. If a guest tells the concierge that the dinner wasn’t good you can be sure that I will find a note to this effect on my desk the next morning. At the end of the day a hotel is about caring for people, treating them with respect and as individuals. One of the attractions of Gstaad in 1913, when the hotel was opened, was the abundance of winter snow. Nowadays the skiing season is considerably shorter and snow less certain. How are these changes affecting your business strategy?
Well, they do indeed affect us, mainly during Christmas and New Year. If there is no snow we obviously lose revenue. However, people still want to go for a Christmas holiday somewhere and many are prepared to gamble on the availability of snow. I don’t think it is that dramatic; my estimate is that, during a poor-snow period, we probably have 80 to 90% of the usual business over Christmas and New Year. Fortunately, summer is becoming more popular so this improves the situation. You can see from the Summer Highlights, our publicity for the season, that we are working very hard on our summer programme and try to make it very attractive and enticing for different ages and interests. We particularly aim to encourage families and to ensure that children feel welcome. This is a definite change from the old days when children were “to be seen and not heard”. Nowadays, hard-working parents bring their children on holiday with them and they really appreciate the programme of children’s entertainment and animation that we offer. In terms of innovation the Palace was one of the first hotels to implement dynamic rates. Like the airlines, if you book a room in the hotel today for a few days in a couple of months’ time, you will get one rate. If you do the same booking a few days later, the rate might be different.
How has the luxury tourist market for the Palace and the region changed over the past 20 or 30 years?
I think that digitalisation has had a big impact. Bookings come in with much shorter notice nowadays. When I started as a manager I could more or less tell you how the season would turn out and budget accordingly. However, these days I will only be able to provide an answer at the end of the season! Stays are usually shorter than in the past and people tend to have less time for holidays in general. In terms of the evolution of the region, we can see that the popularity of Saanenland has exploded. The Palace runs an extensive marketing campaign and attracts many new clients. Once they are here, they fall in love with the region and the next thing that happens is that they want to buy a chalet of their own. In this respect, Gstaad really is a love story. I sometimes wish I received a commission for every chalet that has been built by my clients! This purchase of private chalets has obviously had an impact on the occupancy of our rooms and particularly on our restaurants. The new chalets usually have big kitchens and many have their own private chefs. I was informed that last winter there were 104 private chefs in Gstaad over Christmas and New Year. Our former customers spend millions on building or renovating their chalets and naturally they want to invite and entertain their friends. The Gstaad Palace was an important champion of the Saanen district-heating project. What has been your experience with this and some of the other sustainable initiatives?
The district-heating scheme supplies some of the hotels in Gstaad and has definitely been a success. Initially my board was a bit nervous about outsourcing our heating. However, over the last 10 years we have only had two
or three interruptions of service and these have never been for longer than a few hours. As a precaution, however, we still maintain one oil burner for backup. There is no economic advantage to the outsourcing scheme as it costs slightly more than oil heating, but we are happy to be making a contribution to protecting the environment of the beautiful Saanenland. We also support the joint initiative where hotels in the region centralise procurement and delivery of goods in an effort to reduce the number of trucks bringing supplies to each hotel. We all pool our orders and the goods are delivered to a central depot, Schmid in Saanen. With respect to the airport, I helped in the extension of the new airport and I am still on the board. The Gstaad Airport is a great asset to the region and also for the Gstaad Palace. We have many guests who travel here in their private planes. With the addition of several new hangars, planes can now stay overnight without having to take off again to go to park in another airport. We are still working towards the financing and installation of a GPS approach and departure system so that planes can arrive and take off even despite cloud cover. Some of our largest taxpayers are located in Gstaad, specifically because it has an airport. Thank you very much for meeting with Gstaadlife. We wish you continued success in your projects and in the challenge of managing this wonderful treasure of the region. GUY GIRARDET
In issue 5/2019 the author name of the profile interview went missing by mistake. It was done and written by our regular contributor Guy Girardet. The editor
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The pictures provided by Anzeiger von Saanen reader Hans Bettler show how the small provincial road has turned into a nodal point for Saanen traffic.
GSTA AD LIVING
ONCE UPON A TIME
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n 13 July an exhibition on Krishnamurti and his teachings opened at the Museum der Landschaft Saanen, open six afternoons each week until 22 September. There are 25 large posters, all in English, German and French, and four video monitors showing extracts of talks with German and French subtitles, plus books, leaflets and even a bronze bust of K. The posters introduce the man, the Saanen Talks – and of course the teachings, via many short and a few longer quotes. There are also posters on the foundations and especially Brockwood’s schools and adult study centre. Many of the posters include photos, for example of K in Saanen, the tents where he spoke, the region where he loved to walk, and K in conversation with others. Although there were 25 years of talks in Saanen, each summer from 1961 to 1985, it seemed as though K had been forgotten there. So it was a happy surprise to learn at the opening of the exhibition that of the ap-
proximately 50 local people attending, almost half of them had been to one or more of the Talks, most commonly with their parents. Others spoke fondly of housing visitors to the region who were attending the talks, and one woman even offered us some decorated planks from Chalet Tannegg, which she lived beside when K was staying there for so many years. With thousands of people from many parts of the world coming to the talks each year, it made quite an impact on the region. Tourism wasn’t the huge business then that it is now; the roads remained small and there was still some silence in the valley. But despite that impact, visible traces of K and the Saanen talks had been diminishing to almost nothing. When people turned up seeking to learn more about that time and intensity, there was nothing to see – though perhaps something to feel. But now, at least for a while, there is something. And on the second day
of the exhibition, a couple came from Italy specifically for K. When they entered the exhibition and realised it had just opened, they were amazed. And then rather shocked to learn that it would be dismantled in just over two months’ time. Other people were very interested in the schools and we are sure that at least some of them will also visit the study centre. The advantage of this region is that is very international, people from all over the world come here. We had visitors from England, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy and even Morocco. K spoke of the eagle, whose flight leaves no trace. This is what ‘K in Saanen’ appears to be. Although perhaps we can leave the short quotes behind, scattered throughout the valley. But the question remains if Krishnamurti would approve this. FRIEDRICH GROHE AND CLAUDIA HERR
The organising committee (from left): Stephan Jaggi, president of the Museum der Landschaft Saanen; Doris Stucki, Swiss Krishnamurti Committee; Claudia Herr, K Link International; Friedrich Grohe, patron of the Krishnamurti foundations; Jürgen Brandt and Javier Gomez Rodriguez, K Link International
ARTS & CULTURE
K IN THE MUSEUM
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ARTS & CULTURE
PRISONERS OF WAR IN THE SAANENLAND AND PAYS-D’ENHAUT The British historian Dr. Susan Barton has recently published a comprehensive history of Switzerland’s role as a host to injured soldiers made prisoners of war in the first world war. Switzerland agreed to host soldiers from Belgium, France, the United Kingdom and Germany. Officers and soldiers were interned in villages and towns throughout the country, including Gstaad, Rougemont, Château-d’Oex and Rossinière. GstaadLife spoke with Susan Barton to find out more about this period of Swiss history.
What nationalities were the prisoners of war who were interned in Switzerland?
Altogether nearly 68,000 wounded or sick officers and men were interned in Switzerland, 37,515 French, 4,326 Belgians, 21,000 Germans and 4,081 British. There were never more than around 30,000 interned at once, residing in hotels devoid of guests due to the war. Germans were based in the German speaking areas of Eastern Switzerland, particularly around Davos. French and Belgians were scattered mainly throughout the French speaking areas of the western regions. When the British soldiers arrived, they were concentrated in areas popular with English speaking visitors before the war, the main centres being Château-d’Oex and Mürren but with smaller groups in other villages and towns according to employment, education and medical needs. The only place where both sides of the war came in close contact was around Lucerne, where there was specialist hospital treatment. The national groupings included many troops from the colonies of the belligerents, so included Canadians, Australians, Africans, Indians and Arabs. Host communities were selected because of their pre-war economic dependence on tourism, thanks to lobbying by the hotel industry. I understand that prisoners of war were also stationed in Gstaad. Can you expand on this regarding numbers and nationality? Despite Gstaad being a predominantly Swiss-German community,
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83 French soldiers and 21 civilians added to the wartime population. At nearby Saanen there were 42 soldiers and 49 civilians, while at Rougemont there were 98 British soldiers of all ranks. The civilian numbers were probably the families of internees who were allowed to stay with them or visit for a holiday. Many of the French and Belgians were women and children refugees from the occupied areas. Gstaad was also popular for winter sporting activities and British internees, officers’ wives and visitors would go over for toboggan racing. It was also a centre for ice hockey tournaments, especially popular with Canadian internees. The British team of mainly Canadians often beat some of the best Swiss teams, including the Rosey School of Gstaad.
A heart warming story is that of a Northamptonshire mother, grieving the loss of her son for a year, when she received a letter from him in Switzerland. Her local community raised the funds for her to go and visit him. Many stories of courtship, weddings and new babies appear in the internees’ magazines. Sport played an important role in internment life, as a pastime and as a means of rehabilitation of the injured. Football teams could travel to away matches, against other internees or Swiss teams such as Young Boys and Servette. With downhill ski pioneer Arnold Lunn as an instructor, British internees in Mürren were the first to be taught and assessed using the new ski tests of the Ski Club of Great Britain.
Can you share some of the more interesting anecdotes or narratives from this period? As the internees arrived by train in Switzerland they were overwhelmed by the welcome and kindness of the Swiss, who turned out to greet them at railway stations and showered them with flowers and gifts of chocolate, cigarettes and also useful items. What surprises most people is the relative freedom enjoyed by internees. Those who could afford to do so could rent a chalet or apartment privately and have their families join them. For poorer soldiers, charities or collections back home paid for mothers, wives or fiancées to visit for a holiday.
The book is entitled Internment in Switzerland during the First World War. Dr Barton will be talking about her book at St. Peter’s Church, Château-d’Oex on Tuesday, 10 September at 6pm. Contact of the author: email@example.com Further information about British soldiers interned in Château-d’Oex: https://interned-in-switzerland-1916.ch
The artist Alex Hank has found his own personal home in Gstaad and has also co-financed the mirror house. His public exhibition, Heimat, is open in Saanen, and represents a high-calibre selection of contemporary art and works that have characterised his life.
he word Heimat doesn’t exist in English. The term can be translated as homeland but unlike its English translation describes not only a place but also a feeling, namely that of Geborgenheit. This is another specific German term. It loosely translates as a feeling of security but encompasses more complex connotations. In 2004, this word was chosen as the second most beautiful word in the German language. So, how can we define Heimat or homeland? The Mexican artist, Alex Hank, gives his own personal response through 21 works from his modern art collection: “The exhibition has this title because I’ve found my home in Gstaad.” The exhibition is housed at the Tarmak 22 Gallery, a place for art and culture in Saanen.
Tarmak 22 – a cultural space
The gallery can be found in the Gstaad Airport hangar and was launched just two years ago by Antonia Crespi. She saw great potential in the building and its unique surroundings. This exhibition is the third since the cultural space opened in 2018. A brief exhibition by Hauser & Wirth took place in the first year, followed by the official opening in 2019 with works by Andreas Gursky, well known for his photography in large format.
The exhibition Heimat is open until 15 November 2019 at Galerie Tarmak 22 at Gstaad Airport, Saanen. Opening hours and further details: www.tarmak22.com
Alex Hank and curator Ana Sokoloff in front of the artist’s favourite image: The Ballad of Max Jensen by Matthey Barney from 1999
ARTS & CULTURE
“GSTAAD IS MY HOMELAND” “Gstaad is my home”
Born in 1973 in Mexico, Hank has made a name for himself this century with his own artwork and has exhibited all over the world. As a teenager, he attended the Institut Le Rosey, but only for a term as he then went on to study in Paris and Mexico. Apparently, Gstaad left a lasting impression on him. For the last year and a half, the artist has lived in Gstaad and has co-financed the mirror house Mirage Gstaad. “Gstaad is my home,” Hank explained. “When I arrived here as a foreigner, I had one or two contacts, but people openly included and accepted me for who I am.” Works from 1910 to 2019
“The works have a strong personal meaning for Alex and are all related to the search for identity,” explains the curator of the exhibition, Ana Sokoloff, from the New York art agency Sokoloff and Associates. Visitors see their own reflection upon entering the gallery when they’re presented with their mirror image staring back at them from a cuboid standing two and a half metres tall. This is one of two works by the artist John McCracken. Sokoloff has skilfully played with light, objects and space for the exhibition. The exhibition is an intimate selection of works that invite contemplation and individual interpretation through their abstract nature. They deal with themes of personal identity and possibly the concept of home for individuals. Even without this context, the works are worth seeing as they unite the work of revolutionary artists from this and the last century. BASED ON AVS/SARA TRAILOVIC TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
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What initially started off as a commission to photograph the Simmental cow, Fränzi, developed into a tribute to a Swiss icon. It took Marco Felix four years to stage and photograph 12 different breeds of cattle found in Switzerland. The resulting portraits are currently on show at the Heimatwerk in Saanen until 14 September.
s a photographer, Marco Felix, has worked both locally and internationally. He’s been known for climbing the highest mountains just to get the perfect shot. In the process, he has photographed some of the most beautiful places in the world. His current exhibition in the Glasbodenraum or glass floored room of Saanen’s Heimatwerk pays homage to a very different kind of subject: the cow. Undoubtedly a Swiss icon, de-
picted on everything from postcards, to mugs, napkins, and paintings, Felix’s exhibition dispels any doubt lingering over the cow’s star power by placing her front and centre in his portrait images. Gone are the bucolic surroundings that typically surround images of Switzerland’s national mascot. Felix’s photographs focus purely on his subjects, bringing their majesty and beauty to the fore. He photographed them in a stu-
Left: It all began with her, the Simmental Fränzi Above: Raetisch Grauvieh Bella Right: Salers Finette Right above: Behind the scenes of a photo shooting
ARTS & CULTURE
“COW PORTRAITS – IC
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ON OR JUST CATTLE?” dio-like setting, much like the way portrait photographs of people are typically taken. Felix’s personal ties to the Saanenland are deep-rooted, and so it makes sense for his work to be presented here, where cows play such a significant role in local life. He spent most of his youth in Saanen. After graduating from school, he studied tourism. This gave him the opportunity to spend the summer months abroad, where he discovered the world as a tour guide and cap-
Felix has a studio close to Bern in the Unterland, and although he continues to pursue his passion for outdoor photography, since the birth of his son he is only active across Switzerland – at least temporarily. “It’s fulfilling and I feel honoured and grateful to have been given the opportunity to exhibit my work in Saanen. Honestly, in the beginning of this project I was hoping I could display one or two pictures in one of the galleries in Gstaad. But I’m so glad this didn’t happen and I got the chance to exhibit my whole project in the most beautiful and special showroom I could ask for. The Heimatwerk’s Glasbodenraum and the picturesque village of Saanen, my hometown, are the perfect match for my work,” says Felix. ANNE CHRISTINE KEMPTON
tured unique people and moments in his photographs. During the winter months he worked as a snowboard instructor in the Saanenland. It soon became clear to him that his career could not lie in an office. Upon his definitive return to Switzerland, he studied photography in Zurich and returned to the Saanenland often for inspiration.
Although the artist initially saw himself more as an outdoor photographer, where lighting is dictated by nature, his interest in the technical aspects, artistic possibilities, and advantages of a photo studio increased during his studies. His client list is long and ranges from companies in the Saanenland, to Edelweiss Airlines.
The artist will be present at the exhibition on 31 August at the Heimatwerk in Saanen. His work can be viewed and purchased via his website: www.maf-photography.ch
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Courtesy of Gstaad Menuhin Festival
ARTS & CULTURE ???
MUSIC OPENS PEOPLE’S HEARTS The charitable partnership between the Gstaad Menuhin Festival and SOS Children’s Villages Switzerland (SOS-Kinderdorf Schweiz).
hildren who grow up in poverty often don’t have the opportunity to change their situation or develop their talents. The organisation SOS Children’s Villages helps these very children in need to shape their own futures. SOS Children’s Villages is a private, non-political and non-denominational child welfare organisation. For 70 years, SOS Children’s Villages has been committed to building sustainable and future-oriented social structures for children and families in need. SOS Children’s Villages operates within the framework of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and is run worldwide. The SOS Children’s Villages Switzerland Foundation finances
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SOS Children’s Villages and related programmes around the world, but doesn’t run any facilities in Switzerland as such. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the death of Yehudi Menuhin, the festival organisation has decided to embark upon a humanitarian partnership with the SOS Children’s Villages Switzerland Foundation, the aim being to raise awareness of the deep concerns of the humanist and founder of the festival. Using music as a medium, the event aims to draw attention to the plight and suffering of children. SOS Children’s Villages is officially listed as a humanitarian partner in all of the festival’s communication material and in terms of the media. In addition, SOS Children’s
Villages will be present during the entire festival, running an information stand in the Gstaad festival tent. The organisers hope to trigger many meetings and discussions during the concerts and events. The crowning glory will be a charity gala following the festival. This will take place on Saturday 7 September. After a concert by the flutist Maurice Steger in the Lauenen church, a formal charity dinner will be held at the Grand Hotel Park. BASED ON AVS TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
Information and registration for the charity gala takes place at www.sos-kinderdorf.ch/gala
CELEBRATES THE NIGHT Fazil Say is undoubtedly one of the world’s most extraordinary pianists. A fact he effortlessly displayed as he returned to the Menuhin Festival for a third time to perform a programme celebrating shades and moods of night at the church in Saanen.
n 1986, the composer Aribert Reimann, was touring Turkey. After a visit to Ankara’s conservatory, Reimann told the American pianist David Levine: “You absolutely must hear him, this boy plays like a devil.” The boy he was talking about was Fazil Say. And yet, there was nothing devilish about the programme Say chose to perform at the church in Saanen as part of Gstaad’s renown Menuhin Festival. At least on paper. The Clair de Lune programme promised to explore the shades and moods of night via celebrated pieces by Chopin, Debussy, and Beethoven. In itself a promising line-up. But Say’s performance went beyond simply delivering.
As he worked his way through the programme, Say’s musical genius came increasingly to the fore. He began with a calm and airy rendition of three of Frédéric Chopin’s Nocturnes. Say relished every note and at times seemed almost surprised by the beauty of the music he produced. Next came an eclectic and contrasting selection of short pieces by Claude Debussy. Beginning with the much loved Clair de Lune from Suite Bergamasque followed by six pieces from his Prélude sequence, including the playful Minstrels and the elegant and sprightly Danseuses de Delphes. Say bathed in the pleasure of playing and at times appeared to be conducting himself with energetic hand
ARTS & CULTURE
PIANIST FAZIL SAY
gestures and loud hums punctuating the music. The first half of the concert felt contemplative, suggesting the stillness of nightfall, and the gentle rise of the moon. There were few hints of the deluge that Say would unleash after the intermission. Playing Ludwig van Beethoven’s lengthier piano sonatas Moonlight (Quasi una fantasia No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op.27, Nr.2) and Apassionata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57, Say expressed the full spectrum of vivid emotions that might come to pass as night-time unfolds. And just when the storm seemed to have passed and Say’s crescendo appeared to have peaked, the audience was granted two truly magnificent encores. The first, an intriguing improvisation where Say plucked piano strings with one hand while playing the keys with the other, displaying his immense creative talent. The second, a terrific interpretation of Gershwin’s Summertime, which had Say dancing at the piano and the audience completely enraptured. The standing ovation was absolutely deserved, it was the perfect end to a summer night out at the Menuhin Festival. For those of you who would like to enjoy Fazil Say’s most recent Menuhin Festival performance from the comfort of your our screen, register under gstaaddigitalfestival.ch to replay the concert. Your free Gstaad Digital Festival registration will also grant you exclusive access to recordings of other Festival concerts as well as back-stage clips. ANNE CHRISTINE KEMPTON
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ARTS & CULTURE
A TWENTIETH BIRTHDAY GIFT
A brilliant performance: the upand-coming French pianist, Jérémie Moreau
Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad met at the Gstaad Palace for its annual general meeting, with English tea served and
The association Les Amis des
The artistic director of the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad, Renaud Capuçon, and the managing director and co-founder, Ombretta Ravessoud
then a concert by the young pianist Jérémie Moreau, who delivered an impressive sample of his skills.
Martha Argerich is one of the greatest pianists in the world,” enthused Renaud Capuçon, artistic director of the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad and a renowned violinist. This is a gift for the music festival, which will celebrate its twentieth birthday in 2020. The 78-year-old pianist from Argentina, who according to Capuçon plays with the ease of an eighteen-yearold, is one of the stars of the event. Other highlights include the Orchestre du XVIIIème siècle, with the Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne under the direction of Daniel Reuss and the pianist, Bertrand Chamayou, just 20 years of age. The opening concert features works by Beethoven, performed by the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and conducted by the Swiss conductor, Elena Schwarz. The featured instrument of the anniversary concert is the piano, which is obvious when browsing through the rich programme. In total, there will be
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18 concerts and a children’s musical, all taking place between 31 January and 8 February in the churches of Saanen, Rougemont and Gstaad.
residence, Camille Pépin and the Thierry Scherz and André Hoffmann prizes will then be awarded. Tasting and other delicacies
“Coups de coeur”
Four concerts will take place in the Rougemont church, which Capuçon calls his favourites, his “coups de coeur”. Among these will be a new matinee concert with music by Johann Sebastian Bach. In the future, works by Bach will become a regular morning event. Young talent
In addition to the commitment of top-class musicians, the organisers of the Sommets Musicaux place great importance on promoting young musical talent. Over the course of eight concerts in the Gstaad chapel, young pianists will prove their skills under their mentor Nicholas Angelich. They will each play a piece by the award-winning young composer in
Following the Annual General Meeting, the company met for a traditional English tea on the terrace of the Gstaad Palace and enjoyed delicious tartlets and pastries with wild berries. Back in the Salle Baccarat, pianist Jérémie Moreau, a young French talent who will also be playing at the Sommets Musicaux in the Gstaad chapel, gave an impressive sample of his skills. With Sonata No. 62 by Joseph Haydn and Trois Pièces Pour Piano by Franz Schubert, he moved the audience and inspired dreams. His piano recital culminated in a virtuoso finale of Frédéric Chopin’s Andante Spianato et Grande Polonaise Brillante. BASED ON AVS/MARTIN GURTNER-DUPERREX TRANSLATED BY JUSTINE HEWSON
The 2019 edition of the 24 Hours of Spa marks the shortest completed distance of all times with 363
Track conditions: as wet as can be
laps, compared to the record of 479 laps in 2003. the race was stopped from 5:42am until 11.30am due to unusually high rainfall.
he treacherous conditions did not fail at the infamous Spa circuit, surrounded by its beautiful forest. It all started with the Bronze test on Tuesday afternoon, under a blazing sun and 33C, which was to be the coolest day of the week. We had two new drivers that had to adjust to the car, so in 3 hours I only got to drive five laps. We had Wednesday partially off, with driver parade, driver briefing and driver autograph session. Temperature: 35C. Thursday: 37C. Free practice went to plan, but some red flags did not allow me to drive. It was followed by the qualifying. Unfortunately, our driver in Q1 (first qualifying) had an off at the exit of corner 13 and damaged the car. This meant no qualifying laps for the rest of us and starting the race last. This was followed by night practice. With the car repaired we were required to each complete 2 laps. Friday: day off – 38C.
The weather completely changed on Saturday just before the start. The race started under heavy rainfall and with the safety car. After three laps the safety car pitted and the race was on. Within the next 3 hours we had 3 full course yellows and 3 safety cars. Cars were spinning left and right with changing conditions – dry then rain, then rain again. We had lost some positions due to a co-driver’s spin and hood repair. We lost some more time as the hood had to be repaired for a second time. Then, during the night another co-driver lost the car in Blanchimont and hit the rear. The car was damaged but drivable without repair. The treacherous conditions took their toll at 5.42am on Sunday morning, when the race director simply stopped the race. It had been agreed by all team principles. A new meeting took place at 10:30am and the teams agreed that racing could re-
sume as the track was dry again. At this point we were still in the race, but far behind. The conditions kept on changing. Until the end cars spun and crashed. We did our best going around without taking any risk. Two full course yellows and a safety car were engaged 30 minutes before the end. At 4.30pm the checkered flag came out and we crossed it! Five BMWs started the race. Only 2 finished. This was my 6th time at the Spa 24 hours and I finally finished! KARIM OJJEH
Karim Ojjeh (white t-shirt) with the whole racing team
Courtesy of Karim Ojjeh
This negative record is not surprising, given that
Courtesy of Karim Ojjeh
SPORTS & LEISURE
RAIN IN SPA
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Since 2006, the Gstaad Yacht Club (GYC) has organised an annual classic car rally in collaboration with the Gstaad Automobile Club (GAC). The rally combines car drive that highlights some of the most beautiful roads in Switzerland with remote-controlled model boat sailing.
n Friday evening, all the pilots and co-pilots met at the GAC for the traditional get-together and registration before driving to the Lac Rétaud. All participants had to test their knowledge about car parts when the evening set down. The wind and weather conditions on the lake allowed for one round of model boat sailing and the dinner party to be hosted outside on the terrace of the fabulously renovated mountain restaurant. The next morning a splash of rain did not hinder any of the participants. After coffee and croissants in the GYC all 26 cars were lined up for the start in front of Le Grand Bellevue. The participants started their engines and headed, following the road book and a picture competition, through magnificent small roads of the Fribourg landscape towards their first stop at the Schloss Münchenwiler, a former Cluniac monastery.
Coffee break in Schloss Münchenwiler Courtesy of GYC
The 26 cars were then challenged all the way through the Jura up to the heights of the Col du Chasseral. Crossing the four cantons of Bern, Vaud, Fribourg and Neuchâtel, the cars were making their way back down to Scheunenberg, in the municipality of Wengi. They were welcomed for an aperitif in the beautiful gardens with a Sknife atelier. Chef Kurt Mösching – originally from Schönried, served a magnificent lunch at the restaurant Sonne. In the afternoon, the cars followed the route back through the landscape of the Bernese Seeland and Oberland back to Gstaad. The winner of the 13th edition of the Rally & Yachting with a 1979 Sir Jackie Stewart
Courtesy of GYC
SPORTS & LEISURE
13TH GYC RALLY & YACHTING
Morgan 8+ was followed by a 1970 Rolls Royce Corniche and a Bentley S3 from 1963. In the evening, everybody got together for the prize giving dinner at the GYC Clubhouse, where British racing legend and Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year of 1973 Sir Jackie Stewart gave an entertaining and emotional presentation. Born in 1939, Sir Jackie was involved with cars from an early age. Leaving school at 15, (his dyslexia undiagnosed until much later), he found his personal voice in sport, first as an Olympic-class shot, then in motor racing. Sir Jackie’s motor racing career took off internationally in 1965 when he scored the first of his 27 Grand Prix Championship victories at Monza. During his Formula One career he was crowned World Champion three times (1969, 1971 and 1973) and achieved a total of 27 victories, out of 99 races. Amongst his greatest achievements off the track were tremendous improvements in motor racing’s safety. Sir Jackie also founded the charity organisation Race Against Dementia, which he created in honour of his wife’s battle against this disorder.
GSTAAD YACHT CLUB
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Graff is known for exceptional diamonds and outstanding jewellery. With the Every Day Diamonds collection Graff created diamond jewellery that can be worn any time, anywhere. The diamonds are distilled into every day jewels to be layered, mixed and matched.
Spiralling into infinity
Graff Spiral is one of the six Every Day Diamonds collections. The Spiral jewels feature seemingly everlasting loops of pavé diamonds that swirl into infinity. The light twist comes with an elegant nonchalance. It celebrates modernity and eternity with limitless energy. Defying boundaries, the seamless stream of diamonds whirls endlessly into itself, creating contemporary curves and a dynamic, twisting jewel that seduces from all angles. Spiral jewels, which come in rose, white and yellow gold, can be worn alone or be stacked, mixed and matched to suit your own style and the mood of the day. Limitless design
The design is minimalist, sleek and ingenious. Symbolising eternal love, the Spiral case is transfixing – each gleaming curve set with hand-selected diamonds can be traced until it seamlessly disappears back into itself. Crafted in rose
Courtesy of Graff
gold, white gold and yellow gold set with yellow diamonds, the contemporary curves of the Spiral collection add a playful twist to rings, pendants, earrings, bracelets and timepieces. Rings with a twist
Sleek gold undulates into itself in the sculptural rings with innate elegance. The swirls are meticulously set with pavé diamonds. Scintillating stacks
Bangles feature a half-set design, offering a tactile combination of pavé diamonds and sculpted rose or white gold. Effortless and striking when worn alone, and impactful when multiple Spirals are combined. Endlessly enchanting time
The collection timepiece features a mother of pearl dial, lit up by the collection’s signature swirls. The scintillating, time-telling gem is the result of a collaboration between the London design team and Swiss watchmakers.
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Mankind has always invoked supernatural forces to protect its dwellings, utilising first objects, images and symbols, and later incantations as wards. Germanic tribes attached skulls of slain animals to door openings or house gables for defense and protection against malicious powers. The word 'blessing' is thought to derive from the Anglo-Saxon blōd (blood), referring to the ancient Germanic pagan practice of making places holy or sacred by marking them with blood.
n western Europe, the concept of blessing a house goes back to the Gelasian Sacramentary of c. 750 AD, the second oldest Christian liturgy that, among other things, instructs clerics in the proper benediction to give when someone moved into a new house. Since at least the 16th century, houses in the Saanenland have born inscriptions (Hausinschriften) beseeching the Lord’s protection on the home and its inhabitants. According to Robert Marti-Wehren, in his 1924 journal article Hausinschriften aus Saanen, the earliest inscriptions found in the Saanenland were carved and painted in upper-case (Majuskeln) Roman letters, in both Latin and German, from 1589 to 1687, and in a blackletter script (Fraktur), from 1627 to 1668. After 1669, most of the inscriptions were simply painted. Frequently, the styles on individual houses were mixed, with some carved and some painted lines, utilising both Roman and Fraktur scripts, and occasionally mixing Latin, German, and even French text. Most of the Hausinschriften were religious in tone, but some also included sayings from local poets or a meaningful statement from the owner. Hausinschriften generally included the date, and the names of the master builder, the owner (and often his wife), and the master craftsman or carpenter. They were carved on ground level and painted with handmilled pigments mixed with a variety of oils. New wood beams had inscriptions painted with a mixture
GstaadLife 6 I 2019
of pine soot and linseed oil so the words could be easily read. Older wood facades, which had turned almost black with sun exposure, were generally repainted in a blend of lead and zinc white. Needless to say, the carved inscriptions had the greatest longevity, and are generally the most easily restored today. Many painted inscriptions have been rendered illegible over time by the sun. The house inscriptions were fabricated by specialist artisans who, in earlier centuries, had to travel up to the Saanenland from Thun or Bern, presumably on muleback. Such outreach was necessary due to the lack of local craftsmen with the necessary skills. The specialists weren’t paid for their work – they received room and board for the weeks that they were required.
BLESSINGS UPON YOUR HOUSE
Fluency in writing wasn’t always a requirement – the Hausinschriften could be rendered by functionally literate artisans who gained experience through repetition. This, however, could lead to mismeasurements of the inscriptions on beams. Occasionally, if the craftsman ran out of room, the text would get cramped, be made smaller, or continue on the side of a roof corbel or eave. Hausinschriften are a window into the living past, and can give insight into the lives of earlier generations. Building a house was, and is, a monumental undertaking. Read the words, ponder the nuances, and immerse yourself in what these houses meant to the Saanenland’s forebears. ALEX BERTEA
hen I was young, cross-country running was the only sport in which I developed any interest or ability. To use the word ‘ability’ may be “bigging it up” (as my youngest son would say), but I never seemed to mind the multi-mile slog up hill and down dale, often through muddy bogs that could suck off your trainers if you put a foot wrong. But then I left school and all sporting activity came to an abrupt halt until, I am ashamed to relate, two years ago.
say I was grateful for the enforced rest day before I tackled the second session. From the outset I was determined to get fit, but I knew it was going to be far from easy. Help came from an unexpected quarter: the wonderful Saanenland landscape. I found that if I treated each running/ walking session as an opportunity to explore my surroundings, I forgot about discomfort or muscle pain. Instead I learned to see the region
tle hilly at first, but meanders across a number of bridges and is just so peaceful. If you’re after a really short circuit, take the path behind the Gstaad sports centre, hook right after crossing the bridge and follow the trail. The first right brings you back into Gstaad or continue straight and you’ll end up in Saanen. For those seeking a longer route, head towards Saanen, take the river path alongside the airAnna's trusty running shoes
I remember the day well. We had driven from Gstaad over the Col du Pillon down to Les Diablerets, then up and over the Col de la Croix to Villars. This latter pass is only open during the summer months, but offers spectacular views and is highly recommended. At some point over lunch my husband and I broached the topic of fitness. Perhaps it was the glass of Fendant talking, but by the end of our meal I had stated that, given sufficient training, I would be able to complete the steep route from Villars home to Gstaad in one go. We didn’t exactly make a bet, but the gauntlet had been well and truly laid down. New eyes
I was determined to succeed and decided to follow a training programme known as Couch-to-5K (C25K). It claims to take any moderately healthy person, even the supremely unfit as I then was, from no exercise to running for 30 minutes without stopping in just nine weeks. The first session involved 60 seconds of running, followed by 90 seconds of walking, repeated for a total of 20 minutes. I managed it, but let’s just
with new eyes, despite having lived here for over thirteen years. The C25K programme is now a distant memory, but thanks to my new passion (yes, passion!) for running, I have discovered scores of beauty spots just footsteps from my front door. Whether you are hugely into exercise or just toying with the idea of getting fit, step outside and prepare to be amazed. You can pick up maps at any of the local tourist information centres, but here are some suggestions from me. My current favourite route is the riverside path from Gstaad that runs alongside Lauenenstrasse. It’s a lit-
port and up through the forest to Rougemont. Follow the meandering path that starts behind Rougemont church all the way to Château-d’Oex. If you don’t fancy running back to Gstaad you can grab a bus, train or ask a friend to come and collect you! New challenges?
Since that first 60 second running session two years ago I’ve graduated to much longer distances and have even competed in various races. It’s invigorating to plan a new route and go exploring but, no, I haven’t yet completed the Villars to Gstaad run. It’s enough to know I have the ability should I ever wish to give it a go, but there’s a time for running and a time for eating. And I would never pass up the offer of lunch.
GstaadLife 6 I 2019
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