P R O M E N A D E 2 , 3 7 8 0 G S TA A D T E L + 4 1 3 3 7 3 3 8 1 1 0 T H E A L P I N A G S TA A D , A L P I N A S T R A S S E 2 3 , 3 7 8 0 G S TA A D T E L + 4 1 3 3 7 4 4 7 4 8 0 G R A N D H O T E L PA R K , W I S P I L E N S T R A S S E 2 9 , 3 7 8 0 G S TA A D T E L + 4 1 3 3 7 4 4 9 7 0 0 W W W. G R A F F D I A M O N D S . C O M
January 29, 2016 - Issue 1 – CHF 3.50
A HARD DAY'S NIGHT
24h Ski Race Gsteig
WITH OPEN ARMS?
Refugees in the Saanenland
Gstaad's Modern-Day Petronius Speaks Out
Statue of a draped woman, Marble, Roman, 1st – 2nd century A.D.
Giorgio de Chirico, Les Muses du Foyer, Oil on canvas, 1926
12 – 17 February, 2016 Gstaad Palace, Gstaad, Switzerland Opening & cocktail on Friday, February 12th at 7pm Phoenix Ancient Art & Helly Nahmad Gallery www.phoenixancientart.com | www.hellynahmadgallery.com
February is the Saanenland’s big month. Just when the whirlwind of the snow globe has settled, it’s shaken up again with galas, concerts, and sporting events.
Photo: vit_kitamin – Fotolia
Gstaad: Go Big or Go Home The snow is usually plentiful in February and the sun shining, with little risk of inclement weather. The first half of the month sees the exclusive Rosey weekend, which sets the region abuzz and draws well-to-do parents and friends to a wellspring of glamorous soirées. Later on, school holidays begin and the slopes are filled with youngsters from across Switzerland enjoying their Skiwoche, dedicated ski week. And don't forget this year’s big names at Les Sommets Musicaux, which fills the Alpine air with classical music through early February. But big doesn’t just mean large or copious; it can refer to expansion as well. Whether that’s of mind-set and ideals or just your waistline, it's all up to you.
BDG’s Big Year Life hasn’t always been kind to Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad, the mountain railways company that runs many of the region’s ski installations. We begin the year with a seasonal update on the financial situation and future plans of the beleaguered, yet hopeful, BDG, which has recently sold off major properties to small private investors. And now that former Saanen City Councilman Heinz Brand has stepped into the director’s shoes, we can expect his charisma and insight to bring BDG the clarity of mind–and finances– residents deserve.
Larger than Life This month GSTAADLIFE features an interview with the outspoken Taki Theodoracopulos. A long-time guest in our region, Taki has never been known to keep his brash opinions to himself. Some might find his words highly offensive–I know I do–but as Switzerland moves sharply right in its politics, you may find it refreshing to hear conservative beliefs spoken with a hint of intelligence and charm rather than the
small-minded drone of Oskar Freysinger, Christoph Blocher, or even Donald Trump.
Big-Hearted Businesswoman Women don’t usually enjoy being referred to as “big”, but Delia von Rueti might be an exception. This captivating woman with vast ideas has many strings to her bow: jewellery designer, mother of four, devoted wife, businesswoman, farmer, and humanitarian. Januaria Piromallo writes on Delia’s gigantic career path, down which she has been guided by her husband Patrick von Rueti’s love.
24h Little Hours You’ll learn all about life on the slopes with two articles featuring different aspects of the region’s favourite winter sport. At Gsteig’s gruelling 24h Race, three dozen individuals and teams will ski for a full day and night–8pm to 8pm. It’s an event that requires big dreams, and even bigger stamina.
But remember, big mountains present big dangers. Champion skier Brigtta Notz found that out the hard way, as a ski accident left her injured
in a remote area. Lesson learned: no matter the level of your sporting skills, always come prepared for the worst.
Landscape’s Largesse If you don't know the name Ian Wilson already, you certainly will after perusing through his beautiful coffee table book, Oh Saanenland!. In this, the novelist-cum-photographer’s newest publication, the frequent guest presents photographs of his beloved Saanenland, and notably Lauenen, to the world. If you’re in the mood for more snow, feast your eyes on our Reader’s Page, where artist and GSTAADLIFE July 2013 cover girl Irene Kung has submitted a glorious example of her unique tree portraits. Be sure to join us for the great big opening of her latest exhibition at Chalet Farb in Saanen.
The Bigger the Better It’s a thick issue this time around, and I sincerely hope GSTAADLIFE will inspire you to dream big, think big, go big, play big … and maybe even live big.
Best regards, Alexis Munier Editor in Chief
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
Photo: Irene Kueng
Your Vision of Gstaad
This photograph was taken in the Saanenland as part of my project on trees which started in 2013. A selection of works from this series will be part of the exhibition Les Racines du Ciel at Chalet Farb, Saanen, from 8 February until 5 March, 4 – 7pm. The series will be published in the book Trees which will be available by February. It follows The Invisible City which showcased my work on architecture. Irene Kung was born in Switzerland and trained as a painter. In recent years she has expanded her repertoire to include photography and has achieved international recognition. She has exhibited at the Bozar Museum in Brussels, Belgium, and in the spectacular surroundings of the Certosa San Giacomo in Capri, Italy. Her work has appeared in numerous international magazines such as The Sunday Times Magazine and The New York Times Magazine and was selected by the international jury at ParisPhoto 2010. She contributed to EXPO 2015 with a solo show at the Fruit and Legumes Cluster featuring 26 photographs of fruit trees. For more information please call Irene on her mobile +41 79 595 15 10 or email email@example.com If you would like to share your photograph of the Saanenland, please send it with your contact details and a brief description to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Pays-d’Enhaut Tourisme
3 Letter from the Editor by Alexis Munier 4 Reader's Page 22 Events Calendar
6 Air-Glaciers After Dark 6 December Tourism Numbers on Par 7 JFK Schoolhouse Renovation Completed
Arts & Culture
9 Ian Wilson's Oh Saanenland!
Photo: Satria Abdi Lestari
10 With Open Arms? Saanenland Welcomes Small Group of Refugees 11 It's a Grand Night for Skiing – Gsteig's 24h Race 13 Brand New Hospital in Zweisimmen 14 Big Year for BDG 15 A Lesson of Love and Courage
16 Fast-Talking Taki – Interview with Gstaad's Modern-Day Petronius
Sports & Leisure
19 Up, Up, & Away in Château-d'Oex
20 'Tis the Party Season 21 The Gentlewoman Farmer – Delia von Rueti
Cover Photo: ©Sebastian Devenish www.sebastiandevenish.com
Twitter: @GSTAADLIFE // Facebook: Gstaad Life // Youtube: GstaadLife 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: Frank Müller // Publisher: Frank Müller, email@example.com // Publishing Director: Markus Iseli, firstname.lastname@example.org // Editor in Chief: Alexis Munier, email@example.com // Contributors: Januaria Piromallo // Layout: Epu Shaha // Advertising: Eliane Behrend, firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 033 744 88 74 // Subscriptions: Flurina Welten, email@example.com, Phone: 033 748 88 74
CONTENTS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
Air-Glaciers After Dark
Air-Glaciers, the emergency service provider that runs helicopter flights and ambulances in the Saanenland, began its fourth winter
Company Secures Funding to Continue Night Service
night shift season here in December 2015. The group’s funding will come from the three local municipalities of Saanen, Lauenen, and Gsteig, as well as the “Friends of Healthcare in the Saanenland” group, which was formerly known as “Friends of Saanen Hospital”. BY GSTAADLIFE
Air-Glaciers is a success story, according to David Matti, President, Friends of Healthcare in the Saanenland: “People are happy if they don’t need the ambulance service, and if they have an accident, they are relieved the option for it exists”. The private aviation company is based in Valais and operates more than half a dozen centres across Switzerland. In addition to emergency services, Air-Glaciers offers private transport as well as heli-skiing drop-offs. While there is an ambulance available from Spital STS AG during normal working hours, Air-Glaciers was selected to run an ambulance service during the night shift in 2013. In the past, the amount was financed in its entirety by the municipality of Saanen and “Friends of Saanen Hospital”.
Air-Glaciers run emergency transport services by helicopter and ambulance Services Provided Air-Glaciers will continue to base its ambulance at the new Medical Center Saanen-Gstaad, which is housed in the former Saanen Hospital building. This central location will cater to the large winter resident and tourist population. If an emergency occurs, the ambulance will bring patients to Zweisimmen Hospital, which is the closest cantonal option since the closing of Saanen Hospital several years ago. Though only 10 kilometres from Saanen, reaching Zweisimmen Hospital in winter requires a 20–30 minute
drive over the Saanenmöser pass. Night Shift Between December 2014 and April 2015, Air-Glaciers made 65 emergency trips between the hours of 6pm and 8am, transporting patients to various hospitals. Since the start of the project in 2012/2013, the team has made more than 170 trips total. Of those injured, there is approximately a 50–50 ratio of guests to locals. Records show patients fell victim due to a range of problems, from ski accidents to heart attacks and flu complications.
December Tourism Numbers on Par Lack of Snow Didn't Stop the Saanenland's Popularity
The holiday period between Christmas and New Year’s Day is undoubtedly Gstaad’s busiest, and this year was no exception, despite the lack of snow. BY GSTAADLIFE
In early January, the region’s largest tourism bodies, including Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus (GST), Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad (BDG), and several hotels, presented their holiday figures. “The obvious lack of snow meant that day trippers from cities didn't come to the region,” says Matthias In-Albon, Business
Manager, BDG, regarding their 15 % decrease in first-time lift entry compared to the same period last year.
and hiking in the mountains, as well as shopping on the Promenade.
Bad News on the Slopes Tourists who booked longer holidays did not purchase as many multi-day ski passes, and often opted for just single-day passes.
Good News on the Slopes Now that the snow has picked up and we’ve had several weeks of good snow between warmer (meltdown) days, skiers can take advantage of newly opened pistes.
Several low-snow alternatives during the holidays ranged from skating on the Lauenensee to bike tours. In regions that were snow-free, mountain bikes dominated, while in wintry areas FatBikes were the norm. Guests also could be seen walking
The connections between Rougemont-Videmanette and Gstaad-Eggli have now been groomed and are ready for use, including the Chalberhöni slope and chairlift. The Horneggli is also now open, including connection with the Hornberg.
LOCAL NEWS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
Schoolhouse Renovation Completed John F. Kennedy International School held the official opening of their beautifully renovated schoolhouse on 12 January 2015, during an evening of speeches and musical celebration.
John F. Kennedy International School Proud to Officially Take Over
The schoolhouse, which was built in 1880, was donated by the people of Saanen to the John F. Kennedy International School in 2000. The unique building has been a source of local pride for well over 100 years. End Result The plan to bring the magnificent property back to life–financed primarily by John F. Kennedy Foundation's fundraising efforts–suffered its share of fits and starts. Progress was not always easy and renovating the building according to local planning regulations proved a challenge. Originally due to open in September 2012, the schoolhouse's makeover was slowed by John F. Kennedy International School's transition to foundation status and the need to secure sufficient funding. Some of the funds were raised with the sale of “friendship bands”, and the names of many parents and now appear in the corridors of the first and ground floors of the new building. When additional funds were needed, a saviour was found in local billionaire Peter Livanos and family, who provided the bulk of the renovation funds. “All this would not be possible without the exceptional support and outstanding contribution of the Livanos family, to whom we would like to address a very special thank you,” said Behar, who expressed heartfelt gratitude on behalf of the school. Everything Old Is New Again The renovations were designed to restore the original character of the building while at the same time incorporating modern energy consumption and safety standards. The result: a beloved building still recognizable by locals that is nonetheless ready for the ever-changing face of education today.
Renovation of Saanen's historic schoolhouse is now complete
Improvements include a new professional kitchen and dining room in the original basement, as well as a large auditorium on the top floor. The auditorium is called Fossati Hall, and is dedicated to Mrs Fossati, whom director Henri Behar thanked during his speech.
ucation here at home. While the school suffered setbacks in the past few years during a change of management, it has rebounded under current director Henri Behar. The John F. Kennedy International School has more than doubled the number of students, from 27 two years ago to 65 today.
School History The John F. Kennedy International School is unusual in that 75 % of children who attend the school are day students, which shows the confidence of local families and the value they place on ed-
The school has been part of the Saanen community since 1971, and in that time, thousands of children from all over the world have attended courses there. Since 2011, the school has been run by the John F. Kennedy Foundation.
Henri Behar, second from left, with Mrs Fossati, Philippe Gudin, and architect Mr Lehmann
LOCAL NEWS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
Selected Properties for Sale
Saanen: one-bedroom staff or driver apartment close to train station and village centre Rougemont: sunny farmhouse with unspoilt view Saanen: cosy chalet for less than CHF 500 000.– Saanen: elegant chalet de maître Lauenen: 200 m2 chalet, 3 km from Gstaad Sales Price of all Properties All properties are sold by private auction, detailed conditions available at our office Information for Buyers
Martin Göppert, Tel. 033 744 07 43 firstname.lastname@example.org
GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
Photos: Ian Wilson
Ian Wilson's Oh Saanenland! Local Author and Photographer Shines in Newly Released Book
They say cats have nine lives. If that’s the case, Ian Wilson might just be feline. From his start as a successful corporate lawyer in Hong Kong, to owner of a famous cycling brand, to prolific novelist, to published photographer, Wilson has had an exceptional career path that spans many diverse disciplines. BY ALEXIS MUNIER
In collaboration with Gstaad’s Müller Medien, he has just released Oh Saanenland!, a coffee table book of local images. As author and photographer, Wilson has opened the book with one of his striking poems, evoking the natural beauty of our region.
spends much of his time in the great outdoors. At Lake Lauenen, he drew the inspiration to take out his trusty old Leica camera, one that hadn’t seen much action since his days as a university student.
“I try to incorporate emotion into everything I do,” says Wilson, when asked about his artistic inspiration. “I like to go off the beaten track to discover the beauty of nature that exists all around us.”
A Love of Light A lover of nature and light, he combines the two in his exceptional black and white photographs. Taken in both the Saanenland and nearby Pays-d’Enhaut, Wilson’s original works capture the intensity of light and dark, the subtleties of sunlight and shadows.
Oh Saannenland! may be purchased at Cadonau, Müller Medien, Foyer, and Oase. The author will be present at a book signing from 4–5pm, 19 February, 2016.
A Love of Words Oh Saanenland! is not Wilson’s first literary achievement; he published his first book, Nine Lives, under the nom de plume Dan Fox. The novel, which has sold 6,000 copies, weaves a tale of love and heartbreak in diverse locales the world over. Although Wilson has continued to write fiction (he is currently at work on his third novel), Oh Saanenland! was brought about by his desire to rekindle his lost love of photography. Dividing his time between the UK and Switzerland, the father of four is now based in Château-d’Oex much of the year. Wilson
Tree Roots, Rohr
ARTS & CULTURE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
Switzerland is home to the largest community of Eritreans outside Eritrea, and the Saanenland hosts more than one dozen in total
With Open Arms?
Saanenland Welcomes Small Group of Refugees At its peak during the Balkan wars of the 1990’s, the Saanenland provided shelter for more than 150 refugees. While today’s capacity is just a fraction of that number, as of mid-December 2015, the region was home to 19 refugees and asylum-seekers. Hailing from Syria and beyond, they receive food, clothing, shelter, education, language and integration courses, a small allowance, and work training, in order to restart their lives in Switzerland.
Not all are happy about the region’s decision to take in more refugees. The popular SVP right-wing party that now controls the municipality of Saanen, has publicly taken an anti-refugee stance. On his website www.erichv7thal.com, under political stance on security and asylum politics, Lauenen native and cantonal representative Erich von Siebenthal writes, "Every cititzen should feel very safe in our country. The increasing violence must be consistently opposed."
“The language issue is the main problem,” says Martin Stähli, teacher at the OSZ Bissen and Turbach, when asked about schooling difficulties refugee children face. “It’s really heartwarming when they try and try to explain the simplest things,” says teacher Eva Frautschi, who insists the extra time and effort put into helping the students is all worth it. “The Syrian children are engaged and want to learn… the parents are also very interested in their schooling.”
BY AEXIS MUNIER
With war raging in Syria and countries like Iraq and Afghanistan in ruin after years of failed military interventions, millions of people in despair are fleeing the Middle East. Further afield, North Africans, as well as Eritreans, Ethiopians, and even Tibetans, amongst other nationalities, form the mass exodus of asylum-seekers who cross land and sea in search of a better life in Europe. Saanenland’s Contribution The current refugees have Heinz Brand, former Saanen city councilman, to thank. Brand secured a small house in Oeyetli and also an unused room in the former Saanen Hospital building for their lodging needs. “We have space to host up to 20 refugees, depending on family composition,” says Daniel Bühler, director of social services for the municipality of Saanen.
Integration Issues No matter where they are from or what their primary language is, asylum-seekers who are minors have the right to attend local schools for their education. Here in the Saanenland, they receive several “German as a Second-Language” lessons per day, but the majority of their courses are given in the local language, either Swiss-German dialect or standard German. The region’s dedicated teachers must spend extra time helping students with their lessons, which has resulted in the successful integration of many refugee children. Two Syrian children have been educated here over the past few years, with one attending the OSZ for grades 5 and up, and the younger attending schooling in Saanen.
GSTAAD LIVING // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
Complicating the situation is the fact that many Syrian families have relatives already based in Switzerland, and when they receive their F permits, relocate to be closer to them. That means another change of home and school, digging up the tender roots that they’ve begun to plant here in the Saanenland. A Problem Without Borders While the Saanenland has willingly taken in a small number of refugees, the United Nations High Council for Refugees estimates that there are four million Syrians alone who have fled their country and need assistance. To Switzerland’s north, Sweden and Germany have welcomed many refugees with open arms, with the UNHCR stating that the latter has taken in over a million
in 2015 alone. The refugee count remains comparatively low here in Switzerland, although the numbers have been growing rapidly. According to Switzerland’s federal migration authority, the latest figures from October 2015 show the country counted 4750 monthly applications, and that number is only expected to increase. Nearby communities like the Simmental have taken in high numbers of asylum-seekers as well; in Zweisimmen, an older building was transformed in December 2015 to host approximately 85 refugees temporarily, until late 2016. Citizens are also mobilising to help alleviate the crisis. With the organisation Schweizer Flüchtlingshilfe, private citizens can apply to host a refugee, and must offer not only a place to live, but help with integration as well. This includes administrative assistance, language practice, and cultural activities like shared mealtimes. People who cannot offer lodging may volunteer to tutor for language programmes or help complete paperwork, or simply donate clothes, toys, and books for those in need.
The Path to Recognized Status In some cases, refugees have paid large amounts of money to smugglers to get them into the country. This is the case for Saanenland resident Akhberet Mebrahtu, who told Anzeiger von Saanen reporter Patrizia Messmer that he paid USD 3,000 for his two children to take a boat from Libya to Lampedusa, Italy. He and his wife chose to go overland via Turkey and Greece. Human trafficking is big business. With a cost of approximately USD 1500 per person, and hundreds packed inside boats that were meant to hold one tenth of their usual load, it is not the poorest of the poor who can afford to escape–this is evident at the numbers of women and children who are left behind to wait for a male relative to send for them at a later time. Once the border has been crossed, asylum-seekers may apply for processing at one of Switzerland’s refugee centres
and receive an N permit while their application is considered. They are only allowed to work through specific refugee centre programmes during this time. If their dossier is approved, they will be upgraded to an F permit, which allows them to work. However, statistics from the country’s social services body show 68 % of those with an F permit are unemployed and living on welfare and social benefits. Reasons for this high rate of dependency are varied, but may include permit status deterring future employers from hiring them. The long process of integration, education, and overcoming a difficult language barrier is also considered a contributing factor. It should be noted that once refugees have obtained an F permit, they must surrender 10 % of their salary for up to ten years until the cost of the asylum-seeking procedure, approximately CHF 15,000, has been repaid.
It's a Grand Night for Skiing Gsteig's Gruelling 24h Ski Race Not for the Faint of Heart
Heiti-Ho Always a draw given its unique locale on the Heiti, the race features both single riders and teams of three. This year, proof of the race’s popularity is the more than 35 teams that are expected to compete. The race begins at 8pm Friday and continues until 8pm Saturday, with participants aiming to complete the highest number of laps on the ski course.
Heiti has one 550 m lift and 3 km of pistes, as well as a full-service restaurant, Restaurant Heiti, and refreshment bar on the slope. Entertainment Schedule No matter what the weather, participants will après-ski in style at this year's 24h Ski Race. Entertainment will include concerts by band Light Food in the festival tent at 9pm Friday and Saturday, while DJ Hene will spin from the late evening
to 2am. On Saturday afternoon at 2pm, a street band will play, providing the encouragement for the last several hours of racing. A selection of hearty food and beverages is available at the event, as well as a dedicated raclette igloo featuring regional cheese specialties. The 24h Ski Race will take place 5 – 6 February 2016. www.24h-skirennen-gsteig.ch
The Saanenland’s legendary 24h Ski Race is poised to bring expert skiers from around the world together for two days of sport, nature, and entertainment. Billing itself as “Die härtesten 24h in der Schweiz”, the hardest 24 hours in Switzerland, the race is indeed known as one of the country’s toughest.
Heiti is the only natural ski piste in the Saanenland and does not use artificial snow.
GSTAAD LIVING // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
LES INCONTOURNABLES At The Grand Hotel Park Some things in life–like the Incontournables–are too good to be missed. A Sushi & Sashimi Beginner’s Workshop, Sunday Brunch, Teatime, Aperitif, and the special Sushi Take Away make up the five recurring events that will delight your senses.
your choice in the Club Bar, or have Dustin behind the bar create a special drink just for you. If you prefer to stay home, why not indulge in Yotin’s sushi and sashimi creations with our exclusive take away service?
Asian cuisine is only one part of the large selection at our Sunday Brunch. The products are seasonal whenever possible, and in particular, the meat and cheese are furnished by local suppliers. Take your time and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere as you let the music of our live jazz band fill your ears.
The Sushi & Sashimi Beginner’s Workshop introduces guests to the world of fine Japanese cuisine every Wednesday. Chef Yotin, a certified sushi and sashimi expert, has been a faithful friend to the Grand Hotel Park for a decade. Under his experienced guidance, guests learn to prepare their own dishes.
These are the Incontournables at the Grand Hotel Park. But beware of their delicious lure–you risk coming back for more!
And if you fancy just a sweet treat, drink, or something to eat at home, our daily specials cater to you. Accompany your original London Newby tea with scones, a sandwich, fruit tart, or some pastries at our Teatime. Enjoy a classic drink with oysters or a caviar of
GRAND HOTEL PARK Wispilenstrasse 29 – Gstaad Reservation: 033 748 98 00 email@example.com
GN OK S I
5 r y, 4– ebr ua taad F 9 Gs y, 1 Fr ida Cadonau at
Chidren Concept Store ISBN 978-3-907041-64-2
Saanenland est un écrin exceptionnel de beauté naturelle ; et dans ce livre intitulé « Oh Saanenland! » l’artiste photographe local, Ian Wilson, capture la magie de cette superbe région avec ses images véritablement uniques illustrant atmosphère et émotion.
Saanenland ist ein Gebiet von atemberaubender natürlicher Schönheit. In diesem Buch mit dem Titel «Oh Saanenland!» fängt der lokale Fotokünstler Ian Wilson die Magie dieser wunderschönen Region mit ihren einzigartigen Bildern aus Atmosphäre und Emotion mit seiner Linse ein.
Come visit us from the 16th of february to the 21st
Saanenland is an area of outstanding natural beauty; and in this book, ‘Oh Saanenland!’ local Photo-Artist, Ian Wilson, captures the magic of this beautiful region with his truly unique images of atmosphere and emotion.
summer rain geneve
«Painting with light, Photo-Artist Ian Wilson, a local resident of the Saanenland, presents familiar scenes from a unique perspective.» Gstaad Pop Up | Viktoriastrasse 3 | 3780 Gstaad Genève | cours de Rive 14 | 1204 Genève | + 41 22 4000 222
Fr. 49.–, 48 pages, german / french / english, ISBN: 978-3-907041-64-2 The book is available at Au Foyer in Saanen and Cadonau, Oase and Müller Medien in Gstaad
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
Computer rendering of Zweisimmen Hospital project shows a fully modern facility
Brand New Hospital in Zweisimmen Spital STS AG Reveals CHF 40 Million Building Project
Spital STS AG has just announced a CHF 40 million overhaul of Zweisimmen Hospital. The closest hospital to the Saanenland since the closure of Saanen Hospital in 2012, the new facility will serve as an innovative model for integrated care, joining three sectors– hospital care, elderly care, and general practitioners–under one roof. BY ALEXIS MUNIER
The total investment of CHF 40 million will include the construction of a new building in front of the hospital’s current location. This will allow operations to continue as usual until the new building is finished, at which point the existing hospital can be dismantled and torn down. State-of-the-Art Design To choose the design for the hospital project, Spital STS AG held an anonymous competition and selected amongst the 18 applicants. The winner, after unanimous decision, was Sollberger Bögli architects AG from Biel. “New construction is a prerequisite for sustainable and long-term solution in the region,” says Olivier Furrer, Project Leader, Spital STS AG, the group that runs hospitals in Thun, and Zweisimmen. When asked why the hospital should be fully reconstructed rather than simply renovated, Spital STS AG explained that after careful analysis, a facelift would’ve cost nearly the same amount. The team
also stressed the need to optimize synergies, which is difficult in the current setup. Presently, the hospital and elderly home are housed separately, with individual kitchens, staff, and infrastructure. “Today's hospital is 40 years old,” says Furrer. “The changing needs of both the hospital and patients are our first priority. With the new project, we can ensure close collaboration of all providers for optimal care and treatment of patients in the region.” Size Matters The new hospital will house 30 beds, a slight decrease from the 35 it offers today. Deciding on infrastructure for a regional Alpine hospital in towns such as Zweisimmen is no easy task, as it faces seasonal challenges–namely a lack of patients in summer and an overflow in winter. “With a larger population from December to March due to the area’s resort popularity, the hospital is very busy in winter,” says Furrer. “However we must strive to balance the varied needs of all the seasons." In addition to surgery, internal medicine (including dialysis) and emergency services, the facilities at the new hospital will include radiology, laboratory, an operating room, IMC, recovery room, physiotherapy, outpatient offers, and special consultations. For other specialities, as well as the maternity ward, patients will have the option to travel to Spital STS AG’s other hospital in Thun.
As for the elderly home integrated within the building, it will boast 26 beds. It will provide easy access to the shared facilities of the third-party organisations specialising in elder care hosted in the building, such as fathers and mothers counselling, nutritional counselling, and physiotherapy as well as general practitioners. Project Timeline January and February 2016 will see the revision of the current project and a verification of the final schedule. The design process should last until summer, when the building application will be submitted. Until spring 2017 the detailed design plans will be prepared and construction will begin. If the schedule goes according to plan, the new hospital will open for business in autumn 2018. It is expected to retain its full roster of employees, who number approximately 160. As the closest emergency centre to the Saanenland, Zweisimmen Hospital will remain the first choice for many patients in our region, and its basic offerings will only be strengthened upon project completion. “Zweisimmen Hospital welcomes patients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” says Furrer, “This project is exemplary of Spital STS AG’s commitment to a regional hospital for the Simmental and Saanenland, and will ensure primary health care in the region is long-term and sustainable.” www.spitalzweisimmen.ch www.spitalstsag.ch
GSTAAD LIVING // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
Members of the BDG board pose with new director Heinz Brand (in yellow, center), a former baker and city councilman
Big Year for the BDG
Full Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad Seasonal Update The off-season in autumn 2015 was a busy time for the Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad (BDG), which saw a whirlwind of activity at the administrative and political level.
200 against. This current strategy will hopefully secure a future path to solvency for the BDG. In sharp contrast to earlier proposals, the decisions taken at the meeting were meant to cut operating costs immediately.
Saving the troubled BDG has proved a challenging, sometimes confusing task. The beleaguered local mountain railways operator has had a rocky several years. After numerous strategies failed to take hold or were voted down by shareholders, the earlier plan presented nearly a year ago was a holistic endeavour that turned a page for company, putting the needs of the market, locals and guests at its core, rather than focusing on securing financial investment for improvements to infrastructure. This year, the plans have evolved to making extreme cuts and selling off property to buoy finances. Saanen Public Assembly At the municipality of Saanen’s public meeting on 18 September, the BDG was a dominant theme. Delay after delay has marked BDG’s uptake of a final strategy for solvency, with several proposals going before the voters in the past few years. Since the latest rejection in February 2015, an alternative plan with a reduced budget was under development. It is this plan that was approved by the City Council and went before the voters. The company secured a plan for restructuring with 389 votes in favour versus
Highlights of these important decisions taken include Saanen’s financial contribution of nearly CHF 33 million, mostly in the form of a write-off of capital. As far as changes to installations, voters agreed to let Rellerli go and allow the BDG to sell the property rights to a willing investor, Ernesto Bertarelli. Closing the Rellerli was by and large the most controversial point of the meeting. Plans for the area include dismantling the cable car and building a luxury mountain lodge. As for Eggli, the move further away from BDG control was confirmed: Private investors will finance renovations and the operating costs of the cable car. Shareholders General Meeting At the BDG shareholders general meeting 28 October, the way forward was mapped out in detail, including the choice of a chairman of the board and two new board members. Last year it was announced that Armon Cantieni would leave his position as director of the BDG in January 2016. Cantieni has led the firm since June 2006, and it was under his leadership that the concept of "concentration" was implemented
GSTAAD LIVING // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
in 2008. Yet despite extensive investments and cost savings programs, the company could not keep its head above water in such a highly competitive market. The new director selected to lead the company in what one hopes is a successful future is no stranger to residents–Heinz Brand. The former city councilman was chosen from a small pool of highly qualified candidates and is eager to start his term as president. Baker-turned-politician Brand, who is stepping down a full year ahead of schedule from the city council, was responsible for city planning, construction, and building infrastructure. Under Brand’s management, the town of Saanen was transformed and renovated to include a much-heralded pedestrian-only main street and underground parking garage. Other highlights include development of the new zones “Tomi” (Gstaad) and “Dorfrütti”(Saanen) to accommodate industry, so that the historic villages could be preserved in their entirety for both residents and tourists. Restructuring Highlights The meeting’s most important point included shareholders’ approval of a complex restructuring plan. The major shareholders Saanen, Zweisimmen, and Rougemont had already voted for the plan in the previous few weeks, and at the general meeting the shareholders reluctantly agreed to these necessary measures. Now, for the first time in the BDG’s history,
private investors have a greater share of the company than the municipalities. The current restructuring includes a capital write-down of CHF 37 million and a reduction of the company’s share capital from CHF 19 million to only CHF 3 million francs. Funds dedicated to improving the BDG’s offering include CHF 71 million to be invested in equipment and production over the next three years. Negotiations with the private large investors Ernesto Bertarelli, André Hoffmann, and the group of Family De Picciotto and Worbs are advanced, and several contracts have already been signed. Investing in the BDG by purchasing shares or property, or by the direct and indirect construction of assets makes up a total of CHF 35 million
and allows private investors to keep a future 54 % of the share capital. The share capital of the minority shareholders will be reduced to 4.4 %, and the communities will have 30 %. The current capital increase is expected to be completed shortly, with another round to covet small shareholders within the next three years.
ing, several points remain unresolved. The short-term closure of facilities and the large amount of money spent on the marathon of negotiations with landowners, and the BDG’s historical dependence on public funds mapped out by the destination communities are multi-faceted issues that still need to be addressed.
BDG administration saw further changes as well, with new board members ex-Betty Bossi CEO Walter Lüthi and Ernest von Siebenthal elected to the group as representatives of Rougemont and Château-d’Oex, respectively. They replace outgoing members Christian Witschi and Erik Söderström.
With the complexity of the infrastructure and financial woes the BDG faces, the new chairman of the board certainly has his work cut out for him. Yet Brand’s deep understanding of local issues and a knack for building consensus in the community might be just the thing BDG needs. If his future vision for the company rivals that of his vision for Saanen itself, Brand’s Midas touch may be just the thing the BDG needs to finally regain solvency.
Bright Future for BDG Despite the successful shareholders meet-
A Lesson of Love and Courage Ski Queen Survives Alpine Accident
“The mountain is dangerous,” Erri De Luca, the bestselling author and experienced mountain climber, tells me. BY JANUARIA PIROMALLO
But like De Luca warns, even the best skiers can fall victim to an accident. While they can, and do, happen to anyone, not just anyone can react with the courage excellent skier Brigitta Notz did last week when things went awry.
Brigitta know there’s no stopping her. Like a soldier, she trooped onward. At this point I was ahead of the group, and looked for a way out through the middle of a thick brushwood–one where not even a single ski print could be found. We followed the tracks of an animal…I do not know which one. Perhaps an chamois? They instinctively follow the easiest route.
"It was a good lesson for me,” Brigitta said just afterward, with her usual spark.
Meanwhile Cédric was just behind Brigitta, holding her, supporting her weight. Sometimes he took her into his arms, with a love that only a child is capable of.
For me, it was also a lesson of love. We were skiing together, as we had many times before, accompanies by her son Cédric, an excellent skier and near Olympic champion. The day started out perfectly. The weather was promising and our "addiction" to fresh and un-trucked powder drove us to Gruben.
I managed, somehow, to get to a small open field in the middle of nowhere. Rescuers located us thanks to GPS on the iPhone and my bright red jacket, but it took them a full hour to arrive. The helicopter could not manage to land, so a guide with a steel cable harnessed the exhausted Brigitta and pulled her up like a calf.
Everything was going well, when an off-piste a bit too risky brought us to the brink of a precipice. Below lay a series of white cliffs, and down Brigitta went into a ravine. She fell once, then managed to get up before falling again. She had snapped the ligament in her left knee, and her back was badly injured. But those who know
Wait, this is Brigitta we’re talking about! The scene was more like a 007 Bond girl escaping imminent danger while keeping calm and glamorous. The helicopter took her safely to Zweisimmen Hospital, where Brigitta received emergency treatment and will remain in a brace while her injuries heal.
The worst was been avoided, she says, "Thanks to my army of guardian angels." Referencing her late ex-husband and dear friend Peter Notz, who passed away last year, she insisted, “One was sent especially by Peter. He is always watching me and Cédric from above." Ueli’s Three Golden Rules
"Respect the autority of the mountain and the animals," says Ueli Grundish, the rescue team manager widely considered the best and safest guide in the region. Other tips include: 1) Don’t go where you don't know– at the very least, read a map of the area carefully beforehand. If a red zone is marked, that means it’s a protected area for animals and therefore forbidden 2) Wear an anti-avalanche beeper. Bring a backpack filled with first aid, warm clothing, a rope, thermic blanket, water, and chocolate. 3) Never be too confident or challenge the mountain. The mountain "knows" better than any expert skier.
GSTAAD LIVING // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
Photo: ©Raphaël Faux /Gstaadphotography.com
Taki with his wife Alexandra Theodoracopulos
Gstaad's Modern-Day Petronius Interview with Arbiter Elegantiarum Taki Theodoracopulos
Gstaad Life had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Taki Theodoracopulos, the legendary long-term resident whose name is synonymous with the Saanenland. From the very start of the interview, the controversial columnist displayed his trademark charm.
At nearly 80, Taki still has a spring in his step and a twinkle in his eye–it’s no surprise to learn that he is considered by many to be one of the last great playboys, giving nod to an era gone by; one of chivalry and manners…that is, if you don’t count the tongue-lashings he continues to give at a steady clip.
those were at the Palace–in those days everybody stayed at the Palace. Later, I played the tennis tournament when I was around 20 years old. In summer, being caught in Switzerland was a punishment worse than death. It was filled with old people.
The views expressed in this interview are Taki’s own, and not necessarily those of GSTAADLIFE magazine.
GL: What was Gstaad like back then?
INTERVIEW BY ALEXIS MUNIER
“Boys, I’m going to be the Gstaad Life centrefold!” Taki hollered to pals having a casual afternoon drink at the Palace. While he claims to have a “reduced role in life” (read: the years are catching up with him), Taki has not lost his biggest gift, his no-holds-barred tongue and wicked sense of humour. Nor has he given up on an important goal–to keep Gstaad the way it is, or rather, the way it was. Taki’s life story is literally so interesting that one couldn't make up anything so grandiose–or entertaining. The grandson of the former Prime Minister of Greece and heir to a shipping fortune, Taki’s achievements run the gamut from worldclass athlete to accomplished journalist, from convicted felon to husband of a veritable princess. An Olympic tennis player, he continues his love for sport, and is the oldest life member of the Eagle Ski Club, having joined the exclusive group in 1958.
GL: Taki, you’re known for your outspoken columns, which many have deemed racist or sexist. What can you say to your detractors? TT: The reason I talk the way I do is stop political correctness! Soon we won’t be able to say anything about anybody. You can’t even call someone old anymore. Why are we so afraid to call a spade a spade? Political correctness only leads to a total ban on everything–a censure of sorts.
GL: When did you first come to Gstaad? TT: I have spent all my winters here since I was eight years old. Around 40 of
PROFILE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
TT: I liked Gstaad in the 1950’s and 60’s so much. It was so tiny in those days. Then, when we were in Switzerland, we acted Swiss. We played by the rules. We didn't drive fast, or fight, or show off, or break the law. It made Gstaad unique. These pigs that come here now…Europe has given in to money. Once we let it in, there’s no going back.
GL: And the Palace? TT: Back then there weren’t many private chalets, so we all spent three months here at the Palace in the winter. It was wonderful. We all gambled. Poker, backgammon…it was a big game–me, John Zographos, John Heminway, and Bobby Sweeny. But the crooks found out in the 1980’s and started making trouble, so we had to give it up.
...the idea that you have to have a swimming pool and a movie theatre in a chalet to enjoy the Saanenland is rubbish. It’s really new money that has blemished Gstaad. Taki Theodoracopulos
GL: You've lived for many years on the Oberbort, which in the past decades has gone from charming hamlet to overdeveloped hot-spot. Is this why you’re leaving the area? TT: I’m building a nice old-fashioned chalet that is high up on Wispile in an isolated area. It’s away from the village…my place on the Oberbort became untenable. I couldn't live up there anymore; I couldn't stand to hear Ferraris zoom by and a knock at my door every two minutes.
GL: You say the Promenade is filled with empty boutiques. How was the village different decades ago? TT: When I go into town, I love all the shopkeepers, but the clientele is a horror. People have no manners anymore.
GL: What’s to blame for the lack of manners?
of Egypt 3,000 years ago…and into Gstaad. Had she not done this, we’d have only cheese and milk shops, rather than the luxury boutiques that line the Promenade today.
GL: Is it not the wealthy guests, in general, who keep these boutiques running? TT: All those boutiques are empty. Listen, I don't expect Gstaad to stay exactly the way it was, things have to change. But the idea that you have to have a swimming pool and a movie theatre in a chalet to enjoy the Saanenland is rubbish. It’s really new money that has blemished Gstaad. And, of course, the Arabs.
GL: You say your best friend is Jewish. Can you really be an anti-semite? TT: I grew up in a “country-club anti-Semite” environment where all the WASPS disliked Jews. They didn't actually know anything about them. I went to school with many Jews and it was easy to dislike them because they were smarter than the rest of us! They were better students and worked harder too.
GL: And your earlier comment about Arabs and the deterioration of Gstaad? TT: I’ll quote Winston Churchill: “There is no more retrograde force in the world than Islam.” The people are not the problem…people are people. The problem is the religion.
TT: New money will do it every time. GL: You’re Greek, but I detect a New York accent. How is that so? GL: The world, and indeed Gstaad, has become more multicultural since you’ve been coming here. Do you regret this? TT: Let me tell you a story. Recently I gave a talk to some of the world’s wealthiest individuals. I was seated on the right of Dame Vivian Duffield (Editor’s Note: Dame Duffield is a philanthropist involved closely with charities, including several Jewish charities) which was odd because I make such fun of her publicly. During my speech, I said that she led the Jews out
TT: I grew up in America. My grandfather was convinced that Greece would fall under Soviet rule, so he sent the family overseas, to New York. I spend four months a year there now, and I love it. New York is a fantastic place. It’s also when I spend time with my family, with my son and my grandchildren.
GL: Having grown up in the US, why did you come back to Europe?
TT: Europe after the war was the place to be. In the 1950’s the reconstruction had finished and you had the German and Italian miracles. You had no mass tourism…not as many cars. Rome was a delight. I was based in Paris, which I loved. London was like the 17th century…people wearing strange clothes and speaking strange words.
GL: How did you transition from athlete to renowned journalist? TT: I spent about ten years on the professional tennis circuit and then became a journalist. I started writing and went to the Middle East and Vietnam to cover the wars. I’ve written for National Review, the London Sunday Times, Esquire, Vanity Fair, the New York Press, and Quest Magazine, among others. In 2002 I founded The American Conservative magazine with Pat Buchanan and Scott McConnell, and I’m also publisher of the British magazine Right Now!
GL: You’re the longest running columnist at The Spectator, but your tenure at GSTAADLIFE didn't last as long… TT: My column ‘High Life’ has appeared in The Spectator for the past 38 years. I wrote for GSTAADLIFE briefly, but apparently my columns aren’t polictically correct enough. I do, however, still write a column for the Palace hotel magazine.
GL: If you were tourism director here, which type of guest would you recruit? TT: If we could draw younger, and even poorer, people here to the Saanenland, that would be a great thing.
GL: What is your future vision for Gstaad? TT: The beauty of Gstaad is that the slopes aren’t crowded here like in St Moritz, or France. How do you keep a resort in its original gemütlich state? It’s impossible. Look at St Moritz…it’s a nightmare. It’s made up of three foreign enclaves, and that’s it. I wish we could find a balance between unacceptable glitz and Hollywood style, and large wallets.
PROFILE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
Montée à la page & autres détournements LETIZIA REUSS (Hoffmann) Dans ses découpages suisses, «chinois», fleuris ou animaliers, elle s’emploie et s’amuse, tantôt à camoufler des motifs traditionnels par des jeux d’illusion optique, ou alors à détourner subtilement de proverbiales montées à l’alpage VERNISSAGE le samedi 13 février 2016 de 16:00 à 19:00
EXPOSITION du dimanche 14 février au dimanche 6 mars
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GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
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Photo: Pays-d’Enhaut Tourisme
Night Glow will feature brightly lit hot air balloons against a beautiful Alpine backdrop
Up, Up, & Away in Château-d'Oex Parmigiani-Sponsored International Balloon Festival Now On
Celebrating more than a decade of being the main sponsor is Parmigiani Fleurier, the Swiss watch company whose handmade timepieces with exquisite attention to detail are known as the world’s most exclusive. The company’s unusual commitment to the event represents Michel Parmigiani’s passion for ballooning. Born in Fleurier, Neuchâtel, Parmigiani began his career restoring watches in the so-called ‘Watchmakers Valley’ of Valde-Travers. He went on to establish the House of Parmigiani Fleurier in 1996–and from there his watch empire soon spread across the world. “Ballooning is similar to watchmaking in that it requires great knowledge and precision,” says Parmigiani. “I love the fact that it includes real teamwork for all those aboard. Even those along for the ride help prepare the balloon, especially the packing up of the balloon once it has landed.”
Hot Air Balloons & Loftier Goals Parmigiani Fleurier is no stranger to the Saanenland–in addition to its Swiss flagship studio in Gstaad, it is the main sponsor of the festival, which brings significant tourism income to the region and garners worldwide press each year. The company has also proved it has the mettle to take on charity work of great importance; Parmigiani Fleurier became a donor for the organisation Innocence in Danger several years ago, which works in the area of child sexual abuse and exploitation. This year, the festival is associated with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which, since 2003, provides help to seriously ill children in Switzerland and aims to make their greatest hopes possible.
Alpine peaks as a unique background. The event is sometimes cancelled in inclement weather, but is otherwise expected to start at 6:58pm sharp. Flights on hot air balloons as well as helicopters are also available at the festival, although due to popularity, it’s best to reserve in advance. The festival runs 23–31 January in Château-d’Oex. www.festivaldeballons.ch Photo: zVg
This week welcomes the 38th edition of the International Balloon Festival, which reunites lovers of hot air balloons from around the world. For nine days beginning 23 January 2016, spectators can admire more than 70 hot air balloons and enjoy the selection of activities available for young and old.
New Experiences Children will enjoy captive balloon rides, which climb to a height of 20 metres while still attached by rope to the ground. In the interior hall building, animations include arts and crafts, with ateliers to construct miniature crêpe paper hot air balloons. Several balloons cater to children, with those shaped like pirate cats a favourite this year. On Saturday 30 January, the highly anticipated Night Glow event will feature a lighted balloon show with the surrounding
Watchmaker Michel Parmigiani
SPORTS & LEISURE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
'Tis the Party Season
Events at Local Galleries and Private Chalets Shine
Chiharu Shiota, left, and Patricia Low
Left to right, Mona Khashoggi, Prince Mubarak of Kuwait, IID Director Homayra Sellier
The 2015–2016 winter season is off to a superb start with a bevy of highprofile gatherings and glamorous soirées held in January. Two events stood out in particular.
ambience for a hotel lobby or other distinctive room.
inal piano solo version of his Rhapsody in Blue.
“Keys are familiar and very valuable things that protect important people and spaces in our lives,” said Shiota. “They also inspire us to open the door to unknown worlds…"
At the party, royals Princess Léa of Belgium, King Fouad II of Egypt, and Prince Mubarak of Kuwait were just a few of the distinguished guests present.
After a successful evening, the installation was bought by art historian and collector Georges Marci. Marci (see GSTAADLIFE’s 18 December 2015 interview) founded Chalet Saqqarah, the first gallery in Gstaad, bringing important art to our region.
The festival, founded by Princess Caroline Murat (known professionally as Caroline Haffner), celebrated its 10th anniversary this year and brought a world premiere, international prize-winning musicians, and stars of the stage and screen to the Saanenland. It runs annually from Christmas to New Year’s and welcomes the best in both established and up-and-coming artists our region.
BY JANUARIA PIROMALLO
Shiota at Patricia Low Contemporary 4000 keys, a red grid, an elaborate entanglement of red wool, a crossing of strings, and a week of work–what is the tie that binds these things? Chiharu Shiota. The artist is one of the most acclaimed of the moment; the Japanese Pavillion at the Venice Biennale saw crowds waiting hours in line for just glimpse at her colourful work. Now Shiota’s art is in Gstaad at Patricia Low Contemporary. Under a red rain of ancient keys and people from around the world, a gourmet buffet was served in the company of the artist. A delicious pumpkin soup with mascarpone foam and canapés de fois gras were prepared by L'Atelier d'en Bas, bringing a touch of the Pays-d’Enhaut to the event’s international guests. Each key holds memories, says the artist, as she hung them as talismans above the heads of passing visitors. Hoteliers take heed: Shiota’s custom work can be installed in most spaces, providing a unique
NYMF Party with Homayra Sellier Homayra Sellier, founder of the celebrated local charity Innocence in Danger, hosted a fabulous affair at her home in early January. The evening featured several royal guests of honour, as well as musicians from the New Year Music Festival in Gstaad, whose Gershwin concert 8 January she sponsored. The concert, held at the Grand Hotel Park, was truly magical. Musicologist C. Agathe Amzallag gave a fascinatingly detailed account of George Gershwin’s life and work. French-American pianist François-Joël Thiollier played with a rare combination of logic and emotion, bringing to life some of Gershwin’s most moving compositions including the orig-
LIFESTYLE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
Pianist François-Joël Thiollier
Photo: Satria Abdi Lestari
Delia von Rueti, second from left, with her three daughters and husband Patrick, far right.
The Gentlewoman Farmer
Long-Time Guest Delia von Rueti Shares Her Diverse Passions When you first meet Delia, who is the quintessence of exotic beauty and grace, you understand why it was love at first sight for Patrick von Rueti, a pony-tailed Zürcher. BY JANUARIA PIROMALLO
Delia and Patrick were living in New York; she, a student at NYU, he, working on Wall Street. They met at a student party and became fast friends. Unfortunately Delia was already engaged–in traditional Indonesian style, 2500 wedding invitations had already been sent! But their fate was sealed. Just nine days before the "date", Delia discovered that the future groom had been unfaithful. Amidst her tears and prayers, the marriage was cancelled. Patrick persuaded her to leave anyhow for Indonesia, and to give the party for the poor instead of wasting enough food for 2500 guests! Patrick and Delia were married in La Jolla, California, shortly afterward. With the arrival of three daughters in five years (Sarah, now 20, Kayla 18, and Karina 15), she transformed her home office into a nursery, filled with bottles and Pampers. “In New York we rode the last good wave of the ‘90’s," recalls Delia, who left behind a job at JP Morgan and is now very proud to be a farmer. In 2000, the family moved to Bali, where she and Patrick devoted themselves to raising their children and relaxing on the beach.
In 2010, they started a sustainable palm oil plantation. While palm oil gets a bad rap in the press, Delia and Patrick’s farm is showcase for the success of sustainable farming and agricultural development, often making use of public-private partnerships. Delia is often referred to by the international media as a voice of hope for escaping poverty. The plantation, which maintains 197 licenses, has proven to be the right solution for the local farming community to generate sustainable income, preserve natural heritage, and contribute to Indonesian society as a whole. For her work with sustainable farming, Delia is regularly invited to speak worldwide and share her success story. On 25 February 2016, she will give a speech at the Claridge Hotel in London, to 750 of the wealthiest private companies, sharing her story and encouraging others to do the same. Her message includes the key points of sending children to school with their family’s own money, rather than relying on the donations of humanitarian organisations. Her main focus is women’s empowerment and education for all. She believes both pillars are fundamental for economic development, worldwide but especially in Indonesia. As if her business weren’t enough, Delia also finds the time to design and create exclusive contemporary jewellery. Her brand has catered to some of first ladies of the world, as well as Hollywood celebrities like Lady Gaga and Michelle Yeoh. Her
name is even engraved in the Watchmaking and Jewellery Hall of Fame in Basel, next to the internationally known brands of Cartier, Tiffany, and Bulgari. Delia remains modest, but shares credit with her devoted husband: “When the BBC interviewed me, asking, suspiciously, “Who are you? "I had the same answer as I do today–I am just a woman in love.” With her children now grown and educated here in Switzerland at Le Rosey and Beausoleil, Delia and Patrick live as free spirits between Bali, London, Zurich, and Gstaad. She does consider the Saanenland her "family home", and loves to cook: chicken in coconut milk, spring rolls, spicy soups, and spaghetti alla carbonara. "Could it be a sign of a midlife crisis when a woman spends too much time cooking?" she smiles. If Delia is in the midst of a midlife crisis, it certainly doesn't bother Patrick. After 23 years of marriage, they still look each other deeply in the eyes, referring to the other as amor and sayang (lndonesian for love). In all this time, they have, incredibly, spent just a few nights apart. If this is what a crisis looks like–a woman who manages to juggle a happy marriage, three children, running a plantation, designing her own jewellery, and speaking to the public on eliminating poverty and improving lives–then here’s to hoping we all have one.
LIFESTYLE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
Events Calendar Friday, 29 January 2016 through Thursday, 18 February 2016 29 Jan. – 31 Jan.
Fri, 5 Feb.
International Hot-Air Balloon Week
39 annual festival in Pays-d'Enhaut
All are welcome 8pm
Wed – Sat, 27 –30 Jan.
Fri, 5 Feb. – 26 Feb.
Church Services St Peter’s Anglican Church
Ski Race for Kids
English-Speaking, Château-d’Oex Service every Sunday, 17.30 pm
Three days of races
Paintings by James Franco at Siegfriedcontemporary
www.allsaints.ch/chateaudoex Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fri, 29 – 30 Jan.
Fri, 5 Feb. – 6 Feb.
Art Exhibition Zweisimmen
Ski race with animations, food, music Sat, 6 Feb.
Night Sledding 8:30pm Fridays and Saturdays at Sparemoos
Fri, 29 Jan. – 30 Mar.
Sat, 7 Feb.
All are welcome 1 – 3:30pm
Helicopter Base Tours
Hotel Ermitage Cup
9:30am REGA Tour
Curling Tournament, 9am
Fri, 29 Jan. – 20 Feb.
Wed, 10 Feb.
Lillian Lampart Exhibition
39 Ludi Cup
At the Heimatwerk
Slalom for children
Fri, 29 Jan. – 9 Feb.
Classical music festival featuring world-class performers
On the Zuckerli
Hotel Alpenrose Cup
Hotel Kernen Cup
Snowgames Sat, 13 – 14 Feb.
Snow Cross Moto Neige
Mozart Requiem Coeur de la Cité Lausanne, 6:30pm
All are welcome 8pm Gstaad
Sun, 14 Feb.
All are welcome 8pm
Fondue chinoise on the Eggli, 7pm
Fri, 5 Feb.
Open-Air Ortsverein Cup
Meetings every Monday 12h00 Palace Hotel Gstaad (033 / 748 50 00), President: Rot. Patric Lutz (079 / 669 29 83) Secretary: Rot. Markus Iseli (033 / 748 92 08)
Lions Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings each first and third week of the month on Thursdays, either at 12 pm for lunch or at 7 pm for dinner. Meetings in Ermitage, Wellness & Spa-Hotel, Schönried, Tel. 033 748 60 60. For details and program contact Sigi Feller, president, 033 748 85 73, email@example.com gstaad-saanenland.lionsclub.ch
Schönried For further details please visit: www.gstaad.ch
Photos: Leirado – Fotolia
Curling Tournament 6:30pm
For additional useful numbers please visit www.gstaadlife.ch/useful- numbers.html
Rotary Club Gstaad-Saanenland
Sat, 13 Feb.
General Assembly Thurs, 4 Feb.
Ambulance 144, Police 117, Fire 118 Medical Emergency 0900 57 67 47 Dental Emergency 033 729 26 26 Police Station 033 356 84 31 Car Accident 033 744 88 80 Zweisimmen Hospital 033 729 26 26 Château-d’Oex Hospital 026 923 43 43 Veterinarian 033 748 08 58/ 033 744 06 61
Curling Tournament, 6:30pm
Soroptimist International President: Heidi Gafner-Kiser Tel. 033 748 83 15 Program: Stephanie Iseli Tel. 033 744 18 33
**** * LE GRAND BELLEVUE +41 (0)33 748 00 00, firstname.lastname@example.org **** * THE ALPINA GSTAAD +41 (0)33 888 98 88, email@example.com
*** * BOUTIQUE HOTEL ALPENROSE +41 (0)33 748 91 91, firstname.lastname@example.org *** * GOLFHOTEL LES HAUTS DE GSTAAD +41 (0)33 748 68 68, email@example.com *** *HOTEL DE ROUGEMONT Member of Design HotelsTM +41 (0)26 921 01 01, firstname.lastname@example.org **** HOTEL LE GRAND CHALET +41 (0)33 748 76 76, email@example.com **** HOTEL ARC-EN-CIEL +41 (0)33 748 43 43, firstname.lastname@example.org **** HOTEL BERNERHOF +41 (0)33 748 88 44, email@example.com **** HOTEL CHRISTIANIA +41 (0)33 744 51 21, firstname.lastname@example.org **** HOTEL GSTAADERHOF: +41 (0)33 748 63 63, email@example.com
Classifieds in GSTAADLIFE
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EVENTS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
**** ROMANTIK HOTEL HORNBERG +41 (0)33 748 66 88, email@example.com **** STEIGENBERGER ALPENHOTEL AND SPA +41 (0)33 748 64 64, firstname.lastname@example.org ** * HOTEL ALPINE LODGE +41 (0)33 748 41 51, email@example.com ** * HOTEL DES ALPES BY BRUNO KERNEN +41 (0)33 748 04 50, firstname.lastname@example.org *** HOTEL BELLERIVE +41 (0)33 748 88 33, email@example.com *** HOTEL ALPENLAND +41 (0)33 765 91 34, firstname.lastname@example.org *** HOTEL ALPHORN +41 (0)33 748 45 45, email@example.com *** HOTEL ERMITAGE +41 (0)26 924 25 00, firstname.lastname@example.org *** HOTEL KERNEN +41 (0)33 748 40 20, email@example.com *** HOTEL LANDHAUS +41 (0)33 748 40 40, firstname.lastname@example.org *** HOTEL SAANERHOF +41 (0)33 744 15 15, email@example.com ** * HOTEL SOLSANA +41 (0)33 748 94 94, firstname.lastname@example.org ** * HOTEL SPITZHORN +41 (0)33 748 41 41, email@example.com *** POSTHOTEL RÖSSLI +41 (0)33 748 42 42, firstname.lastname@example.org *** SAANEWALD LODGE +41 (0)33 744 69 69, email@example.com
Place your classified ad here for CHF 17.– per line (plus CHF 20.– for the highlight box).
**** * GRAND HOTEL PARK +41 (0)33 748 98 00, firstname.lastname@example.org
**** HOTEL OLDEN +41 (0)33 748 49 50, email@example.com
A day of family fun
From Christian Zimmermann, 6:30pm
Night Skiing Fri, 12 Feb.
Scotland Reportage Live
Wed, 3 Feb.
Thurs, 11 Feb.
On the Rinderberg
Curling Tournament, 9am – 4pm
Sun, 31 Jan
Wed, 10 Feb.
Sun, 31 Jan.
Les Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad
Fri, 29 Jan
**** * GSTAAD PALACE +41 (0)33 748 50 00, firstname.lastname@example.org
***** ERMITAGE, WELLNESS & SPA HOTEL +41 (0)33 748 04 30, email@example.com
Cheer Art, Thurs, Fri, Sat Fri, 29 Jan. – 5 Mar.
Gstaadlife is available in these Hotels
*** SPORTHOTEL VICTORIA +41 (0)33 748 44 22, firstname.lastname@example.org HOTEL RESTAURANT BÄREN +41 (0)33 755 10 33, email@example.com HOTEL GELTENHORN +41 (0)33 765 35 91, firstname.lastname@example.org HOTEL VIKTORIA +41 (0)33 755 10 34, email@example.com HOTEL WILDHORN +41 (0)33 765 30 12, firstname.lastname@example.org
LES INCONTOURNABLES AT THE GRAND HOTEL PARK SUSHI & SASHIMI, BEGINNER’S WORKSHOP create your own sushi and sashimi with our Chef Yotin every Wednesday from 10:30am to noon SUNDAY BRUNCH large selection of food and live Jazz music every Sunday starting at noon
TEATIME English tea, scones, sandwiches, and more daily from 3pm to 5:30pm
TIME FOR AN APERITIF oysters, caviar, and champagne daily from 6:30pm in the Club Bar
TAKE AWAY our sushi, sashimi and seafood on the go; daily
Wispilenstrasse 29 – Gstaad Reservation : 033.748.98.00 – email@example.com
ROSE MORANT Golden trees & spheres
LES RAC IN E S THE ROOTS OF HEAVEN
IRENE KUNG Art & Photography Chalet Farb
CHALET FARB I FARBSTRASSE 20 I 3792 SAANEN Vernissage & cocktail inaugural en présence des artistes le dimanche 7 février de 16:00 à 19:00 Exposition au Chalet Farb du lundi 8 février au samedi 5 mars 2016 de 16:00 à 19:00 et sur rendez-vous Caroline Freymond +41 (0)79 456 9181
GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 1 // JANUARY 29, 2016
The exclusive publication about the good life in Gstaad.