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Issue 1 | 25 January 2019 CHF 3.50

LIKE A PHOENIX? New plans for the Rellerli

CLIMATE CHANGE It also affects the Saanenland

AIAR CULTURE = EDUCATION? Mehran Azmoudeh explains why

Le Rosey is a school for life Marie-Noëlle Gudin knows the answer

WHO’D HAVE THOUGHT? 217 people took a last ride with the Rellerli cable car on 6 January. It was a foggy day, which did not reward visitors with the famous panorama. It did, however, reflect the feelings of many who came to bid the Rellerli farewell. Please bear with me when I am stretching it a bit with the weather metaphor: similar to the few blue patches of sky that were visible here and there that day, a recent press release lifted the fog over the future of the mountain a little. Some have even spotted a silver lining. It is clear now that the Rellerli won't vanish from the touristic map. Activities and offers will maybe attract a different crowd than before but the Rellerli will be reborn. Even an option for a new, reduced cable car is on the table. The best part of it is definitely the fact that the press release was issued jointly by Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus, the municipality of Saanen, Mountain View AG, and the association Friends of the Rellerli. With everybody pulling on the same end of the rope, reviving the Rellerli will be much easier. Best regards,

Markus Iseli, Publishing Director

CONTENTS LOCAL NEWS New plans for the Rellerli


Numerous rescue missions


Nighttime availability of a rescue helicopter in Saanen


Construction manager Thomas Frutschi left


Culinary Gold


PROFILE The force behind the Rosey weekend


GSTAAD LIVING Water levels under observation


A year of extreme weather


The litter louts are out there again


Once upon a time



Wildlife in Gstaad

SPORTS & LEISURE The women’s tennis has moved from Gstaad


Winter sports series: horn sledge racing


The next chapter for the Gstaad Yacht Club


LIFESTYLE Jewellers in Gstaad


When are we, again?


Baby in Gstaad



Expat adventures Cover Photo: Courtesy of Mehran Azmoudeh GstaadLife, Anzeiger von Saanen, Kirchstrasse 6, P.O. Box 201, 3780 Gstaad, Phone: 033 748 88 74, Fax: 033 748 88 84, Management Board and Publisher: Frank Müller, Publishing Director & Editor in Chief: Markus Iseli, Contributors: Alex Bertea, Anna Charles, Guy Girardet, Justine Hewson, Isobel Hyde Layout: Aline Brawand, Michael Matti, Epu Shaha Advertising: Eliane Behrend,, 033 748 88 71 Subscriptions: Esther Brand-de Groot,, 033 748 88 74 "AvS" after the author of an article indicates the the text is based on material from the Anzeiger von Saanen. Contact the editor for more information.

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Sunday 6 January marked the end of an era: the Rellerli cable car went on its last journey and the Berghaus closed. New plans now lie ahead to make the mountain a good place for tourists to visit – with or without a cable car.


new lease of life for tourism on the Rellerli” – this is the slogan used by Gstaad Saanenland Tourism (GST), the municipality of Saanen, Mountain View AG and the association Friends of the Rellerli in their joint press release. Closing the gondola lift to the Rellerli has led to controversial discussions in the municipality, according to the statement. “However, all parties now seem to agree on finding a new purpose for this beautiful mountain with a focus on tourism.” The story began in 2015, when several residents of the municipality of Saanen were approached for help to protect the company Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad AG (BDG) from financial collapse. “Various people who were approached, including Ernesto Bertarelli, offered considerable financial support to secure the future of the BDG. This was designed to preserve the important mountain railway network infrastructure and to pave the way for the region’s tourist attractions in the future.” This was the commitment agreed to by the municipality of Saanen, the BDG and independent consultants as part of an extended restructuring plan. The plan was approved by the voting public in 2015. However, some people regretted the closure of the mountain railway on the Rellerli and founded the association Friends of the Rellerli to work on finding alternative solutions. A mountain for everyone in all seasons

The GST, the BDG, the municipality and Mountain View have been in talks for months, according to GST


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director Sébastien Epiney and mayor Toni von Grünigen. For the last few weeks, the Friends of the Rellerli have also been involved. Meanwhile, all parties have been working together and initial talks with landowners are scheduled. “We now need to discuss the first steps towards developing the Rellerli as a mountain for everyone in all seasons by taking an innovative and modern approach,” the statement said. The aim now is to concentrate on a diverse range of sports that both residents and visitors to Gstaad now expect. A range of activities

“Before we present a detailed project, we’ll be in touch with the landowners in the near future to assess the opportunities for development and work towards a common approach to implementing the tourism project,” said David Matti, GST president. It was essential that all parties involved were on board before the final decisions could be made. The long-term plans for the next few years are to develop a truly attractive range of activities for the Rellerli that will suit all mountain lovers. Plans include a panoramic hiking trail that provides safe, well-signposted and convenient access to the entire mountain. Some of the features of the plans include a drinks facility in a small mounAn image of the past, but the mountain nevertheless has a touristic future.

Jenny Sterchi



tain hut open to the public, an improved picnic area and well-maintained hiking and mountain biking trails. “Of course, all of this depends on getting the necessary permits and consulting the landowners who are involved,” says Matti. Plans for a panoramic trail include installing information points so that hikers can better understand and appreciate their surroundings. “We believe that this will make the Rellerli a new tourist hotspot and meeting place.”

No prepared ski slopes

There won’t be a ski facility on the Rellerli in the usual sense, says association president Heinz Welten. “We have enough mountains for people to ski on.” If there’s enough natural snow, winter sports can still take place: for example, snowshoeing, ski touring, free-riding and possibly also sledging. It’s still too early to talk about the construction and operating costs, according to Welten.

Various activities are planned for the Rellerli with its extremely spectacular panorama – with or without a new cable car, added Sébastien Epiney. “The GST and BDG are now focusing on activities,” says Epiney. The concept – initially on paper – includes, for example, green season hiking routes and The municipality will winter snowshoe trails and ski — David Matti, GST president go through the usual tours for various abilities. Enticplanning procedures ing activities are also planned for to look at an applicae-bikers. “But first, talks with over 60 landowners must take place. When tion for a new cable car, just like any they give their consent, the approval procedure will then follow and a step other approval procedure, says von by step implementation of each project.” Grünigen. The association hasn’t approached the community with any request for financial support. The Saanen municipality is on board Mayor von Grünigen confirms that the municipality supports Ernesto Bertarelli’s efforts to develop a forward-looking solution for the Rellerli in partnership Ernesto Bertarelli supports the with the GST and the Friends of the Rellerli. The municipality will actively project participate in talks. “Together, we can find a sustainable solution for using this “I have always supported innovative beautiful mountain,” according to von Grünigen. The projects that can add value to the upcoming talks with the landowners will be led by sustainable development of tourism the municipality and any necessary planning mea- and the economy as a whole in the sures will be implemented for this new use. “We’re Saanenland, a place that’s very dear now on the right path. In the future, the Rellerli will to my heart,” said Ernesto Bertarelli, host a good range of excursion opportunities and who has supported the BDG’s process continue to make a valuable contribution to the tour- as a long-standing resident of the ist activities of this destination,” says von Grünigen. Saanen municipality. The closure of today’s outdated railways offers the opportunity to envisage widespread A new cable car to the Hugeligrat? Heinz Welten, president of the association Friends of use of the Rellerli mountain, making the Rellerli, has confirmed that constructive discus- it accessible, safe and enjoyable for sions are underway between all those involved. In more mountain lovers throughout addition to the tourism project planned by the GST the year, Bertarelli states. “A new and the private support, the association is looking variety of sports should be offered. into the possibility of building a new, modern cable This will meet the growing need for car. This would provide full access from Schönried different ways to enjoy nature in this to the summit of the Hugeligrat, with state-of-the-art extraordinary region. In addition, I technology. On the one hand, since the new cable car would be happy to support a new cawould have a limited capacity, it wouldn’t compete ble car from Schönried to the Hugeliwith the BDG operation, but on the other hand, it grat if the population and the authorwill complement the GST project. The railway would ities of this beautiful region support be privately financed and operated. The association and endorse such a project.” states: “The goal is that the entire construction and operating costs would be borne by private parties. JUSTINE HEWSON / AVS So, there won’t be any burden on the general public or the municipality.”

“We believe that this will make the Rellerli a new tourist hotspot and meeting place.”

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NUMEROUS RESCUE MISSIONS Nice weather and occasionally icy slopes have led to many ski accidents over the holidays. Air-Glaciers and Rega flew out on numerous missions over the Christmas and New Year periods.


he holidays and the beautiful weather attracted many people to the great outdoors and the ski slopes. However, this has also lead to many accidents. Between Christmas and 2 January, the Rega went out to attend approximately 350 casualties, which averages more than 40 a day. From 20-30 December, the Air-Glaciers carried out a total of 145 rescue missions, with 24 deployed from the Lauterbrunnen base and 19 from the Saanen base. From 31 December to 2 January, another 65 missions took place, 14 of them in the Bernese Oberland and 8 from the Saanen base. On days when the weather was fine, Rega was deployed between 50 and 70 times. Only once was an avalanche the reason for a rescue operation. On all other call-outs, the Rega went out to help injured winter athletes, who suffered mainly shoulder and back injuries, fractures and concussion. A girl has died after a skiing accident

On 27 December, there was a particularly tragic incident at Lenk. A four-year-old girl died after a skiing accident, according to reports from the Bern Cantonal Police. Initial reports state that there was a collision between a skier and a girl from the canton of Bern. The girl was skiing with her family in the area above the Metsch middle station. The child was seriously injured. After an immediate rescue operation, she was flown by an Air-Glaciers helicopter to the hospital. She sadly died there on Friday 28 December late in the evening. The Bern Cantonal Police, overseen by the Regional Public Prosecutor’s Office, have begun investigations into the accident. JUSTINE HEWSON / AVS


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TIPS FOR PREVENTING ACCIDENTS Every year, around 76,000 people are injured in Swiss ski resorts. In order to prevent accidents, there’s a continuous drive to improve equipment safety and safety on the slopes. In addition, winter sports enthusiasts can do a lot to help themselves when it comes to reducing the risk of injury. According to a press release issued by the Advisory Centre for Accident Prevention (the bfu), in over half of all skiing accidents, people suffer injuries to their legs. “Many winter sports enthusiasts lack strength, endurance and coordination. However, these are critical because skiing and snowboarding involve complex movements,” according to bfu snow sports expert Benedikt Heer. He recommends specific preparation training: “Before the season begins, it’s important to strengthen the torso and leg muscles, as well as practicing to improve your balance.” Having the right equipment also reduces the risk. “Before the start of every season, ski bindings should be adjusted in a specialist shop and checked by a binding adjustment test device,” says bfu expert Heer. Bindings that have been properly adjusted help to prevent injury to the lower legs and ankles.

A pilot scheme has been running since 15 December 2018 from the Saanen airfield, offering a 24-hour rescue helicopter. This service will benefit the entire population of the region. It’s been set up thanks to the combined efforts of Rega, Air-Glaciers, Gstaad Airport, the municipality of Saanen and a group of private individuals.


s announced by the municipality of Saanen, Air-Glaciers and Rega in a joint statement, from 15 December 2018 to around 22 April 2019, a Rega rescue helicopter will be on standby on the Saanen airfield at night with a fully operational crew. This will benefit the entire population of the region. “The pilot trial for the 2018/19 winter season will show us whether or not this model is sustainable. It’s supported by a group of individuals, the two air rescue organisations, the municipality and the airport,” the statement said. During the day, Air-Glaciers will continue their service with a helicopter on the Saanen airfield. In addition, a Rega helicopter is on night-time standby to ensure a 24-hour rescue service for the duration of the pilot project. Night time deployment will only take place for rescue missions or urgent transfer flights from hospital to hospital, according to the announcement. The task force is limiting flights to A Rega helicopter landing in the evening hours in Saanen

Courtesy of Rega



those that are absolutely essential. There are no plans for training flights or similar activities. Improving medical care

The Saanen rescue helicopter is an additional means of deployment and will improve night time medical cover from the air for the population of the entire region. “The emergency call centre 144 and Rega’s operations centre will deploy the rescue helicopter when urgent air ambulance medical assistance is needed.” As before, the Rega operates from the Zweisimmen deployment base during the daytime. A private initiative

The pilot project stems from an initiative by the group Private Supporters for Trauma Emergency First Response in the Saanenland. This group consists of individual families who are residents in the municipality of Saanen. These people are worried about the emergency medical care in the region, writes the authority in a public statement. “The Simmental-Saanenland hospital facilities have been unstable over the last few years and plagued by political differences. Fortunately, in recent months, the Health and Welfare Directorate of the Canton of Bern (GEF) has managed the situation, using an approach that enjoys broad political support. The individual supporting families have noted the solutions announced to the public and have invested much goodwill and support in the plans.” They consider their project as a step into the same direction and are looking to “ensure adequate emergency medical care is provided in the Saanenland as from this winter season.”

A package of measures

Providing helicopter rescue during the high season is just one of several measures to be implemented. In addition, an emergency rescue vehicle will be available around the clock for rapid rescue operations, as well as 30 additional defibrillators to provide as much emergency cover as possible to support the first responders. The municipality of Saanen has taken over one third of the costs

The purchase and operating costs of the project comes to around CHF 919,690 a year. Two-thirds of the total costs will initially be paid by the private supporters group. This means they’ll pay the full set-up costs of CHF 300,000  for the emergency vehicle and defibrillators. However, these private initiatives are also dependent on a contribution from the public sector, according to the local council. The municipality of Saanen wants to support the project, initially injecting CHF 300,000 for the year. “The plans fit in well with the direction that the GEF is heading in. They’ve been agreed with Spital STS AG, as well as with project managers from Simmental Saanenland Healthcare,” the authorities write. Winter ambulance continues to run

The additional ambulance used by Air-Glaciers during the winter season is unaffected by this provisional one-season pilot project. As in previous years, it will provide emergency medical care at night. JUSTINE HEWSON / AVS

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here’s hardly a more romantic setting than our alpine fairytale castle to create special memories and to let your beloved know just how much they mean to you. Join us for a very special Valentine’s Day celebration in a timeless elegant setting. What better way to celebrate your love? Prepare for an unforgettable event, complete with sophisticated cocktails and a refined dinner. As a special treat for the most elegant couple, the ladies can win a timeless bracelet from the Happy Hearts Collection by Chopard, while an exclusive pair of Mille Miglia cufflinks awaits one lucky gentleman. If diamonds are forever, diamond hearts beat for eternity. But in the end, it’s the memory of that winning kiss under the star-filled Gstaad night sky that you’ll treasure for the rest of your lives. Don’t let the opportunity pass … book your table now! After this exquisite dinner the cosy Lobby Bar and elegant Bar du Grill are perfect for a drink. Or you head


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VALENTINE’S DAY PROGRAMME Aperitif at the Lobby Bar from 7.30pm Dinner in all restaurants from 8pm

to the legendary GreenGo nightclub, where you can dance the night away. You know that feeling you get when you are driving towards a traffic light and the signal turns green just before you need to stop? The sensation of being unstoppable, of being on top of the world, the careless happiness – that’s GreenGo. If you prefer ending your Valentine’s Day more quietly, you can always return for one of our exclusive party nights with special guest DJs.

CHF 175 per person CHF 90 per child under 12 years Reservations +41 33 748 58 60 or

GUEST DJS AT THE GREENGO 16 February: Bob Sinclar Legendary French artist 2 March: L’Aristocratie Parisian party label 9 March: Greek White Night DJ Illness from Mykonos Reservations +41 33 748 50 00 or

The Saanen city council has announced that Thomas Frutschi left the municipal administration of Saanen at the end of 2018.


homas Frutschi was the manager of building inspection, spatial planning and infrastructures (BRI). His period of employment ended after 15 months in office, according to a press release issued by the municipal council of Saanen. The reasons for termination have not been disclosed.

The municipal council will now turn their immediate attention to appointing a new department manager. In the meantime, a well-qualified customer relations specialist is supporting the BRI department. Employees from the BRI will continue to perform their duties as usual into the new year. However, due to a slightly reduced workforce, partners, customers and stakeholders are kindly asked for a little extra understanding and consideration during this time. JUSTINE HEWSON / AVS

CULINARY GOLD Switzerland cooked their way to the podium at the Culinary World Championships in Luxembourg. The team manager, Tobias Ciarulli from Schรถnried, played a big part in this success. He manages both the national junior team and the national culinary team.


witzerland enjoyed considerable success at the official culinary world championships in Luxembourg at the end of November. Overall, the national teams won five gold medals, a world title and were also runners up in one contest. Switzerland and the Swiss Federation of Chefs have a right to be really proud of their culinary ambassadors.

Two teams in Luxembourg

The Swiss Federation of Chefs sent two teams to the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg: the Swiss national ju-

nior culinary team and the Swiss national culinary team. All Swiss team members are in full-time employment and cook during their spare time. So, these results are particularly worthy of appreciation.

eted gold medal. Teams that win gold twice are among the title favourites. However, the Austrians just edged in front to scoop the world championship title. The Swiss juniors were runners-up, leaving the favourites from Scandinavia way behind.

The juniors as vice world champions

The national junior team has been one of the best teams in the world for decades. All the young chefs on the team were able to stand up to this pressure. In both contests (a contemporary buffet for twelve people and three-course menu for 70 people), they won the covFinal touches: Tobias Ciarulli (left in black jacket) with the world champion chocolatier Jorge Cardoso (front in black t-shirt)

A world championship title for the chocolate specialist

Jorge Cardoso, the specialist chocolate maker from the Swiss national team, created an outstanding masterpiece for the competition, based on the theme of Swissness. The judges simply had to award him the world championship title. The best result in years

The newly-formed Swiss national culinary team caused a real stir at their first competition. Despite an outstanding display table and pretty perfect service for 110 guests, they narrowly missed the podium and came in fourth. For a team that has only been training together for about 18 months, this was a great success. JUSTINE HEWSON / AVS




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ANDREAS GURSKY’S GLOBAL TOPOGRAPHIES IN GSTAAD Over the past thirty years, Andreas Gursky has done more than any other contemporary artist to expand the medium’s vocabulary, demonstrating that a photographer can make or construct – rather than simply take – photographs about modern life at the scale of epic painting. This winter, at the Gstaad Saanen airport, Gagosian will present a group of Gursky’s photographs from the 1990s through today.

You never notice arbitrary details in my work. On a formal level, countless interrelated micro- and macrostructures are woven together, determined by an overall organizational principle. – Andreas Gursky

Gursky’s photographs capture built and natural environments on a grand scale, individual and granular elements whirling into totalities. Though similar in their sweep and scope to early nineteenth-century landscape paintings, his images retain the hard precision of the photographic medium. Gursky constructs startling tableaux out of his methodical observations: detailed photographs of cities, crowds, landscapes, and products are hyperfocused so as to privilege neither foreground nor background. His monumental pictures of our world – magnificently orchestrated, gorgeous in their supersaturated colours – are so improbably detailed that familiar subjects often become unrecognizable.

Andreas Gursky, Qatar, 2012, inkjet print, framed: 98 × 132 7/8 × 2 1/2 inches (249 × 337.3 × 6.4 cm) © Andreas Gursky/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


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Born in Leipzig, Germany, Gursky studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under Bernd and Hilla Becher, the German artist duo known for their serial photography of industrial structures. The Bechers used a standardized, documentary style to examine the commonality and variation within systems. Gursky mastered this principle, and began to extend the possibilities of the photographic document through shifts in perspective and, as technology became more advanced, digital manipulation. In 1987, after graduating from the Kunstakademie, Gursky held an exhibition in an airport – an environment that, in its systematized modernity,

Andreas Gursky, Tokyo, 2007, inkjet print, framed: 93 1/8 × 163 1/4 × 2 1/2 inches (236.6 × 414.7 × 6.4 cm) © Andreas Gursky/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

was a symbiotic setting for Gursky’s works, as it is today. The works on view at the Gstaad Saanen airport illustrate Gursky’s diverse approaches to photography, composition, and contemporary life. The monumental photograph Qatar (2012) documents the sealed, windowless interior of a tank used to transport liquid gas on a ship in the Persian Gulf. Plated entirely in gold-hued metal, the massive container is almost completely empty, having been photographed while undergoing a routine cleaning. This atypical view shifts attention from the object’s function as a practical tool to its visual splendor, symbolic of the meteoric economic growth of the Arab state. The print’s scale, nearly two and a half by three and a half metres, engulfs the viewer’s immediate vision, yet the uniformity of the composition is broken by the inclusion of a small semitransparent white plastic tent under which the silhouette of a single person is visible. Characteristic of Gursky’s work, human presence is not depicted to be contemplated as subject; rather, humans are dwarfed

by nature, industry, finance, and the consumer society. Here, Gursky’s presentation of the anonymous worker performing labor for the gleaming equipment suggests a recalibration of the hierarchies of value between human and machine. Ibiza (2016) shows what appears to be the intersection of two rural roads. As power lines overlap with a streetlamp, and a bunch of colorful balloons dangles in front of a utility box, the result is almost abstract – a reminder of the forms, routes, and objects we live with yet don’t always notice. Gursky takes this abstraction further in Utah (2017), which depicts a stretch of highway and a blur of houses – a liminal space, part of the connective tissue of American society. Based on a photograph that Gursky took on his phone from the window of a moving car, the spontaneity of the image is dramatized by abstracted lines of movement over the Utah mountains. Shot from a Shinkansen high-speed train, Tokyo (2017) captures the city’s miniature architecture, the density

and irregularity of its buildings. The image fuses the ceaseless movement of data, people, and mass culture with the stillness of metaphysical reflection. Its heightened perspective yields a dizzying configuration of pictorial space, dissolving any suggestion of the individual humans who inhabit the cityscape into the cool mathematics of coordinated activity. There is no human narrative, only a shifting pattern. Gursky’s large-scale photographs evoke the complexity of global connectedness: enormous amounts of information flow in and out of his images like data streams, the chaos of contemporary life competing with the classical need for order. From environmental threats to the earth’s rapidly swelling population and infrastructure, Gursky strives to portray the extremes of the present moment. From 1 February through 17 March, 2019, a curated group of photographs by Andreas Gursky will be exhibited at the Gstaad Saanen airport, presented by Gagosian.

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THE FORCE BEHIND THE Mehran Azmoudeh is president of the Association Internationale des Anciens Roséens, the alumni organization of Le Rosey. Thousands of alumni are still closely attached to the school and share a network that spans around the globe. Once a year, they come together in Gstaad. Could you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and your time at Le Rosey?

Thank you. It’s an honour to be interviewed by GstaadLife. I first came to Switzerland when I was 6 or 7 years old and attended summer camps in Crans-Montana and Le Rosey. I was scheduled to go back to school in Iran in the fall of 1978 but the revolution had started and major upheavals lay ahead. My sisters were already at Le Rosey and I decided to join them. So, at the age of 8, I started as a border in the junior section. This was a very special space with limited interaction with the rest of the school. My first experience of Gstaad was the winter of 1979. I had already learned to ski in Iran but it was the first time I skied in the high mountains. We went on excursions every Thursday and this exposed me to a really great Swiss alpine experience at a very young age. Did you find Le Rosey a culture shock after Iran?

Not really. I had been in an American school in Iran so my English was good. The biggest shock was that everything in the junior school was in French so, for the first three months, I didn’t understand much. However, thanks to the diversity of nationalities at Le Rosey, there were a few other Iranian students besides my sisters. Back home, this was the time of the hostage crisis – a difficult period. For me, however, the school was a very safe place. It provided me with a sense of security that was especially important as my parents hadn’t yet found a place to settle down and make a new home. Knowing that I would be going


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back to my school, to the same people, the same rooms, the same routines and so on was the one constant in my life. What is it that makes the Association Internationale des Anciens Roséens (AIAR) special?

To understand the AIAR, you really need to understand the social culture of Le Rosey. The students come from many different countries, cultures, experiences and backgrounds and end up living together in a boarding establishment, far from parents and home. This factor contributes to an intangible quality in the school that fosters incredibly strong bonds and friendships between the students. This is the strongest “force” that comes from the school and I feel it is what sustains the AIAR. We are friends for life – in fact, not only friends for life, we are family. To come back to the Association, the way it is run is quite interesting. We have one full-time employee and about 5000 members, 4000 of whom are quite active. We also have over 100 full-time volunteers – the entire Association around the world is organized by volunteers. We have quite a hierarchical structure whereby the volunteers are assigned particular duties in terms of activities. When you graduate from Le Rosey you pay a single lifetime fee. This makes us all stakeholders in the Association. What do the volunteers do?

Well, it starts with me! I’m volunteer number one, so I dedicate a lot of my own time. I have a very competent

committee. Each of them has a specific area of responsibility: class and/or country representative, events, trips, social media, administration, legal issues, etc. They are the ones who run the AIAR. All I do is support them. The committee members lead such busy lives, running their respective businesses all over the world, that I confess to exploiting their love for Le Rosey in order to get their help for the AIAR! One of my favourite projects is to help Le Rosey students find intern-

ROSEY WEEKEND ships after they graduate. It’s been the most rewarding of my activities and is closest to my heart – it’s what gives me the most satisfaction. So that is the board level. What happens at the country level?

Within each country where we have alumni there is a satellite association with a locally nominated head – basically our ambassadors. In the United Kingdom, for example, where we have many alumni, we are fortunate in having two very competent AIAR women in charge. They organize annual dinners and help connect members and share information. Each year they have a welcome lunch for the newest members. They also invite alumni who have graduated within the previous 10 years to participate so they can meet and help the younger graduates getting settled into a new life, university, where to live, and so on. Is it part of your job to promote Le Rosey?

Le Rosey has its own programme for presenting the school and the summer camps to prospective parents around the world. However, the AIAR and former alumni do help in some ways. If, for example, Le Rosey is planning a trip to Singapore, they will get in touch with the local AIAR representative, who will organize a dinner for them and help with any support that may be needed. So, we are complementary and maintain a great relationship with the school. Do you see a change in the demographics and nation-

alities of students who are now going to Le Rosey?

Yes, this shifts with time. I was there in the eighties, before the fall of the wall. Political and economic changes around the world influence the number of applicants from affected countries. What happens in Le Rosey is interesting. The school has a quota system which ensures a maximum of 10% of students from any single country. The directeur général, Christophe Gudin, is incredibly good at ensuring that the school keeps this balance. I believe students form some 70 nationalities visit the school today. What is AIAR’s relationship with Gstaad?

We organize a long weekend each year for alumni from all over the world to meet up for dinners and a number of other activities, the main event being our annual general assembly. We always hold this long weekend in Gstaad so it’s one of the reasons we think of Gstaad as the home of the AIAR. The graduating class of the year, usually 50 to 70 students, always join the alumni for the weekend. This year the weekend officially starts on Friday, 15 February. However, it starts unofficially on Thursday night, when Marie-Noëlle Gudin organises a fantastic dinner for the Rosey Foundation. Several other dinners also take place that night – many among classes that are celebrating anniversaries such as 10, 20 or 30 years since their graduation. Last year was my 30th anniversary and around 40 of my classmates came back for the occasion. On Friday, we all go up to the Wasserngrat for ski races, where all the current Rosey students and many of our alumni participate. Fortunately,

the older alumni receive a generous handicap, which helps us keep up. We have great races till around noon and then, in the afternoon, we have curling and an ice-hockey match between the alumni and current Rosey students. I’m proud to announce that the AIAR has beaten the students for the past three years! On Saturday, we hold our annual general assembly at the Gstaad Palace, followed by a dinner. It’s quite extraordinary how many busy alumni with important, high-powered jobs make time to fly in. We have members coming from the furthest corners of the earth to sit in the back of a room in the basement of the Palace and listen to the reports of their beloved Association. They love the school so much; I find their dedication very humbling. What other activities does the AIAR organise?

Apart from the various dinners and get-togethers, we also organize trips to interesting places. The first trip took place when Le Rosey alumni were invited by the Shah of Iran for a visit. It was wonderful. They were picked up here in Switzerland, flown to Iran and given the most incredible tour of the entire country. Since then we’ve organised trips to many different parts of the world. About 60 alumni recently went on a wonderful trip to Bhutan. We’ve also had trips to the Galapagos, Panama and Vietnam. In January, we made a trip to Norway to see the northern lights. There is never a dull moment! Thank you Mehran. We wish you and the AIAR all the best for your upcoming long weekend. GUY GIRARDET

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(biologist & designer born and living in Milan)

Expositions aux Chalets Farb & Mittelgässli du dimanche 10 février au dimanche 3 mars 2019 de 15:00 à 19:00

sur rendez-vous: Caroline Freymond +41 (0)79 456 9181 Andreas Siegfried / Lesieur +44 7712 673 217 Antoine Boillet +41 (0)79 500 6224

C H A L E T F A R B I Farbstrasse 20 I 3792 Saanen

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


WATER LEVELS UNDER OBSERVATION Rainfall in November and December has gone some way to alleviating the water shortage in the Saanenland, which was critical in late autumn. The new groundwater pumping station near Gstaad Airport has been provisionally connected to the public supply network in case the situation turns worse again.


ccording to Ruedi Kistler, water authority manager in Gsteig and Feutersoey, water levels have never been as low as last November since they have been recorded. In other years the water levels provided by the springs used to be twice as high. According to Kistler, the situation was particularly precarious in Feutersoey: “Some private reservoirs completely dried up in November. Fortunately, the farmers all helped each other out. This meant that everyone had enough water for themselves and for their cattle.” Same picture in Lauenen

There’s been some uncertainty about water in Lauenen too. As the person in charge, Walter Reichenbach said: “I’ve been managing the water

here for twenty years now, but this autumn has seen our spring levels reach record lows!” Reichenbach knows that some Lauenen farmers who use private water supplies have seen their springs run dry during the drought. Those affected have helped each other, including running temporary water pipes. Some have also been looking for new water supplies. New water supply ready in Saanen

Given the recent drought and the expected increase of the population over the winter season, the new groundwater pumping station at Gstaad Airport in Saanen has been provisionally connected. Thanks to the rainfall in December, water levels partially normalised and tapping the new pumping station has therefore not been necessary yet. Arno Romang of the Saanen water authority

warns though, that the ground water is still significantly lower than in other years. A spell of cold water could be enough to cause another dive in water levels. Snow cannons run off separate water supplies

It’s important to note that the water shortage has nothing to do with the snow cannons. Arno Romang confirmed: “Producing artificial snow doesn’t use drinking water supplies. Water used by the snow guns only comes from streams and the special reservoir for this purpose on the Hornberg.” JUSTINE HEWSON / AVS

A YEAR OF EXTREME WEATHER A hot and dry year has caused many challenges for Swiss farmers, including crop failures. However, some crops have recorded bumper harvests.


ikers were delighted with the beautiful summer weather and many enjoyed a beautiful autumn in the mountains with virtually no rain. For the farmers, however, the exceptionally hot and dry year has been a major challenge. Many farming families had to cope with extra work and some also experienced crop failures due to the extreme weather. For example, the

lack of water caused low aftermath yields. This resulted in shortages, leading to a higher number of cows being sent to slaughter. In turn, this caused meat prices to tumble. Good fortune for winemakers

Fortunately, some areas were able to benefit from the extraordinary weather. The plum harvest reached a record high and apple yields were also extremely good. Wine producers expect an excellent vintage in terms of both quantity and quality. The worst drought in a century

In 2018, the National Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSch-

weiz recorded a year of record heat and months of low rainfall. Ten out of twelve monthly temperatures were well above the norm and six of these were extreme, according to figures. The never-ending heat not only led to a new annual record as the six-month period over the summer was the warmest since records began in 1864. This unprecedented heat was accompanied by extraordinary months of no rain. In eastern Switzerland, this massive rain deficit was noted as being a once-in-a century event, according to a press release by MeteoSchweiz. JUSTINE HEWSON / AVS

GstaadLife 1 I 2019


CHALET SAQQARAH – ART Exhibition from Friday, 8 February to Sunday, 3 March 2019 From 3.30 pm to 6 pm – Open every day except Monday Vernissage: Friday, 8 February, 6.30 pm

Marina Abramovic – Video Performance

Abdulnasser GHAREM – Lightboxes Vladimir Dubossarsky & Alexander Vinogradov Andrei Molodkin Illya Chichkan

Valery Koshlyakov Simon Faibisovich Olga Tobreluts Vladimir Nekrasov

Chalet Saqqarah

Neueret Coop Ice Rink


Info & Reservations or +41 33 748 05 50 Ultima Gstaad Hotel - Gsteigstrasse 70 - 3780 Gstaad -

Ebnitbuelweg 9, Gstaad Tel. +41 33 744 55 51


THE LITTER LOUTS ARE OUT THERE AGAIN During the holidays, the situation is particularly bad, according to Otto Tritten of the Gstaad operations centre. After parties, some people just throw their rubbish everywhere.


hen you see the things that Otto Tritten and his team find at the rubbish collection points after the holidays, you realise that some people have a real nerve. The manager of the Gstaad works explained: “We find rusty grills, old suitcases, expensive olive oil cans, gift wrap, detergent bottles – there’s no end to the rubbish that people dump.” Tritten also notes that some people just dump their rubbish wherever it suits them. The collection points are clearly marked and every household receives an information leaflet from the municipality.


Rubbish collection point at the Märetplatz car park in Gstaad: clean and tidy as it should be (above) and what it looks like after a visit of litter louts

Both visitors and locals are responsible

Tritten says that both visitors and local residents are responsible for such behaviour. He emphasises: “Most people dispose of their rubbish correctly. The few who are too lazy to do so should be ashamed! It simply isn’t fair on the general public!” Tritten and his team attach great importance to ensuring that the refuse collection points are always clean and tidy. He knows from experience: “The cleaner the place looks, the more likely people are to have scruples about leaving their rubbish behind.” Referring to the leaflet

To prevent littering, the team patrol the collection points on public holidays and at weekends. Tritten says: “Usually, we empty the full containers and clean the areas on Mondays and Fridays so everything is pristine. However, come Saturdays, we’ll find an old grill or a dirty pan here and there. So, we get called out on Saturdays and then again on Sundays. My team should actually be off work then.” What can be done about the problem? Tritten says he doesn’t want to start imposing fines because that would be rather drastic. That’s why he’s appealing to guests and the general public to voluntarily abide by the rules. He knows from experience: “Many visitors appreciate the fact that everything’s so clean here. We really need to uphold our reputation.” If you come across someone who isn’t disposing of their rubbish correctly, Tritten recommends approaching the person in a friendly manner and referring to the leaflet. JUSTINE HEWSON / AVS

GstaadLife 1 I 2019





GstaadLife 1 I 2019


his old panorama postcard shows the mountain range visible from Schönried in the direction of Gsteig, Gstaad and Saanen. You are standing close to the bridge in the middle of the village, which crosses the Hugelibach and after which you turn right onto the Alte Strasse.

Courtesy of Raimond Röthlisberger

In the centre of the left half is the Pension Alpenrose, todays Boutique Hotel Alpenrose, as noted on the postcard. Snow clearing does not seem to have been much of an issue back then – and neither does skiing on the road…

GstaadLife 1 I 2019


At various places in and around Gstaad, you’ll find 14 animal sculptures and paintings by the artist Davide Rivalta. These works are standing or hanging on the grass by Le Grand Bellevue, along the Promenade, in Park Gstaad, in the garden of Gstaad Palace and on the Eggli.


he exhibition is named Leniency. It’s so unusual that everyone is in for a surprise. Sooner or later, you’ll come across one of the exhibits. On the way from Untergstaad towards the Promenade, look out for three proud lions on the left. In front of the BEKB, take note of the pack of wolves as they wait for a member who is still sniffing around in front of the tourist office.

Jenny Sterchi

The dramatic landing of the lions in the garden of Le Grand Bellevue

Luxury hotels and the Eggli

Three buffaloes explore the garden of the Gstaad Palace but never get too close to the rhino. They know, of course, that this heavy pachyderm can be one of the most aggressive animals in the wild. So, the rhino is left in peace to bathe in the pond on the hotel terrace. Winter sports enthusiasts and day-trippers to the Eggli can relax in closer proximity to the exhibits as an eagle perched by the mountain restaurant is wondering where to fly off next to catch his prey. Meanwhile, a bear near the mountain station The cheetah and her creator, Davide Rivalta, at the Park Gstaad

Çetin Köksal



chairlift is searching for food under the snow. Park Gstaad has two eagles, a Rottweiler and a cheetah. All four seem to fear the cold so much that they don’t want to venture outside the comforting warmth of the hotel. Davide Rivalta

Born in Bologna, the artist lives and

works in his hometown. He studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti, where he currently teaches sculpture. When asked how he came up with the idea of choosing wildlife as subjects, Davide Rivalta replied: “In 1998, I took part in a competition and the winner was allowed to exhibit their works in the courtyard of the Ravenna Palace of Justice. My gorillas won first prize and that was the beginning of my enduring passion for creating animals.” The artist emphasises that he’s familiar with every creature he depicts in bronze, stainless steel or aluminium. In a game park near Bologna, he observes and studies these creatures closely. Then, he turns them into true-to-life replica sculptures using his very own hands. His works have been exhibited in Modena, Rome, Nagoya and Antibes, among other prominent places. JUSTINE HEWSON / AVS

The sculptures are on display up to 10 March 2019


GstaadLife 1 I 2019


THE WOMEN’S TENNIS HAS MOVED FROM GSTAAD After an unsuccessful attempt to combine the Gstaad women’s tennis tournament with the men’s tournament, the organiser, Grand Chelem Event SA, has decided to move the women’s event from Gstaad to Lausanne. However, in keeping with tradition, the male tennis stars will be playing in July 2019 at the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad in the Saanenland. The original intention was to combine forces, make both tournaments more profitable, save on resources and offer an appealing yet diverse selection of players. This is how the Grand Chelem Event SA presented the idea of a combined tournament. They’re the owner of women’s tournament rights and organiser of both tennis tournaments in Gstaad. Combining the two tournaments in Gstaad would have made the location particularly exclusive in the tennis world. Apart from the Grand Slam tournaments, the WTA and ATP tours have very few events where women and men play at the same time and in the same place. However, the ATP Player’s Council opposed the merger of the two tournaments in Gstaad.

All over after three seasons

The women’s tournament was relaunched in 2016 but women’s tennis has been a regular feature in Gstaad since 1983. However, spectator numbers failed to grow as much as the organiser had hoped. A combined tournament would have been a way of counteracting this downward spiral in audience numbers. The downturn was a signal to think hard about the overarching changes to the women’s tennis tournament in the Saanenland and avoid the negative economic impact. Even the sale of the tournament rights was up for debate. Finally, the decision was made to relocate the tournament to Lausanne. The tournament rights remain with the Grand Chelem Event SA and

organisers of the large, prestigious Lausanne Tennis Club are providing support for putting on the women’s tournament. The WTA sent a team out to Lausanne to check on the setup and logistics and gave the nod to relocate the women’s tennis tournament from Gstaad to Lausanne. The men's tournament stays

After the decision to relocate the women’s tournament, there was a question mark over whether the men’s event would remain in the Saanenland. However, Grand Chelem Event SA confirmed they will now refocus on the men’s tournament in Gstaad and make the most of the event. Gstaad. JUSTINE HEWSON / AVS


2018 was the last women’t tournament in Gstaad.

GstaadLife 1 I 2019


Looking for something different to do on the slopes in February? The exhilarating sport of horn sledge racing may be just your speed.


orn sledges (Hornschlitten, or Horeschlitte in Swiss German), are sledges approximately two metres long, which get their name from the long runners that extend upwards in front, serving as grip handles when pulling the sled along flat areas or sliding downhill. They were originally built to bring summer grass, firewood or logs down from high alpine mountainsides during winter. Unsurprisingly, this was an extremely hazardous activity, the chief danger being the driver get-

ting run over, or ‘eaten’, by the sledge. According to team captain Matthias von Siebenthal, Hornschlitten-Club Gstaad (HSC Gstaad) was founded in 2003 and first held races in Gsteig with teams from all around Switzerland. For the last four to five years, the club has held competitions in Saanenmöser. HSC Gstaad’s racing sledges are more massively built than the originals, better able to handle the vibration and stress of racing. A typical two-person crew consists of a Steurer (steerer) in back, who sits or lays on their stomach and steers with boot pressure, and a Bremser (brakeman) in front, who helps steer by weight-shifting and slows the sled with judicious applications of shoe

leather. Speeds up to 96 km/h have been clocked by HSC Gstaad members. On 24 February, 2019, HSC Gstaad will hold their annual race on a new course at the Horneggli, beginning at the Horny-Bar and finishing near the Kuhstall restaurant. Participants aged 9 and over can compete on small sleds (Giebel), and anyone over 16 years can race on Hornschlitten. Bring the entire family and get ready for an awesome day! ALEX BERTEA

For registration details, please contact HSC Gstaad race director Johny von Grünigen:

Courtesy of HSC Gstaad



The recent elections at the AGM in January mark one of the biggest turnovers on the executive board in the history of the club. With the resignation of Peter Erzberger an era comes to an end, but every ending is also a beginning. The new commodore, Manrico G. Iachia, can build on a solid foundation but also sees challenges that he is eager to tackle.


t the helm of the GYC is now an Italo-German tag team, Manrico G. Iachia in his new function as commodore and Cindy Schönrich as managing director. Iachia joined the Yacht Club in 2007 and served three years as rear commodore, in which role he was responsible for worldwide relationships, one of the club’s very assets. He took over from Peter Erzberger, who is a founding member and served ten years as commodore, for which he received an honorary presidency. Schönrich has worked ten years for the club and knows it inside out. Over the years her duties and responsibilities grew with her experience. Today, as the club’s managing director, she oversees the daily business as well as the club’s projects and essentially pulls the strings. She is also a member of the board of the Club Managers Association of Europe, where she is Manrico G. Iachia is ready to set the GYC’s sails towards the digital future.

head of the regions, alliance and affiliate partners working group. The foundation of the club is rock-solid. It counts 400 members and is well established in- and outside the Saanenland. The social aspect of the club is important, activities go much further, though. On the sports side, it supports young sailors and has enabled many an Olympic participation over the years. It also takes environmental issues to heart and takes on an educational duty. Iachia, who recently retired after 35 years as CEO of a multinational insurance company, is convinced that there is still room – and the need – to strengthen the GYC’s profile in this respect. In his view, the club needs to address social and environmental issues to fulfil its responsibility on the one hand, and to appeal to the younger generations on the other. Iachia and Schönrich also want to initiate the transition to a more digital club life. They believe that the club has to keep reinventing itself and needs to be innovative if it should remain attractive. Members expect social and sailing events, but not only. Today, a club has to offer services that add value beyond its core function and these services have to be available at the tip of the Cindy Schönrich, on the picture with the members of the racing team, has been with the club for 10 years and acts today as its managing director.

Raphaël Faux



members’ fingers, ie digitally. How this will be put into practice still needs to be worked out but first results are planned within the next three years. There is no time for Iachia and Schönrich to rest on their laurels. With both of them knowing the club so well, there are no obstacles to get straight to work. The only thing that may need some adjustment is their collaboration. Iachia’s more spontaneous Italian attitude and Schönrich’s very organised German approach may seem contradictory at first sight. However, maybe that very combination will turn out to be the catalyst needed to take the GYC into a prosperous future. MARKUS ISELI


Commodore: Manrico G. Iachia Rear commodore: Alejandro Dahlhaus Treasurer: Hans Notter Sailing officer: Morten H. Kielland Managing director: Cindy Schönrich Officers

Club partnerships: Giuseppe Veronesi Social events: Christine Lang-Camerana Club house: Franz Wehren Juniors: Louise Lienhart Advisory board: Alexander Senft

GstaadLife 1 I 2019


Seaman Schepps is known for its colourful pieces, which combine gems with natural materials and come in shapes that go beyond the ordinary. In February their fine jewellery – together with pieces from Watchbox and Sheffield – are hosted at the HUUS Hotel.


he iconic shell earrings, which stand for the brand today, embody the characteristics of Seamen Schepps jewellery. They represent the effortlessness of style, innovation in design, playful boldness, and the unconventional approach to materials that are part of every piece. They were designed by Seaman Schepps himself on request of a client who brought him turbo shells that he wanted to be turned into earrings.

With unexpected combinations of precious and organic materials and eccentric designs Seaman Schepps made a statement in the 1940s. He shifted the focus of his jewellery from wealth and status to art and taste. Anthony Hopenhajm, CEO and president of Seaman Schepps, deems it his responsibility to continue the tradition of the company’s founder. Today, new pieces have been added to the range of timeless classics. Seaman Schepps has been coming to Gstaad for 15 years to exhibit and sell their jewellery. 2019 comes with three firsts, though. It is the first time that they are located at the HUUS Hotel; it is the first time that they are joined by Watchbox, a premier international seller of pre-owned fine watches, and Sheffield, a family-owned leader in fine estate jewels based in Geneva; and it is the first time clients can evaluate, sell or trade their own pieces.

Pinwheel brooch by Sheffield (above); the trademark turbo shell earrings by Seaman Shepps (middle); and fine, certified pre-owned watches from Watchbox

Courtesy of Seaman Schepps




GstaadLife 1 I 2019






Everyone knows Christmas is on 25 December and New Year’s Day is on 1 January. But are they? Actually, when you celebrate depends on what calendar you’re using.


arlier this month, on 7 and 14 January (both Mondays), sounds of merriment could be heard escaping from chalets, dining nooks, and nightclubs in the Saanenland. A quick glance at the Gstaad online events calendar is no help. Confused? Did Monday just become the new Friday? Blame Julius Caesar. Seriously? Back in 63 BC, Julius Caesar was co-opted Pontifex Maximus, or ‘high priest’ of Rome, a lifetime appointment among the responsibilities of which included properly maintaining the state calendar to ensure sacrifices and rituals occurred on time. By 46 BC, Caesar had been appointed dictator over what was left of the Roman Republic, had no serious opposition anywhere on the horizon, and decided to implement some reforms, the most important of which was fixing the republic’s calendar. The Roman Republic’s existent 12-month calendar was a hot mess, originally based on lunar observations, with a 355-day year and intercalary months added every four years

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to try to bring it into alignment with the solar year (365.24217 days, or one trip around the sun). The length and timing of these intercalary months were determined by the pontifex, which meant they were subject to political manipulation: the pontifex could extend the year of ally’s magistracy or shorten that of a rival. In 46 BC, Caesar’s mathematicians lengthened all 12 months to 30 or 31 days (except February), eliminated the intercalary months, and added ‘leap’ days every four years, resulting in a 365.25-day year (and incidentally lengthening his third year of consulship to 446 days!). Since the Julian year is fractionally larger than the solar year, the new Julian calendar would drift 3 days every four centuries compared to observed equinoxes. By 1582, that drift had grown to 10 days, complicating calculations used to determine Easter, and spurring Pope Gregory XIII to institute the conventional or Gregorian calendar, which we use today. Though the Gregorian calendar is the most widely used civil calendar in the world, many religious bodies, such as the Eastern Orthodox churches of Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Macedonia, Jerusalem, and others continue to base their calendars on the Julian system, which in the 21st century runs about 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar. Ergo,

Orthodox Christmas is on 7 January (Gregorian) and Orthodox New Year is on 14 January (Gregorian), also known as the ‘Old New Year’. In Switzerland, in the reformed protestant canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden, the Old New Year’s Eve is celebrated on 13 January as Alter Silvester (Old Saint Sylvester’s Day), apparently because the reformed populace had no interest in being told by a pope what calendar to use. The festival, which was first mentioned in 1663 by church authorities who objected to its bawdy character, is marked by Silvesterklaus mummers dressed in elaborate costumes ringing bells and yodelling in a slow manner. Though it was originally thought to be part of the late medieval Advent season, in the 15th century the celebrations became so wild that church authorities moved it to New Year’s Eve. So, if you’re looking for twice the fun next year, consider emulating the Russians, Appenzeller, et al., and adding a Julian Old New Year to your customary Gregorian New Year’s celebration. And, if you find any quiet time during your extended fête, contemplate pouring one out for good old Julius Caesar, who, after supervising all that hard work, only got to enjoy his new calendar for two more years. ALEX BERTEA

GstaadLife 1 I 2019


Taking a 1-year-old to the glam-

The best for Charlie

orous village of Gstaad is a very

At the Rialto all is calm and the starters are delicious. The only place Charlie is happy is on my lap when suddenly I sense a warm wet feeling creeping down my skirt. Baby Charlie is wet and delighted in his own achievement. This should teach me to bring a spare outfit.

different proposition to that of years gone by.


rriving in Gstaad

We arrive nanny in toe after a delayed flight from Farnborough to the new Gstaad Airport, where – after circling because of the fog and short runway – we land. The chalet is just as I left it the year before at seven months pregnant, when I brought minimal stuff for the baby: travel cot and a few baby grows his now leggy frame is too big for and numerous redundant dummies, which I am grateful I never used. After settling baby Charlie into the flimsy looking cot, I fall into bed only to be woken at 7am by an alarm clock that doesn’t stop. By 7.15 we are all awake and full of giggles and the world is marvellous again. Since Charlie arrived, that first breathtaking moment when I heard him scream and hadn’t yet seen him, my heart expanded with love and that’s kept on growing. So has my desire for him to have the best of everything that I can find.

Sporting a mink Lora Piana cardigan, Charlie’s little pink legs kick delightedly and I leg it as fast as I can through the snow to Lorenz Bach’s baby section, a little distracted by traditional lederhosen for 2 year olds. I finally opt for Ralph Lauren chinos and run back again to save the baby prawn’s chubby legs from the coldeyed stare of some of the more conservative of Gstaad’s residents. Eating a pizza with one hand and juggling a baby with the other I realise that offers to hold him are insincere. He bangs the pepper pot rapturously till it opens with a cloud of pepper that slowly settles over the rest of my pizza. Having a baby makes you thin; you never get to finish a meal. Returning while everyone shops because its nap time, I consider how having a baby saves money and then

ponder on the previous night’s online shopping spree at 3am for baby clothes. But when it’s for a baby it doesn’t count, does it?! Babies don’t save money no matter how I try to sell that one. Club life

Going to the Eagle Club, a private members club on top of the Wasserngrat, some people opt to leave their enfant terrible in the entrance way but mine is too young. With Charlie ensconced on a baby seat we wade through champagne and foie gras while the little one munches heartily on gnocchi with fromage de Rougemont, a local speciality from my adopted village in Switzerland. The president’s daughter happens to be leaning over when baby Charlie decides now is the opportune time to let his gnocchi fly free and pushes it over her now heaving cashmere bosom. Obviously you can’t shout at a baby, especially one who looks as angelic as baby Charlie. She is sweet about it and I am mortified. Having a baby makes you popular…or not. Eventually we all quietly leave and my text of apology goes answered. ISOBEL HYDE

lil_22 – Adobe Stock




GstaadLife 1 I 2019


EXPAT ADVENTURES “Happiness is a clean windscreen.” We stared in astonishment at the small card pinned behind our car’s wiper blades.


e had just checked out of our hotel in Norfolk, UK and were not looking forward to the long drive ahead of us. But faced with this random act of kindness – a member of hotel staff had obviously been out first thing to clean our windscreen free of bugs – our mood lightened. I don’t know how many cars receive this preferential treatment each morning, but the hotel hit its mark with us. My husband, you see, has a thing about keeping our car clean.

Snow, slush, mud and salt

For years he would allocate a couple of hours every Sunday morning to detailing the car inside and out. Then children came along, time became more precious and we rather fell out of the habit of the weekly trip to the local garage singing along to Car Wash with Rose Royce. Ironically, we now need that routine more than ever. If you’ve spent more than a couple of days in Gstaad during the winter you’ll understand the near-impossibility of keeping a car clean here. Yet some handle this better than most. Not long after moving to the region we met a man who, I suspect, had a similar clean-car fetish to my husband. I’ll call this man Michael to protect the innocent. Michael had children at the same school as us, so he also drove the twice-daily school run through snow, slush, mud and salt. Yet despite this his car always looked shiny and immaculate. To make matters worse it wasn’t even silver, but a dark blue-black. How did he achieve such perfection? We

never asked, but he was undoubtedly a dab hand with a power washer. Where to go?

Saanenland isn’t badly served for manual car washing. There are plenty of self-service power wash facilities dotted around, but I’m not a fan of them. I don’t mind the actual process of cleaning the car, though I always seem to end up with smears across the paintwork and never have enough change on me to complete the job well. No, I much prefer automatic car wash machines. There was a time when the Tamoil petrol station on the road between Gstaad and Saanen had a drivethrough car wash. It was wonderful. A quick detour off the main road and a few minutes later out you’d drive with a spanking-clean car – for a few metres at least. Alas that is no more. Rütti-Garage in Gstaad offers a super car cleaning service, but it’s often very busy and in high season you’re advised to book a slot and leave the car with them. This isn’t always so convenient for us so recently we’ve been heading across to Zweisimmen. Garage Autohaus Zweisimmen has an automatic car wash that’s open 24 hours a day 365 days a year. It’s a quick and easy way to get the job done whenever you happen to be in the mood. But you still need to tackle the car interior.

and salt would well up in corners of the little squares. We’d remove the mats frequently, spray them with a pressure washer then dry them carefully, laboriously - and invariably to no avail. Whatever we did, we never seemed to completely eliminate the salt stains. Yet whenever we sent the car to be serviced a curious thing happened: it came back with pristine charcoal-grey mats. Every single time. Eventually we decided the garage was replacing our mats with new ones. It was the only explanation, although we never saw a charge on the invoice for this. Billing error or not, I prefer to think the new mats, like the Norfolk hotel’s clean windscreens, was the garage simply spreading a little happiness. Not a bad approach to adopt as we enter a new year. ANNA CHARLES

Clean or new?

This is another gnarly problem during wintertime. Our last car had rubber floor mats with a kind of chequered square design. Extremely practical in many ways, but over the course of the winter months dirt

GstaadLife 1 I 2019



Hotel des Alpes Saanenmöser 033 748 04 50,

Le Grand Bellevue 033 748 00 00,

Hotel Spitzhorn 033 748 41 41,

Park Gstaad 033 748 98 00,

Hotel Alpenland 033 765 91 34,

The Alpina Gstaad 033 888 98 88, Ultima Gstaad 033 748 05 50, ERMITAGE, Wellness- & Spa Hotel 033 748 04 30, Golfhotel Les Hauts de Gstaad 033 748 68 68, Hotel de Rougemont

Hotel Alphorn 033 748 45 45, Hotel Bellerive 033 748 88 33, Hotel Kernen 033 748 40 20, Hotel Landhaus 033 748 40 40,

Member of Design HotelsTM

026 921 01 01, HUUS Gstaad 033 748 04 04, Boutique Hotel Alpenrose 033 748 91 91, Hotel Arc-en-Ciel 033 748 43 43, Hotel Bernerhof 033 748 88 44, Hotel Christiania 033 744 51 21, Hotel Gstaaderhof 033 748 63 63,

Hotel Garni Saanerhof 033 744 15 15, Posthotel Rössli 033 748 42 42, Sporthotel Victoria 033 748 44 22,

CLUBS Rotary Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings every Monday 12 noon Gstaad Palace (033 748 50 00), President: Rot. Pascal R. J. Rey (079 776 66 02) Secretary: Rot. Markus Iseli (033 748 92 08) Lions Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings on Thursdays in the ERMITAGE, Wellness & Spa Hotel, Schönried 033 748 60 60. For details and programme refer to President: Aldo Kropf, 079 748 86 86 Soroptimist International President: Ursula Breuninger 033 744 05 80 Programme: Patricia Glauser Edreira 076 426 16 11 Club des Leaders President: Jean-Sébastien Robine

IMPORTANT NUMBERS Ambulance 144, Police 117 Fire 118 Medical Emergency: 0900 57 67 47

Alpine Lodge B&B 033 748 41 51,

Dental Emergency: 033 729 26 26 Police Station: 033 356 84 31

Hotel Restaurant Bären 033 755 10 33, info@bä

Car Accident: 033 744 88 80

Sun&Soul Panorama Pop-Up Hotel Solsana 033 748 16 17,

Château-d’Oex Hospital: 026 923 43 43

Zweisimmen Hospital: 033 729 26 26

Veterinarian: 033 748 08 58 / 033 744 06 61

Hotel Le Grand Chalet 033 748 76 76,

Hotel Valrose 026 923 77 77,

Hotel Olden 033 748 49 50,

Hotel Wildhorn 033 765 30 12,

St Peter's Anglican Church English-Speaking, Château-d’Oex Service every Sunday, 5.30 pm

Romantik Hotel Hornberg 033 748 66 88,

Jugendherberge Gstaad Saanenland 033 744 13 43, gstaadsaanenland@ Contact:


GstaadLife 1 I 2019





From 1.5 to 7.5 rooms Apartments from 27 to 256 sqm In the heart of the village Large balconies Cellar, lift & garage As primary or second home Ref B-600 | From CHF 408’000.-




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GstaadLife 1/2019, 25 January  

The exclusive news and lifestyle magazine of Gstaad

GstaadLife 1/2019, 25 January  

The exclusive news and lifestyle magazine of Gstaad

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