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T h e e x c l u s i v e m o nt h ly p u b l i c ati o n a b o u t t h e g o o d l i f e in g s taa d

Friday 25 November 2011 - Issue 7 - CHF 3.50 excl VAT


· Meeting The ­Alpina Gstaad management


· Dental Care ­Center in Gstaad celebrates its fifth anniversary · Spitex responds to new health care requirements · Georgette ­Bühlmann, Ice ­skating icon · Les Arts Gstaad discussion · Big construction years ahead for Saanen · Next few weeks will dictate Saanen dairy's future · Short story: Swiss Blue (part one)


· Vive les Nouveaux Pauvres!

A taste of ­luxury


Gerax_SA_Gstaad_Life_206_139_mm_Layout 1 01.07.11 08:48 Seite 1


Bissen Project, F. Frisardi




Gschwendstrasse 2 I T +41 (0)33 748 45 50 I F +41 (0)33 748 45 51 I info@gerax.ch I www.gerax.ch

Unique artistic images of mood and emotion. Including scenes of Gstaad, Saanenland & Pays-d‘Enhaut.

For further information and details of exhibitions and limited large commissions visit www.view-finder.ch and contact us via info@view-finder.ch. To see images on display also visit Basta at the Bernerhof Hotel and ArtPhoto Gstaad.

Ian Wilson

Friday 25 November 2011 Page 3


Letter from the Editor������������������������������������������������������� 3 Local News The dental care center in Gstaad celebrates its fifth anniversary . . 4 In-depth article Meeting the Alpina Gstaad ­management ���������������������������������� 5 Local News Spitex responds to new health care requirements ������������������������� 6 Green light for Alpenruhe project��������������������������������������������� 6 Georgette Bühlmann, Ice skating icon������������������������������� 7 "A light for Africa" ������������������������� 7 Les Arts Gstaad discussion ���������� 8

Short Story Events Local News Column

Big construction years ahead for Saanen��������������������������������������� 9 Proposed Swiss federal estate and gift tax����������������������� 10 Next few weeks will dictate ­Saanen dairy's future�������������������11 Compulsory course for dog ­owners offered locally�����������������11 Swiss Blue������������������������������� 12, 13 Events calendar����������������������������� 14 Erich von Siebenthal ������������������� 14 Hunter's luck �������������������������������� 14 Vive les Nouveaux Pauvres!������� 15

Gstaad’s silver screen In counting some blessings, I recognize that I have been fortunate enough to have traveled a lot of the world, as well as having had the benefit of living in both the developing and developed world. Such experience, in some cases, provides me with useful insight, whereby I recognize particularly precious occasions that exist in the daily fabric in Gstaad that are long gone in other parts of the world, and even in some cases, never to have arrived. Our Cine Theatre Gstaad provides such precious experience. So many times have I admired the cinematic tradition that is honored by this establishment. The small and personal size of the theatre, the one person ticket office, the Saanen Molkerei ice cream on sale at intermission, the human consumption size pop-corn packets and 2 dl traditional Coca-Cola bottles, the coat rack in the foyer, the curtain between the theatre and the foyer, the small bins inside the theatre which rely upon each person to dispose of ones wrappers at the end of


the show, the intermission itself and finally the chimes that signal the start of the show. In comparison an inner city cinema in most parts of the world delivers a dulling experience. Typically formatted as a cinema block within a faceless mall which has up to 15 movies showing at one time on arrival, one follows the digital guides to a rack of ticket sellers, followed by a further channeling through to the sweets and goodies counter which has on offer gargantuan boxes of popcorn together with buckets of Malteesers, sold to you up front as there is no intermission. Depending on where you are in the world, ladies should hold tight to their handbags as hardened thieves work the aisles during the darkness, liberating from one row behind, handbags placed on the floor. Having knees in ones back through the seat, or having eating machines resident on either side of you, is not uncommon and when the lights come up at the end of the show, the amount of spilt food

and rubbish lying around the seats of your fellow cinema goers, is astonishing. Overall one cannot find parallel between a standard inner city cinematic experience and what is experienced at Cine theatre Gstaad, other than the movie itself. In Switzerland it is not only Gstaad that has nurtured this precious cinema experience, Scala in Schaffhausen, Film podium in Zurich, Capitole in Lausanne and the Splendid Palace in Bern deliver as equally a charming experience. Great cinema is not only the movie itself, it is the entire cinema repertoire that makes the occasion. We are fortunate to have an authentic cinema here in Gstaad and as a start to a winter season of outdoor activities, fine culinary experiences and social cheer, I feel compelled to add to this list - a season of fine cinema. Best Wishes

Peter Sonnekus-Williams Editor in Chief

also on www.gstaadlife.com

Gstaad LIFE, Anzeiger von Saanen, Kirchstrasse, P.O. Box 201, 3780 Gstaad, Phone: 033 748 88 74, Fax: 033 748 88 84, E-Mail: info@gstaadlife.ch, Website: www.­gstaadlife.ch ­Management Board: Frank Müller, Peter Sonnekus-Williams Publisher: Frank Müller frank.mueller@gstaadlife.ch; Editor in Chief: Peter Sonnekus-Williams ­peter.­sonnekus@­gstaadlife. ch; Pro­ject Management and content coordination: Sanet Sonnekus-Williams Columnist: Mandolyna Theodoracopulos Translations: ­Diana Oehrli Editorial: Peter Sonnekus-Williams, Claudia Hauswirth, John Stucki, Januaria Piromallo, Christine Eisenbeis, Anita Moser, Huck Scarry. Polygraph Team: Jonas Bach Printing: Müller Marketing & Druck AG, Gstaad Advertising: Peter Kuntze-Schneider peter.kuntze@gstaadlife.ch, phone 033 744 46 64 Subscriptions: Fabienne Koitka tel. 033 748 88 74

UPFRONT Gstaadlife is available in these Hotels ***** Gstaad PALACE: +41 (0)33 748 50 00, info@palace.ch ***** GRAND HOTEL PARK: +41 (0)33 748 98 00, info@grandhotelpark.ch ***** GRAND HOTEL BELLEVUE: +41 (0)33 748 00 00, info@bellevue-gstaad.ch ***** WELLNESS & SPA HOTEL ERMITAGE: +41 (0)33 748 60 60, welcome@ermitage.ch **** Hotel Alpenrose: +41 (0)33 748 91 91, info@hotelalpenrose.ch **** Golfhotel Les hauts de gstaad: +41 (0)33 748 68 68, mail@golfhotel.ch **** Grand Chalet: +41 (0)33 748 76 76, hotel@grandchalet.ch **** HOTEL ARC-EN-CIEL: +41 (0)33 748 43 43, www.arc-en-ciel.ch **** Hotel BERNERHOF: +41 (0)33 748 88 44, info@bernerhof-gstaad.ch **** Hotel Christiania: +41 (0)33 744 51 21, info@christiania.ch **** Hotel GstaadERHOF: +41 (0)33 748 63 63, gstaaderhof@gstaad.ch **** CHALET HOTEL HORNBERG: +41 (0)33 748 66 88, willkommen@hotel-hornberg.ch **** HOTEL OLDEN: +41 (0)33 748 49 50, info@hotelolden.com **** Hotel Steigenberger: +41 (0)33 748 64 64, gstaad@steigenberger.ch *** Hotel Bellerive: +41 (0)33 748 88 33, bellerive-gstaad@bluewin.ch *** Hotel Alpenland: +41 (0)33 765 91 34, hotel@alpenland.ch *** Hotel Alphorn: +41 (0)33 748 45 45, office@gstaad-alphorn.ch *** Hotel Alpine lodge: +41 (0)33 748 41 51, info@alpinelodge.ch *** Hotel des Alpes by Bruno Kernen: +41 (0)33 748 04 50, info@desalpes-kernen.ch > active from 15 december 2011 *** Hotel Kernen: +41 (0)33 748 40 20, info@hotel-kernen.ch *** Hotel Landhaus: +41 (0)33 748 40 40, landhaus-saanen@bluewin.ch *** Hotel Saanerhof: +41 (0)33 744 15 15, hotel@saanerhof.ch *** Hotel Solsana: +41 (0)33 748 94 94, info@solsana.ch *** Hotel Spitzhorn: +41 (0)33 748 41 41, hotel@spitzhorn.ch *** Posthotel Rössli: +41 (0)33 748 42 42, info@posthotelroessli.ch *** SPORTHOTEL VICTORIA: +41 (0)33 748 44 22, info@victoria-gstaad.ch *** Z'loft Hotel: +41 (0)33 744 69 69, info@zloft.ch Hotel Bären: +41 (0)33 755 10 33, hotel@baerengsteig.ch Hotel Geltenhorn: +41 (0)33 765 30 22, F: +41 (0)33 765 32 31 Hotel Sanetsch: +41 (0)33 755 10 10, F: +41 (0)33 755 18 11 Hotel Viktoria: +41 (0)33 755 10 34, hotel_viktoria@bluewin.ch Hotel Wildhorn: +41 (0)33 765 30 12, hotel@wildhorn.ch

Picture on the Front Cover by:

Raphael Faux 1659 Rougemont Tel +41 (0)79 673 6005 info@gstaadphotography.com www.gstaadphotography.com


Friday 25 November 2011 Page 4

The Dental Care Center in Gstaad ­celebrates its fifth a ­ nniversary It is five years already that Dr. Adar Tavor, who has 30 years of experience in dentistry, established the Dental Care Center in Gstaad. Since then, he has continuously worked in increasing the spectrum of the dental surgery: improved technology and expanded offer of services. “We are the dentists of Gstaad,” Dr. Tavor says, “we will always be dedicated to availability and time for our patients. Our fifth anniversary gives us the opportunity to cordially thank everybody.” Extension of the team The Dental Care Center employs three dentists and five dental assistants. One long-term employee,

Silvia Sägesser, a long-standing dental and prophylaxis assistant, celebrates her 10th anniversary working in this location. She already worked for the center’s predecessor. Now, the Dental Care Center is a newly approved apprenticeship host company. Competence in Oral Surgery and Aesthetic Dentistry Along with general dentistry and dental hygiene, oral surgery has always been a specialized focus of this dental surgery. Dr. Tavor acquired new instruments and a computed tomography (CT)-scan machine which enables a comprehensive study of the teeth, jaws and

temporomandibular joints. This CTscan allows us to perform accurate diagnostics of ongoing pain syndromes and to discuss the results with our patients directly on the screen as well as to plan surgical and implantological treatments. Dentist and physician Dr. Maurice B. Grosjean has joined the team at the beginning of this year. He came to Gstaad after completing a double degree (dentistry and medicine) at the universities of Zurich and Geneva, as well as a training of 7 years in the fields of surgery of the oral cavity, craniomaxillofacial surgery and aesthetic dentistry. “By request, we provide treatments under general anaesthesia.” Dr. Gros-

Your dentists in Gstaad

Un Roman de

24 hrs. sos helpline

jean says. “And in the field of aesthetic dentistry, we are offering treatments using minimal invasive techniques.” Extension of services to orthodontics In order to meet the needs of children and adults needing corrections of malocclusions and deformities of the teeth, Dr. med. dent. Katalin Sari has recently joined the team. Dr. Sari has a long expertise in orthodontics. She provides orthodontic treatment for children and adults in Gstaad. The children just like her. Article AVS 18.10.11

Patrick Walter Tonnerieux

Le Dandy de Gstaad 2

033 744 15 45

«Ce q ui m’a passionné lorsque j’ai découvert le Dandy de Gstaad 2, c’était la sensation de lire un roman qui ne ressemblait à aucun autre, en plus, somptueusement illustré par l’auteur…» (meilleure vente dans le Saanenland avec l’opus 1) Dak Peart, New York

special focus: Aesthetic, minimally invasive and reconstructive dentistry Implantology – Parodontology Oral and maxillofacial surgery dental and maxillofacial imaging

ISBN: 978-3-907041-47-5

Patrick Walter Tonnerieux Patrick Walter Tonnerieux

« Le Safran du Wildhorn » est le conflit entre le naturel et le sophistiqué. C’est là où tout bascule dans notre société décadente parce que c’est indécent de porter la normalité à bout de bras…C’est rasoir ! Le cerveau se surestime, et l’on devient vite source de névroses…C’est sinistre ! Et puis zut ! Si l’on s’enivre et l’on se booste les neurones grâce à Gstaad…c’est notre problème et c’est tant mieux…on aura au moins la paix de tirer le bilan que l’on veut et de s’inventer des petits bonheurs rien que pour nous !

Le Dandy de Gstaad 2 & Le Safran du Wildhorn

dr. med. dent. Adar Tavor, Swiss federal diploma SSO dr. med., med. dent. Maurice B. Grosjean, Swiss federal diploma SSO and physician FMH dr. med. dent. Katalin sari, orthodontics

Dédicaces: 18.12. 18h00 Bellevue 19.12. 18h00 Olden 20.12. 15h00 Cadonau 20.12. 19.00 Olden 21.12. 15h00 Cadonau 22.12. 15h00 MediaTreff 22.12. 18h00 Bellevue

Patrick Walter Tonnerieux

Treatment under sedation and general anesthesia Pediatric dentistry and orthodontics Complementary dental medicine dentistry for disabled persons Bleaching

le propose à 60 CHF sur place mais également disponible en Euros (50 Euros + frais postaux) ou en US-Dollar (70 $ + shipping costs) mais aussi sur le site www.gstaadshop.ch.

Points de vente: Cadonau, Gstaad / Media Treff, Gstaad / Müller Marketing & Druck AG, Gstaad, Tel. 033 748 88 74, produktion@mdruck.ch

Friday 25 November 2011 Page 5

In-depth article

Meeting The Alpina Gstaad management The curiosity associated with the considered unveiling of the latest 5 star hotel in Gstaad in 100 years, The Alpina Gstaad, has captured the imagination of many of us resident here in the Saanenland. From the early plans which we were all privy to, through the large scale construction phase to the eventual roof wetting. The project has been a part of all of our lives for some time now and as it takes its rightful place as a part of our social, business and geographic landscape, it is good to begin to put some names and personalities together with it. The owners of the development Marcel Bach and Jean-Claude ­Mimran whose vision it is to actualise the authentic luxurious alpine boutique hotel and residence, have left nothing to chance in terms of who they have placed in charge of the management of the hotel. First and foremost, Onno Poortier from Rembrandt Management Services GmbH has been appointed in the key position as owner’s representative and advisor. Educated and trained in Switzerland, Mr Poortier brings over four decades of development, marketing and operational experience to the Alpina Gstaad. His extensive experience includes luxurious international hotel brands such as The Peninsula Group where he was President for 9 years. Mr Poortier’s task list is long and involved however what excites him most about the project is the vision itself. ‘To be a part of what really is the latest 5 star establishment in Gstaad in 100 years, is fabulous. To capture high quality, high design and warm genuine service in a unique Gstaad way, is our goal. The Alpina Gstaad will certainly be unique in many ways, it is a great honour to be a part of this project’, says Mr Poortier.

It was Mr Poortier who recommended the appointment of Bernese native, Niklaus Leuenberger, the Alpina Gstaad’s Managing Director. Mr Leuenberger comes with over three decades of top draw hotel management experience gained in Asia, the Middle East and the USA. His experience has him understanding the discerning needs of luxury hotel guests and the challenges of working with diverse cultures. ’It is personally very exciting for me to return to Gstaad since it was a luxury hotel experience right here, 40 years ago, that decided my career choice to be a hotelier and life has now taken me full circle’, says Mr Leuenberger. The new Managing Directors extensive experience comes across in his view on the staff appointments he will be making. ‘The attitude that the hotel portrays is a big part of my job. People who are happy with what they are doing and identifying themselves with the product, do a good job and authentic hospitality is never forgotten’, says Mr Leuenberger. ‘When all is said and done, The Alpina Gstaad would only be a great building if it didn’t have the right people with the right attitude. However it is this passion, the approach and spirit that has the potential to transform the hotel into a legendary experience, which is our aim’. Asking Mr Leuenberger about the exclusivity of the hotel and whether local people will feel welcome, he explains, ‘The Alpina Gstaad is a member of the Gstaad community. The hotel‘s developers, builders and craftsmen all come from this region, working hand-in-hand with designers from Europe and Asia under the lead architects Jaggi & Partner. We want to be a hotel

Niklaus Leuenberger and Onno Poortier for all our guests – international and regional - attracting both locals and visitors, whether it be for a celebration of an anniversary, or just a good meal out of home, The Alpina Gstaad will be as welcoming to our local guests as to our out-of -town visitors’. Commenting on the unique aspects of the new hotel, Mr Leuenberger says, ‘Gstaad has gained recognition as a world renowned mountain resort with alpine authenticity as its trademark. A genuine Alpine lifestyle still prevails in the destination and The Alpina Gstaad takes great pride in respecting and nurturing these traditions whilst providing an indulgent Swiss mountain experience for our guests. Unique views of the surrounding Saanenland Alps will be seen from the balconies of our 57 rooms and suites

as from the bar lounge and three restaurants, the wine tasting room, cigar room, ballroom and boardroom. Whilst a uniquely designed entry and covered driveway on the side of the hill, the hotel atop will welcome guests, ensure protection from the weather and keep an ambiance of peace and serenity within the grounds of the hotel’. Mr Poortier and Mr Leuenberger will be very busy in the coming year readying The Alpina Gstaad which will open in December 2012. With a SFr 300m investment firmly in their hands, they certainly have their task cut out for them. With their clear strategy and the extensive experience that they bring to the project, it could well be said that, ‘all is going to plan.’ By Peter Sonnekus-Williams

Local News

Friday 25 November 2011 Page 6

Spitex responds to new Green light for health care requirements ­Alpenruhe project Spitex Saanenland—this area’s largest ambulatory home care organization—is undergoing a period of growth and transition. In order to keep the company viable, it has been decided that an extension of the range of services offered is needed. Changes in healthcare have presented difficulties. Health insurance reimbursement conditions have changed, requirements have risen, and salaries have been cut. Innovation has been requested. Management and board have responded, while striving to lead the company in a way that ensures flexibility, transparency, and efficiency. With the motto “we come to you so that you can stay home,” Spitex allows patients to return home from hospitals sooner or to delay a move into geriatrics; it also gives the dying

a way to stay home until the end. Spitex is a non-profit organization that satisfies public health care mandates as specified contractually with state and local authorities. It is ISO certified and aims to hire professionals that are competent, responsible, cost-conscious, and who continuously develop through regular continuing education. The objective is humane and client-oriented care, which supports individuals with friendly, compassionate and respectful treatment. Providing 24-hour response, Spitex offers nursing, household help, meal and visitor services as well as rental and sale of equipment. Translated and adapted from the article by Dr. Claudia Hauswirth, vice president and secretary, Spitex Association of Saanenland AVS 06.09.11

This past September, the winners of an architectural design competition for the Wohnheim Stiftung Alpenruhe expansion project were announced. Helko Walzer and Marko Göhre of Translocal Architecture GmbH, Bern, won first place and SFr 45,000 in prize money. Both men are German natives but are not new to the Swiss architectural scene. They realized a sport hall in Châtel-St. Denis (Fribourg) and were involved in a home project in Yverdon-les-Bains (Vaud). Currently, the two are busy with a festival hall project in the Geneva suburb of Grand Saconnex. Alpenruhe offers 28 single rooms and professional 365-day/24-hour care for mentally and physically disabled people. Part of the foundation’s purpose is to provide basic employment training, promote support and

personal autonomy and well being, regaining of strength, skills, individuality or an adjustment to impairments. Approximately 30 employees perform these tasks, serving the residents and the 20 to 25 external day patients. The Alpenruhe Foundation was established in July 1993 by the Gemeinde of Saanen, the Foundation Silea (Gwatt), the Spital Thun STS AG and the Swiss Refugee Council (Bern). In addition to the residence, there is a workshop that provides meaningful daily structure. The job areas include a wood shop work area, workshop, garden, petting zoo, pottery, kitchen and utility. The institution aims to expand its offerings by providing services and help to multi-handicapped individuals requiring continuing care. TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED FROM THE ARTICLE BY JOHN STUCKI AVS 4.10.2011

Anna de Jong

Exhibition The exhibition will run from Sunday, December 11, 2011 until Sunday, January 15, 2012 at the Hüsy restaurant in Blankenburg Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday 9:00 a.m. -11:00 p.m.

Vernissage Sunday, December 11 as of 10:30 a.m. Everyone is warmly invited

hüsy Restaurant

Galerie Hüsy Blankenburg

Stutz 1, 3771 Blankenburg 033 722 10 56, www.huesy.ch

Friday 25 November 2011 Page 7

Local News

Georgette Bühlmann, Ice Skating Icon Ice skating icon, Georgette Bühlmann has just turned 81 years old. Georgette put on her first ice skates at 7 years of age. She is not afraid of old age. Whether pirouetting on the ice, holding seminars between Courchevel, Villars and Cortina d’Ampezzo, teaching both the French and Italian teams and their coaches, her esteemed influence continues. Georgette regularly flies to Denmark and the Netherlands teaching skaters how to do the best spins in the world. Among her pupils are Caroline Kostner, Valentina Marchei and Paolo Bacchini. She has even taught the famous Bridgette Bardot how to pirouette on ice. Georgette recalls Bardot as a student who was very disciplined.

Georgette says, “The muscles are like the brain, with a good diet and aerobic exercise, they will at least age slower. I do not feel much different from when I was 60 years of age. I never say, ‘I have a certain age and certain things I cannot do.’ In my case I just slow down a little bit.” Georgette refers to herself as an observer of human nature. She is a Swiss German, speaks many languages, including Croatian, Serb and Russian. She married at age 41. “It took me some time to make up my mind, I’ve always been an independent spirit of a rebellious nature. I changed my mind when I met my husband, then officer in the Swiss Army, who was ten years younger than me.” Georgette lives in Allaman, along Lake Geneva.

Her professional career began at the Lausanne Ecole Hoteliere. Georgette became a Swiss multiple crown champion silver medalist and competed at international championships all over the world. She invented a pirouette that carries her name. She explains the spin as a harness of the indisputable principle of aerodynamics, shortening the radius to increase the speed. “The spins are endless. I always invent a new one,” she says. With only a single incident in 60 years, a bad crash caused damage to the ligaments in her knee. None of this interrupted the training of the national team. She has flair for recognizing young talent and one of her pupils is in the Guinness Book of World Records. Georgette’s magic formula is ten

Georgette Bühlmann with two students. minutes of Pilates a day, a twicea-week visit to the gym, and she follows a diet low in protein. “What does it take to succeed in life,” she is asked, “Discipline and always having objectives,” she replies. by Januaria Piromallo

“A light for Africa” Mothers and children of the John F. Kennedy School in Saanen recently joined to create a project called ‘A Light for Africa’. Marshmallows, candy flowers, jelly bears and other delectable goods were part of the fun, of which a great deal were consumed by the participants themselves. The initiative was to raise money for the Lisa Woodward foundation in Ethiopia, which supports orphans. Lisa, an American philanthropist who lives in Gstaad, has adopted 280 children, providing them with all the basic necessities of life (www.woodwardethiopia.org). Tiare and Kamalei von Meister spent hours cutting out paper butterflies from National geographic maps,

while Coco and Tatiana Papageorgiu made wonderful little candy wrapper lamps. The new head master of the Kennedy School, Davies Gareth was very pleased to see such incredible handicraft. Each person added their own special design touch to decorate lamps and picture frames in whimsical ways. It was a wonderfully creative afternoon, that proves even the simplest of gestures can change lives. Everything was under the supervison of Canadian tutor, Andrea Clarkson, who has an amazing talent for design. Their “masterpieces” are displayed in Antonella’s shop on the Gstaad Promenade, in her “dream corner”. Antonella Adamo was one of the first mothers of the Kennedy School to support the

Allegra Simoni, Arabella Ryter, Tiarè von Meister, Chloe Lo Faro, Tatiana Papageorgiu, Andrea Clarckson, Sabrina Scherz project “A Light for Africa”. Vicky Lovell, the new headmaster of Winter Lovell Camp, bought many lamps and even asked Andrea to be in charge of her new art class. A special ‘thank you’ to Caroline Lo Faro and Patrizia Fossati, who were among the mothers sup-

porting the fundraising tea. Diana D’Hendecourt chose a model with butterflies and sent it to Kirsten Sutin, who had a very bad horse riding accident; the lamp has been named “A new light for Kirsten”. BY JANUARIA PIROMALLO

Local News

Friday 25 November 2011 Page 8

Les Arts Gstaad discussion A group of residents in the neighborhoods of Gschwend and Ried sent a letter petition with 91 signatures to the Gemeinde. They are concerned that the project Les Arts Gstaad would massively affect the area and not fit in the townscape of Gstaad. The criticisms were directed above all to the Gemeinde. So reads the letter: “With much engagement, the perimeter of the village was mapped out in order to protect it. Les Arts Gstaad would be located in this village and it would affect the landscape massively.” “The project would stand clearly in the residential zone,” says Anita Heutschi, neighbor. “As a result of a rezoning into a cultural centre zone, valuable land for locals or land for centrally located housing would be lost.” Ninety-one signatures were collected. Heutschi and Max Brand, who signed the letter, are of the opinion that an additional underground parking garage, as is planned for Les Arts Gstaad, would be an unnecessary investment. The letter further reads: “The underground car park is often poorly utilized; there is no need for an additional parking garage. The PTT buses are a tourist attraction and belong directly at the train station and not underground. We know the situation at the cultural center in Lucerne; already after 10 years, SFr 20m was sought to maintain the building. The centre in Gstaad would not fare any better, and most definitely, the Gemeinde would be asked to put forth more money.” “Luxury buildings are very expensive to maintain,” Heutschi says. Learn from the mistakes made a the KKLuzern and Paul Klee Centre Anita Heutschi fears that things will be the same for the cultural centre in

Gstaad as it has proven to be at the one in Lucerne. “Who will take over the costs,” she asks. “The Paul Klee Centre in Bern produces debts of SFr 3m annually. We do not want to pay this deficit with tax payer’s money in five years.” Responding to Heutschi’s argument is J. Markus Kappeler-Steffen, president of the board of Les Arts Gstaad. “The project Les Arts Gstaad is not a luxury project and is based on a different financing system,” Kappeler says. “In Lucerne, only part of the cost was financed privately, and the rest was borne by the public sector from the beginning.” After more than 10 years, maintenance investments were necessary that were to be paid by the public sector. “One should not assign problems from other projects one-to-one,” Kappeler says. “These costs at the Les Arts Gstaad are to be paid for by an operating and maintenance fund of SFr 50m and its revenues. It would be well to consider what is comparable and what is not.” The Paul Klee Centre also functions according to another system. “We don’t want a museum in Gstaad, nor a collection art,” Kappeler explains. “We want to organize all types of exhibitions, concerts and events.” Basically, one wants to learn from the mistakes of others. “They help us to avoid mistakes.” The democratic opinion building process The building and operation of Les Arts Gstaad is to be financed privately. An operating fund of more than SFr 50m and its income are to cover any operating deficits, maintenance and improvements. The public sector is to provide the framework, that is, make land available, connect the area to public transportation and bear the cost of installing public utility facili-

ties. This also worries neighborhood residents, who have signed the petition. “The project is far from free,” the letter reads. “We have to pay for the multi-million franc access and the underground car park for automobiles and PTT buses,” Heutschi says. “In the end, the costs remain with the Gemeinde for the maintenance of the roads, the tunnel, and the paths around Les Arts Gstaad, which the taxpayers will have to pay.” Gemeinde wants a factual discussion “The council will inform the public concretely, extensively, and objectively about the project Les Arts Gstaad in due course,” the council has written in response to the petition. “On this occasion, we will discuss your arguments and express our own opinion.” A democratic opinion building process is to be applied to the project, one that should lead to the right decisions and in which everyone can argue without hindrance. “Even if a pre-project exists which would be located on the afore-mentioned land, all decisions related to this project will be reserved for the voters.” “As no concrete construction project exists,” said Aldo Kropf, Gemeinde president, “I cannot make any statement on the costs. Everything else - as for example the approval of the building ordinance, any rezoning, credit rulings, etc. - is still not mature, but will be published in due time; it finally has to be decided by the voters.” Kropf points out that an access to the Ried neighborhood was in the planning long before Les Arts Gstaad was formed. “Likewise, a parking garage in that area was conceived during the planning for the bypass road in Gstaad, because one would otherwise not have built certain roundabouts,” Kropf says.

Concerns will be discussed Anita Heutschi is of the opinion that the project is too big for Gstaad. “We are only 7,500 inhabitants,” she says. “We do not have the capacity for such a mammoth object.” She sees a contradiction: on the one hand, one wants to limit the height of commercial and residential buildings in the planning zone, and on the other hand, one wants to place a huge cultural centre such as the Les Arts Gstaad in a residential zone. “A factual and correct analysis of what Gstaad really needs is missing,” she says. “Why does Gstaad not remember its roots?” She is aware that Gstaad has to differentiate itself from other destinations, but a project such Les Arts Gstaad exists in other places and has nothing to do with Gstaad’s values such as nature, agriculture, and the protection of the entire village. “It doesn’t match with the slogan ‘Come up slow down,’” she says. She notes whether the location of the culture centre would not be better suited at the location of today’s Menuhin Festival tent. “I await ideas from the Gstaad Saanenland tourism,” she says. “The ideas are already there,” Kappeler says. Ten years ago, a team led by Prof. Dr. Hans Ruedi Müller from the University of Bern concluded the following: “Gstaad-Saanenland could develop its infrastructure for cultural activities, entertainment and culture events.” Tourism director Martin Bachofner agrees that Les Arts Gstaad could contribute something to the strategic goals set in 2010 by the tourism bureau. “In this way, Les Arts Gstaad can become an important service provider, when it comes to expanding Gstaad to a four-season destination,” Bachofner says. TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED FROM THE ARTICLE BY CHRISTINE EISENBEIS AVS 09.09.11

Friday 25 November 2011 Page 9

Local News

Four arduous years are in store for the inhabitants of Saanen, especially for those who live in the village centre. Proponents say that if they are able to stick it out, they will be rewarded in the end. They say the village is to become a special jewel, car-free and comfortable, as is only still possible in few places in the world. In the beginning of August, Heinz Brand, municipal council member, informed the public of the multiple planned construction projects that are to be realized by 2014. During the next few years, 17 private buildings will be built in addition to the two public building construction sites, Bircherhaus and the Alterszentrum (centre for the elderly). This number includes a youth hostel with 160 beds, the Hotel Spitzhorn with 100 beds, the Flüeli development and the Hotel La Gare with 25 beds. Added to that are the infrastructure projects, car park, train station, playground, groundwater well, and weir, Rübeldorf stream bed reconstruction and the village centre transformation project Sanona. Saanen village car park The Gemeinde plans to build a public car park, a project, which is to be integrated into the “von Grünigen Matte” development that was approved by the cantonal authorities in August and which was publicized on September 13, 2011. The “von Grünigen Matte” development is the product of VGM Invest AG and is a project to build 15 buildings containing 80 apartments and numerous commercial spaces on the field at the east entrance to the village by the hospital roundabout. The legal basis for the car park (also known as the “Flüeli” development) has also been established; taxpayers will pay for the public part of the car park. “The Gemeinde is creator as well as customer,” Brand said. The car park

Illustration: zvg

Big construction years ahead for Saanen

The illustration shows how the future of the village square in Saanen might look like. The entrance to the car park is visible behind the tree. is to increase the total number of parking spaces available in the village of Saanen (in total there will be 108 parking spaces available), and it will offer a centrally located direct access to the village centre. The village is to become yet again a lively and attractive location for shopping. The entrance to the car park will be next to the hospital roundabout and the pedestrian exit will lead directly into the Molkerei Square. Bright and friendly, the car park will have a drive-through height of 2.55 meters and parking space widths of 2.6 meters, to make parking as convenient as possible. The Gemeinde will not sell any parking spaces. The pedestrian access way will be next to Drogerie Jaggi. The project is to be completed in three stages. The first phase is to begin this fall at the Molkerei square, the second in spring 2012. The third phase, the construction of the public parking garage, is planned for fall to December 2012. “The access to the construction site will be guaranteed from both east and west,” Brand said. An access road solely from the east would extend the construction period and add significant costs.The local conditions of the underground car

park add some special challenges. Because the water table of the Von Grünigen field is so high, additional anchoring of the car park as well as weight for buoyancy control will be needed. A ground water seal and submerged installations are necessary and bring additional costs. During the entire construction phase, uninterrupted access to Chalet Santé must be guaranteed. Brand is convinced that the car park will boost the attractiveness of Saanen and add value to the area. He says it is long-term investment that has become urgently needed as a result of the bypass road and tunnel opening in August 2010 and the nowlaunched Sanona project. If all goes as planned (permissions, funding, planning), Brand hopes that the car park will be functional by summer/ fall 2013. Village design project Sanona With the underground car park, the village design project Sanona goes into motion. The Sanona project was the result of a design competition in 2000 to beautify the village centre, and Arthur Reuteler, municipal council member, was charged with informing the public about it. Now freed from through traffic, the vil-

lage will be redesigned. Natural stone slabs and continuous natural stone paving, tree and shrub planting groups in the centre, and unobtrusive lighting along the lines of Gstaad will beautify the village and create a gathering zone that will provide a better backdrop for the old houses. In fall 2011, the project will be ready and will be presented to the municipal assembly in December. Cantonal and local building permissions can be expected in summer 2012. The work is planned for spring 2013. On the topic of bollards in the village centre, Reuteler emphasized their importance. "The bollards will only be brought down for extraordinary reasons such as for emergencies, special transportation, or in the event that the tunnel were to be blocked." Bircher House In 2002, the municipal assembly voted to purchase the Bircher House in the historic village of Saanen. Initially, the building was to be demolished in connection with the village development plans, specifically with the Sanona project. But according to the ISOS (Federal Inventory of Protected Local Scenes in Switzerland), it must remain. In 2010, the municipal council began a design competition. On April 5, 2011, the council made a fundamental decision: Bircher House will be a rebuild, reusing some of the meaningful old parts, and taking into account financial aspects. The building typology is to be preserved to a great extent. The preliminary project is now complete and the next steps were to have taken place in fall 2011. Funding for the project is to be approved at a December Gemeinde meeting. Construction could begin as early as 2012 and end by 2012/13. TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED FROM THE ARTICLE BY CHRISTINE EISENBEIS AVS 9.8.2011

Money matters

Friday 25 November 2011 Page 10

Proposed Swiss Federal Estate and Gift Tax A constitutional initiative calling for the introduction of a federal estate and gift tax is of concern to affluent Swiss residents and property owners. Although the new tax could be introduced in 2016, it would apply retroactively to any gifts, or estate planning measures undertaken as of 1st January 2012, making it difficult to plan today around taxes which, if at all, become law in 2016 What is the Background and Content of this Proposal ? In August 2011, a popular initiative requesting the introduction of a federal estate and gift tax was launched with the support of some political parties and labour unions. According to this proposal, gifts and estates would be subject to a new flat 20% tax if the donor or the deceased resided in Switzerland, or if probate proceedings are commenced in Switzerland. Gifts or bequests of Swiss Real Estate would always be subject to this tax irrespective of the residence of the donor or the deceased. What are the major changes? Currently gift and inheritance taxes are based on cantonal legislation varying significantly from Canton to Canton. Most Cantons exempt dispositions in favour of a spouse or direct descendants. In future, only dispositions in favour of a

spouse or registered partner would be tax exempt. If accepted the tax becomes effective retroactive to 1st January 2012. To calculate the new tax, assets owned at death as well as any gifts or assets settled into trusts, foundations and insurance policies as of JANUARY 2012 are considered. Exemptions: · One-time exemption of CHF 2’000’000 per estate including taxable lifetime gifts; · Gifts and bequests between spouses and registered partners; · Gifts and bequests to tax exempt legal entities (e.g. charitable foundations); · Gifts of up to CHF 20,000 annually per recipient. Exemptions will be adjusted periodically to the cost of living index. Special exemptions and tax reductions will apply for farms and enterprises which continue to be operated for at least ten years by the recipients, in a way that doesn’t downsize operations or trigger job losses. The new rules will also apply to residents taxed on a lump-sum agreement. The new federal estate and gift tax will replace the current equivalent taxes which are levied at the Can-

tonal level. The taxes will continue to be assessed and collected by the Cantonal authorities. Two thirds of the estate/gift tax receipts are to be used to fund the Federal Old Age and Survivors’ Pension System. The remaining third will stay with the Cantons. Timing and Constitutional points to consider: The initiative requires the support of 100,000 Swiss citizens in order to be put to a national referendum – a requirement likely to be fulfilled as the signatures have to be collected by 16 February 2013. To succeed, the referendum requires a “double majority” meaning approval by popular vote and by a majority of the voters in a majority of the Cantons. If approved, the new rules could become law in 2016, albeit retrospectively with respect to estate planning measures taken as of 2012. Does this Constitutional Initiative have any chance of Succeeding? It is impossible to predict the outcome of this initiative. However, currently public finances, in particular the future financing of old age pensions, are of great concern. Additional funding will be required in view of changing Swiss demographics. Most voters are affected by the looming pension funding cri-

sis. Considering the tax exemptions (currently 2’000’000 per estate and spousal exemption which equates to 4’000’000 per couple) the proposed tax will not take money out of the pockets of most voters and their heirs. If gaps in pension funding can be filled by taxes levied on a small, affluent minority, by vote of a majority who would not pay going forward, but rather will benefit financially from their supporting this proposal, it is highly conceivable that this referendum will win the required political support. What can those who may be affected do today? It might well be that action needs to be taken before the end of this year - 2011. Tax free gifts to direct descendants are still possible in most Cantons this year. If advisable, a life-interest in real estate or certain movable assets can be retained. Conditional or revocable gifts may be advisable to legally avoid tax issues which could arise in other jurisdictions. A trust settlement made in 2011 may also be a solution. Persons concerned by the proposal should rapidly and thoroughly analyse their situation and consider implementing tax optimisation measures this year. Written by Hélène Koller, Wealth Planning Consultant at Coutts & Co, Zurich in ­collaboration with David Woolley, ­Executive Vice President, Senior client partner, Telephone 043 245 65 49.

Local News

Next few weeks will dictate Saanen dairy’s future After two-and-a-half years, the lease between Molkerei Gstaad and Molkerei Saanen was prematurely terminated as of September 30. Since October 1, the Saanen dairy cooperative has assumed sole management of the dairy once again. “The next months will be telling for the future of the dairy,” said Markus Bach, Saanen dairy cooperative president. The Molkerei Gstaad began leasing the Molkerei Saanen on May 1, 2008. In June 2011, it was announced that the lease would terminate at the end of April 2012. Sales had dropped since the opening of the Saanen bypass road, and negotiation attempts to adapt rent payments had failed. “Based on our talks, we assumed the Molkerei Saanen could already be closed as early as October,” Bach said, cooperative president. “This is not only about preserving a business; it’s about preserving the village of Saanen.”

Fresh meat and sausage products Now, the Molkerei Saanen offers vacuum-packed fresh meat and sausages for sale. The supplier for the fresh meat and for some of the sausages is farmer Metzg in Gsteig. “With this extended range of products, one can buy everything that one needs for daily use in Saanen,” Bach said. Saanen yogurt and ice cream In addition to an expansion into meats, the Molkerei Saanen remains focused on its own in-house dairy products, both new and established ones such as its yogurt and ice cream lines. Sales dropped sharply after the departure of Beat Locher, however it seems his successor Lukas Wili has managed to turn things around. “Ice cream sales have picked up again as well as deliveries to many hotels,” Bach said. Bach emphasized that even if the contract with Gstaad is over, both dairies will continue to work to-

Picture: Anita Moser

Friday 25 November 2011 Page 11

gether. “Gstaad draws ice cream and yogurt from us,” Bach said, “and we acquire their cheese products.” Consultants rather than managers Lukas Wili, who was hired by the Molkerei Gstaad to run the operations in Saanen, will remain production manager in Saanen. And the rest of the employees were also kept. “For financial reasons, we are doing without a general manager,” Bach said. “With Daniel Ulrich, we have a dairy industry expert as consultant and advisor at our side.” Difficult situation Despite all his confidence, Markus Bach remains realistic. “Due to the large and long-term construction projects planned,” Bach warns, “Saanen and thus the Molkerei Saanen faces a major challenge.” Bach hopes, however, that customers will, despite the difficult circumstances, support stores in Saanen. For the Molkerei Saanen, the next

An independent company once again: The lease agreement with the Molkerei Gstaad was prematurely dissolved at the end of September. Both dairies will continue to work together and mutually draw on each other’s products. few weeks and months will predict the future. “We depend on customers in the store and on food establishments, which we supply with our products,” Bach said. “We hope to generate the necessary revenue. If it doesn’t work, we will have to search for another solution.” TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED FROM THE ARTICLE BY ANITA MOSER AVS 18.10.2011

Compulsory course for dog owners ­offered locally Since 2008, a federal law requires all first-time dog owners to provide a certificate proving that they have attended a minimum four-hour theoretical course before a dog is purchased or brought home. Offering theoretical and practical courses locally are licensed coaches Kathrin Ummel and Rolf Steiner of the Hundesportverein Saanenland (Dog Sporting Club). Both coaches have noticed that many dog owners fail to follow federal provisions.

“Most who register for our theory course already have the dog,” they say. It should be the opposite. The theoretical course is designed for potential dog owners to clarify what dogs need and to erase misconceptions. They believe dog breeders and animal shelters should be required to acquire proof of course attendance before a dog can be purchased or adopted. They feel they have succeeded, if a participant during the theoretical

course says: “I’ve changed my mind and no longer want a dog.” According to animal welfare statistics, 27,463 animals were brought to animal shelters in 2010, a 3,579 rise over a year ago. Ummel and Steiner believe this is due to a rise in popularity of pets and to a throw-away mentality. The theory course teaches people more about dogs, which breed would fit them best, and their basic requirements. During the practical course, the ba-

sics of dog training are taught, including discipline and consistency. There is common misperception that owners of little dogs do not need to attend courses, but statistics show that little dogs are more involved in bites concerning children, than large dogs. For more information, call Rolf Steiner at 079 379 72 03; Kathrin Ummel at 076 505 75 66. Translated and adapted from the article by Christine Eisenbeis AVS 28.10.11

short story

Friday 25 November 2011 Page 12

Swiss Blue by Huck Scarry

Swiss Blue is a short story which will appear in four parts in the winter issues of GstaadLife. In this first part, we accompany Jack Douglas, a young American who has recently moved to Switzerland. Jack is in his car. It is Friday. It is winter. He pressed the accelerator gently, and felt the car pick up speed. The seat pressed snuggly against his back, giving him a firm hug. In just a few kilometers, Jack was thinking, the exit would be coming. Jack loved this car. He’d bought it from a departing colleague at the Organization in Geneva, shortly after starting his job there last Spring. Although the graphic-design work he did there proved to be a bit dull, it was nonetheless handsomely paid. And the best thing about it, Jack thought, was its proximity to the mountains. Wherever you looked from Geneva, you saw mountains. All through the Summer and Fall, there wasn’t a weekend when Jack wasn’t away in his car, twisting up over passes, or to the remote ends of obscure valleys. He’d been to Chamonix, had driven through the tunnel to the Aosta Valley, and had seen the Matterhorn from both the Swiss and the Italian side. He’d hiked high above the last Arolla pines in the Valais, surrounded by the tallest peaks of the Alps. When he would pause and look at these mountains from such a height, it seemed to Jack that the snow was of a white so brilliant and the sky of a blue so deep, that there was no way to really express it in words. One had to have been up there oneself to know it, and feel it. As each new weekend approached, Jack felt that his new life in Swit-

zerland was just about as good as one could hope for. And now, it was Winter: the best time of all. Time to ski. For a young man used to long drives up to Vermont, to narrow trails covered more often with ice than with snow, the skiing Jack was discovering in the Alps was, again, something just indescribable. To begin with, there seemed no end to the sheer number of ski resorts to try. On his bathroom floor in Geneva lay piles of brochures for resorts both in France and in Switzerland. It was hard to decide where to try next. Jack would smile, thinking that it hardly mattered: all the brochures looked so much alike, almost as if done by the same designer. Each had a bird’s-eye map with dozens of runs snaking their way down powdered-white mountains, always under a cloudless sky of deep blue. This blue was by far the dominant color in all the brochures – found on every cover, on every flap, and in every photo. It seemed to Jack almost like a special printing color, so ubiquitous it was. “Swiss Blue” is what he nicknamed it, and he sent some brochures to his parents back in Connecticut to illustrate just what he meant. But on this February afternoon, driving up the “autoroute” to Bulle, it was what Jack called “Swiss Grey”: the drab tone everything wore in the Winter for weeks, if not months, on end. Swiss Grey, Jack had learned, was caused by

particular climatic conditions in Winter: long spells of high air-pressure coupled with an absence of wind, and the fact that the better part of Switzerland lay sandwiched between the Alps and the Jura mountains, with dense cloud cover firmly wedged between them. But funnily, Jack had learned, the cloud cover only went up to an altitude of about 800 meters. While all Winter in the lowlands and cities of Switzerland it would be Swiss Grey, everywhere above 800 meters it was always Swiss Blue. And so every weekend Jack set off in his car in search of it. The exit-sign Jack was awaiting came into view. “Bulle, mille mètres!” he said to himself aloud, to practice his French. He flicked the blinker-arm up, and relaxed the pressure on the accelerator. The exit made a long, smooth arc up and away to the right, and after a kilometer or so, finally met the highway, where another sign stood in the grey. “Bulle, Château d’Oex” Jack again read aloud. The names were printed in white on a dark blue ground: a shade of Swiss Blue one might meet up at around 3000 meters, Jack thought to himself, smiling, as he steered the car out onto the highway. “3000 meters” Jack turned over in his mind, recalling a summer visit to the Gornergrat, above Zermatt. At that altitude, he remembered,

it froze at night … even in midsummer. A night accidentally spent outdoors at that height, without the right clothing, might very well be one’s last. Jack remembered breaking ice-covered puddles with his hiking boot, early one August morning. It was funny, he thought, how in Switzerland one not only measured the distance to places, but also their altitude above sealevel. And the higher the altitude, the more it redefined everything you thought you knew about the weather and the seasons. “Pays d’Enhaut!” Jack called aloud, breaking his reverie, following the next direction-sign out of a roundabout. “The Country Above” he translated, “That’s a good, and a funny name.” He began thinking of the road ahead, which would climb and twist, leading him through narrow, tightly-built villages of old, dark, weather-beaten wooden houses. Jack pressed on the accelerator, eagerly anticipating this last, and very beautiful, leg of the drive up to Gstaad. Jack had first been intrigued by Gstaad when he’d picked out the resort’s brochure from a revolvingrack at the Geneva train station. Unlike all of the others, this brochure was printed only in black. “Swiss Black?” Jack had smiled to himself, opening it. And indeed,

Friday 25 November 2011 Page 13

inside, were dramatic, contrasty monochrome photos of crystalline mountains under a rich, anthracite sky. It looked really different, and it looked good. Jack had, of course, heard of Gstaad well before his move to Switzerland. He knew that, at the very least, he would one day have to make a visit; if anything, just to say he’d been there. Which is what he did just two weekends ago, booking by phone into a small hotel sitting toward the bottom of a long list in the black brochure. There was little traffic to speak of, early on this Friday afternoon. Jack’s car sped below the castle of Gruyères, perched atop its hill like a set design to an opera. At Montbovon, where the tracks of the local railway suddenly, and surprisingly, began to share the roadway with him, it got foggy. Jack slowed down. A film of water droplets covered the windshield. He switched on the wipers, which began their ballet, smearing blackish grime before him. With his right foot, he pumped on the little pedal which squeezed a couple of jets of window-cleaner onto the glass, thinning and lightening the grime. The fog then began to change from grey, into an eerie sapphire-blue. “Here we go!” Jack called out to himself, and his car burst out of the dense veil of fog. The glare of sunshine startled him. Squinting, he slapped down the sun-visor. With his right hand, he picked up a pair of sunglasses he had left open on the passenger seat, just for this moment, and put them on. “Huit-cent mètres!” Jack said merrily. The landscape, which until a moment ago had been a tasteless soup of grey, was now an exuberant concert of brilliant colors and sharp shadows. Sunshine streaming through the windows warmed his cheek and hands.

After the town of Rougemont, the road came to a narrow bend where a gorge dropped down to the right. Suddenly the tires of Jack’s car began to hum at a different pitch as the structure of the pavement changed. Outside Jack’s car, though still unnoticeable, the spoken language also changed: from French to Swiss-German. Jack’s car had left “The Country Above” and made a gentle descent into a new valley opening ahead: the Saanenland. It wasn’t really a valley, Jack thought, but more of a great basin with lots of little valleys protruding from it, like the spokes of a wheel. And at the wheel’s hub, was Gstaad. Jack had been somewhat surprised how small this famous resort was. He was also a bit disappointed with the look of the mountains, which didn’t seem to have quite the dramatic allure conveyed by the stunning photos in the brochure. Nor had he found ski runs to test his nerve and stamina like some he’d been down in Verbier and Zermatt. And yet, Jack found that there was something here that seemed to set it apart from the other resorts he had visited. It was something hard to describe – a kind of laid-back charm. He had discovered that most of the runs, no matter which way they turned, pretty-much managed to always lie agreeably in the sun. The lifts had been cleverly placed in such a way that he could ski from valley to valley, and then back again. In a day, he rarely skied the same run twice. And sprinkled here and there at the edge of the runs, Jack found little “Gasthofs” and homemade bars where people seemed to take as much pleasure just basking in the sun with a drink, as in skiing. It was at one such bar on the Hornberg that Jack had met Erika two weeks ago. She was a cute and lively girl from Bern, up skiing with her friend Isabelle for the day.

They had skied the last couple of runs of that Sunday afternoon together. Jack had always thought of himself as a pretty good skier, but these girls were amazing. It was all he could do to keep up with them. Jack was smitten by Erika’s laughter and playful smile, and before the girls returned to Bern, and he to Geneva, they exchanged phone numbers. And so here he was in Gstaad again, just two weeks later. Erika would be driving up tomorrow morning with Isabelle. His hotel had been perfect, so he booked there again. It was an old, wooden inn with sagging stairs that creaked warmly as you climbed them. He’d had a cosy room under the eaves. Through a narrow glasspaned door he could step out onto a small balcony. He would leave little bits from his breakfast bread on the wooden railing, and from his bed, watch the jet-black mountain ravens come to collect them. “Welcome, Herr Douglas!” called Mr. Winter, getting up from behind his desk on the landing of the first floor. Jack climbed up the last few creaky stairs and set his bag down on the shredding red carpet in front of the desk. “Did you have a good trip?” Mr. Winter asked, extending his hand. This was angular and warm, and the feel of Mr. Winter’s hand reminded Jack of the smooth handle of a wooden walking stick. The skin was tanned by the sun. Mr. Winter picked up a pen and asked Jack to sign his name on the registration form: the other details he would fill in for Jack later. Jack liked this man. He would probably be about the same age as his father, and in spite of his silver hair, he looked still young and very fit. “I’ve given you the same room as you had last time,” he said. “Number eight. Shall I take you up?”

short story “Oh, no thanks” replied Jack. “If I may, I’ll just leave my bag here with you. I’m sort of eager to go skiing.” “Ah, that I can imagine on a day like this!” Mr. Winter turned around to look out the window, but oddly, Jack thought, he looked down at something instead of up to the blue sky. “Enjoy your afternoon while you can. The barometer is falling. You might just want to sleep-in tomorrow. We’re going to see a little snow.” “Oh, I’m not afraid of a little snow” laughed Jack, “Back in New England, we ski in any weather, and pretty-much on any surface … but usually on blue ice!” It was just a couple of minutes’ drive from the hotel over to the Eggli gondola lift. Only a handful of cars were parked in the muddy lot beside the lower station. Jack parked next in line beside them, and got out. He looked up at the mountains around him, and at the clear and brilliant sky. He took a deep breath. “This is a dream!” he laughed. He detached his skis from the ski rack on the roof, and leaned them carefully against the car. From the backseat, he brought out his poles, and from the floor, his ski boots. These were luxuriously warm, having traveled beside a heating vent. Jack sat down sideways in the driver’s seat, with the car door open, and began to squeeze his feet into them. He glanced at his watch on his wrist. It was two-thirty.


Friday 25 November 2011 Page 14

Events Calendar ■■SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26 – SATUR-

DAY, DECEMBER 17 16h00: Meet the author/s in the ‘Media Treff’, Lauenenstrasse 22, Gstaad: On 26.11.2011: Fritz Müllener - “E Blick zrugg”; On 03.12.2011: Robert Schneiter - “Nach Hast-mach Rast”; On 10.12.2011: Ruth Aebi -“Gstaad-Saanenland” and on 17.12.2011: Judith Josi & Karin Widmer - “The Tale of Mr Wiskers the Niesen Fox. For more info, contact +41 (0)33 744 39 90.

■■SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27 15h00: Advent Concert in the Reformed Church, Saanen: Collection. For more information www.kapellenchoregw.ch, or contact +41 (0)31 862 09 70.

■■TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29 Live music at the Youth centre Oeyetli: Rate SFr 10-12. For more info, www.jugasaanen.ch or contact +41 (0)33 744 57 40.

■■NOVEMBER 26 & 30; DECEMBER 3 & 4 Concert and theatre with the Jodler club Gsteig. Location: Gymnasium Gsteig. Rate: SFr 5-12. Seat reservation required, please contact +41 (0)79 311 70 26. ■■FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2 – SUNDAY, 4 Indoor soccer tournament in the Sport centre Ebnit. Rate: SFr 120. Indoor soccer tournament for women on Saturday afternoon. For more info, contact +41 (0)79 333 30 19. ■■SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3

Friday November 25 2011 until Friday December 16 2011

20h15: Advent concert of the Musikgesellschaft Gstaad & the Jodlerfründe Arnensee at the Saanen church. For more info, contact +41 (0)33 744 09 40.

■■SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4 09h45: Concert with sermon in the Saanen church, afterwards in the Restaurant Landhaus at 15h00. Everybody is welcome. For more information, contact +41 (0)33 722 42 15. ■■TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6 17h00: Santa Claus is coming to Saanen! Santa Claus walks with the children from the train station to the Molkereiplatz. Everybody is welcome! Phone +41 (0)33 748 81 62 for more information. ■■TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6 17h00: Santa Claus is coming to Gstaad! Santa Claus walks with the children from the Gstaadplatz (Posthotel Rössli) to the Kapälliplatz. Phone +41 (0)33 748 81 81 for more information.

■■SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10 20h15: Advent concert in the Mauritius church, Saanen with: the male choir, the Saaner Gospel singers and the Saaner Vokalensemble. Free entry – collection. Contact +41 (0)33 744 95 71 for more info.

■■SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10 17h00: Christmas market in Gsteig: at the School house parking. For more info, contact

+(0)33 755 81 81.

■■SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10 & SUNDAY, 11 The Grand Hotel Bellevue starts the winter season with a Christmas market and program for all. ‘Glühwein’, freshly baked specialities, Santa Claus with small give-aways for children, local produce, Christmas music and many more… For more information, contact +41 (0)33 748 00 00. ■■FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16 16h00: Christmas market in Saanen. A feast for old and young! For more info, contact +41 (0)33 748 81 60. ■■Rotary Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings every Monday 12h00 Palace Hotel Gstaad (033 / 748 50 00), President: Rot. Alfred Liechti (033 / 722 42 22), Program: Rot. Gerhard Amiet (033 / 744 94 49) ■■Lions Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings normally each first and third week of the month on Thursdays, either at 12h00 a.m. for lunch or at 7h00 p.m. for dinner. Meetings in Wellness & Spa-Hotel ErmitageGolf, Schönried, Tel. 033 748 60 60. For details and program contact Victor Steimle, president, 033 748 78 88, steimle@tundr.ch, https://gstaad-saanenland.lionsclub.ch

Congratulations ­ Erich von Siebenthal!

Erich and Maria von Siebenthal

For additional useful numbers please visit www.gstaadlife.ch/usefulnumbers For the latest local weather forecast visit www.gstaadlife.com/weather

Hunter’s luck September first marked the start of hunting season. In addition to deer and chamois, the Saanenland shooting quota for red deer was eight, or 281 in the entire canton of Berne. During the first two days of the season, a group of four hunters found success in the Reusch area located in the Gsteig municipality,

began when he joined the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) in 1978, ran for political office in 1994, and was first elected in 2002 to the cantonal parliament of Canton Berne. Congratulations Erich! TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED FROM THE ARTICLE BY ANITA MOSER AVS 28.10.11

■■Important Numbers Ambulance 144, Police 117 Police office 033 356 84 31 Fire-brigade 118 Saanen Hospital 033 748 02 00 Château-d‘Oex Hospital 026 923 43 43 Car accident service 033 744 88 80 Veterinary 033 744 35 31 / 033 744 06 61 Medical emergency 0900 57 67 47 Dental emergency 033 748 02 00

killing four animals weighing between 108 and 217 kilos. The eightyear old bull that they shot must have been the heaviest registered in the entire canton. The stag hunt lasted until September 20. TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED FROM THE ARTICLE BY ANITA MOSER AVS 09.09.11

Photo: Anita Moser

Photo: Anita Moser

Local organic dairy farmer and manager of the Wasserngrat chairlift, Erich von Siebenthal, 52, was re-elected to the National Assembly during the elections of October 23, 2011. He has served on the assembly since 2007. The Saanenlandborn Bissen resident’s life in politics

■■Church Services St Peter’s English-Speaking Anglican Church, Château-d’Oex 27 November 2011, 17h30 Advent Sunday Service. Rev. Clive Atkinson 4 December 2011, 17h30 Evening Worship. Rev. Penny Frank 7 December 2011, 10h00 – 10h30 Advent Meditation. Rev. Penny Frank 11 December 2011, 17h30 Holy Communion. Rev. Penny Frank 12 December 2011, 10h00 – 10h30 Service of Healing. Rev. Penny Frank 14 December 2011, 10h00 – 10h30 Advent Meditation. Rev. Penny Frank 18 December 2011, 17h30 Evening Worship. Rev. Penny Frank Information: 026 924 60 92 Web: www.allsaints.ch/chateaudoex

Pictured from left: Hans Jungen, Turbach; Thomas Addor, Gstaad; Bernhard Mösching, Saanen; and Beat Walker, Grund.


Friday 25 November 2011 Page 15

Vive les Nouveaux Pauvres! by Mandolyna Theodoracopulos

Luxury is thought to mean having what one wants. Luxury is living opulently in a grand house with plenty of servants and a diamond tiara or two locked in the designer safe. Luxury is food and wine second to none, a walk-in closet, and love with no obstacles. Luxury is not having to get up in the morning if you don’t want to, or going to the movies on a weekday afternoon. Luxury is a good fix. But those are mostly examples of material luxury, which is different than existential luxury. The best luxury of all is to be free and happy. According to popular wisdom, happiness is fettered to a person’s level of financial freedom. If you’re broke,

The kink in this wisdom is the material. Possessions. Stuff. Houses. Cars. Knick-knacks. Dependents. How free can a person be when they are in charge of all that? Only as free as they are psychologically. Therefore, even if a very rich person with many possessions wants to be happy, their mind is the only thing standing in the way. But how many people does one know like that? Not many, probably not even one. Belongings equal baggage. Full stop. The more belongings, the more burdens. Small house, small burden. Big house, big burden. Many houses, many burdens. Material luxury can be measured. Your average rich person seems to live well. Their burden appears manageable. They have a house and a nice car or two,

bills, payments, and responsibilities. In the extreme, the filthy stinking rich live in monumental splendor. They have many houses, many cars, boats, planes, and thousands of toys. Their burden is gigantic, and they make it so by acquiring all they have with no apparent end. Money doesn’t buy them happiness, it buys one elephantine encumbrance. One wonders what life is like for those who experience material luxury in the 0.1%. It is easy to assume they are happier because they don’t have to fly on packed planes and can go on holiday whenever and wherever they want. How nice for them to be able to simply buy their way out of a jam. The problem is that very rich people usually get into bigger jams, and the cost of getting out of them is proportionally higher. It is easy to envy the grandeur and the beauty a virtually unlimited bank account can afford. But such wealth is dangerous—as it should be. If you prefer materialism over happiness, you can stress yourself into

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money isn’t buying you much freedom. If you’re rolling in the good stuff, you can buy your way to happiness. They say that money buys freedom but not happiness, but the two are linked like his-and-hers bathrooms.

oblivion by doing some retail therapy. Perhaps this is why, during these “austere” times, the luxury market is doing better than ever. Not everyone with this kind of cash spends it all. Not everyone who can afford a boat built by Philippe Starck has one, though most do. Possessing so much wealth requires a tremendous amount of management. And management means people. People means secretaries, maids, cooks, chauffeurs, accountants, mechanics, and masseurs. Rich people need people, and these are only the ones they pay for. Think of all the friends very rich people must have. Think of all the acquaintances, groupies, leeches, and hangers-on. And then there are the parties. Rich people have to give parties. Their grand spaces must be filled. Why bother being rich if you don’t spend it on others? Big empty houses are sad. Without playmates, they are superfluous. If you live in grand style, you must entertain in grand style. This is giving me a stomachache. It all sounds exhausting, like a labor camp. So if you’re worried about your finances but are not in danger of starving, try not to worry. You’re missing a roller-coaster ride you can live without—one you would probably be happier without. Strike out and be different! Look forward to being broke. You might like it. You might be a nicer person— even a better, less anxious person. Downsize. Vive les nouveaux pauvres!

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GstaadLife, 25 November 2011  

GstaadLife, the exclusive monthly publication about the good life in Gstaad.

GstaadLife, 25 November 2011  

GstaadLife, the exclusive monthly publication about the good life in Gstaad.

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