©GRAFF DIAMONDS 2011
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 16 December 2011 - Issue 8 - CHF 3.50 excl VAT
· Remembered: Group Captain Billy Drake DSO, DFC British Fighter Ace of the Second World War
IN THIS ISSUE
· Meeting the new headmaster of JFK International school · Hotel Olden to be renovated · The inaugural GYC Centenary Trophy 2011 · Short story: Swiss Blue (part two)
· Making the Holidays Happy
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Friday 16 December 2011 Page 5
Letter from the Editor������������������������������������������������������� 5 Local Personality Remembered: Group Captain Billy Drake DSO, DFC British Fighter Ace of the Second World War . . . . 7, 9 Local News The business of private security in Gstaad and the surrounds . . 12, 17 Meeting the new headmaster of the JFK International school ������ 15 Money Matters Crucial moment in European and global history ����������������������� 17 Local News Bruno Kernen takes over hotel in Saanenmöser����������������� 19 Construction on Saanen field to begin in March������������������������ 19
Short Story Events Local News Column
Hotel Olden to be renovated ����� 21 Rialto reopens under new management ������������������������������� 22 The inaugural GYC Centenary Trophy 2011��������������� 23 Hotel Hornberg makes it on GaultMillau ranking list �������������� 25 Schönried-Gstaad trail now continuous��������������������������� 25 Swiss Blue (part two) ������������ 26-28 Events calendar����������������������������� 28 Ted Scapa: ideas remain his trademark ������������������������������� 29 Making the Holidays Happy������� 30
Letter from the Editor - Happy Holidays This December GstaadLife closes its calendar year off with a bumper issue filled not only with our usual news, actualities and markers for events to happen over the Christmas season but also we bring to you, our readers, some fine storytelling, insightful facts and expositions of some of the latest sports equipment, fashion and beautiful products to be found in the region. Looking back on the year, Gstaadlife has continued to grow in terms of its readership, advertiser’s participation and readers’ comments. I would like to thank everyone in our commercial and production team, our translators, writer contributors, columnists, guest writers, printers and distributors, who all do a fine job of making GstaadLife possible. I would further like to thank everyone who has provided the feedback we receive regarding our publication, for the many positive emails, letters, website comments, and
even those who have mentioned a word of encouragement, whilst passing by. I thank you. I always make a point of mentioning a special Gstaad experience or two, here in this column. Recently, the Grand Hotel Bellevue, held a Christmas market beneath their towering Christmas tree which was switched on, in an illumination ceremony for all to see, whilst locals and visitors mingled, enjoyed some Gluhwein, Raclette, and other local produce. It was a charming early evening affair offered to the community by Philip Erne, the General Manager of the Grand Hotel Bellevue, his wife Nancy, the management and staff of the hotel. A very nice gesture appreciated by all who visited, I am sure. Next, I share with you a moment of passion for the nature we have here in the Saanenland. Just a few days ago I received a lovely email from
one of our contributor writers Januaria Piromallo, who had just spent the day ice skating with her children at the Launensee. Here is an extract of her email. ‘A thin layer of very light snow crystals covered the lake like a white velvet carpet. The tree branches turned into an immaculate ice sculpture and the iced waterfall made up a picture perfect scene. Skating swiftly the children designed figures on the silver ice, performing slalom between the snow patches. No other noise, only the soft squeaking of the blades of the skates. It was pure magic. Lauenensee was a living work of art, a natural canvas.’ Wishing you all happy holidays, a Merry Christmas and a splendid New Year. Best wishes Peter Sonnekus-Williams Editor in Chief
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Friday 16 December 2011 Page 7
Group Captain Billy Drake was born in December 1917 to an English father and Australian mother, and was raised and educated in Schwyz and Geneva, Switzerland and came to love the country greatly; not least for the opportunities it gave him to ski. Following a ride in a flying circus bi-plane as a child, he developed a desire to fly from an early age. His father taught him how to use a shotgun at the age of 12, which greatly improved young Drake’s eye-sight. Later he responded to an advertisement in his favourite magazine, “Aeroplane”, requesting trainee pilots to join the RAF. Having qualified as a pilot, he was commissioned a few months later. In May 1937, Drake (a direct descendant of Sir Francis Drake) joined No 1 Squadron, a group of 16 pilots
Billy Drake, Wing Commander during the 50’s.
from all over the Commonwealth who effectively were left to their own devices. Within days of Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland, on the 1st of September 1939, and Britain and France’s declaration of war, the squadron was posted to Neuville-sur-Ornain, near Reims in France. In the spring of 1940, Group Captain Drake’s formation of Hawker Hurricanes attacked a squadron of German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters, whereupon he scored his first victory. Shortly afterwards, on the 10th of May 1940, Germany’s Blitzkrieg was launched and within a few days Drake had successfully downed three Dornier bombers and shared in the demise of another. During this period, the Allies were heavily outnumbered by the Luftwaffe and the squadron were being scrambled up to four or five times a day to halt the onslaught. It was in one of these sorties that Drake had to abandon formation after he realised his aircraft was not equipped with an oxygen supply for highaltitude flying. He was instructed “to piss off and go home”. Upon turning, he saw three Dorniers, and being in a good position to attack, broke all the rules. He opened fire and shot one down but then found himself under fire. Within seconds he was hit, covered in petrol and his cockpit was ablaze. He successfully bailed out and landed in the countryside in France. His leg injuries kept him in a French hospital before he was able to return to England. Thereafter, he flew reconnaissance missions over the English Channel during the Battle of Britain. He recalled, "I would land, grab a cup of
tea and I'd be shouting, 'Fuel her up - let's go again.'" Soon afterwards, he was awarded a DFC for his part in the destruction and downing of a number of bombers and fighters. Drake later commanded No 128 and No 112 (Shark) Squadrons in North Africa and on the Mediterranean island of Malta. While leading Shark, he accounted for more than 30 enemy aircraft, 15 of which were destroyed on airfields. In June 1942, Drake was awarded an immediate Bar to his DFC for a raid on Gazala in the Western Desert, which “grounded the German fighter force for three days.” Many of his fellow pilots became casualties. “You accepted that they could be shot down, and if they were, bad bloody luck. That’s war,” he explained. “You’d go up to their room and see if there was anything you could borrow.” He later recalled, “By God, we had a good time. That’s not to say we behaved in the way Hollywood likes to portray Battle of Britain pilots. Of course, there were a few randy ruffians who would chase any girl. But generally we all had girlfriends, and we didn’t use the war as an excuse to sleep with them. We were gentlemen.” Just after the war in 1945 he then went on to join SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) in Rheims, where he was responsible for keeping the “Top Brass” up-to-date on the activities of the Allied Forces, as well as flying missions to Britain carrying important documents. On one such mission Drake was ordered to fly clas-
Photo: Raphael Faux
Remembered: Group Captain Billy Drake DSO, DFC British Fighter Ace of the Second World War
Group Captain Billy Drake. sified information written on bits of paper “including the toilet variety”. He delivered his precious package to Whitehall to be greeted by Winston Churchill’s daughter Mary who presented him with a large scotch on arrival! At the end of Drake’s stay with SHAEF, Eisenhower gave him a photograph of himself signed “To Billy from Ike”. This was one of his most treasured possessions, but was sadly stolen not long afterwards. Billy Drake once described himself and his pals as “a lot of playboys as against the very professional organization.” However, Britain owed much to this group of “playboys” for their gallantry and heroism. No 1 Squadron re-wrote Continued on Page 9
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Friday 16 December 2011 Page 9
Continued from Page 7 the rules of aerial combat and developed techniques and crucial aircraft modifications that were vital to success in the Battle of Britain.
as being invited as a guest speaker, way into his 90’s. We remember him here, and all those young men who, at 22 and 23 years old, were famously depicted running to their Spitfire planes ready for action. A brave man - Billy, we salute you, and your friends here in Gstaad will miss you, R.I.P. Billy Drake passed away on August 28th 2011 and a fitting memorial service was held in September at Tangmere with a “flyover salute.”
In 1958, Drake took up office as Air Attache in Bern. This proved a great location to pick up on his passion for skiing, particularly in the Bernese Oberland. He also recalled that having been educated in a school with lots of future Swiss politicians, helped him a lot later on. Upon retirement he moved and settled in Portugal, where he ran a real estate company and a bar!
Billy with his family skiing in Gstaad.
Billy loved Gstaad and was a regular to the valley for decades. It was also here, on his favourite slopes on the Eggli, that he spent some of his happiest days at the age of 90 plus, skiing with his sons, Simon and Dayrell (or if he was lucky, an
attractive blonde - of which he was never short, such was his charm!). He still drove himself over to Gstaad from the UK and often didn’t say he was coming in case his sons banned him from driving! He’d just turn up, often with an attractive
lady in tow and ask, “Do you mind if we stay?” He’d then stay the season and, weather permitting, ski the whole time. Billy remained one of the most famous Battle of Britain pilots, and went on to attend many RAF events, seminars as well
Further reference: ‘Fighter Leader’ by Billy Drake with Christopher Shores. Photo’s courtesy of Dayrell Drake BBC program: Billy and the Fighter Boys. (In this episode, Billy returns to France 50 years after he crashed his plane to be filmed digging it out). by Tess Larosse
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Friday 16 December 2011 Page 11
Interview with Mr Laurence Graff
Mr Laurence Graff ‘There is a new Graff store opening in Gstaad, where will it be and when does it open?’ We are pleased to announce that our first boutique in Gstaad is opening this winter 2011 season, located at the Grand Hotel Park. ‘What made you choose such an address for your Graff presentation in Gstaad?’ Gstaad has always been an important location for us and the new Graff store will be a wonderfully elegant destination to view the most fabulous jewels in the world. ‘For you, why Gstaad?’ Gstaad has been my home for many years. It is a place of natural beauty, and with the combination of mountain air it proves to be a very relaxing environment.
‘What can the patron, visitors and residents of Gstaad expect to find in your new store?’ The Graff boutique will provide a luxurious environment welcoming our guests to relax in a milieu of oak panels hand engraved with a gold leaf finish creating a chic and modern style. Visitors can expect to see the finest diamonds and exquisite craftsmanship. The majority of our jewels are unique in design and are created by our master craftsmen by hand in our London workshop. Exceptional pieces such as the Diamond Flower brooch - a stunning symphony of over 1,000 sparkling diamonds set in a highly sculptural yet feminine piece. Other designs, such as the Scroll necklaces with elaborate swirls and scrolls of white diamonds, designed to complement richly coloured emeralds, sapphires and rubies, highlight the quality of stones and craftsmanship that Graff is famous for. Each necklace drapes beautifully, designed to catch the light and dazzle the eye, with every stone set to highlight their beauty and bring out their true colour. ‘Is there any particular range or special piece that you think could be of particular interest to the patrons, visitors and residents of Gstaad?’ In addition to our
Scroll Necklace Striking emerald cut sapphires contrast beautifully with dazzling multishape diamonds. Sapphires 67.30 carats Diamonds 49.68 carats
unique pieces we will display our Graff iconic collections such as our Swan collection, Chandelier collection and Bombé collection; all featuring the finest diamonds and rare gemstones. ‘How are you going to keep the Gstaad customer informed about your store and what is on exhibit?’ We partner with the finest publications in order to promote Graff, Gstaad Life being one of them of course! ‘Would you like to tell me some about Graff luxury watches, I am aware that they were launched in 2009, what makes them unique in a market of so much choice?’ Graff watches are inspired by the unique facetted design of the classic cut of a diamond. Equipped with a fine Swiss movement, each watch is enriched by diamonds selected by Graff gemolo-
Diamond Flower Brooch Round and Pearshape Diamond Flower Brooch with a Radiant Yellow Diamond Centre Diamond Total: 94.26Cts
gists. In addition to their unique case shape, Graff watches posses many distinctive features such as a diamond-tipped crown, facetted case back and triangular cut gem set at twelve o’clock. Our watches are unique as they combine Swiss horological expertise with gemological knowhow. We develop special cuts of diamonds to fit the exact design of our watches eliminating any design compromises. ‘Who do you see wearing a Graff luxury watch?’ We have been famous for our most fabulous jewels for ladies, but now with the launch of Graff Luxury Watches we are able to appeal to clients who appreciate Swiss craftsmanship, excellent design and exceptional timepieces for both our male and female clients.
Friday 16 December 2011 Page 12
The business of private security in Gstaad and the surrounds An interview with Martin Brand (MB) of AAS Security in Gstaad and James Otigbah (JO) of Excel Security Solutions in Gstaad. There are quite a few private security companies working in the Saanenland area, is there enough task for everyone? JO - By all indications, there are upwards of 40 real estate agencies in the region, this should be an indication of the type of clientele there are in the region. I know of four security companies that operate in the region, each one has their unique strengths while some areas overlap. MB - To be exact there are four security companies (in personnel security) working regularly in the Saanenland. There is in general enough work for all in the region, but not in all specific areas of security. Overall I think these four companies have a good relation with each other, and often task together. How far away from Gstaad do you operate? MB - In personnel security we operate 99% in Saanenland, and don’t want to do more outside. In technical security we work in Saanenland and Obersimmental. On the monitoring centre we have connected objects throughout the German area of Switzerland, but 95% also in Saanenland, some in Bern, Zürich and East Switzerland. JO - We have operated all over Switzerland and abroad. This year we were at the WEF in Davos; we worked for the Zürich Film Festival, providing executive protection to the President of the Jury and we had several international business clients traveling around Switzer-
land. Internationally, we have had security mandates in Africa. In Nigeria we were protecting a former Vice President during the Presidential elections. We also worked for a private family in the United Arab Emirates. In September of this year, we assisted an international hotel chain in extracting their expatriate employees and guests from Tripoli in Libya. Would you say that in Gstaad the presence of your company is to display proactive prevention or are you about reaction? JO - Good security is always proactive; this is the very essence of our company’s philosophy. Prevention is always much more effective and in the long run more cost-effective than reaction. It is also more discreet and professional. MB - Both, we have patrols out each day and night; together with technical rounds, this forms a proactive presence. This is particularly important in the slower between season times when it becomes very quiet in the village. Do you think that chalets in the area are secure enough for the present situation? MB - It’s very individual, and there are a lot of different views. Security is an individual feeling at the end. And not everybody has the same measure. In general there is a good standard here. In most cases of consulting, we don’t need to make a big concept. Sometimes the systems are old and need to be changed or we just need to consider some organisational measures. JO - The level of security in each chalet depends on the person’s perception of security, how much they
can afford and which security company has advised them. From my experience, the chalets range from one extreme to the other; from fortresses to people who have a false sense of security. Not everybody can afford a top security package for their home. What can be engaged to ensure a good level of security at a reasonable price? JO - The cornerstone of good security is awareness. Awareness is a mind-set which does not cost anything. Also, nowadays you can get reasonable priced systems, depending on the size of the property. What I find surprising is that even though chalets are built primarily of wood, many are not equipped with appropriate fire detecting systems. A fire will cause more damage and loss (of life) than a burglary. MB - This is always depended on how far you want to guarantee safety or security. For a few hundred Francs you can get a good safe/fire safe or a better lock on the door or a stand-alone fire detector. A security guard for one evening for an event also doesn’t cost a fortune. And in opposite to this, for sure, permanent protection 24/7 is very expensive. Is theft from chalets something to be concerned about in Gstaad? Are there many incidents? MB - Each year there are some incidents in the Saanenland, some in chalets. But in view of how many, it is very few. But it would be wrong to say there is nothing. History has always shown that where there is wealth, there will be incidents. Also with the prolific use of modern communication technologies, the
discretion of our patrons to Gstaad becomes more compromised. To this point everybody needs to be more sensible about posting their whereabouts on social networks. This is a new social phenomenon with risks. JO - Although chalet incidents rarely come to light in the media, I know of several incidents. It would be in the interest of the media as a service to the community to report such incidents in order to make people more vigilant. Whenever there is an incident, people are quick to point their fingers at the police and the municipality, accusing them of not doing enough. The responsibility for security is generally placed on the police, which is not fair. If people spend several millions on buying a flat or a chalet, which in turn attracts criminals, they should share the responsibility. What we are being asked to protect against within the last few months, is vandalism. There was a recent robbery in a jewellery store on the Promenade in Gstaad. What is your view on this regarding how they get away? JO - Everybody has this conception that a criminal will rob a shop/bank/ chalet and then attempt to leave the region. I have always heard that Gstaad is safe, because in case of a robbery, the few ways in and out can rapidly be blocked by police road blocks. Criminals know this too. Professionals most probably rent a flat, commit the crime, return to the flat and stay low for a couple of days until the heat has died down, before leaving the area. MB - It’s difficult to say. When you Continued on Page 17
Friday 16 December 2011 Page 13
Jean Luc Amsler
After a great success in Asia, the Franco Swiss haute couture fashion designer will be presenting his new Spring-Summer Collection 2012 in the Gstaad Palace. Early Career Jean Luc Amsler has started his career collaborating respectively with the greatest names: Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Cartier, Scherrer and Courrège. He launched his own brand in 1992 and performed on numerous catwalks during Fashion Weeks in Paris, Beijing, Singapore, Moscow, Istanbul, and Zurich. A few seasons later he directed his first independent collection called “Femmes”. His first collection was a turning point in his career and his name started to become a reference for a new, unconventional and daring style in the fashion world. Beyond prêt-à-porter Beyond his prêt-a-porter and haute couture activity he was the artistic director of Dior Homme and Dior Parfums. He successfully launched his own brand “Parfums Jean Luc Amsler” in more than 60 countries
worldwide and developed his own line of leather accessories. Best Designer Award In 2005 he received the award of Best Designer in Beijing by the Chinese Federation. His collaboration with the Korean brand Lee Young Hee back in 1998 allowed him to discover Korea, its culture and its modernity. He was seduced by the professionalism, dynamism, flair and openness of the Koreans. This was the starting point of a long lasting success story with this country. In 2006, Jean Luc Amsler became the artistic director of Waterman for whom he designed new collections, leather goods, watches and accessories. Luxury accessories Three years later, he signed a 10year license for the development of his own leather goods brand in
South Korea with the Group Simone, who handles prestigious licenses such as Donna Karan New York, Givenchy Paris, Burberrys London and others. From Singapore to Geneva In 2007, the new Jean Luc Amsler collection was presented in Singapore with the support of Waterman. His Spring-Summer collection 2008 received much praise at the famous Salle Gaveau hall in Paris, during a fashion show organised in collaboration with Kia Motors and Waterman. In October 2009, Jean Luc Amsler has unveiled his creations at the prestigious Grand Hotel Kempinski in Geneva during the opening night of the International Tribunes in Geneva, in the presence of numerous personalities. Gstaad Palace Exposition Since then, Jean Luc Amsler has
continuously worked on new exceptional projects that will once again shake up the established ideas about the aesthetics of the current fashion. There will be an exclusive preview of the new Spring-Summer collection 2012 at the Gstaad Palace from the 3rd to the 6th of January 2012, with a fashion show that takes place on the 3rd of January at 6pm. This Event will be organized by Jean-Sébastien Robine of Public Relations Gstaad. Paris Fashion Week This collection will also be presented during the Fashion Week in Paris where Jean Luc Amsler will present a breathtaking fashion show in an extraordinary ambiance on wednesday, 25 january 2012 at 18h30 at the Swiss Embassy in Paris. www.jeanlucamsler.ch
Friday 16 December 2011 Page 14
Winter in the Mountains... In the Gstaad Palace Spa you can find the exclusive Jardin des Monts products which have also been incorporated into a unique treatment ritual. Jardin des Monts’ terrace cultivation in the Pays-d’Enhaut (Rossinière), 1350m up on the sundrenched Swiss mountainside, has revived once forgotten highland pastures. Both wild and organically grown plants are handpicked with the utmost care and transformed into precious plant extracts. The Palace and Jardin des Monts have created a one-of-a-kind ritual that takes you to the heart of the mountains and the nature. This treatment, made with 100% natural and organical oils, will release the relaxing, heating and detoxifying properties of the sweet marjoram through a revitalizing massage.
*** E-Shop Surf, Shop and buy with a single click – Welcome to the new E-Shop of the Gstaad Palace. From now on, you can select from a large list of Palace items and experiences. Book an exclusive cooking lesson with Peter Weiss, order a traditional handmade Saanenland sledge made by Andreas Kolly or choose from an array of exclusive products. Either a gift for yourself, to bring joy to friends or an option of a voucher, the choice is vast and it’s yours. Just choose your preferred item, we will wrap it for you and send it directly to you. We look forward to your purchase … www.palace.ch/eshop
A small number of unique Hublot 'Big Bang' GreenGo 40 years anniversary watches are available. This special timepiece was made especially for the 40 years celebration of the Gstaad Palace GreenGo and is presented in the unique colors and design of this famous establishment. Enquiries Gstaad Palace concierge. Event Calendar: 23.12 - Christmas cocktail 7.00pm to 9.00pm Venue: Salle Baccarat - Offered by the family Scherz, by invitation only 24.12 - Christmas Dinner from 7.30pm (**) Venue: All Restaurants - Music Quartet Scherzo 26.12 - Season Kick-off Party “Perrier Jouët” Venue: GreenGo from 10.00pm - DJ Jim Leblanc, by invitation only 28.12 - 22 in the Mix from 11.00pm (***) - Venue: GreenGo 26-30.12 - Adler Joailliers, Jewellery Exhibition 27-29.12 - Boucheron, Jewellery Exhibition 28-30.12 - Oliver Preston, Painting Exhibition 31.12 - New Year’s Eve Dinner & Party Aperitif in the Lobby Bar from 7.00pm - Dinner in the restaurants and the Salle Baccarat from 8.00pm 4 Orchestras in the different restaurants - DJ Jim Leblanc at the GreenGo Reservations with the reception; afterwards with the Maître D’. - Dresscode during dinner: smoking and long dress; after midnight: smoking or dark suit and tie. 05-07.01 - Christian Sarian, Painting Exhibition 04-06.01 - Cartier, Jewellery Exhibition 05-08.01 - Sciretti, Fur Exhibition 06-08.01 - August Laube, Exhibition of prints 07-10.01 - Dan Roma, Exhibition of custom made shirts 06.01 - Russian Christmas from 7.30pm (**) with Natalia Gherman - Venue: Salle Baccarat 07.01 - Playboy Night – from 11.00pm (***) - Venue: GreenGo 13.01 - Russian New Year “Wine & Dine” with the Champagne House Roederer (**) – from 7.30pm - Venue: Le Grill (**) Reservations with the Maître D’ (***) Reservations with the GreenGo Maître D’
Friday 16 December 2011 Page 15
Meeting the new headmaster of JFK International school and Prince Charles. We opened our doors to 135 students between the ages of 9 and 11 years of age. The campus now has over 2’900 students from 4 - 18 years of age and is one of the most dynamic international schools in the world.
The JFK International School, having enjoyed great success over the past 41 years of its existence under the direction of the Lovell family, is now in new hands. Having been purchased from the Lovells at the end of the summer, it has now been guided into the capable hands of the JFK Foundation whose commitment will ensure that it builds upon its good name, continues to develop and provides the best in education. I recently spoke with Mr Gareth Davies, the new headmaster.
Mr. Gareth Davies, new headmaster of the JFK International School. Was it a big challenge to move from Singapore to Gstaad? Coming to Gstaad is a dream come true. As former Head of the Elementary School at the United World College in Singapore, I worked with some very dedicated teachers, one of whom was married to a member of a Gstaad family, who still own a chalet here today. We spent time with them on vacation here, skiing and enjoying all that the Saanenland offers. We fell in love with the region then. Which kind of school did you expect to find, and what about the legacy that Mr. Bill Lovell leaves behind? At an international school directors’ conference, many years ago, I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Bill and during that time, learned a little about JFK and its history. I can remember very clearly thinking how wonderful a school he was describing and what a wonderful position he held. Roll on a few years and I find myself in this very special and responsible role. Preserving the strengths and moving the school carefully forward, are my tasks now. The family-feel is clearly a great strength!
What model of school will you adopt going forward? I believe a school should be part of its community and that both should support one another. I believe that as a school, we should hold the highest expectations of our students and through doing so, encourage them to expect highly of themselves. Our school should provide every opportunity possible for our students, in order that they can discover something within themselves where they might enjoy success. Kurt Hahn the German educator, famously said, “There is more in you than you think.” It is our job to help youngsters to ensure that they discover what this talent is. I have heard that JFK International School will make available some scholarships for local children from 2012. How many will you accept? Nothing has been formally decided, but as the local community is held in high regard, the school will be looking to see how we can best serve the youngsters of the Saanenland. Scholarships will surely be considered.
Do you consider yourself as a strict headmaster? And if so, do you believe it’s a necessary quality to have disciplined students? I would prefer to use the description “firm but fair”. Discipline is not only necessary, but essential. Students need to know exactly what is expected of them and to know that this is consistently required. For optimum learning to take place, the atmosphere of the classroom must enable and facilitate this. Boundaries must be known, to ensure that all are secure. Without doubt, the happiest classes are those where all members are clear of rules and consequences. It is no coincidence that these are the ones in which the best teaching and learning take place. You have so far had a long career as headmaster. This is my 21st year as a headmaster out of a career in teaching spanning 31 years! My time in Singapore started 15 years ago when I was asked to set up the first primary school of the United World College. This had originally been set up as a high school by Lord Mountbatten
Are you going to add more grades? From next September we are opening our doors to Year 10 students, that is, those who are 14 and 15 years of age. We begin the IGCSE program with the Cambridge University Board as our examining body. This is a very positive move for the school and will enable our students to gain top qualifications whilst staying with us here in Saanen until they are 16 years old. Are you in competition with the college “Le Rosey”? We offer something very special and unique. We are small enough for every pupil to be known by every other person at the school. We are very much a family school and are happy to build on the wonderful work established by the Lovell family over the former 41 years. I look forward to working with Le Rosey and making professional and personal links. What do you like about Saanenland? Everything so far! As a family, we discover something new each day which gives us something to be thankful for. I thank ‘the locals’ who have done so much already to make our family feel so much at home here. Good luck, Mr. Davies! by Januaria Piromallo
Friday 16 December 2011 Page 16
A spectacle of delights at the Grand Hotel Park. On Christmas and New Years Day a special holiday brunch invites guests to spend memorable moments and create new traditions. The path to the new year will be filled with a spectacle of magic and illusion whilst Executive Chef Guiseppe Colella will prepare a gourmet gala dinner made from exceptional produce. The legendary Grand Hotel Park fireworks display will ring in the new year.
A year following the centenary celebration of the Grand Hotel Park this proud establishment of Gstaad presents an even more inspiring new program for this season. With new boutiques, a gourmet festival with prestigious chefs, exceptional brands exhibiting, artists and an unmatched service ethic, one will find that at the Grand Hotel Park all of your needs are well anticipated. Discovering the Saanenland from the hotel’s private air balloon, relaxing in the sumptuous spa, enjoying the hotels own ice skating rink or delighting in the choice of world class restaurants not a moment is lost at the Grand Hotel Park, in terms of making fabulous memories and enjoying the fruits of life.
Noteworthy Events: 22nd December 2011. Christmas on Ice show on the Ice Rink of hotel. 24th December 2011. Santa Claus visits children. 27 & 28th December 2011 Ted Scapa children’s workshop and book signing. 5th January 2012 Ralph Lauren made to order craftsmanship handbag event. 6 to 8th January 2012 AC Bang exposition.
Ladurée The Parisian house of Ladurée, will be the purveyors of their world famous Macaroons at the Grand Hotel Park this winter. Complimenting afternoon tea, these gourmet relished treats will be served or can be ordered ‘to go’ from the boutique off the lobby or delivered wrapped and personalised.
Friday 16 December 2011 Page 17
Continued from Page 12 take a map and look at how many options there are of getting out of our region, whether by car or even with a backpack over the mountains, and how many possibilities to hide, it makes it difficult for the police to catch them directly after such an incident. Most often delinquents like this gets arrested after they make more burglaries. Do you think that the Promenade of Gstaad would benefit
from a security camera system? MB - To put cameras only on the Promenade would not be a solution. It would be necessary to develop a complete concept with principal roads, railway stations, and a lot of important places. Before one speaks about cameras and solutions, you need to have a concept what you want to achieve with the cameras. Is it prevention, do u want to be able to identify a person in a night while it’s snowing? Do you want just to evaluate
after an incident, or monitoring in real time? Are there so many incidents that it’s necessary to invest so much money? Who is going to pay? Is it not cheaper to make two more security patrols every day? To make it short: At some point a camera for prevention may be a benefit. The current situation requires it not to be necessarily. JO - Cameras alone: No. Cameras are only effective if constantly monitored and combined with a rapid intervention force. Anybody
Money Matters familiar with Monte Carlo will tell you that they have cameras everywhere. However, the true deterrent factors are the police officers strategically placed throughout the city. The cameras, which are monitored at all times, are used to pick out suspicious activities and persons, and the police can react to the information that is relayed to them. By Peter Sonnekus-Williams
Crucial moment in European and global history Countries gradually removed gold and silver from their national monetary systems, and replaced them with paper, the result was inflation. The world probably and unfortunately will not return to the Gold Standard. But it can return to a world in which most of the world’s currencies are linked to several currencies, such as the Dollar, Euro and Yen, or possibly to a single Eurodollar currency. Whether these reserve currencies return to relative price stability, and can avoid the problems of the 21st century, remains uncertain, but it is a goal to aim for. I certainly do not believe that we, or the U.S. will be running into a hyperinflation, such as Germany, Hungary and Yugoslavia or recently Zimbabwe has experienced. However a slow steady inflation, which in difficult times increases in speed, is within a lifetime often destroying all your savings. And of course it is highly questionable, how for instance the U.S. will ever cover its
trillions of obligations going forward. These obligations now exceed even by far a 100 % tax rate should it be imposed on the Americans. Like gold, U.S. dollars have value only to the extent that they are strictly limited in supply. But the U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or today, its electronic equivalent), which allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost. By increasing the number of U.S. dollars in circulation, or even by credibly threatening to do so, the U.S. government can also reduce the value of a dollar in terms of goods and services, which is equivalent to raising the prices in dollars of those goods and services. We conclude that, under a paper-money system, a determined government can always generate higher spending and hence positive inflation. Today we are watching a crucial moment in European and global
history. A possible breakdown of the Euro and the ensuing sound of helicopters dropping drachma, peseta, lira and escudo keep me up once a while at night. Current policies from Europe have the potential to create riot, revolution or worse. But there is a silver lining here - all of the peripheral European nations can act unilaterally to solve their own problems. Exit and devaluation works for any one of them. The road will be bumpy, but the Greeks can drop the right stuff from their own fleet of helicopters! Let’s just hope they (and the rest of Europe) figure this out soon and don’t end up using 1930s European policies to generate 1930s European outcomes. Let me pause for one short illustration of the character of one single destructive force arising. That was its effect upon the financial structure in Europe. Foreign countries, some also in the face of their own
failures, the failures of their neighbors, not believing that Europe has either the courage or the ability or the strength to meet this crisis, withdrew from Europe’s most significant investments, including a significant amount of gold. The alarmed European citizens withdrew also significant amount of currency from the banks into hoarding. These actions, combined with the fears that they generated, caused a shrinkage of credit available for the conduct of industry and commerce. Its visible expression was the failures of banks and business, the demoralization of security and real property values, of the commodity prices, and of employment. And that was but one of the invading forces of destruction that we have been compelled to meet in the last 18 months. WRITTEN BY MR TONI KNECHT, MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD OF MANAGEMENT, SAANEN BANK AG, TELEphONE +41 (0)33 748 46 47.
Friday 16 December 2011 Page 18
Grand Hotel Bellevue – 99 years of Excellence As the Grand Hotel Bellevue steps towards its centenary at the end of 2012, we take a close look at what the hotel offers in the present day. The meaning of the Chinese characters - the two interlocking squares - that are the hotels logo, mean “Coming Back”. Those who experience genuine hospitality under this sign will return time and again. This is the motto of the Grand Hotel Bellevue. Guests who check into this 5-star splendid villa styled establishment are not necessarily looking for romantic pine interiors, but rather an understated elegance. The Grand Hotel Bellevue delivers this with its clean lines displaying beauty in all its simplicity and rewarding guests with a prestigious club-
Bellevue Team Members
like atmosphere. At this splendid establishment grandeur comes face-to-face with trendy designs, alpine panorama is coupled with a Zen ambience and culture merges with nature. Whilst contemplating culinary choices, guests meet in the newly decorated Bellevue Lounge for an aperitif and enjoy the live jazz of Rebecca Spiteri Trio featured between Xmas and New Year. The new ‘911 Sushi Bar & Cigar Lounge’ with two seasoned Sushi Masters, Sakamoto-san & Keong Ng, brings authenticity and stylishness to the Japanese culinary experience of Gstaad. The culinary experience continues at the Grand Hotel Bellevue, which is the only hotel in Gstaad that carries the prestigious Michelin star
status for one of its restaurants. Head chef Urs Gschwend marries local cuisine with the finest of products and his love of Mediterranean cooking and affinity of Asian delights. “Le Petit Chalet” is a very special place: located in the park-like gardens at the entrance of the hotel. This intimate chalet that seats only 18 people, serves up the traditional winter favorites of fondue and raclette in a setting of an alpine lodge. The Carnotzet, a vaulted underground cellar cum private dining room for up to 14 guests, features more than 10,000 bottles of fine
wines from all over the world under the supervision of the hotels charismatic Maitre Sante Malize. Following a day on the slopes there is a multitude of options to relax at the Grand Hotel Bellevue. Warm up from the cold in the newly decorated lounge off the hotel lobby with a traditional English high tea ceremony or soothe your body and mind in Gstaad’s largest spa covering more than 2’500m2. This extraordinary spa, an oasis of tranquility with a distinctive Zen atmosphere and countless choices of treatments among other possibilities for the fitness minded, includes the most diverse sauna landscape to be found anywhere in Saanenland.
Philip & Nancy Erne, General Manager Over 30 years' experience in the international hotel business. After commercial college in Zürich, Philip Erne continued his studies in Paris before attending the Lausanne Hotel School. After graduation, Erne moved to the United States, where he was able to consolidate his experience at several leading hotels on the East and West Coast. In the mid-eighties, he moved to Hong Kong and subsequently worked in the Far East for major hotels. Erne's first assignment as General Manager came at the Malacca Renaissance Hotel in Malaysia in 1991. Followed were appointments in the Chinese port city of Xiamen, Davao in the Philippines, Tokyo Japan and most recently, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia in the eight years prior to returning to his native Switzerland this summer.
Bruno Kernen takes over hotel in Saanenmöser As though he didn’t have enough to do. Bruno Kernen, the former ski racer and Schönried hotelier, must laugh. “On the one hand, it was the desire of the owner that I run the hotel,” Kernen said. “On the other, Saanenland has a large demand for warm beds and the 11 beautiful double rooms are a welcome addition to our 22-bed operation in Schönried.” The three-star hotel - which opens December 15 in Saanenmöser and for which architect Gottfried Hauswirth was responsible - will be a “Hotel Garni” or a bed and breakfast. In the mornings, guests will be greeted by a large breakfast buffet; the breakfast room will be enhanced with a comfortable lounge and bar, but there will be no restaurant. The possibility to book halfboard nevertheless exists. Dinner
can be taken at the Hotel Kernen in Schönried and a shuttle service is available for hotel guests. “The fact that a restaurant is missing is the main difference between this hotel and Hotel Kernen in Schönried,” Kernen said. “The style of the hotel will be similar. The interior will be made with a lot of wood work, and coziness is a priority.”
Photo: Anita Moser
“The stars in the sky…” Kernen’s philosophy remains: “Stars belong in the sky, and not on the hotel door.” The thing with stars is that although they are a categorization he can live with, they don’t really say something meaningful about the price to service performance ratio. And Kernen believes this is essential. “One is measured by it,” he said.
The forest of construction marker poles will soon be removed, and if all goes according to plan, the excavators will begin this spring. The forest of poles at the entrance of Saanen will soon belong to history: if all goes according to plan,
Photo: Anita Moser
Friday 16 December 2011 Page 19
One night in a double room at the Hotel des Alpes, depending on the season, costs between SFr 100 and SFr 230 per person. The hotel will only be open during high December 15 marks the opening of Hotel des season for now. Alpes, Saanenmöser’s newest hotel. Located on “First, we must see the main road, this hotel is slated to be an 11how it runs,” Kernen room bed and breakfast. Bruno Kernen, of Hotel said. “It makes no Kernen in Schönried, is managing the hotel. sense when both houses are half full in the end.” practically at the front door. “And The hotel is already well booked for one doesn’t have to say much reChristmas and New Year. Now, it’s a garding the ski area nearby,” Kernen waiting game. said with a smile. The hotel offers “We have not done much advertis- awesome views to the west. Family ing,” Kernen said. The hotel website Kernen invites all interested parties will be launched as of December 15. to the opening on December 15. A big advantage the hotel has, is its TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED FROM THE ARTICLE proximity to the train station. It’s BY CHRISTINE EISENBEIS AVS 15.11.11
Construction on Saanen field to begin in March dirt excavators will descend on the “von Grünigen Matte” in March. “The construction pole markers will soon be removed,” said Hanspeter Reichenbach, architect and project manager of the “von Grünigen Matte” development. He is glad that - after extended planning - the building phase is approaching. “There are no objections,” Reichenbach said. “Still pending are the last official reports.” If all goes according to plan, construction will begin in March 2012. A new quarter On the “Von Grünigen Matte,” VGM Invest AG plans to build a new, independent neighborhood with 14
buildings, including six duplexes and one triplex. At least one-sixth of the space is to be used for local housing, another sixth for quiet commerce. Of the approximately 70 housing units, 30 will be made available for local people and there will be approximately 10 commercial units. The buildings are to be in the typical local chalet style. Instead of balconies there will be recessed niches. “These niches were modeled after the original exterior alcoves of Saanen houses,” Reichenbach said. The development will be largely car-free. In the 6,000-square meter underground space, there will be a basement, side rooms, a resident garage with 139 parking spaces,
and a public car park with 108 spaces. Builder of the public car park is the municipality of Saanen; voters approved the necessary credit. First step is public car park The development will be built in stages. The first stage will be the realization of the two buildings on the west side of the parcel (abutting the village) as well as half of the underground private parking garage. “The first construction stage will coincide with the building of the public car park,” Reichenbach explained. TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED FROM THE ARTICLE BY ANITA MOSER AVS 08.11.11
Friday 16 December 2011 Page 20
the brilliant IT-shop Due to the fact that they had more and more clients from the region, owners Christian and Heidi GafnerKiser, with 15 years experience in their field, realized their dream when they opened the doors of ‘the brilliant IT-shop’ on November 1 2011, located on the Cheseryplatz in Gstaad.
Says Heidi Gafner-Kiser, “It’s been a while since people know that a cell phone isn’t just for calling. The same principal works with their Samsung TV’s. These 3D smart TV’s are incredibly thin, elegant and
even contain a receiver. You can also use the internet with it.”
open new horizons,” says Christian and Heidi Gafner-Kiser.
“Please step into our shop, where we’d be glad to give you some advice and show you products that
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday: 14h30 to 18h30 Saturday 8h30 to 12h00. During high season they are open for longer trading, please check their website www.salesrental.ch Address: Cheseryplatz 1, 3780 Gstaad Phone number: Tel 033 748 83 17
‘The brilliant IT-shop’ has an extensive range of products on offer to ensure the public will find the correct device for their needs. Anybody who needs a special or even customized computer or any other IT solution, be it for private or business use, they’ve got the products and the know-how, from wellknown suppliers. Products available also from ‘the brilliant IT-shop’ are Axxiv, BeeWii, Jambox, Monster, Samsung and Zotac.
«Eclats d’or» 15x20cm
«Eclats d’or» 15x20cm
PS: Owner Heidi GafnerKiser also specializes in furnishing & organizing your ski cellar with matching products.
«Terre irisée» 15x20cm
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Du 20 décembre 2011 à fin janvier 2012
Antiqua M E NUS PLAISIRS présente
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«Twins in blue» «Twins in blue» 15x20cm
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Vernissage en présence de l’artiste mercredi 28 décembre de 15h00 à 19h00 x20cm
Antiqua Menus Plaisirs · Promenade 6 · 3780 Gstaad · Tél. 033 744 92 42 · www.menusplaisirs.ch
Friday 16 December 2011 Page 21
Hotel Olden is to be completely renovated. According to hotel direction, the building will not lose any of its original exterior character, due to it being a listed building and therefore protected. In the future, the Olden will have fewer rooms. Instead, it will offer exclusive suites and longterm rental apartments in chalets located at the back of the main hotel building. Hotel director Ermes Elsener is working closely with the historic preservation and the Gemeinde Saanen. It is important to him that the Hotel Olden retain some of its original character, even with a complete renovation. But he is also aware that: “the hotel must change,” he says. “It definitely has to be restored, otherwise it can no longer meet today’s standards. The plumbing is more than 100 years old; the insulation does not meet energy requirements. The Hotel Olden is to turn from a four-star to a five-star hotel,” he says. The main building is to remain in its entirety; only the façade will be removed and to be rebuilt in its original style. Elsener speaks of a small boutique hotel. Instead of the original eight rooms, there will only be five, allowing the rooms to grow from a current 35 or 40 square meters to approximately 80 square meters. He says this will meet the needs of guests. Each suite, for example, will have its own little wellness area. ‘Lukewarm’ beds Behind the main building and next to the existing Chalet Marie, three new buildings will be rented out. These include two chalets and an apartment building with four apartments.
“We could have sold these houses for a good price, but the owner did not want this at all,” Elsener says. Now, long-term renters will move in. “We want to avoid producing cold beds,” he continues. “We want to create lukewarm beds instead. We are convinced that the tenants will often come to Saanenland, because the units will always be ready. The tenants will have access to all hotel services such as room service, private chefs, cleaners and so on. This means that they can arrive spontaneously without having to plan far in advance.” The rental contracts will be valid for at least one year. “We have had requests for 10 years,” he says. ‘Almost a year-round operation’ All buildings will be connected underground. A road will be built behind the staff house with bollards to restrict general traffic but allowing owners to pass. There will be a beautiful ‘Olden Garden’ behind Chalet Marie, which will be demolished and completely rebuilt and which will contain four suites, including two duplex suites. Elsener wants Hotel Olden to become an “almost year-round operation” and therefore buck the short-term seasonal trend in Saanenland. “We want to remain open as long as possible,” he says. “The hotel will keep its character. The restoration will make the building look exactly as it did before.” The only big change, he says, are the three dormers that will be built on the roof. Reopening in December 2012 “Assuredly, if we do not renovate the Olden cannot be maintained,” Elsener says. “We do not want to build another huge building. Instead, a small Olden village is to be
Hotel Olden to be renovated
A rendering showing how the hotel will appear from the Promenade. The three new dormers on the roof represent some of the most significant changes. Hotel direction aims to turn the hotel into a five-star boutique hotel. created that will not be visible from the Promenade.” The restaurant and the ‘Pinte’ will not change optically. “To the millimeter, everything will remain exactly as it was before,” Elsener assures. ‘La Cave’ will be somewhat enlarged and an open kitchen with a wood grill and wine cellar tasting room will be built; the cave character will remain. Currently, 65 employees work at the hotel. After the renovation, there will be approximately 78. Elsener and the planners at Chaletbau Mat-
ti meet with the Gemeinde nearly every week. If all goes according to plan, construction will begin in March 2012 and the main building should be reopened by 2012. “The entire construction will take at least two years,” Elsener says. “All other hotels are investing. If we don’t do so too, we will no longer be competitive. We want to keep the Hotel Olden - a protected historic building - in such a way that it will remain worth protecting.” TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED FROM THE ARTICLE BY CHRISTINE EISENBEIS AVS 4.10.11
Friday 16 December 2011 Page 22
Now open: Dental Practice Dr. Zehm In early December, the range of dental offering in Saanenland was extended to the highest level: Dr. med. dent. MSc. Michael Zehm opened his dental practice in Saanen. During his last 10 years in Switzerland, he has successfully furthered his education in implantology, aesthetic dentistry and periodontics. “I’m really looking forward to employ this knowledge and multifaceted ex-
Dr. Zehm cares about the needs of his patients.
perience on my patients,” Dr. Zehm said. “After three years in Schönried, the love of countryside and its people has led me to strike out on my own in Saanen.” Patients expect a practice that meets today’s modern technological demands. Basically, digital technology allows for better diagnosis, a requirement for treatment: the three-dimensional depiction of the jaw makes implant assessment decisively safer to plan and to carry out. It is important to Dr. Zehm to be able to offer the best possible standard of care. Despite modern technology, however, patient needs and fears remain the focus. He therefore supports additional treatment methods upon a patient’s request; these may include alternative methods such as tests for allergies and intolerances (ie. Amalgam).
New: invisible tooth position corrections Orthodontist Dr. med. dent. MSc. Marc Baumler joined Dr. Zehm’s Team. He is an expert on the latest lingual orthodontic technique: this method places the braces behind the teeth. This means that even adults are less inhibited to opt for dental corrections later in life. “I have increasingly recognized this need, and therefore it is very important to me
to offer this service in my practice,” Dr. Zehm said. This treatment represents a big chance for children as well, as conventional braces continue to be unwelcome. And, additional surprising innovations are awaiting the little ones at Dr. Zehm’s. www.zehmdental.ch, 033 748 37 92
Dr. Marc Baumler, Rita Blatti-Seewer, Fabienne Jufer, Dr. Michael Zehm.
The Rialto officially reopened on December 3 under the management of Yvan Letzter and Manuel Stadelmann. Former work colleagues, they aim to turn the Rialto into a place where locals and guests meet. “There are enough gourmet restaurants in Gstaad; what is lacking is a bistro,” emphasize Yvan Letzter and Manuel Stadelmann. At the Rialto, there now will be a mix between haute cuisine and bistro, a concept called “Bistronomie” that has roots in France. “The menu features traditional regional dishes as well as haute cuisine creations,” explains chef Manuel Stadelmann. “Here, one should be able to eat like at home… traditional dishes from grandma’s cuisine prepared in a light way.” Besides stew or sausage, there is caviar or truffles “Every guest will find something they want on our menu.” Even though he will now
Photo: Anita Moser
Rialto reopens under new management
They look forward to a new beginning: (from left) Manuel Stadelmann, Klaus Detmer (owner), and Yvan Letzter. mainly host, Yvan Letzter, who was sommelier at a prior job, will bring his wine passion and knowledge to his new job. “We offer wine at good prices,” he says. The wine card is available on an iPad, where “10 to 15 wines are presented in detail, including their histories and illustrations.” The motto of both restaurateurs: ‘Authentic hospitality and good quality at reasonable prices in a pleasant ambience.’ “Everyone should feel
comfortable with us, the local as well as the foreign guest,” they say. Since his purchase of the Rialto in 2005, Klaus Detmer has modernized the restaurant. “The Rialto Bar - which remained structurally unchanged is to become the meeting place for all,” Stadelmann says. “The bar is designed for cocktail parties.” And here the offering is a mix between the traditional and the exclusive: tarts and pizza, dry meats, cheeses, sausages,
salmon, cod, duck or vegetable dips. For both men, a boyhood dream has come true. “The work at the Chesery was a lot of fun,” explains Ivan Letzter, who was sommelier for Robert Speth during the past 20 years. When Klaus Detmer approached him and asked if he wanted to manage the restaurant, Letzter, who is 43 and a Schönried resident, did not need long to make a decision. And in Manuel Stadelmann, he found a perfect business partner. The two knew each other from the Chesery days. Manuel Stadelmann, 32, is Alsatian with Swiss roots and has worked in various renowned kitchens, including the Hotel Drei König, Sonnenhof, and the Chesery. Most recently and for the past five years, he worked as a private chef in a house in Geneva. TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED FROM THE ARTICLE BY ANITA MOSER AVS 2.12.11
Friday 16 December 2011 Page 23
The inaugural GYC Centenary Trophy 2011 This year during “Les Voiles de Saint Tropez“ a new special challenge has been organized, Thursday 29th September, for all classic yachts. Initiated by the Gstaad Yacht Club in cooperation with the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez the Centenary Trophy has been launched as a race for traditional boats aged 100 years and older.
to organize a special regatta, using a pursuit race format. In this way the slowest yacht is first to set off, and the fastest last, making for a great competition. The winner has been the first crossing the finish line under the ‘portalet’. With a very light south easterly breeze the race was started and in the end 15 yachts crossed the finish line. The winner of the Centenary Trophy 2011 was the 44-foot “Bonafide”, a ‘5 tonner’ class, originally built in 1899 then rebuilt and relaunched in 2003. , followed by Tuiga from the Yacht Club Monaco and Pesa from Jean-Yves Roubine.
The Gstaad Yacht Club, on behalf of his Patron His Majesty King Constantine of the Hellenes, has sponsored the Centenary Trophy, and registered the event with the ISAF. Peter Erzberger, Commodore of the GYC, with a commendable desire to bring together the world of the sea and racing, chose Les Voiles de Saint Tropez and its organising club, the Société Nautique of Saint Tropez, for his idea of this special race, because the classic yacht “Mariquita”, owned by a member, had her 100th anniversary this year.
Picture: ©Jürg Kaufmann
To celebrate this event, the Société Nautique de Saint Tropez, with Commodore André Beaufils, agreed
The winner Bonafide
The Trophy Ceremony took place the same evening in the Château St. Tropez, transformed the Gstaad Yacht Club especially for this event. Having its clubhouse in the Swiss Alps with no access to a lake or the sea, it was a major step to bring its members, their guests and the wider world of yachting closer to the unique atmosphere of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. Giuseppe Giordano, owner of “Bonafide” and his crew happily
The Centenary Trophy
Château de St. Tropez
received the Centenary Trophy all classic yachts from 1912 and and will thus become the trophy older for the Centenary Trophy holder for one year. The trophy next year itself, handed over by GYC Honorary President, George Nicholson is Results: also 100 years old and was made by 1. Bonafide (Sibbick 1899) Wakely and Wheeler of London in 2. Tuiga (Fife 1909) 1911. 1911) THE GSTAAD YACHT CLUB3. AT Pesa THE CHATEAU(Oertz ST. TROPEZ The Gstaad Yacht Club and the CENTENARY TROPHY DURING4. ‘LES VOILES DE SAINT-TROPEZ’ Mariska (Fife 1908) Société Nautique de Saint Tropez, 5. Nan of Fife (Fife 1896) are looking forward to welcoming Karte_2110989_X-ready 1 01.07.11
FEATURE/FASHION & SPORT
Friday 16 December 2011 Page 24
Mammut Eiger Extrem Mittellegi Jacket No compromise on the mountain. Optimal functionality and flawless quality. SFr 800: Available at Edelweiss Sport
Skihelmet Casco SP3 Edelholz SFr 579: Available at Brand Sport und Mode AG
FISCHER – fits. Guaranteed! Lady Skiboot Vacuum Trinity SFr 729: Only available at Overlap Sports & Gas Saanen-Gstaad.
The New UGG Maylin with twin face sheepskin and an ultra-furry, fixed shearling cuff SFr 400: Available in black too at the ROMANG Shoeshop in Gstaad
FLO Accessoires-fashionable wellbeing Diana Bag, bluefox SFr 810: Available at Overlap Sports & Fashion at the Wellness & Spa Hotel Ermitage Schönried
Bogner Ski Jacket Model: Tessa-D SFr 1990: Available at Bach Sign Salomon BBR A Piste Ski that floats in Powder. A Powder Ski that carves on Piste SFr 900: Available at Edelweiss Sport
Vintage Wood Ski SFr 2600: Available at Brand Sport und Mode AG
The elegant and fancy UGG Classic Short Sparkles in black or champagne SFr 299 and the stylish Women’s UGG Over the Knee Bailey Button Sparkles in black SFr 650: Available at the ROMANG Shoeshop in Gstaad
Emporio Armani EA7 Down Jacket SFr 598: Available exclusively at Vertex Sports, Gstaad
Mukluks Boots White leather & fur SFr 449: Available at Bach Sign
Strolz custom Skiboots Red: Stiff Flex, Black: Medium Flex SFr 1190 incl. custom Insoles: Available only at Vertex Sports, Gstaad
Friday 16 December 2011 Page 25
Hotel Hornberg makes it on GaultMillau ranking list The 2012 edition of the influential French restaurant guide GaultMillau Switzerland appeared in October. It includes 13 area gourmet establishments. Restaurants are usually ranked on a scale of 1 to 20, based solely on the quality of their food. Only restaurants earning at least 10 points are listed in the publication. New in the guide this year, is Chalet Hotel Hornberg Saanenmöser, with 12 points.
and needs have grown, so the dual leadership was needed,” Rindlisbacher explains. “In the Hornberg kitchen, everything will remain as is. We will continue to place emphasis on authentic and honest food. Now, if we receive points for this, we are pleased and value this.” Lenkerhof: 17 points Earning an extra point is Jam Leimbach of the Lenkerhof in Lenk. The GaultMillau press release read: “We’ve had Jan Leimbach on the radar for some time now. What he serves his guests each evening in his five star hotel, is impressive. The young German belongs to the best hotel kitchen chefs in the country.
Ten years ago, Michael Rindlisbacher started out as sous-chef at the Hotel Hornberg; four years later Sascha Koffler started there. Then three years ago, both men were given the chef position. “Operation
We want to document this with 17 points.” Chlösterli: Dalsass leaves The reason for the total gourmet point reduction was due to Martin Dalsass, who has abandoned both restaurants ‘By Dalsass’ and ‘Alpenbistro’ in Chlösterli, as well as his restaurant of 15 years ‘Santabbondio’ near Lugano, where GaultMillau had ranked him the best chef in Ticino. Dalsass has been given the unique opportunity to take over the famous ‘Talvo’ in Champfèr near St Moritz. Stable value for area restaurants Although no extra points were
earned for area restaurants, there were no losses to be recorded. Robert Speth of restaurant ‘Chesery’ Gstaad remained with 18 points, the leader in the region. He and Nik Gygax (‘Löwen, Thörigen) are the two best chefs in the canton. Gstaad restaurants were: ‘Prado’ in the Grand Hotel Bellevue (15 points), the Bernerhof (13), ‘La Bagatelle’ in the Hotel Le Grand Chalet (16), ‘Le Grill’ and ‘Le Grand Restaurant’ in the Gstaad Palace Hotel (16) and ‘Le Grand Restaurant’ in the Grand Hotel Park (15). In Saanen: ‘Sonnenhof’ (16) and ‘Spitzhorn’ (12). In Saanenmöser: the Golfclub Gstaad-Saanenland (14), and the ‘Belle Epoque’ in the Golfhotel Les Hauts de Gstaad (13). In Schönried: ‘Azalée’ and ‘JP’s Grill Restaurant’ in the Hotel Alpenrose (15) and Hotel Ermitage (14). TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED FROM THE ARTICLE BY TINA DOSSOT AVS7.10.11
Schönried-Gstaad trail now continuous
Photo: Anita Moser
The arduous birth of the trail began 11 years ago at Saanen Bank’s 125th general meeting when the bank made a SFr 125,000 donation to Gemeinde Saanen, with the restriction that the money be used to
From left: Emil Trachsel, local council member, Adolf Hauswirth, former board chairman of the Saanen Bank and Max Staub, current board chairman of the Saanen Bank.
create a walking trail from Schönried to Gstaad. “We are happy that everything went well and that the landowners supported this route,” said Adolf Hauswirth, Saanen Bank’s thenboard president. Schönried and Gstaad are finally connected with a continuous trail, and hikers are no longer required to dodge traffic on the Grubenstrasse. “There were differing ideas and not all wishes went in the same direction,” said Emil Trachsel, local council member. Some landowners wanted an access road to their homes in exchange. When the building application was published in the spring of 2009, “there were a few small objections, but none to the trail,” Trachsel said. TRANSLATED AND ADAPTED FROM THE ARTICLE BY ANITA MOSER AVS 08.11.11
GARAGE CARROSSERIE HÄNNI AG Lauenen 033 765 30 77 Gstaad 033 744 55 44 firstname.lastname@example.org www.haennigstaad.ch
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Friday 16 December 2011 Page 26
Swiss Blue by Huck Scarry
Swiss Blue is a short story appearing in four parts in the winter issues of GstaadLife. In the first part, we accompanied Jack Douglas, a young American who has recently moved to Switzerland, as he drove up to Gstaad for a weekend of skiing. When we last saw him, Jack was sitting sideways in the open door of his car. He was parked in the muddy lot beside the Eggli gondola lift. He was putting on his skiboots. It was February. It was two-thirty on a Friday afternoon. The sun was strong, and at this hour of the day, it felt more like March than early February. Jack wore a wool undershirt beneath his shirt, a sweater, and his ski jacket. Frankly, he was starting to feel scratchy and hot. He decided to make a change. He stood up and began to empty the pockets of his jacket, placing the contents: a pack of paper tissues, and his cellphone, on the roof of the car. He tossed his ski jacket onto the backseat, and pulled his sweater over his head. He took off his shirt and then the prickling undershirt, which he also threw into the car. The air on his naked chest and back was cool and tingling, but his skin was also warmed by the sun. It felt exhilarating: cool, yet warm at the same time, and Jack relished the unusual sensation, pausing a moment before putting his shirt on again. Then he pulled on his sweater. From the back of the car he pulled out a grey, padded, sleeveless vest which he felt freer in, and usually wore for spring skiing. He slipped it on and zipped it halfway up. Closing the back door, the plastic pack of tissues slid off the roof and landed in the mud. Jack bent down to pick it up, wiping the wet, brown film on the pack with his hand. When he stood up again, he saw, over the car roofs, two buses driv-
ing up, filled with school children. “Oh, no” Jack muttered. He suddenly became agitated, grabbing his gloves and hat and stuffing them into the vest pockets. He slammed the driver-door and turned the key in the lock. Grasping his poles in one hand and his skis in the other, he hobbled as fast as he could across the soft, muddy ground, in his stiff ski boots, over to the ticket window. Children tumbled noisily out of the buses with their skis. In contrast to the brilliance outside, the inside of the station was as dark as a cave. It was also incredibly noisy. The engine which turned the giant wheel overhead, pulling the gondola cable along, roared incessantly. Descending gondolas disconnected from the cable at the station, then skidded loudly along metal rails, until they bumped and clanked to a halt before the crowd of waiting skiers. The school kids shouted to be heard above the metallic racket. The image of a Piranesi prison came into Jack’s mind for a moment, just as the lift attendant took his skis from him and dropped them into a rack on the side of a gondola cabin, and with a square key, opened the cabin door. “Danke!” Jack called loudly, bending down to slide sideways onto one of the pair of wooden benches inside.
He was followed by three school boys, one who squeezed snuggly beside him, and two who sat facing him. The door was slammed shut, locked from the outside, and after a moment’s pause, the gondola began to slide down a rail, clamped to the cable, shuddered under a set of pylon wheels, and broke out into the glaring sunshine. The boys in the cabin were obviously locals, speaking Swiss-German. Although he tried to decipher something of what was being said, the words bore no resemblance to anything Jack had ever heard, and he just smiled whenever one of them looked at him. The gondola rose steeply from the valley, bumping over the sets of wheels at each successive pylon. Jack sat with his back to the mountain, holding his poles between his knees. He could see his car in the near-empty parking lot, now looking like a matchbox toy, the windshield white with reflected sun. Looking toward the village, he could find the gabled roof of his hotel. Looking up at the cloudless sky, he mused that Mr Winter must have been pulling his leg about snow being on its way. Rising through forests of beech and pine, Jack tried to name some of the mountains he could see in the distance. All were dressed in white,
with folds of blue wherever they lay in shadow. On some south-facing flanks, the strong sun had melted the snow away, leaving pale brown patches of matted grass in its place. The blotchy pattern of white snow and brown grass reminded Jack of the flanks of the cows he would always encounter on his mountain walks that summer and autumn. From his trouser pocket, Jack pulled out a small tube of suncream. He squeezed out a couple of dabs and rubbed it onto his face. How he loved its orangy scent! The smell of suncream always brought him images of warm afternoons in the spring, skiing on wet and sticky snow. He put the tube back in his pocket, and then leaned forward to begin tightening the buckles of his ski boots. Each buckle gave him a firm resistance, and they snapped with a tidy and smart click. His feet and ankles felt snug in the boots, and ready to get going. There were few things, Jack thought, that could compare to the joys of skiing. Every little detail about it was perfect. At the top of the Eggli, about 500 meters above the valley, the air was even milder than below. There wasn’t a breath of wind. A Swiss flag hung sleepily from a thin, wooden flagpole. Jack threw his skis down. They
Friday 16 December 2011 Page 27
clapped on the snow, one neatly next to the other. Planting his poles in the snow, he stepped with one click, two clicks, into his bindings. He knew exactly where he wanted to ski this afternoon, and that was at Pra Cluen; a slope he could see in the distance, below the peaks of the Rubli and the Gummfluh, rising from the Chalberhöni valley below him. He had found the runs of Pra Cluen on his previous visit, and they were what Jack termed “sweet”: never too hard and never too flat, and always generous and wide. Above all, they were long. Endlessly, sweetly long. Jack leaned forward, pulled hard on his poles, and was off. The run down to Chalberhöni followed a forestry road. One didn’t really ski it; one just followed its gently sloping path into the valley, checking one’s speed now and then. Jack relaxed, and looking through the trees sweeping past him, looked at the slopes awaiting him on the opposite side of the valley. He was alone here, and he thought that if the school kids kept to the runs up on the Eggli, Pra Cluen would belong pretty-much just to himself this afternoon. The valley chairlift station lay in the sun. Like all the buildings in the region, its wooden walls had been baked by sunshine to a chocolate brown. Jack saw a man sitting on a bench by the station, warming himself in the sun. A black ski hat rested on the back of his head. The man got up when he saw Jack poling himself across the flat ground leading to the station, and went inside. There was no turnstile at this lift. Outside the entrance, a wooden rail fence, half-sunk in the snow, guided Jack inside. He held up his daypass for the lift attendant, who was no more than a silhouette in the dark building. He waved to Jack to move forward. Jack did this, coming to a stop beside an old ski boot
planted beside the boarding-spot. Jack looked behind him and saw the next chair sweeping around below the big wheel above. The attendant grabbed the chair, pulled it backwards to slow its momentum, and Jack was scooped into it as if by a giant spoon. “Danke!” he called out. The chair rose up and out of the dark building, bumping over pylon wheels and swinging merrily back and forth until it collected its balance. Jack pulled the safety bar around in front of him, placing his skis comfortably on the footrest which swung around with the bar. He lay his poles across his lap, and leaned back into the chair, the sun squarely in his face. His chair continued rising, climbing to the top of an exceptionally tall pylon. Jack was carried into a forest, or, more correctly, his chair skimmed over the top of it. He could almost reach out and pluck the ochre pine cones which grew in thick bunches at the tops of the tall pine trees. Then the chair crossed at great height a deep ravine. A lively stream cascaded through it, bouncing on rocks and boulders. It was heard, more than seen. Jack caught glimpses of the water rushing below through holes in the thick blanket of snow covering the bottom of the ravine. Once the ravine was crossed, the rest of the ride was silent, for the lift climbed up through the forest, far from any of the ski slopes it served. There was no voice to be heard, nor the slicing of skis carving snow. Jack had read in a brochure that this was actually the longest chairlift in Switzerland. That seemed surprising to him, but perhaps it was true. The Swiss never bragged falsely. He also thought it must hold a record for slowness. Unlike newer chairs which clamped onto a speeding cable, this one was from the old school, with the
chairs affixed permanently to the cable. So the lift crawled groggily, to allow one to board and leave the chair without mishap. The top of the lift was finally in sight. A little green and white flag hung above the hut at the summit station. Jack knew it was the flag of the canton of Vaud, and he smiled at the thought of something funny: this lift was so long, it had its foot in Bern, and its head in Vaud. Somewhere in between - maybe around the ravine, he had crossed a border; not only of cantons, but also of language. One spoke German boarding the chair, and French upon leaving. That seemed pretty unique, too. Approaching the summit station, he opened the safety bar and lifted the tips of his skis. A young attendant sat lazily outside the lift hut, smoking. To test his theory, when his skis touched the snow, Jack stood up and called out: “Bonjour!” “Bonjour” mumbled the attendant, as if just awakened. Jack skid to a stop several meters below. Here, he stopped to look back in the direction of the Eggli. Before him lay a fabulous view of most of the Bernese Alps: cragged peaks and broad glaciers of sparkling white, and deep blue shadows. He looked down to the procession of chairs climbing slowly up from the valley. They were all empty. He turned and studied the broad arc made by the Pra Cluen run, stretching around the flank of the valley. It, too, was empty, and his alone. He leaned firmly forward on his poles, pulled hard on them and was off. The Pra Cluen run begins gently, traced like a lazy pencil-line, following the generous curve of the upper valley flank. Jack swished effortlessly from side to side of this narrow stretch of piste, allowing himself to pick up speed. Folds in the terrain made this part of the run like a rollercoaster. Jack’s stom-
short story ach grew giddy as he flew over each successive rise, feeling nearly weightless. The run then dipped down, passing beneath the massive north face of the Gummfluh. Jack thought that what this peak might lack in height and size, it certainly made up for in looks. Its rock flanks rose upwards sheer and smooth. They were so steep that there were only few places where any snow could cling: in the grooves and fissures that scratched over the rock surface, like crosshatched lines in an etching. He swerved behind a barn with a broad and low pyramidal roof, and here the best part of the run began. It dipped steeper and opened wider, following the crest of a bald ridge. Jack picked up as much speed as he felt safe with, lengthening the rhythm of his turns. He swept downwards in exhilaration, back and forth, like a lace in a boot, wind beating at his face. He watched concentratedly ahead, quickly picking the best moments to turn. He felt like a soaring bird, and he felt free. The snow was perfect from top to bottom; no ice to throw him off balance, and no surprising stones to dodge. He swooped down through a bottleneck where the forest crimped the piste, and the chairlift base station came into view. Jack made a few final turns and ended his run with a wide skid which sprayed a fine powder of glistening crystals in his wake. He came to a stop at the mouth of the rail fence outside the station. He felt wonderful. The spray of lifted snow blew over him and tickled his face with its icy flakes. He breathed strongly and could feel his blood rushing with life inside him. Eager for more, he pushed on his poles and slid into the darkness of the station. The attendant was there, holding a chair steady as it Continued on Page 28
Events Continued from Page 27 swung around to collect Jack. He called out, over the din of the machinery “Danke!” The chair bumped under the first pylon wheels and began to rise. Jack closed the safety bar in front of him and leaned back. The afternoon was magic, he thought, but just too short! As his chair crossed the ravine and climbed up through the forest, Jack noticed that the sun had already sunk a bit. The air seemed cooler, and the sun’s rays no longer warmed his face like before. He looked out to the left to the Pra Cluen run, and noticed that some stretches had begun to seep into shadow; the white piste painted here and there in sweeping brushstrokes of blue. Fredi Schneeberg stepped out of the chairlift base station into the sun. He looked up at the sky. It was still clear. He scratched the short
Friday 16 December 2011 Page 28
silver hairs above his forehead with his strong, weathered hand, and pulled his black stocking hat forward. He looked at his watch: 4:15. There had been only one skier in the last hour. The lift would close at 5. He looked up the mountainside, but could see no one on the runs. It had been a long, quiet afternoon. There would be another half-hour of sunshine, and then the whole valley would be dipped into shade, when the sun disappeared behind the Videmanette.
■■MONDAY, DECEMBER 26 & TUESDAY,
27th 17h00: Concert in Saanen. Tickets for sale in the tourist office in Gstaad & Saanen. Contact +41 (0)33 748 81 60 or www.kultursaanen.ch
■■MONDAY, DECEMBER 26 15h30: Concert of the Posaunenchor Gstaad on the Kapälliplatz Gstaad, weather permitted. Free entry-collection. ■■DECEMBER 27, 28 & 29 08h10-16h10: Driving training on ice & snow. Venue: Saanen airport. For more info, contact +41 (0)31 311 38 13. ■■DECEMBER 28, JANUARY 11, 18 & 25 19h00-21h30: Night skiing on the Wispile. Adults SFr10, Children 10-16yrs, SFr5 and children up to 9 years, ski for free! Weather permitted. Contact +41 (0)33 748 87 37 for more info. ■■FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30 New Year Music Festival Gstaad: Salon Eggli, Grand Hotel Park – 16h00. Figure skating at the Grand Hotel Park – 17h00. First night concert in the Lauenen church – 19h30. Rate SFr 0-45. For more info, contact +41 (0)77 474 15 27.
Guesthouse Bed & Breakfast
CH-1658 Rossinière (VD) / Switzerland Tel: 0041 (0)79 386 69 37 email@example.com
Send your classifieds to: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Post: Anzeiger von Saanen PO Box 201 3780 Gstaad
Events Calendar ■■FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16 16h00: Christmas market in Saanen. A feast for old and young! For more info, contact +41 (0)33 748 74 48.
Chalet La Colline
MOB Montreux - Gstaad - Zweisimmen Les Mosses
Friday December 16 2011 until Friday January 27 2012
■■FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30 – SATURDAY,
JANUARY 7 Gstaad-Saanenland 6th New Year Music Festival: For more details visit www.nymf.ch or contact +41 (0)77 474 15 27.
■■MONDAY, JANUARY 2 13h00: Him-and-Her Race on the Horneggli, Schönried. Registration: Tourist office Schönried until 31 December 2011. Rate: SFr 20. Contact +41 (0)33 748 81 81 for more info. ■■JANUARY 6, 7 & 8 Winter attraction “Magic of China” with ‘Circus GO’ in the Menuhin festival tent, Gstaad. For more in formation: www.circus-go. ch or ticket sales at the tourist office Gstaad. ■■SUNDAY, JANUARY 15 30th Rivella Family Contest in Saanenmöser. Rate: SFr 70-85. Inscription: www. fairplay-timing.ch; for further information: www. familycontest.ch or contact +41 (0)79 773 35 91.
+41 (0)33 755 10 94 or email: pzurcher@ rosey.ch
■■FRIDAY, JANUARY 27 – SATURDAY,
FEBRUARY 4 Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad: A classic music festival, generally influenced by the violin. The starts of today & tomorrow will play music at different venues in the region of Gstaad. Tickets for sale at the Tourist office Saanen & Gstaad. Visit www.sommets-musicaux. com or contact +41 (0)33 748 81 82.
■■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)
JANUARY 29 Gstaad-Saanenland 34th International Hot air balloon week in Châteaux-d’Oex. For more info, contact +41 (0)26 924 25 25 or www.festivaldeballons.ch
■■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, email@example.com, https://gstaad-saanenland.lionsclub.ch
■■WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25 19h30: 5th Night Race for ski instructors on the Wispile, Gstaad. Rate: SFr 50. Phone
■■Church Services St Peter’s English-Speaking Anglican
■■SATURDAY, JANUARY 21 – SUNDAY,
Church, Château-d’Oex■ 18 December 2011, 17h30 ■ Evening Worship. Rev. Penny Frank 21 December 2011, 10h00 – 10h30■ Advent Meditation. Rev. Penny Frank 24 December 2011, 17h30■ Christmas Eve Carol Service with candlelight. Followed by short Service of Holy Communion. Rev. Penny Frank & Rev. Clive Atkinson 25 December 2011, 10h00 – 10h30■ Christmas Day Family Service. Rev. Penny Frank 1 January 2012, 17h30 ■ Evening Worship. Rev. Penny Frank Information: 026 924 60 92 Web: www.allsaints.ch/chateaudoex
■■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 For additional useful numbers please visit www.gstaadlife.ch/usefulnumbers For the latest local weather forecast visit www.gstaadlife.com/weather
Friday 16 December 2011 Page 29
Ted Scapa: ideas remain his trademark Unabatedly, Ted Scapa’s creative genius turns ideas and bizarre images into the small and large weaknesses of humans and animals. That the weird sides and failings of mankind are shown in such a witty and concise way is the hallmark of the brilliant artist and cartoonist, who at the age of 80 still manages to find inspiration during his travels. Recently and amusingly and jokingly, he brought back a great “fish salad” from Brittany and ideas from China. Ted Scapa, where do you draw the tireless creative force and energy for these activities, the long journeys and their ideas? Above all, it is curiosity that drives me. It is my constant companion. I invest a lot of time, get up early, and carefully observe the environment... and work. Topics such as
“Angel,” “Fish,” “Golf”, “Time”, “Music” fascinate me, and I’m curious whether I will manage to finish a work: I design up to 80 drawings per book. You are regularly in Saanen. Can we expect an inspiring book about Gstaad in the near future? Why not - maybe one day! I like the idea. On the other hand, I think the nature of Gstaad-Saanenland is so fantastic that it cannot be interpreted but enjoyed instead. And above all, we must protect it. Ted Scapa will be in Gstaad in December: exhibition and workshop at the Grand Hotel Park (further information through the hotel); exhibition of wine images at Caveau de Bacchus; book signing at Cadonau on December 30.
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Gstaad 033 748 77 88 · Feutersoey 033 755 19 51 www.raiffeisen.ch/saanenland
Friday 16 December 2011 Page 30
Making the Holidays Happy by Mandolyna Theodoracopulos
Ho Ho Ho...Happy Christmas! At least it’s usually happy for those of us who love Christmas, notwithstanding the Scrooge in every family who tries to make the holiday miserable because they can’t enjoy it themselves. It can be a volatile time, and most families get together only to find themselves on the verge of a family meltdown. It’s pathetically infantile that a family can’t come together once a year for joy and merriment to celebrate Jesus and exchange gifts without pushing each other’s buttons. Yet it happens to almost all of us, particularly when we come together under one roof as adults. Those who say Christmas is for children are right, but children come in all sizes. I still love Christmas - despite the fact that almost every year there is a major family drama where doors are slammed, insults are exchanged, and tears are wept. I love the gleeful spirit, listening to Christmas music by the fire, wrapping presents, stuffing stockings, choosing and decorating the tree, setting up the crèche, watching snow fall, and all the glorious holiday food. Once the tree is erected, the men in the family begin the eye-rolling and
Humbuggery, you say! Certainly. And why not? I can think of nothing more appealing than a false veneer. Appearances are not necessarily bad, and keeping them up - especially when one pretends things are better than they really are - is the essence of civilization. I didn’t always think this way, and I can see why for some, truth above all else is necessary. Fighting against tyranny, hypocrisy, or suffering is a perfectly noble endeavor, especially if it brings the truth to light. But when it comes to Christmas, most of us know Santa doesn’t exist and that the world and our families are not perfect. What’s the harm in a little cheer and make-believe? So you had a miserable childhood and your early Christmas memories are fraught with mirthless images? All the more reason to relish the occasion now and treat each other like we would treat a child who still believes Santa Claus wears a red suit and rides a sleigh pulled by rednosed reindeer. At the very least, indulging the Christmas fantasy is the polite thing to do - particularly since life can be painful. Fanning the flames of misery at the end of every year is antagonistic and selfish - the precise opposite of what Christmas is about. Peace and a generous spirit are qualities we should all seek, particularly now when emotions are
running high. Give a gift, write a card, send a cookie. Offer a smile to your unpleasant neighbor or hold your temper when the service is terrible and you are forced to wait. Better yet, when your relative says something infuriating and idiotic, smile and say OK. If that’s too much to manage, invite a lonely bore to dinner or give a compliment where a compliment is almost due. Make something. Save something. Do something that takes you out of your comfort zone. Lend a hand. Go to church. Find your patience. Do whatever it is you might not normally do for someone else’s benefit and not necessarily your own. Perhaps this means giving Hanukkah and Kwanzaa equal billing. So be it. Happy Holidays to you and Merry Christmas to us! But it’s not over yet...there is that damned New Year only a few days ahead, and it will bring out as many curmudgeons as Christmas. Find a humorous way to indulge one of them. Maybe a plastic cockroach in their bed or a fake turd in their shoe. If nothing will put a smile on their face, tuck them in, kiss them goodnight, and have fun with someone new. If what they say is true, the end is near and you have nothing to lose, anyway.
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teasing, acting as if all this Christmas business is ridiculous. Actually, they simply don’t like Christmas and prefer to be in a bad mood for several days - instead of pretending, as my mother and I do, that Santa is coming and we must set the scene and put on faces of good cheer.
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