G R A N D H O T E L PA R K · 2 9 W I S P I L E N S T R A S S E · C H 3 7 8 0 · T H E A L P I N A G S TA A D · 2 3 A L P I N A S T R A S S E · C H 3 7 8 0 ·
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June 26, 2015 - Issue 3 – CHF 3.50
CRAZY CRAB SPIDERS READY FOR TAKE OFF
Bert Inäbnit's Flora & Fauna
Ambitious Saanenland Airport Project
GSTAAD'S URBAN LEGEND
Architect Elisabeth Wampfler
SA ANENL AND C ALENDARS 2016
The calendar will be available by mid-July Order now online at www.kalendersaanenland.ch
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GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 3 // JUNE 26, 2015
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Photo: © Frank Müller
Sunday in the Park with Georg
It may not be the fastest method of transportation, yet nothing beats a lazy afternoon in an old rowboat.
But for those of us who are more biscuits than biceps, a parasol, picnic, and good book, or dare I say, copy of the new and improved GSTAADLIFE, may be just the things to bring along for the ride. That and a strapping young lad to manage the oars while you glean through our pages and catch up on all the local news you’ve missed. Watershed Down April and May are traditionally the quiet months of spring in the Saanenland. But while the off-season saw visitors draw to a trickle, fierce storms left the region soaking wet. Although the rains were welcome after a relatively dry winter, some streams were bursting at their seams. Be sure to read our article on Chalberhöni, which sustained tens of thousands of francs in damages, and–despite a rehabilitation project–still needs work in order to secure its basin. Flagship Design Elisabeth Wampfler walked the plank two decades ago and left the Saanenland to pursue studies in architecture and urban planning in Lausanne. Now Wampfler has returned to become one of the region’s shining architectural stars. Ironically, she’s now working on projects here that are larger than anything she tackled in the big city. From The Alpina to Le Rosey’s new campus to the Saanen airport, Wampfler proves that even small towns have room for big ideas.
Speaking of the airport, we have a full page on the upcoming redesign of the Saanenland’s only runway. With a complete overhaul and reconstruction in the works, the project is one of the largest Switzerland has even seen for a regional airport. Word has it there will be something for everyone at the new facility–from the technologically innovative rotating hangar for private planes to an observation deck from which to watch the well-heeled guests fly in. Row, Row, Row Your Boat This summer, GSTAADLIFE continues to sail along. Like in all seasons past, the magazine presents several new features.
I’d like to welcome you to our Reader’s Page at the forefront of every issue. Send us your favourite photo of the Saanenland, with a short description and bio, and we may just publish it in an upcoming issue. Congrats to Andrea C., who snapped this photo when she happened upon a family of llamas at the top of Wispile, which is only slightly rarer than catching a glimpse of another famous Lama in these parts. Bert Inäbnit, who graced our cover two summers ago, is a nature enthusiast and wildlife expert. In a debut series entitled Flora & Fauna, Inäbnit will explore all manner of living creature in the Saanenland. With translation help from GSTAADLIFE’s
very own Markus Iseli, we’ll bring Inäbnit’s extraordinary photographs and profound knowledge of local creatures to you in upcoming editions. Change of Crew It’s with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to columnist Mandolyna Theodoracopulos, who generously graced our pages with her acerbic wit and controversial commentary. A mere “thank you” is not enough to express our gratitude, and we wish Mandolyna well, wherever the tide may take her. However, we are thrilled to welcome back a familiar face–Diana Oehrli–to GSTAADLIFE. Some of you might remember her work here several years ago as Editor in Chief. Now, Oehrli joins our team as a columnist, sharing her views on timely local topics. As a half-American, half-Swiss writer who has lived in the United States, France, Switzerland, and beyond, Oehrli’s unique perspective will have you falling for her hook, line, and sinker. From Stem to Stern This issue is packed with stories and images to rock your boat, no matter where you may put down anchor. Here's to wishing you a Bon Voyage! as you row merrily down a Saanen stream to the summer of your dreams.
Best regards, Alexis Munier Editor in Chief
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 3 // JUNE 26, 2015
Photo: Andrea C. subtlepatterns.com
READER'S PAGE Your Vision of Gstaad
I never get tired of hiking the Wispile. It delivers all the beauty of wildflowers in bloom, pure, fresh alpine air, and even the occasional llama. The steep hike takes around two hours, but the less intrepid can take the cable car up to enjoy spectacular views of Gstaad village, Glacier 3000, and the waterfalls of Lauenensee. Thanks for everything, Gstaad â€“ I wish everyone the very best in the future! â€“ Andrea C., a Canadian who enjoyed photographing the nature and beauty of the region while she lived here. Find more of her photos on Instagram @Maisonlorenzbach
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: Archiv/Blanca Burri
3 Letter from the Editor by Alexis Munier 4 Reader's Page 17 No Such Thing as a Free Lunch Break by Diana Oehrli 18 Events Calendar
7 Hotel Bären Loses Management Two Years Early 7 BDG Director Cantieni to Step Down 7 Volleyball Awaits at Gstaad Major Event
Photo: Bert Inäbnit
Photomontage: Jaggi & Partner AG
staad Living G 8 Perfect Landing–New Aiport for Saanen 9 Chalberhöni Project 11 Armed Robbery on Gstaad Promenade
12 Local Girl Makes Good … Buildings–Architect Elisabeth Wampfler
Flora & Fauna
14 The Saanenland's Crab Spiders
Sports & Leisure
15 GYC Breezes Through Spring 2015
16 The Alpina Hosts Gygi's Garden Art 16 Davidoff Saveurs Celebrates 20 Anniversary th
Cover Photo: Alexis Munier www.gstaadlife.com
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CONTENTS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 3 // JUNE 26, 2015
Summer bliss at the Gstaad Palace 26th June – early September: Outdoor Pool Season Take a swim in our Olympic outdoor pool surrounded by the beautiful alpine scenery and treat yourself to a break at our snack bar. Our pool is open every day from 9.30 am to 7.00 pm (weather permitting). Every Sunday in July and August: Palace Brunch Is there any better way than kicking off a Sunday morning with a big buffet and grilled specialties on our sunny terrace, accompanied by Swiss live music and entertainment for young guests? Welcome to our Sunday Brunch! 5th July: Davidoff Saveurs To culminate the 20th edition of the renowned gourmet festival, we are proud to host Swiss chef Stéphane Décotterd whose restaurant «Le Pont de Brent» grace 2 Michelin stars and 18 Gault & Millau points. 16th July – 12th September: Gstaad Menuhin Festival and Academy Let your classical evening end with culinary delights and stunning views on our terrace – our Grand Restaurant remains open longer during the Gstaad Menuhin Festival and Academy. 1st August: Swiss National Day Celebrate Switzerland’s 724th birthday together with the Scherz family along a cocktail reception followed by a buffet of Swiss and international specialties, the traditional ﬁreworks as well as a night of celebration at the Lobby Bar and our GreenGo night club. Every Friday and Saturday in August: GreenGo Clubbing Time! Dance the night away at Gstaad’s place to be since 1971! 9th August: Palace Kid’s Grand Prix A big day for our small guests! Our inaugural Palace Kid’s Grand Prix with DJ, snacks and way more will create a fun atmosphere.
3780 Gstaad - Switzerland Phone: +41 33 748 50 00 email@example.com - www.palace.ch GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 3 // JUNE 26, 2015
Photo: Archiv / AvS
Anne-Sophie Jaggi and Lukas Gasser are set to enjoy one last season at the Bären.
Bären Loses Energetic New Ownership
The future of the legendary Hotel Bären, now known as the Bären Gsteig Hotel & Restaurant, is yet again up in the air. BY GSTAADLIFE
Gsteig will bid farewell to managers Anne-Sophie Jaggi and Lukas Gasser, who are ready to leave the establishment. The community of Gsteig has agreed to dissolve their four-year lease early, allowing it to come to an end this autumn.
Jaggi and Gasser took over the hotel in December 2013. The young couple infused the traditional Bären with energy and enthusiasm, yet many Gsteigers did not warm to them. Although Jaggi and Gasser were aware the undertaking would be difficult, they did not anticipate such hardship integrating into the local village population.
Nearly two years ago, the Gstaad Palace ceased operations at the hotel and the facility was turned over to Jaggi and Gasser. Future management of the hotel has yet to be determined.
The Bären has seen its share of changes in management since 1756, when the classic wooden chalet-style hotel was built.
“We are looking forward to the summer,” say Jaggi and Gasser. “We’ll give it our ‘all’ until the very end.”
Yet Jaggi and Gasser are still busy gearing up for one last season.
BDG Director Steps Down Gstaad Major
Armon Cantieni will leave his position as director of the BDG (Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad) in Janaury 2016, according to a statement released by the Board of Directors. BY GSTAADLIFE
Cantieni has led the firm since June 2006, and it was under his leadership that the concept of "concentration" was implemented in 2008. He led the renewal of the railway systems in Videmanette, Chaltebrunnetal, and Parwengensattel. as well as expanded snowmaking by securing annual contributions from partner municipalities. Yet despite extensive investments, cost savings programmes, and Cantieni’s dedication, the company could not keep its
head above water in such a highly competitive market.
Saving the troubled mountain railways company has proved a challenging and confusing task. 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 is under development. It will need to be approved by the City Council before it goes yet again to the voters in late summer or autumn. Cantieni’s departure will occur at end January 2016, after voters approve the plan for the company’s financial recovery. The vote is expected in early autumn.
The best beach volleyball players will be in Gstaad this year for a very special tournament–the newly christened Gstaad Major. BY GSTAADLIFE
This year’s event marks a change in structure, with organisers bidding the former Gstaad Grand Slam goodbye and welcoming the new event, which is sponsored by Swatch, in its place. From July 7–12, a full programme of games is scheduled, as well as side events which are notoriously popular. Highlights include a wrap-up concert July 12 by Swiss pop star Stephanie Heinzmann, and a dance party until the wee hours of the morning July 7–9 with some of the hottest international DJs. Full schedule at: www.beachworldtour.ch.
LOCAL NEWS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 3 // JUNE 26, 2015
Photomontage: Jaggi & Partner AG
Gstaad-Saanenland Airport Gets a Much-Needed Makeover Saanen Airport is set to become the jewel in the crown of Switzerland’s regional airports. With a total renovation and construction project underway, the site will host one of the most modern small airports in the country. BY ALEXIS MUNIER
The remaking of the only airport in the Saanenland is not up for debate–the airport must be renovated to ensure optimal safety. Residents will say goodbye to decrepit facilities and dated infrastructure of the original airfield, which and was built by the military during World War II for defense purposes in the early 1940s. In 1986, the runway was rehabilitated; in June 2011 the airfield was bought by the FGGS (Airfield Cooperative Gstaad-Saanenland). The FGGS is responsible for bringing this current project to life. Designed to Fly Architect Elisabeth Wampfler of local firm Jaggi & Partner led the total redesign, which features several important upgrades. “The building faces south so we can use solar energy for some of the airfield’s light, heat and electrical needs,” says Wampfler. An attention to safety also marks this design. “The infrastructure for air operations will be concentrated on the north side,” says FGGS President Walter Egger, explaining that currently, some workers have to cross
the runway to exit the airfield. “This will reduce the dangerous runway crossings.” In addition to repaving the runway, a grand, new structure will be built to host airfield’s terminal and hangars. To the left of the terminal, two hangars for helicopters will be used by Air Glaciers and the handful of businessmen who commute this way to Geneva each day. To the right, three hangers for aircraft will feature rotating storage units, allowing for pilots to park airplanes on their own without additional help. The terminal building will consist of two floors and a large observation deck. In addition to a customs declaration area and waiting room, management offices will be located on the ground floor. Air traffic control will occupy the next level. Visitors will be able to access the observation deck, built on the structure’s flat roof.
per year, a number designated by the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation, which oversees such quotas. “The flight total estimate is 6560,” says Egger, “which is well within the legal limit.” The High Price of Modern Aviation Despite the benefits of renewing the aiport’s infrastructure, it doesn’t come cheap. The price tag: total of CHF 30 million. Two-thirds of the cost will come from private donors, while the remaining CHF 10 million has been pledged by the municipality of Saanen.
Great care has been taken to design structures which respect the airfield’s natural location. The project’s supervisors say it will be easy on the eyes and fit in nicely with the surrounding landscape.
The search for potential donors is currently underway. FGG Boardmember Marcel Bach says he has several verbal promises and hopes to have signed letters of intent by the end of the year. Bach says that once funded, the project will be self-supporting. Heinz Brand, Saanen Councilman, confirms the CHF 10 million contribution to come from Saanen, but admits public institutions like the other municipalities and cantons should contribute as well.
Blue Skies Ahead Naysayers don’t have much to fret about– the renovation is not expected to increase air traffic. Only 8200 flights are permitted
“The Saanenland lives from tourism,” says Egger, when asked about the need for such infrastructure. “The airport is vital for this reason.”
GSTAAD LIVING // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 3 // JUNE 26, 2015
As a destination for upscale visitors and wealthy part-time residents, Saanen needs an airfield which can handle the influx of private planes. Gstaad Saanenland Tourism supports the project wholeheartedly, Director Martin Bachofner told the group of 80 attendees at an information seminar in May.
“Tourism in Switzerland faces enormous challenges," says Bachofner. “Switzerland has always been a high-priced country…to remain competitive internationally it must invest in power and infrastructure.” Time to Fly The FGGS group has an ambitious timeframe–the building application will be
filed in June, and the financing is expected to be secured by next year. The project will go before the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation, which is charged with either approving or rejecting it. According to Egger, if everything goes smoothly, construction will begin in 2016 and the entire project will be completed by 2018.
Chalberhöni Project Begins Last Phase
While all of Switzerland saw heavy rainfall this spring, the Saanenland was particularly badly hit. The region’s streams roared with high water levels, and Chalberhöni was no exception. BY GSTAADLIFE
The stream is finally beginning the last phase of a complicated rehabilitation project, which was deemed necessary after it was badly hit in the devastating storm of summer 2010 that caused millions of francs in damages.
This spring, Chalberhönibach swelled to just 5 to 10 centimetres below the Oeyetli Bridge, and in the several places in the upper basin of the dam, flooded over. It also flooded over near its mouth on the Saane, dredging up 300 to 400 cubic metres of rubble and sediment. At this stage it is unclear which communities will be responsible for the price of the clean up. As a precaution, several roads were closed in the area. With the easing of the rainfall and the removal of any rubble complete, they were all reopened. All in all, the rains caused a scare and some clean up, yet the situation could have been much worse. Fortunately there were no injuries or damage to any buildings.
“We are lucky that in spite of the intense rains, there were no serious consequences,” says Christian Brand, head of the Fire Department. Brand noted that even after rainfall stops there is a danger of flooding. “It takes approximately 5 to 7 hours for the water levels to fall,” he informed. The complex plans for the last phases of the Chalberhöni project were made public and any objections filed by May 15. They showed several changes to the area are due, including moving the road northward and rebuilding the Oeyetli Bridge about 10 metres closer to the Saane. The Rübelidorf Bridge will also be reconstructed. With any luck, the work will commence this fall, and reach completion before any further storms cause irreparable damage.
After the 2010 storm, steps were taken to prevent future destruction on the Chalberhönibach, which runs from the enclave of the same name down to Gstaad. At a total cost of CHF 5,8 million, an overflow dam was constructed to hold back 10,000 cubic metres of sediment, and the bridge and road were reconstructed as well. The im-
provements were expected to ensure the Chalberhönibach remained in its streambed; yet May's rains tested its capability.
GSTAAD LIVING // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 3 // JUNE 26, 2015
GSTAAD WATCH © Last winter, we took the opportunity to present our product GSTAAD WATCH to Saanenland residents at the Gstaad Yacht Club. During the presentation, the audience had the chance to ask questions about this service and security matters in the region in general. The vivid exchange proved that security is always on the mind of the international community of chalet owners and residents and that it is indeed something of great concern. GSTAAD WATCH is seen as a necessary service that is welcomed with open arms.
GSTAAD WATCH aims to… • … act as a deterrent to criminals, challenge and record any suspicious activity and call on the appropriate authorities if necessary • … considerably reduce security cost for everyone by sharing them. • … have an efficient and rapid response to any alarm situation in participating chalets and businesses. • … assist the authorities in detecting and deterring crime by reporting suspicious activities and vehicles near participating clients’ chalets and businesses. • … reduce fear of crime by providing up-todate information about actual crimes and police counter-measures. • … Gstaad and its surrounding villages as crime-free as possible through the joint participation of all interested parties.
How does it work? • You subscribe to one of our three service packages. • We include the area around your property into our patrolling routes. • Depending on the package, we provide patrolling, property patrolling and intervention services. • We record all suspicious events, persons, vehicles, etc. and if necessary, report them to the appropriate authorities. • If you or your employees notice anything suspicious, you can call us on our emergency number and we will respond in a discreet and efficient manner. We respond to the following situations: • Burglary alarms • Panic alarms • Suspicious activities • Fire alarms • Technical alarms
Our agents are regularly trained in Basic Life Support & AED Defibrillation, conflict resolution, self defence/unarmed combat, weapon handling.
So, what about GSTAAD WATCH? GSTAAD NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH was developed to bring a new standard in security patrol services to the region. With years of experience and competence in the security field and good knowledge of the local situation; Excel Security Solutions believes the best way to defend against crime is to introduce a proactive security solution. The service consists of constant patrolling between the hours of 20h00 and 06h00. The patrolling agents will choose their routes at random, making it impossible for potential criminals to plan their attacks around the patrols. Our agents act as a deterrent to criminals, challenge and record any suspicious activity and call on the appropriate authorities if necessary. In the event of a medical emergency, a fire alarm or if you are a victim or a witness to a crime, we recommend you always call the appropriate authorities first.
What is NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH? Neighbourhood Watch is one of the biggest and most successful crime prevention initiatives ever. The concept is: «Getting together with your neighbours to take action can cut crime in our region.» Wherever introduced, it reduces not only crime, but also vandalism. The main tool in any Neighbourhood Watch programme is the sharing of information of potential criminal activities and suspicious individuals before crimes are committed, thus helping to prevent them. Another aspect of Neighbourhood Watch is the citizen patrol to detect and prevent any criminal activities from happening. As chalet/business owner, we do not expect you to paNEIGHBOURHOOD trol your neighbourhood. This task will be performed NEIGHBOURHOOD by the professional agents P.O. Box 166, 3780 Gstaad of Excel Security Solutions Tel. +41 33 748 31 01, Fax +41 33 748 AG, Gstaad.
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 3 // JUNE 26, 2015
Photo: Jonas Bach
Armed Robbery on Gstaad Promenade
On Friday, May 1 at four pm, a man who spoke broken German entered the jewellery shop at Promenade 55. A second man followed, and they proceeded to hold the two female employees at gunpoint. The assailants stole jewellery and watches worth over several hundred thousand francs and were last seen heading toward Bahnhofplatz. Seeking Witnesses The Bern Cantonal Police released a description of the men and has asked the public to contact them immediately if they have any additional information.
He wore a dark hooded jacket, grey raincoat, blue jeans, and brown leather shoes. He carried a red and black backpack and spoke broken German with an Eastern European accent.
Safe in the Saanenland? The Saanenland maintains a relatively low crime rate compared to other areas in the canton. Police statistics from 2012 show only 40 criminal incidents per 1000 inhabitants in the region, versus 176 per 1000 in the city of Bern. Yet local businesses remain at risk, along with the many chalets that sit empty much of the year, as most home or business robberies occur whilst the victims are away.
Local security expert James Otigbah argues that further measures and procedures should be put into place to prevent such incidents. “Even though crimes of this scale are not a common occurrence in the Saanenland, it is a worrying threat both to residents and employees of luxury boutiques," says Otigbah, Owner, Excel Security Solutions, which provides many local shops and chalets with security services of varying degrees. “Local businesses, residents, and the municipality should join to find a permanent solution for improving the security situation in the region,” stresses Otigbah.
The story could’ve been ripped from the headlines in London, Paris, or New York–not Gstaad, nestled peacefully in the Swiss Alps. Yet this spring, an armed robbery occurred in broad daylight on the busiest street in Gstaad, just 100 metres from a police station.
The first man is described as 30 to 35 years old, 180 cm tall, with a thin build and a distinctive harelip. He was wearing thick glasses with a wide black frame, a light grey Basque-style cap and dark leather gloves. Under a dark blue raincoat, he wore a white collared shirt, blue jeans and dark sneakers, and carried a backpack. The second man appears 25–30 years old, with a thin build, dark eyes, and square jaw.
The Saanenland has a crime rate four times lower than the city of Bern.
GSTAAD LIVING // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 3 // JUNE 26, 2015
Photo: Jaggi & Partners
Local Girl Makes Good … Buildings Architect Elisabeth Wampfler Redesigns Her Native Saanenland
INTERVIEW BY ALEXIS MUNIER
Elisabeth Wampfler, partner at Jaggi & Partner, is one of Gstaad’s most admired architects. Wampfler’s prestigious projects, which have ranged from a chateau near Lake Geneva to the train station in Gstaad, have won praise across the region. Now, with her Saanen Airport dream project in the works, the architect sat with GSTAADLIFE to discuss quitting the big city for her Bernese homeland, and the future of architecture here. GSTAADLIFE: Are you a Gstaaderin by background or at heart? Elizabeth Wampfler: I’m originally from Saanen. At 14 I attended the gymnasium in Interlaken and later completed my studies in architecture at the EPFL in Lausanne. I specialized in urban planning and was happy living there in the city.
GL: So how did you wind up here again, in your childhood home?
EW: I had no plans to return to the Saanenland and I wasn’t sure I could ever enjoy living in a rural area. Yet it took moving back home to realize that this is the life for me. Mr Jaggi, my current employer, needed someone who spoke fluent French for the big renovation of a chateau outside Lausanne. I had interned with him, so naturally he thought of me. When the project was finished, I took on a few of Mr Jaggi’s projects in the Saanenland. If it had just been to do chalets, I wouldn’t have moved back. But I have had the incredible luck to work on some amazing, unusual projects here in the Saanenland.
since Mr Jaggi is retiring and three of us, all partners, will take over the business in the near future.
GL: Can you contrast and compare the quality of life here to the city?
GL: What are some of the projects Jaggi & Partner is known for?
EW: It turns out I’m a mountain girl! I love skiing. I love hiking. I love the countryside. None of those things is available in Lausanne. I don't miss the city and definitely prefer the quality of life here. I do plan to stay in the region, especially
EW: The Alpina was one of our key projects. We’ve done many other hotels including the Spitzhorn, Ermitage, and Bernerhof, and also public projects like several MOB train stations and neighbourhood planning for Saanen.
PROFILE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 3 // JUNE 26, 2015
GL: Are all of Jaggi & Partner’s projects in the region? EW: Mr Jaggi was one of the first real interior architects in Gstaad. He is not just a designer, but also a true interior architect. As such he was highly valued and word spread about his skills, so projects in Mallorca, Graubünden and other areas have been secured.
Our regulations spare us from ugly things, and spare us from very creative things. It's a dilemma… Elisabeth Wampfler
GL: What about a dream project? EW: When I was in school, we always imagined our dream projects. All my friends dreamed of an opera or cultural centre, but I had the idea to design an airport. I never thought my dream would come true and now it has. The airport is unusual because the project is quite large for a small region. The Federal Office of Civil Aviation told me that most airports are redone slowly, or partially, in steps. The fact that we are completely overhauling the entire buildings of the airport at once is highly unusual, and one of the biggest projects of its kind in all of Switzerland. At the beginning, we had to make a tremendous amount of research into what was needed, and work that into what our clients wanted. There have been interviews with those in charge of the airport, Air Glaciers pilots, guests who use the airport, and others, to determine the plans and a create a project that works for everyone.
GL: What is the project you’ve been most proud of up until this point? EW: That’s a tough question, as I’m really proud of all my projects and of the teamwork that was necessary to achieve them. I did all the planning coordination for The Alpina, though, which was pretty special. It took us four years to build, which is a long time but we had lots of interesting partners. We had the chance to work with a professional light planner, for example, and interior decorators that work at a very high level. I prefer public buildings to private ones, however it’s nice to work on all sorts of budgets. So for local people building homes, but all big projects like the central heating centre in Saanen.
GL: Do you feel the regulations are too strict here in the Saanenland, which zaps creativity?
EW: We could talk about day about this subject. Our regulations spare us from ugly things, and spare us from very creative things. It's a dilemma … With fewer regulations we could have more freedom to design ‘outside the box’. The other problem is the price of land here. Because property is so expensive, every square centimetre must be exploited. For example, if the height of a house is restricted, you have to build to this height to get the most space for the money. So after 1980, when regulations were tightened, every house looks more or less the same … a monotony of new chalets with all the same roof angles, same balconies, same windows. I’d prefer that the law sets limits, but is less strict about small things–the tiny details–like windows. Most architects would agree with me.
GL: Your thoughts on Lex Weber, also known as the Second Home Initiative? Has it already affected your business? EW: We have lots of hotel and public projects that are not too affected by Lex Weber. My problem with this law is that everyone was put in the same boat. These questions should be resolved regionally, and not federally or nationally. We will all be affected by these new restrictions. There was little fighting back against the measure in 2012 because nobody honestly thought it would pass, and I think many voters, especially those in urban areas, were not aware of the damage it might cause in rural or alpine locations.
GL: How does it feel to be a successful woman in a male-dominated profession? EW: I’d like to see more female architects in the Saanenland. Architecture is traditionally a profession associated with men, but that’s even more evident in this
region. Men and women have a different approach to architecture. Together, by combining our ideas and knowledge, we can do amazing things.
GL: Now that your dream project is in the works, what’s your next dream? EW: We’re still waiting on Canton Bern’s approval, but I’m really looking forward to the new Rosey campus. The challenge there is finding a way to combine chalet architecture that guests prefer and the institutional buildings needed for an academic setting. I firmly believe the design of a room, and the atmosphere it creates, is important to achieve the best learning environment possible. Schoolrooms shouldn’t be made in chalets, which traditionally have small spaces and a cosy feeling. For Rosey, we’ve designed inspirational, airy, institutional buildings that blend nicely with the chalet-style housing, which was not easy.
GL: How do you feel about Les Arts Gstaad, which remains controversial among locals? EW: Les Arts Gstaad is a great idea but their outreach and image must change a bit. We need to believe that the project is a cultural and arts centre for everyone, not just guests. It should be a truly year-round centre, and not just open a few months in season. I believe size is not such an issue; it’s more a question of how the centre will operate afterward, and who will be able to benefit and make use of it. The tent just won't cut it any longer–I’m convinced we do need a new arts centre, and with the right approach Les Arts Gstaad can be very beneficial to the community. GL: What about a home of your own here in the Saanenland? Is that a realistic dream as well? EW: Funny you should ask. I inherited my grandmother’s home in Saanen and am currently redesigning it. I’ll keep the standard chalet exterior and create a new interior design with a very modern kitchen and bathroom. I’m not a great cook, but perhaps this will give me the inspiration to try a little harder!
PROFILE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 3 // JUNE 26, 2015
Photos: Bert Inäbnit
The Saanenland's Crab Spiders Summer Series – Bert Inäbnit's Flora & Fauna
If you don’t like spiders (or are even afraid of them) and find the sideways gait of crabs disconcerting, you will love crab spiders. BY BERT INÄBNIT, TRANSLATION BY MARKUS ISELI
So the next time you pick some flowers on a pasture on your hiking trip through the Saanenland, you might want to look
out for that petal that suddenly scuttles off to one side…
Nature enthusiast and ornithological expert Bert Inäbnit is the stuff of local legend, thanks to his uncanny ability to befriend wild animals. According to Inäbnit, each morning when he leaves the house and walks outside, he whistles-and the wild Nuthatch, Chaffinch and Great Tit literally fly into his arms. Inäbnit is a frequent contributor to newspapers in the region, writing articles on birds, butterflies and insects–really any topic that involves Alpine wildlife. Photos: Raphaël Faux
These little eight-legged crawlers are indeed named after crabs because they can scuttle sideways. The spiders also hold their two front pairs of legs so they look similar to a crab’s claws. Instead of building webs, crab spiders sit on a flower and wait for an insect. As a bee or a fly settles on the flower to enjoy some fresh nectar, the spider’s clawlike legs grab it.
However, another feature is even more fascinating than their mere resemblance to crabs; perhaps chameleon spider would be the better term. But then, you don’t want to start arguing about popular names for wild animals. In any case, to be invisible to approaching insects, crab spiders don’t have standard camouflage. They adapt it by changing their colour according to their surroundings, in most cases the petals of a flower, where they wait for their prey.
FLORA & FAUNA // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 3 // JUNE 26, 2015
Photos: Gstaad Yacht Club
GYC Breezes Through Spring 2015 Nacra 17 Team Well on Way to 2016 Olympics
BY GSTAAD YACHT CLUB
The Gstaad Yacht Club’s in-between season focuses its members–passion for sailing with events both in the clubhouse and beyond. Here you’ll find a detailed overview of the most exciting news from Spring 2015. A Boost in Confidence for Rio The GYC Racing Team has done it again with a terrific performance at the Eurosaf Champions Sailing Cup in Medemblik, Netherlands. On their Nacra 17, Matías Bühler and Nathalie Brugger finished in 5th place nationally and 8th place overall. The win confirms their spot amongst the world’s sailing elite, and paves the way for success at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. After a week of intense work in Lake Garda, Italy, devoted to hydrodynamic settings and testing new equipment (yes, this sport is starting to resemble Formula 1!), the team headed to the Netherlands for a "training" regatta and a validation of their options. With the world’s best Olympic Nacra sailors present–46 crews from 28 nations– our team managed to perform well. They achieved good racing statistics, despite the strong winds of approximately 20 knots. In 8 out of 12 races they finished in the top 10, and won two medals for 2nd and 3rd place. Overall they were happy with the performance, although too many tiny mistakes have kept the podium out of their reach. With this incredibly high level of competition in the pre–Olympic year, there is no
alternative except aiming for perfection. The team will work hard with coach Sebbe Godefroid achieve their goals and bring their performance up to an even higher level. After a short break to recharge their batteries, Bühler and Brugger headed to Weymouth, UK for the World Cup. They trained here, famous for being the London Olympic Games waters just before the event. Congratulations are in order, as the duo came in 2nd, winning the Silver Medal.
Swiss sailing teams to the Olympics. Now Team Bühler/Brugger has already qualified for the Swiss sailing team. Yet Erzberger insists on an even greater goal regarding GYC’s participation. “We’d like to see our club’s youngest candidate, sailing prodigy Nils Theuninck, take great strides forward in competition,” explained Peter Erzberger.
Carrying the "Gstaad" Brand Worldwide To prepare for their athletic challenges in an adequate way, the GYC financed a private fundraising campaign. GYC supported the team in March by providing a new bus. Gstaad Saanenland Tourism has provided generous support by offering a small ceremony, drinks reception, and a donation for the destination’s logo on the bus. “You are now carrying the name of Gstaad into the exclusive world of sailing,” acknowledged Director Martin Bachofner, who congratulated the young team. Bachofner further shared his delight that the two ambassadors for sailing, world class athletes Brugger and Bühler, will tour the world with Gstaad on their back. Commodore Peter Erzberger wished the team all the best for a “most golden future.” The GYC is no stranger to success; in 2012 the club led three out of four qualified
Matías Bühler and Nathalie Brugger
SPORTS & LEISURE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 3 // JUNE 26, 2015
Swiss Art Star Exhibits at The Alpina Fabrice Gygi Opens the Season with Garden Sculptures
Famed Swiss Artist Fabrice Gygi was on hand as The Alpina Gstaad opened its doors for the summer 2015 season. BY GSTAADLIFE
The artist, who is based in Geneva, created five sculptures for The Alpina’s garden. Gygi has exhibited his contemporary works worldwide, including Biennales in Cairo, Sao Paolo, and Venice. His works draw attention to the authority and violence in our industrialised society, according to experts on hand at the event. Though Gygi admits to enjoying private time in the Saanenland, this is his first official show here.
“It’s fantastic that Pierre Keller has arranged this exhibition for me,” says Gygi, when asked about his Gstaad début.
permanent collection. The Mimran family, who co-own the hotel, believe bringing art to guests is good for business.
Keller is the former director of the prestigious Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne. Also present were Pierre Huber of Art & Public Gallery, Geneva, and Eric Favre, general manager of the hotel.
“I am positive that we need to interact more with guests to be successful,” says Benjamin Mimran.
“When I was asked (to prepare the exhibition) I immediately said yes,” laughs Keller. “And this is just the beginning–we’re crazy about making art.”
In addition, The Alpina inaugurated two new artistic rooms in the hotel, one of which is covered in blank canvasses. The idea is the guests become artists themselves; all manner of paint and brush is available to fuel their inspiration.
The Alpina focuses heavily on art, both in the Gygi sculptures and an excellent
The Gygi exhibition will continue through September 27, 2015.
Week of Culinary Delights
Davidoff Saveurs Celebrates 20 th Anniversary in Gstaad This year marks the 20th Davidoff Saveurs, the weeklong food festival highlighting some of the country’s most talented chefs.
Culinary superstars from Geneva, Zurich and beyond flock to Gstaad for one week each year, where they prepare special menus for the the region’s finest hotels.
Highlights this year include Stéphane Décotterd of Le Pont de Brent near Montreux, who took over the restaurant from the legendary Gérard Rabaey after his retirement several years ago. Décotterd will host the traditional “Diner Davidoff” at the Palace Hotel on June 30.
Each chef cooks just one night, and tickets
Also sure to be a treat is a daytime lunch
BY ALEXIS MUNIER
must be reserved well in advance if you’d like to taste their delicious offerings.
LIFESTYLE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 3 // JUNE 26, 2015
high on the Wasserngrat. The event will feature three chefs including Guy Ravet. Ravet is now the head chef of L’Ermitage des Ravet in Vufflens-le-Château, Vaud, where he cooks alongside his chef father, maitre d’ mother, and two sisters–one is an award-winning sommelier, the other a renowned pastry chef. Most events are fully booked, but you can try your luck with a reservation at www.davidoffsaveurs.ch.
Photo: © Andrey Popov – Fotolia
No Such Thing as a Free Lunch Break
BY DIANA OEHRLI
A few years ago, a local friend and builder shared with me that he had just witnessed a client accuse a worker of being a slacker for attempting to leave a meeting at lunchtime. “It was twelve o’clock,” my friend said. “The contractor said he had to go, that his wife had cooked a meal and his children were waiting. I just don’t get it. These city people come up here for the idyllic Swiss mountain life. You know, all that ‘come up, slow down’ stuff… and then they try to impose their city ways on us. Instead of respecting our traditions, they expect us to change. Yet, they are the ones who need to integrate.” I have to admit, that I too was shocked the first time I witnessed the Swiss lunch exodus. It was approximately 12 years ago and I had just arrived from Newport, Rhode Island. It was my first day at work in an office in Gstaad. When a nearby church bell rang, I ignored the noise and continued writing. All of a sudden, it was deathly quiet. I looked around and noticed that all of my coworkers were gone. Panic. Had I missed an emergency alarm? Gobbling down a sandwich at my desk while working had been the norm back in the US. According to a recent article in the Independent, 81 percent of North American employees don’t take a proper lunch break by leaving their desks. The article explains that this is a bad thing because it results in productivity dropping off at around 3pm and increases risk of heart disease. Now, I’ve come to like the 1 1/2–hour lunch break, despite the constant cooking. It gives me a chance to connect with my kids and friends, and it forces me to take care of my health.
When I asked my expat girlfriends–who are married to local men–what they think of the Swiss lunch, they said: “I’m used to it now.” “I just wish I didn’t have to cook every single day.” Some said they found it difficult–if not impossible–to have a career because of it, although I would argue that irregular public school hours are largely to blame. One friend said she loves lunch, because that’s when she can shop in an empty COOP (her husband does the cooking). What many foreigners don’t realize is that lunch breaks in Switzerland are not only obligatory but unpaid, unlike places such as the USA, where the 30-minute lunch break is part of the nine to five workday.
There are many advantages to taking a lunch break and not eating at your desk. Here are a few: 1. Changing your environment boosts creativity. 2. Fresh air and physical activity improve mood and health. 3. The average office keyboard has more bacteria than a toilet seat. 4. Distracted eating leads to eating more. 5. Skipping meals leads to overeating. 6. Eating out or at home improves relationships with family, friends and colleagues. Lunch dates are great for singles. 7. Improves parenting opportunities: increased communication and wellbeing, model manners to children and expands their palates by introducing new foods. Eating often together has been proven to prevent addiction. If cooking at home, you know what you’re eating and you save money.
Saanenland has limited career opportunities and each family has its own structure; I do know cool dads who cook, and this equal sharing of household chores is becoming increasingly common. So, dear reader, please understand that Swiss workers are: not slackers; are not paid to eat lunch; and will return to work more energized and productive than before. E Guete!
Daughter of a local mountain guide and an American photographer, Diana Oehrli grew up in Switzerland, the South of France and in New England. In 2002, she moved to Switzerland and fell in love with mountain life. With her two children, she now lives in a 300-year old farmhouse above the villages of Gstaad and Saanen, where she is working on a novel and on her blog lifeintheswissalps.com.
That women are expected to do most if not all of the cooking is the only disadvantage I could come up with. It’s just out of step with emancipated society. Of course,
LAST WORD // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 3 // JUNE 26, 2015
Events Calendar Friday, June 26, 2015 to Thursday, July 16, 2015 Fri, Jun. 26 – Jul. 5
Sat, Jul. 4
Culinary week with top chefs
Organised by the tourism offices, 8:15 pm – 3:30 am
Fri, Jun. 26 - Jul. 25
Sun, Jul. 5
Alpsommer Exhibition Heimatwerk Saanen
Alp Festival on Walig
Fri, Jun. 26 – Oct. 17
Welt & Gstaad Exhibition Saanen
Fri, Jun. 26
All are welcome, 10:30 am to midnight Gstaad
Tue, Jul. 7 - 12
Gstaad Major 2015
Photographs by Jacques Naegeli
Volleyball tournament Thu, Jul. 9
16th KMU Golf Trophy
Gondola Night Dinner
Golf tournament Sat, Jun. 27 – Jun. 28
Circus Harlekin Schönried
Football Tournament FC Thun vs FC Sarina Juniors, 5:30 pm Saanen
Wed, Jul. 1
Friendly Football Match BCS YB vs FC-Lausanne Sport, 5:30 pm Gstaad
Fri, Jul. 3
Sat, Jul. 11
Wed, Jul. 15 – Aug. 8
Thu, Jul. 16 – Sep. 5Saanenland
59th Menuhin Festival & Academy Classical concerts with world-famous artists, 11 am
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**** HOTEL OLDEN +41 (0)33 748 49 50, email@example.com **** ROMANTIK HOTEL HORNBERG +41 (0)33 748 66 88, firstname.lastname@example.org HOTEL DE ROUGEMONT Member of Design HotelsTM +41 (0)26 921 01 01, 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
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For further details please visit: www.gstaad.ch
English-Speaking, Château-d’Oex Service every Sunday, 17.30 pm www.allsaints.ch/chateaudoex Contact: email@example.com
Important Numbers 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 For additional useful numbers please visit www.gstaadlife.ch/useful- numbers.html
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Businesses open their doors to visitors
Alpine Dairy Tour Every Wednesday, 8:30 am
Live Music on Wispile, 11 am
Open Door Day
**** * THE ALPINA GSTAAD +41 (0)33 888 98 88, firstname.lastname@example.org
**** HOTEL CHRISTIANIA +41 (0)33 744 51 21, email@example.com
In the village, 6 pm
Senior Day Sat, Jul. 4
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**** HOTEL ARC-EN-CIEL +41 (0)33 748 43 43, email@example.com
Exclusive dinner, 6:15 pm
Folk Music Feast
Family fun and slapstick comedy Mon, Jun. 29
St Peter’s Anglican Church
**** * GRAND HOTEL PARK +41 (0)33 748 98 00, firstname.lastname@example.org
*** * GOLFHOTEL LES HAUTS DE GSTAAD +41 (0)33 748 68 68, email@example.com
On the Rinderberg, 1 pm Fri, Jul. 10
**** * 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
Open-air concert, 8 pm Sat, Jun. 27
Gstaadlife is available in these Hotels
*** 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
Clubs Rotary Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings every Monday 12h00 Palace Hotel Gstaad (033 / 748 50 00), President: Rot. Christiane Griessen (079 / 432 73 93) 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
Soroptimist International President: Heidi Gafner-Kiser Tel. 033 748 83 15 Program: Stephanie Iseli Tel. 033 744 18 33
*** SAANEWALD LODGE +41 (0)33 744 69 69, firstname.lastname@example.org *** SPORTHOTEL VICTORIA +41 (0)33 748 44 22, email@example.com HOTEL RESTAURANT BÄREN +41 (0)33 755 10 33, firstname.lastname@example.org HOTEL GELTENHORN +41 (0)33 765 35 91, email@example.com HOTEL VIKTORIA +41 (0)33 755 10 34, firstname.lastname@example.org HOTEL WILDHORN +41 (0)33 765 30 12, email@example.com
EVENTS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 3 // JUNE 26, 2015
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GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 3 // JUNE 26 2015
GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 3 // JUNE 26, 2015
The exclusive monthly publication about the good life in Gstaad.