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TEL: +41 33 744 97 00 TEL: +41 33 744 74 80

W W W. G R A F F D I A M O N D S . C O M

July 17, 2015 - Issue 4 – CHF 3.50

THE AGONY & THE ECSTASY

Menuhin Festival Gstaad 2015

LEX WEBER LOOPHOLES

Where There's a Will, There's a Way

EX-BANKER BETS ON GSTAAD

Martin Bachofner, Director of Tourism


Gsteig 10 km from Gstaad

We sell to Swiss or non–residents 3 beautiful apartments (180 sqm) on a sunny location with a stunning view beside the river. Spacefull underground parkings. For more information contact: Perreten brothers: 033 744 32 32, n.perreten@hotmail.com 079 204 84 09, hanspeter.p@peco.ch

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GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015


Photo: Hotel Gstaad Palace

Home Is Where the Heart Is

What do you have your heart set on this summer?

I’ve got one goal: Spend less time at work and more time enjoying all Gstaad has to offer, both day and night. Be it first-rate concerts or quiet hiking trails, I’m dead set on using only one screen regularly this summer–sunscreen. Girls’ Night Out While I appreciate our beautiful alpine panoramas, I haven’t yet learned the names of all the mountains by heart. Yet this month I’ve added two new peaks to my repertoire, Walig and Wildhorn. I was lucky enough to call the Gstaad Palace’s Walig Hut home for a night, one that I’ll never forget. Between a sky full of stars and a caquelon full of fondue, on page 11 I describe that it was just the kind of experience that sums up Gstaad–grand luxury teamed with simple pleasures. In Living Colour They say home is where the heart is. Whether that’s a historic chalet, modern apartment, or hotel room while you’re in the Saanenland, there is a heart-stopping array of lodging options available. Read about how several local hotels have scored big honours, both in a new travel guide entitled “The 150 Best Hotels in Switzerland” and in the top travel media. Speaking of homes, if you’re lucky enough to have a second residence here, the recent law that restricts holiday homes might not have an effect on you. But businesses in construction, architecture, and real estate have had to take heart–they are already starting to feel the pinch. No matter what your feelings on the controversial law, Lex Weber is certain to affect everyone in the region in one way or another.

All About that Bass This year’s Menuhin Festival Gstaad also promises many delightful evenings out. Under an unusual “Ironie & Musique” theme, the summer-long musical fête will explore a range of composers who suffered for the their art, or just plain suffered.

As many of you know, as a former opera singer I’m especially keen on the divas that will alight here during the festival. Don’t miss the tenor Jonas Kaufmann (be still my beating heart!), Anna Netrebko’s former husband (did she have a change of heart?) divo Erwin Schrott, and the dazzling Swedish soprano Miah Persson. He Came, He Saw, He Conquered This month, GSTAADLIFE features a heartto-heart with Martin Bachofner, Gstaad Saanenland Tourism’s ambitious director. Bachofner left a successful career in banking behind to focus on his love of travel and tourism–proving that some bankers do indeed have a heart of gold. He has got right down to the heart of things, analysing the best way forward for the region. Bachofner’s visionary plans are already starting to take shape, including one involving a sport that he is passionate about, cycling. The New Golf With a varied topography ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 metres, the Saanenland is perfect for getting your heart rate going. Why not try one of our best summer sports, hiking or biking? Biking has become a focus for Gstaad Saanenland Tourism, and our region has been gaining steady ground with the cycling

community and those who hold the sport close to their heart. The recently released roadbook (page 8) gives cyclists the tools to plan their rides according to distance and altitude gain. For thrill-seekers whose idea of biking is the equivalent of downhill skiing, several dedicated off-road trails are awaiting construction as soon as municipal and cantonal permission is given. Even Gstaad’s older but still young-at-heart guests can join in the fun, with e-bikes and mountain e-bikes serving as a new option for conquering our landscape. Bigger and Better A dairy farmer knows a captivating cow when he sees one, but do you? Our update on the spring 2015 cow pageantry season will introduce you to Miss BEA, Petra, who is sure to set your heart on fire. We also meet the bovines that breed like champions, giving you all the winners of this year’s animal husbandry awards. If you’d like to wow your audience with award-winning looks, be sure to note some ideas from Januaria Piromallo’s to-do list for summer skin. With both herbal and high-tech treatments that are locally produced or developed, it’s easy to pick the procedure that’s right for you. So now please excuse me while I close my laptop, shut off my iphone, and get back to achieving my summer goal…

Best regards, Alexis Munier Editor in Chief

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

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Photo: Nicole Frampton-Vananty subtlepatterns.com

READER'S PAGE Your Vision of Gstaad

This photo was taken on one of my morning walks which I concentrate mostly near the Spitzhorn, the Gstelli, and up towards the Col du Pillon. Old wooden mountain huts dot the landscape here, some of which you can spend the night in. An Italian friend, writer, and poet Gennaro Oriolo (from Calabria, Professor, University of Florence and Minister of Culture in Scandici-Florence) was flabbergasted by the beauty of our area, especially the Spitzhorn. He wrote a poem about it, entitled Lodo allo Spitzhorn, Ode to the Spitzhorn. The poem was published in Gennaro's last book shortly before he died last September. – Nicole Frampton-Vananty has been here for almost 18 years and lives permanently in Gsteig. She never tires of the beauty that surrounds her, no matter what the weather.

If you would like to share your photograph of the Saanenland, please send it with your contact details and a brief description to info@gstaadlife.ch.


Photo: zVg

Magazine

3 Letter from the Editor by Alexis Munier 4 Reader's Page 21 Last Word by Diana Oehrli 22 Events

Photo: zVg

Local News

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6 Alpine Coaster Staff Found Guilty 6 Chalet Madora Renovation 7 Gstaad Hosts "Wimbledon of the Alps" 7 Gstaad Saanenland Tourism Débuts Cycling Roadbook

Business

9 Saanenland Hotels Reach for the Stars

Traditions

11 Meet Petra, Miss Nice Udders

Photo: © Sebastian Devenish

Gstaad Living

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12 Second Home Initiative Signed into Law

Profile

14 From Shoppyland to the Saanenland–Martin Bachofner

Arts & Culture

17 The Agony and the Ecstasy–Menuhin Festival Gstaad 2015

Flora & Fauna

19 Rare Beetles with Big Assets

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Read

Lifestyle

20 Summer Skin in the Saanenland

Cover Photo: Kerstin Sonnekalb www.gstaad.ch

at www.gstaadlife.com

Twitter: @GSTAADLIFE // Facebook: Gstaad Life // Youtube: GstaadLife GSTAADLIFE, Anzeiger von Saanen, Kirchstrasse 6, P.O. Box 201, 3780 Gstaad, Phone: 033 748 88 74, Fax: 033 748 88 84, info@gstaadlife.ch, www.gstaadlife.com, www.gstaadlife.ch // Management Board: Frank Müller // Publisher: Frank Müller, frank.mueller@gstaadlife.ch // Publishing Director: Markus Iseli, markus.iseli@mmedien.ch // Editor in Chief: Alexis Munier, alexis.munier@gstaadlife.ch // Contributors: Januaria Piromallo, Diana Oehrli // Layout: Epu Shaha, Jonas Bach // Advertising: Eliane Behrend, eliane.behrend@mmedien.ch, Phone: 033 744 88 74 // Subscriptions: Flurina Welten, flurina.welten@mmedien.ch, Phone: 033 748 88 74

CONTENTS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

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Photo: zVg

Alpine Coaster Staff Found Guilty

It claims to be the world’s highest mountain roller coaster. In 2007, it was also the world’s deadliest. BY GSTAADLIFE

Glacier 3000 inaugurated its dramatic Alpine Coaster thrill ride eight years ago. Part rollercoaster and part toboggan on rails, the 1,000-metre journey features ten curves, a 520-degree spiral curve, three jumps, and two bridges. Thrills led to tragedy in 2008, just a year after its opening, when a Canadian tourist died after riding the coaster.

security, received 30 days’ suspended sentence fined at CHF 50 each, plus an additional fine of CHF 400. The other employee also received 30 days’ suspended sentence and a fine of CHF 200, which is in line with what the prosecution had proposed.

In late June 2015, the two men responsible for the ride’s malfunction finally went before the court.

Both men, who remain anonymous due to strict Swiss privacy laws, were found guilty of committing bodily harm by negligence. On 13 July, 2008, the weather was less than ideal–rain, frost, and thick fog obscured sufficient distance vision, leading the victim’s luge to slam into the luge in front of her. Later that day, the Canadian fell into a coma and died shortly thereafter.

The manager of the coaster’s technical team, who was responsible for the ride’s

The Alpine Coaster forms an integral part of the glacier’s summer attracti­ons;

other activities include an expanded network of high-altitude hiking trails, an improved selection of eating and drinking possibilities and, of course, the snowboard park. Glacier 3000 hopes to boost vacationers in June, July, and August, hence the ride’s welcome addition to the area’s summer offers. It markets itself toward Swiss city slickers seeking to escape the warming trend of Switzerland’s urban areas and valleys, all in keeping with Gstaad-Saanenland’s overall creep into being a year-round lifestyle resort. Despite the accident, the Alpine Coaster remains popular with tourists and locals alike. With proper surveillance and conservative speeds, it poses no more threat than other summer mountain sports like hiking and biking.

With cranes dotting the landscape and many local construction projects in full swing, there is now one less building covered in scaffolding.

selection of frames ensures there is a choice of form and function for every budget, say owners Evelyne and Philipp Reber. The store is also a selling point for Freitag bags and satchels.

Photo: AvS

Chalet Madora Renovation

BY GSTAADLIFE

Chalet Madora reopened 4 July after a complete renovation. The structure is now home to revamped locations for Optik Gstaad and Staub Intérieurs. Optik Gstaad's additional seating now means choosing your next pair of glasses is a comfortable experience. A wide

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Toward the rear of the chalet is the new and improved home of Staub Intérieurs. Run by the fourth generation of the Staub family, the store features solid wood furniture as well as everything you might need for the total renovation or installation of your new kitchen, from concept to creation.

LOCAL NEWS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

Evelyne and Philipp Reber


Photo: AvS

Gstaad Hosts "Wimbledon of the Alps"

Stan Wawrinka has confirmed his presence at the Swiss Open Gstaad this summer. BY GSTAADLIFE

Local boy Wawrinka, who hails from nearby Canton Vaud is set to be the Open's biggest draw. Last year, he cancelled participation at the tournament, citing last-minute fatigue. Wawrinka’s strength soon recovered and he has had a busy 2015 thus far, winning the Australian Open and Monte Carlo Masters.

Several other top players have also announced their return to Gstaad for the 100th anniversary of the tournament. These include last year’s winner, Spaniard Pablo Andujar, his compatriot Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Mikhail Youzhny (RUS), David Goffin (BEL), Brazil’s Thomaz Belluci (BRA), and Viktor Troicki (SER).

the festivities. For airshow buffs, after the finals on Sunday, 2 August, the Swiss Air Force will fly in formation.

The so-called "Wimbledon of the Alps" will feature two distinctly Swiss traditions. On 1 August, Swiss National Day, there will be a gourmet brunch to start

The Swiss Open Gstaad will be held 23 July – 2 August.

To celebrate the 100 year tennis jubilee, a photographic exhibition showing tennis stars throughout the years is now in place on the Promenade.

www.swissopengstaad.ch

The Saanenland has recently become a paradise for bikers of all kinds including mountain, road, and e-bike. BY GSTAADLIFE

Now, road bikers have a new reference for planning their cycling routes and holidays. Gstaad Saanenland Tourism (GST) has also created a dedicated space for the sport on their website, www.gstaad.ch. The section contains important information on cycling in Gstaad and surrounding areas. GST also suggests German speakers join www.strava.com, where the Hornberg and Sparenmoos segments are available on an interactive digital map. The fastest times are also displayed, and eager riders can enter their own accomplisments to share.

Photo: Jürgen Amann / Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus

Début of 2015 Cycling Roadbook

For more about cycling in the Saanenland, please see our interview with Director of Tourism Martin Bachofner on page 12.

LOCAL NEWS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

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KITCHEN/INTERIOR FITTINGS AND FURNISHINGS FROM ONE SUPPLIER Staub AG is celebrating a special anniversary. 111 years ago, our great-grandfather Johann Staub opened a small carpenter’s workshop in Rougemont. Today we provide complete services from kitchen and interior fittings to furnishings and a bed store. But it all begins with the client counselling, which is an important part of our philosophy. We take care of our customers from the first planning to the final detail.

Our showroom for kitchens, the carpenter’s workshop, and the offices are located in Feutersoey. We strive to come up with solutions that fulfil the expectations of our customers and provide the unconventional at the highest level. We work out the best solution for you, both aesthetically and practically, Photos: Mark Nolan

In the interior store in Gstaad you have the choice of a wide range of furniture, material, and brands. Chairs and sofas by de Sede, FSM, Meridiani, Pol, and Intertime; furniture

from solid wood by Sprenger and Girsberger; various curtain fabrics and curtain systems; and garden furniture by Dedon, Rausch, and Fermob for the summer season. Our bed store with its large showroom is located just next to the interior store. Fulfil your dreams with our quality bedding products by Superba, Elite, and Eastborn.

Client counselling is a key aspect. We provide competent and ongoing advice from the first ideas to the interior fitting, the customised kitchen, and the final placement of

Photo: AvS

your furniture.

according to your personal wishes and ideas. We work together with Poggenpohl and EWE for kitchen fittings and Gaggenau, Siemens, and Miele for kitchen appliances. Together with our partners we guarantee a customised and modern kitchen. Staub AG is run by Patrick, Roger, and Susanne Staub. We are the fourth generation running the family business with 15 employees and one apprentice. Our strength lies in bringing our customers’ ideas to life. With a wide range of products and materials – from the contemporary and modern to the more rustic – we create that perfect interior you’ve always dreamed of. The Changes Through Time 1904 1905 1940 1969 1971 1989 1990 1994 1999 2004 2005 2007 2011 2011

Johann Staub opens a small carpenter’s workshop in Rougemont Move to Saanen Hans Staub takes over the business and introduces furniture sales Max Staub takes over and expands the business Opening of the saleroom in Gstaad, led by Elisabeth Staub Move of the workshop from Saanen to Feutersoey Introduction of kitchen-fitting Susanne Staub-Romang joins the team Acquisition of the first CNC milling machine Patrick Staub enters the business Roger Staub enters the business Expansion of the workshop in Feutersoey Co-partnership of Patrick and Roger Opening of the bed store in Gstaad

Staub AG Roger Staub (director interior and bed store), Susanne Staub (head of kitchen fittings) and Patrick Staub (director kitchen and interior fittings).

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

Intérieur/Bettenstudio, Gstaad, Tel. 033 748 80 40 Küchen-/Innenausbau, Tel. 033 755 80 50 www.staubgstaad.ch


Photo: Hotel Gstaad Palace

Panoramic alpine views from the Walig Hut, set high in the Bernese Oberland

Local Lodging Options Earn Accolades Gstaad Palace's Offerings Named Regional Best Place and Top Wilderness Hotel

Hospitality expert Karl Wild has released a brand new guide to Switzerland’s hotels. The book, “The 150 Best Hotels in Switzerland”, names the top establishments both in the Saanenland and beyond.

Walig Hut, which won Condé Nast Traveller’s “Best Wilderness Hotel”.The Alpina Gstaad celebrated its first year in business on the same magazine’s “Hot List,” and was named “Hotel of the Year 2013” by Gault Millau.

BY GSTAADLIFE

The Price is Right Switzerland has a reputation for being one of the highest priced countries for lodging. However, “The 150 Best Hotels in Switzerland” shows that a good time needn’t come at a high price. Proving Gstaad is indeed affordable, the ‘nice price’ holiday hotels category was chock-full of the Saanenland’s finest. The newly renovated and reopened Spitzhorn in Saanen rose to incredible heights in 4th place, while the Romantik Hotel Hornberg Saanenmöser (5th), Hotel Alpine Lodge, Saanen (9th), Hotel Kernen, Schönried (17th), and Hotel Alphorn Gstaad (35th) were also listed. Awards and Accolades Several of the region’s hotels have also won big awards in the past few years. Highlights include the Gstaad Palace’s

Walig Hut has the most prestigious travel media gushing. The historic and fully renovated hut can be reached by foot from Feutersoey in two hours, or by car transfer from the hotel.

While excellent service is a feature of many of the Saanenland's five-star hotels, one three-star has special bragging rights. The Spitzhorn was just designated one of the country’s 100 friendliest hotels, a real honour for the Wichmans, the smiling couple at the hotel’s helm.

Upon arrival, Maurizio–who has been with the Palace for several decades– will prepare a three-course feast of cured meats, locally sourced fondue, and melt-in-your-mouth homemade cookies and ice-cream.

The Hotel de Rougemont received a different sort of honour–the A’Design award was handed out to architect Claudia Sigismondi this spring for the recently opened property’s sleek, luxurious setup.

Eat and run, or better yet, stay the night. Nestled under skin rugs on the terrace, you'll witness an orange- and pink-hued sunset over the Sanetsch and awake to the jingling of cow bells.

Photo: AvS / zVg

Fifteen local hotels made the cut in this first edition travel guide. In the holiday hotel category, four hotels were named; Gstaad Palace proves it’s still a destination in itself with 7th place; Le Grand Bellevue Gstaad weighs in at 9th; The Alpina Gstaad at 11th, and the Grand Hotel Park, 22nd. In the wellness category, the Ermitage Wellness & Spa Hotel Schönried placed 6th; the GOLFHOTEL Les Hauts de Gstaad & Spa Saanenmöser was not far behind at 12th.

Hut Fit for a King

Hotel Spitzhorn–the three-star hotel with above and beyond service and interiors.

BUSINESS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

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Sunny Sundays JOIN US FOR OUR LEGENDARY SUMMER BBQS EVERY SUNDAY FROM 12 :00

WWW.GRANDHOTELPARK.CH Wispilenstrasse 29 - 3780 Gstaad, ch Tel. : +41 (0) 33 748 98 00 - info@grandhotelpark.ch

WELCOME TO THE TENT CONCERTS OF THE GSTAAD MENUHIN FESTIVAL & ACADEMY! Experience the great stars of the classical music scene in a festive atmosphere. Fr 15.8., 7:30 pm, Festival-Tent Gstaad

Symphony Concert

Fr 21.8., 7:30 pm, Festival-Tent Gstaad

GALA Symphony Concert

Sa 22.8., 7:30 pm, Festival-Tent Gstaad

Symphony Concert

Tchaikovsky-Feast — Swan Lake

Enthralling Romanticism—Jonas Kaufmann

Heavenly Life-Miah Persson & Daniil Trifonov

Patricia Kopatchinskaja, violin; Sol Gabetta, violoncello; Gstaad Festival Orchestra; Kristjan Järvi, conductor

Jonas Kaufmann, tenor; Symphony Orchestra Basel; Jochen Rieder, conductor

Miah Persson, soprano; Daniil Trifonov, piano; Budapest Festival Orchestra; Ivan Fischer, conductor

Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio espagnol; Mark-Anthony Turnage: «Dialoque», Concerto for violin, violoncello and orchestra (commissioned by Gstaad Menuhin Festival and Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival 2015); Saint-Saëns: «La Muse et le Poète»; Tchaikovsky: «Swan Lake»

Arias and instrumental pieces by Verdi (Luisa Miller), Ponchielli (Gioconda), Leoncavallo (Pagliacci), Puccini (Tosca) and Mascagni (Cavalleria rusticana)

Rachmaninov; Piano Concerto no. 4; Mahler; Symphony no. 4. CHF 160 / 135 / 95 / 65

CHF 260 / 205 / 160 / 120 / 80

CHF 160 / 135 / 95 / 40

Patricia Kopatchinskaja

Fr 29.8., 7:30 pm, Festival-Tent Gstaad

Gala Opera in Concert

Jonas Kaufmann

Fr 30.8., 5:30 pm, Festival-Tent Gstaad

Symphony Concert

Fr 5.9., 7:30 pm, Festival-Tent Gstaad

Symphony Concert

Don Giovanni

Tchaikovsky-Feast – «Pathétique»

«Great Symphony» – Vienna Symphony Orchestra

Erwin Schrott, baritone; Tatiana Lisnic, soprano; Christian Senn, baritone, Regula Mühlemann, soprano; Véronique Gens, mezzo-soprano; Stefan Pop, tenor; Simon Bailey, bass; Denis Sedov, bass; La Scintilla Opera Zurich, Ensemble Corund Lucerne, Choir; Pablo Heras-Casado, conductor

Israel Philharmonic Orchestra; Zubin Mehta, conductor Schönberg: Verklärte Nacht; Richard Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel; Tchaikovsky: Symphony no. 6 «Pathétique»

Nikolaj Znaider, violin; Vienna Symphony Orchestra; Philippe Jordan, conductor

Mozart; «Il dissoluto punito ossia Don Giovanni» (concert performance)

Schönberg: Verklärte Nacht; Richard Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel; Tschaikowsky: Sinfonie Nr. 6 « Pathétique» CHF 160 / 135 / 95 / 65

CHF 220 / 160 / 135 / 95 / 65

www.gstaadmenuhinfestival.ch

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Erwin Schrott

GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

Brahms: Violin Concerto; Schubert: «Great Symphony» no. 8 CHF 160 / 135 / 95 / 65


Photo: Beat Wolta Bach

Ueli Bach's 16-year old Wolta and kin–the highest scoring cow family in the Saanenland, with a whopping 95 points.

Meet Petra, Nearly "Miss Nice Udders" Saanenland Bovines Take Top Honours

BY GSTAADLIFE

At the conclusion of the spring exhibition season, two local brothers have done very well for themselves. The region’s top prize, Miss BEA, was awarded to Stephan and Jonathan Perreten’s Petra. The fouryear old pure Simmental has an impressive season behind her. In March, the Oberland Association voted her runner-up to “Miss Nice Udders” and at the pure breed show in Thun in April, she won the Miss title. Here in Gstaad, Petra also won the Simmental title at the official cow show held at the ice-skating arena each year.

with “head of household” Angela went to Michael Perreten from Feutersoey. The pure Simmental clan of Furka fetched 85 points for owners Benz and Björn Brand of Lauenen; last but not least, 77 points were awarded to the Swiss-Simmental Wanda, from the stable of Emil Haldi, Saanen. Need Cow, Will Pay According to Gstaad Saanenland Tourism, approximately 7000 cows, most of them

Simmentalers, live in the Saanenland. That’s one cow for every inhabitant! If you’d like to purchase your own bovine, or just watch them onstage, try heading to one of the two cattle auctions held in August in the region; At Gumm Alp, Ueli Bach holds a daylong auction early in the month. More than just a sales event, it’s a time for music, food, and drink. Hornberg Alp holds a similar auction the second weekend in August.

Photo: Petra Keleki

Cow beauty pageants are mother’s milk to Switzerland, where many alpine regions hold their own award ceremonies. Each year, more than several dozen of the Saanenland's most attractive cows participate before distinguished panels of local experts.

All in the Family While the Canton’s top bovines strut their stuff at the legendary Topschau and BEA competitions, there are also a bevy of smaller events and honours, including a bovine breeding award. Four Saanenland families recently obtained a Class A level for their excellent animal husbandry. The highest score of 95 went to Wolta, Ueli Bach’s 16-year-old Simmental from Turbach and her family. At 88 points, the Swiss-German Simmental cow family

Stephan and Jonathan Perreten's prize-winning Simmental cow, Petra.

TRADITIONS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

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Photo: stormpic / photocase.de

Second Home Initiative Signed into Law Controversial Lex Weber Full of Loopholes

The boom in second homes that contributed to the economy of the Saanenland may now be over. This spring, Switzerland’s government officially put Lex Weber, commonly called the “second home initiative” on the books. The Franz Weber Foundation and Helvetia Nostra pioneered the initiative, which they believe–despite the economic challenges–is needed to preserve Switzerland’s natural beauty from overbuilding. BY ALEXIS MUNIER

The version of the law that was implemented in March 2015 is the result of a compromise between Vera Weber, leader of Helvetia Nostra, and political representatives. The law passed successfully through both houses of parliament with little opposition, after a working group spent three years ironing out the kinks in the law’s wording. Back to the Future Past Writing the legal specifics was not an easy process. Conflicts abounded, namely the date the law should go into effect, and the fate of construction permits that had been issued in the race to the original vote.

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The Swiss Federal Court decided Lex Weber would go into effect the date voters approved the controversial measure to limit holiday homes to a maximum of 20 % of a commune. All communities must now present a yearly report to the federal government specifying totals of primary and secondary residences. This superseded the implementation date of 1 January, 2013 named earlier by the Administrative Court in Canton Graubünden. Graubünden’s court had ruled that this date was implied, since the initiative did not specifically state that it was due to take effect immediately. That ruling was the first regarding the initiative, and as such it was widely assumed it would prove applicable in other cantons as well. The result was a win for Helvetia Nostra and the Franz Weber Foundation–and a big step back for opponents. It effectively stopped all construction on secondary residences with permits issued 11 March, 2012 and beyond. Hundreds of cases were still waiting to be reviewed by the courts when the law was written

GSTAAD LIVING // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

into the books in this spring. With the law now on the books, many of them have been dropped accordingly, while other claimants continue to uphold their suits and seek construction approval. New Restrictions and Tourism The new restrictions on the construction of holiday homes will impact the majority of Switzerland’s alpine tourist destinations. Bern is one of five cantons which will be most affected, along with Vaud, Ticino, Valais and Graubünden; Saanen is among 440 communities now facing an uncertain future. Some political representatives have voiced negative views, including Bernese government official Christoph Neuhaus, who stated in an SRF1 interview that Canton Bern's business and tourism development has once again been hampered. Nearly half of all dwellings in the Saanenland, 49 per cent, are second homes. The local economy relies heavily on the business generated by the building and maintenance of these homes, as well as the money that the homeowners


pour into the community while present. Some local restaurants, stores and businesses are starting to feel the pinch and the loss of this critical revenue does not sit well with residents. Coupled with a decline in tax revenues, the effect of the second home initiative is already proving a challenge for the Gstaad area.

voters rather than those living in rural communities. For those who live and work in Switzerland’s alpine villages, the beauty of the land may not be the most important factor to consider. Many Saanenland locals believe Lex Weber will jeopardize not only the construction and tourism industries, but also the entire social fabric of the region.

One local builder is optimistic though. “Despite the fact that we will build fewer second homes, there are still many renovations to be completed in the next decade,” says Hans-Peter Zingre, owner of Zingre Chaletbau in Saanen, “and that will keep Zingre Chaletbau very busy.” Where There's a Will, There's a Loophole Finding a way around the restrictions will prove extremely difficult. That said, there are certain loopholes. For example, the law permits turning historic-classified structures into second homes. A grange could be fully renovated and transformed for housing purposes, while a hotel would not benefit from this same permission. Under Lex Weber, only hotels which are no longer profitable may be renovated and turned into secondary residences. Even so, a maximum of 50% of the hotel may be converted. Another hotel scenario is possible: If a hotel is more than 25 years old and financially unviable, the community could classify it as a historic structure, and then designate it a secondary residence. Another loophole that homeowners may take advantage of: Adaptation of existing first homes into second homes is permitted. So, an owner could technically turn his primary residence into a secondary residence, and then proceed to build a new first home on the same property. Home size is also not an issue in the new law; second homes are counted by residential unit and not by the total of square metres. Additionally, existing second homes have been granted permission to expand 30 % in size. City Vs Country Not surprisingly, Lex Weber proved significantly more popular among urban

"There was little fighting back against the measure in 2012 because nobody honestly thought it would pass," says Elisabeth Wampfler, architect and urban planner with Jaggi & Partner (read GSTAADLIFE's June edition for a full interview). "I think many voters, especially those in urban areas, were not aware of the damage it might cause in rural or alpine locations." But for some in the Saanenland, ignorance is not always bliss. “The new law restricts property rights and already has serious negative effects on the economy in mountain communities,” states lawyer and notary David Matti of Matti & Matti in Saanen, who also serves as president of the Saanenland Chamber of Commerce. “Parts of the real estate and construction branch have been paralysed since the vote, and the longer this situation goes on, the stronger the negative effects.” Real State of Real Estate Besides the construction sector, one would imagine real estate agencies are also suffering from the new law. There are a whopping 25 to 30 real estate agencies in the Saanenland, for whom home sales are an important part of their turnover. Yet when asked about the health of the property market, two very different stories are heard. One, that real estate continues to thrive in Gstaad, and the other, that Lex Weber has hurt business. Martin Göppert of Consulta Gstaad GmbH, an independent broker in the region for the past two decades, believes Lex Weber, among several issues, has contributed to a decline. “Since the referendum at least three property brokers in Gstaad have ceased activity or have gone bankrupt,” says Göppert. “A couple of others have giv-

en up their corporate identity, partnered with other firms, or were purchased by competitors.” Happy Ending? Fortunately the law is not written in stone; if economic disaster ensues in rural communities, the issue still may someday be overturned or modified, suggests Matti. Whether the law’s effect on communities like the Saanenland is as deleterious as its opponents predict, it's clear that the heart of the issue is an on-going battle between urban and rural regions of the country. While the majority of Saanenland residents say they're unhappy with the law, the period of uncertainty is over–at least for the time being. “Let’s be honest,” quips Matti, when comparing earlier versions of the law to the one currently approved, “it could have been much worse.”

The Fight Goes On

A small group in the Pays-d’Enhaut did not taking Lex Weber lying down. They launched a referendum against the controversial initiative limiting second homes that voters approved in 2012. The new law, which limits second homes to 20 % of a community’s total lodgings, infringes on equality and fundamental rights, said Philippe Favrod-Coune. Favrod-Coune, a notary from Châteux-d’Oex, led the referendum, which started quite late and had just one month to secure the necessary 50,000 signatures to bring it to popular vote. The Pays-d’Enhaut’s three main towns of Rossinière, Rougemont, and Château-d’Oex all have secondary home levels that exceed the 20% cap. Not surprisingly, the three also all voted an overwhelming no to Lex Weber at the ballot box three years ago. Despite Favrod-Coune’s best efforts, the limited timespan–amongst other issues–made it impossible to gather the signatures in time.

GSTAAD LIVING // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

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Photo: Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus

From Shoppyland to the Saanenland Martin Bachofner, Gstaad's Visionary Director of Tourism

INTERVIEW BY ALEXIS MUNIER

He may be highly regarded as the director of Gstaad Saanenland Tourism, but it doesn't seem Martin Bachofner has taken the region’s “Come Up, Slow Down” motto to heart. With an ambitious new strategy for the Saanenland in place and first successes under his belt, the Bern native has set his sights on even loftier goals. With the creation of Gstaad Bike World, Bachofner is busy revving up tourism revenue by turning our local mountain trails and city roads into a biker’s paradise. At his offices on the Promenade, Bachofner opened up to GSTAADLIFE’s Alexis Munier about banks, bikes, and billionaires, and what further ideas for Gstaad’s future he has up his sleeve.

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GSTAADLIFE: Where are you from originally?

and it was a fascinating time to learn the industry.

Martin Bachofner: I’m from Moosseedorf, a village just outside the city of Bern. It’s most famous for a mall called Shoppyland, or for the traffic jams on the nearby highway.

After that I worked in finance for some years. I even had the chance to take over an executive position of a banking institution in Liechtenstein, but my heart wasn't in it. I knew from that day on I’d make my name in another industry.

GL: Rumour has it you’re actually a banker? MB: Not exactly! After completing an MBA and Law degree, I then took a job in a publishing house in Munich, where I worked as an executive assistant to the CEO. It was when the shift of traditional print to online material began,

PROFILE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

GL: Why the change from publishing and finance to tourism, and why here in the Saanenland? MB: I had always wanted to be a managing director, specifically in a field in which I have an emotional relationship.


A billionaire friend who is an avid biker and owner of a professional road biking team says that biking is the new golf. Martin Bachofner

of course means the total increase for overnight stays is not as dramatic. But it means that as we lose some guests due to the high franc and weak euro, we gain visitors from new regions.

GL: What is the essence behind the Gstaad brand? No matter what the naysayers claim, tourism is a very emotional–and complex–field. When the opportunity came up in Gstaad, I couldn’t say no.

GL: Does the fact you're not a local help or hinder your role? MB: It’s good that I’m not a local. Hiring a managing director who is not native to the area allows a certain distance that lets me see things clearly. I can see the region not only as a Swiss would, or a Berner would, but as an international tourist would as well. Director of Tourism is a role that calls for many skills, and the most important is that I’m a man with the right mind-set. I started in April 2011 and have grown a very successful team here in Gstaad. People have the wrong idea that tourism is easy and all about holidays. It’s not. There are so many stakeholders in our business–the local governments, the farmers, the locals, the tourists, and the local businesses, to name just a few.

MB: Gstaad has a strong brand, and that brand is not only gourmet restaurants, luxury hotels, and celebrity guests. We are also a perfect destination for guests who want to be active and enjoy well-being, fitness, and sports. However, the landscape here is not enough to draw guests. Yes, of course the mountains here are lovely and open, which differs from some of the other Alpine regions. But that’s not enough–we have to do more product development behind the brand of Gstaad.

GL: What types of new products are you forming with local entrepreneurs? MB: Gstaad Bike World is just one of the projects which focuses on activities that are appropriate not only for all ages, but for all budgets. Gstaad Saanenland Tourism is a co-founder of the project, along with the Bergbahnen, Alpinzentrum, and Sportzentrum. We are the group leader, however, and we’re pushing the potential of the region’s beautiful landscape. I personally believe biking in all forms is the perfect fit for a summer sport here.

GL: Have you steered Gstaad Saanenland Tourism down a new path? MB: Before I took over, the tourism office did a good job, but it was mainly reactive, not proactive. Now, I’ve put into place a new strategy that shows that, after just three years, our numbers are growing significantly. One big change was the decision to target new markets in China, South East Asia, Brazil, Russia, and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) to name just a few. We now have a 60 % increase in overnight stays for guests from the emerging markets. We have a lot of Swiss and European guests, which

GL: What potential does biking have, especially in an area as wealthy as Gstaad? MB: A billionaire friend who is an avid biker and owner of a professional road biking team says that biking is the new golf. Many CEOs and important managers consider biking their primary sport. Rather than playing golf, they want to maximise their leisure time and do a truly sporty activity. This mix between a healthy lifestyle and a joyful lifestyle is a good fit for Gstaad. People can spend the

day biking either on or off-road, and the evening enjoying a fine meal in one of our many respected restaurants. We started in 2013 with the main focus on developing the mountain biking offers. We wanted an area in the Saanenland where we could gather all the mountain bikers so we can focus different mountains on different things. We hope to have the first trails open on the Horneggli in two to three years.

GL: What are some of the hold-ups? MB: We are working with a professional bike development company which has done similar projects for many other regions, for example in the Engadine and Scotland. We put together a great concept, and took it public. Now the situation is difficult because it’s not easy to develop a biking area in the canton of Bern. We need the support of the canton, yet it’s not clear which branch of the government will support the project. Right now, the project and responsibility is being passed around, no administrative office wants to take it. This has nothing to do with finances; it’s simply a question of administration.

GL: Speaking of financing, just how expensive is the project? MB: It’s not as if we need to create brand new mountain biking paths; these trails already exist. We just need permission to widen them slightly. In the community assembly last October, the BDG announced they wanted to invest CHF 4-5 million into the project. Now, sadly, they claim to still support the project but they have declared they don't have the money yet. While the BDG is certainly struggling, cutting off investment in a strategy designed to increase tourism and revenue in the region is foolhardy. We hope that after the turn-around of the BDG they will set up the right decisions and invest some money into the bike project.

GL: Is Gstaad Saanenland Tourism already promoting Gstaad as a biking region? MB: We also have a good relationship with Scott, a Swiss biking company that

PROFILE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

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is widely known as one of the industry leaders. And we’ve already had two or three special interest biking magazines here to test the region. So far it’s been a big success with the international press, and you can see more and more bikers on the local roads.

GL: When will the first bike trails be up and running? MB: Last year there was a private mountain bike contest on the Rellerli, the Rellerli Rookies Ride Contest. It was a great success and this year Gstaad Bike World has decided to work with the contest. We applied for a temporary permission from both the city of Saanen and the Canton of Bern to use a downhill track on the Rellerli. If we can secure this dedicated bike trail, it’s the beginning of a unique Gstaad offer that can attract bikers. We hope to have approval by end July. This will show bikers that we are determined to go ahead with the project.

GL: What about the narrowness of the roads and safety of both bikers and drivers?

As for sharing trails with bikers, some people have the impression that there will be bikes all over the trails here. That’s simply not true. We are concentrating downhill biking in one area, and hikers will be warned so they can make the choice whether to use other trails or not. It’s a question of education. We can share the trails, just as we should, as humans, share everything with one another. We are all adult enough to handle the question of right of way on the trails without endangering each other’s safety.

GL: Let’s face it… many of the heads on the Promenade are grey. Is biking an option for Gstaad's less youthful guests? MB: E-bikes are also an interesting offer. Many of our guests are older and are happy to have the support of a small engine. Not only are e-bikes great for road biking, but now there are new e-mountain bikes. This would be a perfect solution for guests who are less mobile but still keen on exploring the region with bikes.

GL: Where do you see the future of tourism in the Saanenland going?

Can our region weather the strong franc-storm? MB: We have to overthink our touristic system. Saanen is a rich community that invests money year after year into several separate institutions, Gstaad Saanenland Tourism and the BDG included. I could describe it with the metaphor of watering flowers. Rather than just watering the whole garden every day, we can save water and grow better flowers with a drip system that gives water right to the source where the plants need it most. GL: Would Gstaad Saanenland Tourism lead this fusion effort? MB: No, it is too small to do so. I’ll give you an example… right now the BDG have their own marketing team and so do we. What if we consolidated this system and focused our energy on several priorities? Yes, there is the Gstaad2020 group, which have a vision for the region. But I strongly believe we should institutionalise the new strategy with all the stakeholders–and the leading organisation should be a brand new organ.

GL: And I suppose you’re the man for the job? MB: I am only the "Kurdirektor." It’s not a matter of stabilising or securing my job–it’s all about the future of the destination. Photo: zVg

MB: There is a risk, especially on the Col du Pillon or when there is some construction work on the streets, but overall we have very few injuries each year. I’ve been biking since 1998, and I’ve never

been in an accident. Knock on wood. As long as both parties are aware and respectful I don't foresee any real point of contention here.

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PROFILE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015


Photo: zvg

The Agony and the Ecstasy

Menuhin Festival Gstaad 2015 Spotlights the Dark Side of Genius Music lovers of the Saanenland will be once again be showered with a series of first-rate concerts at the Menuhin Festival Gstaad. But this year the classical music extravaganza explores the high price our most brilliant composers paid to create their masterpieces. BY ALEXIS MUNIER

The several dozen concerts and recitals that make up the yearly two-month long festival will feature works that reflect its “Ironie & Musique” theme. The composers: Schubert, Mahler, Beethoven, Mozart, and more. The irony: that these tortured artists produced such splendid compositions. Sturm und Drang, Part One The summer festival’s dark theme from Mozart to Beethoven, and Strauss to Shostakovich, highlights the greatest composers who all suffered various forms of ill health, stress, and depression. In his lively programme notes, musical director Christophe Müller gives a quick rundown of just some of their problems. “Schubert’s melancholy was marked by gruelling self-doubt and feelings of inferiority,“ writes Müller, who has been with the festival since 2003 and in whose capable hands it has continued to grow and thrive.

Not to mention the fact that Schubert died in a mentally deranged state from untreated syphilis. And Müller continues,“For most of his life, Beethoven suffered from serious hearing problems, eye disease, and constant gastric colic.“ It’s a wonder Gustav Mahler, who lost his daughter and was also diagnosed with a serious heart condition, could continue to write at all. As Müller points out, “Mahler struggled with serious psychological problems as he was confronted with death, despair, separation and pain in every phase of his life.” Sturm und Drang, Part Deux Ironically, these torturous moments gave birth to some of the most beautiful, moving music ever composed. For proof, consider Beethoven’s Seven Variations in E-flat Major for Cello and Piano on “Bei Männern," with frequent invitée Sol Gabetta and Artist-in-Residence Jean-Yves Thibaudet (Saturday, 18 July). Or further into the festival, 5 September’s finale of “The Great Symphony“ in C Major, known formally as Symphony No. 8 in C Major, D 944, performed with Philippe Jordan at the helm of the Wiener Symphoniker.

Don’t miss Mahler’s histrionic sensibilities in his Symphony No. 4 in G Major, which will be played by the Budapest Festival Orchestra conducted by Ivan Fischer on 22 August. The evening will also serve as a chance to hear Miah Persson, whose sweet, lilting lyric soprano and classic Swedish charm has made her an audience favourite. This season will also host some unusual concerts filled with comic relief–and utter disbelief. At “Musique & Magie – Four Magic Hands," famed harpist Xavier de Maistre will team with magician Stefan Leyshorn for a theatrical evening of music by Lizst, Smetana, and Debussy on 22 July. Even England’s The King’s Singers will join in the fun with a programme entitled “Black Humour”. The legendary vocal group will bring tunes from early de Lassus madrigals to Duke Ellington to life 27 July in Saanen. Join in the (Dark) Fun The Menuhin Gstaad Festival runs from 16 July to 5 September, with concerts and recitals held in the Saanenland’s historic churches and festival tent. Please visit www.menuhinfestivalgstaad.ch for more information.

ARTS & CULTURE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

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GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

8.8.2008 15:09:16 Uhr


Photos:Photo: Bert Inäbnit Name

Rare Beetles with Big Assets Summer Series – Bert Inäbnit's Flora & Fauna

BY BERT INÄBNIT, TRANSLATION BY MARKUS ISELI

The lucanus cervus (commonly referred to by the name of the species to which it belongs: stag beetle) is the largest beetle in Europe. It is easily recognised due to the enlarged mandibles of the male, which epitomise male pompousness in the animal kingdom. These out-of-proportion mandibles – ridiculous as they are impressive – are used in rival fights over the favour of a female beetle. The beetles try to get a grip on their adversary and to throw him off the tree.

The other two beetles on the pictures above and below belong to the family of longhorn beetles, named after their long antennas. Because of its beautiful colouring, the rosalia alpina was a favourite amongst collectors and entomologists. The monochamus sartor may not be as colourful as its cousin, but it has got long antennas even in comparison to other beetles of the same species: they grow up to six centimetres long. The stag beetle, the rosalia alpina, and the monochamus sartor have become quite rare. Modern forest management threatens their habitat by removing cut trees and dead wood, where the females lay their eggs and the larvae stay until they pupate. In particular the larvae of stag beetles are prey to human tidiness in forests because

they live in dead wood for four years before they transform into beetles. If you see one of these rare beetles, take a picture and let us know!

Nature enthusiast and ornithological expert Bert Inäbnit is the stuff of local legend, thanks to his uncanny ability to befriend wild animals. According to Inäbnit, each morning when he leaves the house and walks outside, he whistles–and the wild Nuthatch, Chaffinch, and Great Tit literally fly into his arms. Inäbnit is a frequent contributor to newspapers in the region, writing articles on birds, butterflies and insects–really any topic that involves Alpine wildlife. Photo: Raphaël Faux

Imagine having antennas that are twice as long as your body or jaws that are big enough to go round your head. Sounds weird? Looks funny!

FLORA & FAUNA // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

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Summer Skin in the Saanenland A Range of Local Options and Unique Treatments

They say beauty is skin-deep. But don’t forget your skin needs nurturing from the inside as well as outside. BY JANUARIA PIROMALLO

With many different treatments, creams, and products available, the choice is yours. But while in Switzerland, why not opt for something unique to nourish your skin? Gstaad has options ranging from naturally simple to simply high-tech, and everything in between. Herbal Delight Switzerland is well known for its beautiful mountains, covered with herbs, grasses, and flowers. Many of these plants have medicinal properties, and can be found as an active ingredient in locally made beauty products. At Jardin des Monts (see our August profile interview on founder Charlotte Landolt-Nardin), flowers are both picked wild and cultivated on steep terraces high above Rossinière. After harvesting, the fragrant, dried plants are used in a collection of creams and oils. The Gstaad Palace Spa and Jardin des Monts have created a ritual that takes you to the heart of alpine nature. This treatment, made with 100% organic oils will pamper your skin with the detoxifying properties of sweet marjoram t­ hrough a relaxing or a revitalizing massage. Fit for a Queen From Cleopatra’s famed milk baths to use of jade stones, the most attractive women of ancient times knew how to pamper their skin. They would be the first to line up at Le Grand Bellevue for a series of one-of-a-kind modern treatments given by Nicole Jonay, Le Grand Spa's enchanting beauty guru. Jonay’s beauty studio is something between a zen temple and a NASA Lab. Ancient methods are still used. The elegant beauty expert will massage your face gently with a jade stone–which she says removes negativity and drains toxins–just like the Egyptian queen believed.

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Alongside traditional remedies is a magic tool is called the LPG Ergolift, which provides a facelift without surgery or needles. The benefits of this cell-stimulation therapy are many–it activates circulation and provides a feeling of deep well-being. From the Inside Out GLOW! was started by two local friends with South American roots, Diana d’Hendecourt and Blanca Brillembourg. In addition to signature juices, GLOW! makes à la carte recipes for customers and designs bespoke smoothies to meet customers' specific needs. All ingredients are organic, including the kale and wheatgrass grown here in the Saanenland. Freshly made everyday, the juices are blended with JAX coconut water, another product developed by Gstaad residents Jane and Max Gottschalk. Coconut water is billed as a hydrating, low calorie drink whose electrolyte level is similar to that of human blood. Adherents say juicing increases health by allowing the body to access nutrients more easily. By crushing the ingredient, enzymes hidden in the fiber matrix of whole fruits and vegetables are better absorbed as well. While they now deliver their cleansing programs all over Switzerland through their online shop, here in Gstaad you have the chance to visit their original location, where you can work on your

LIFESTYLE // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

skin’s glow by sipping one of their delicious concoctions. Beauty, Brazilian-Style Oxygen is an essential element for maintaining the vitality of the skin and is necessary for skin regeneration. No one knows this better than the father of Brazilian plastic surgery Dr Ivo Pitanguy (read our cover interview from August 2014). The sprightly doc has been coming to Gstaad for decades and has ensured his line of skin treatments are available to those in the Saanenland. At the Gstaad Palace, Clinica Ivo Pitanguy claims to provide anti-aging results by using oxygen to carry ingredients to the heart of the skin cells without needles. After an hour, deep wrinkles are filled, and the complexion is radiant. But don't be put-off by a pricey facial. Dr Pitanguy’s inner circle of friends all know his best recipe, which is affordable for everyone. Take one drop of pure vitamin E, a drop of avocado oil, and mix together with any base cream for a beauty “fai-date” (hand-made beauty). No matter which path you choose–from the herbal and natural to the best modern technology–there is a wealth of treatments to enrich your skin in the ­Saanenland this summer. For more information please visit www.glowhealthbar.com, www.bellevue-gstaad.ch, www.­ palace.ch, and www.jardindesmonts.ch.


Empty Chalets: a Blessing or a Curse?

“Schade!” some say upon hearing that yet another farmhouse will be transformed from a year-round residence into a McMansion chalet, empty fifty-one weeks per year. An exaggeration? Not really. Since my neighbor bought his house more than five years ago, I’ve yet to set eyes on him.

due to the rush of planning applicants who got their projects approved before the deadline. Also, some say prices have risen short term, spurring speculation, which the law was trying to curb. And this law does nothing to stop the conversion of farmhouses into residences for flat taxpayers. These homes are considered primary residences, not secondary.

BY DIANA OEHRLI

Does the above reflection have something to do with the exodus of local families? Or is it Swiss thrift? Or envy? That billionaires build thousand-square meter homes next to farmers who are denied permission to add a child’s bedroom is a strange juxtaposition.

Some people blame ‘cold beds’ for the ailing state of the ski lift corporation and for the closing of local shops like von Siebenthal’s. I’m not sure that’s justified. Many factors are at play here, and this subject could be the focus of a possible future column.

Attitudes aside, from what I have come to understand, the problem of “cold beds” is a long running issue in many communities around the world. Foreigners are blamed for buying up holiday homes in popular destinations like Gstaad only to have them unoccupied for most of the year.

There is even dissent between chalet owners. There are those who want a quiet “country club” feel, no change, and definitely no concert halls. And then there are those who want life in the villages; and their agendas align with those of my local friends, who miss the nightlife, the gallery openings, the concerts, and who resent increased random alcohol checks by the police during low season (shouldn’t they increase them in high season?)

Be it jealousy, environmental concerns or intolerance for the quiet of the off-seasons, people’s reasons are varied. No group was more vocal against “cold beds” than the authors and supporters of the Lex Weber law that came into effect in 2013. The law placed a nationwide cap on the total number of secondary homes at 20%, way below the Saanenland’s 49% level.

• They bring peace and quiet. • My dog doesn’t bark at every person hiking by my house. • I don’t get woken up in the night by loud shrieks.

The most significant negative I see is the heavy carbon footprint these empty chalets represent, seeing as large spaces and indoor pools are heated year-round. But unless I can stop driving cars or going on holiday, I can’t really point a finger. Should these empty chalets start costing us collectively, the commune could levy a tax on empty secondary homes as is done in the UK to fund housing projects and ailing infrastructure. When I asked my teenage daughter her opinion, she said: “Empty chalets are a little creepy… but at least they are well maintained.”

Photo: Frank Müller

The effects of the law have been interesting: construction boomed, in large part

How do I feel about “cold beds”? Actually, I don’t mind them.

• Less car traffic, albeit more cow and tractor traffic. • Fewer drivers who know neither the right-of-way rules nor how to drive backwards on the Grubenstrasse. • No lines of cars in the tunnel. • Plenty of space in the COOP parking lot. • No reservations necessary in restaurants (my favorites are the ones open year-round). • Local friends have time to say hello, drink a coffee and chat. • Local friends have employment: they manage, maintain, clean, improve, and secure these properties. • Empty chalets represent tax revenue for the commune and the canton, lessening all of our burdens. • When chalet owners come, they spend tons of money and sponsor events like the Menuhin Festival.

Diana Oehrli is working on a novel and her blog www.lifeintheswissalps.com.

LAST WORD // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

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Events Calendar Friday, July l7, 2015 to Thursday, August 16, 2015 Fri, Jul. 17 – Sep. 5

Various

Sat, Jul. 25 – Aug. 2

Gstaad

59th Menuhin Festival & Academy

Swiss Open Gstaad

Classical concerts with world-famous musicians and singers

100th anniversary of the legendary local tennis tournament

Fri, Jul. 17 – Aug. 1

Sat, Jul. 25

Gstaad

Zweisimmen

Gstaad alive!

Model Train Exhibit

Various events on the Kapälliplatz

Restaurant Markthalle, 10 am to 4 pm

Fri, Jul. 17 - Jul. 25

Thu, Jul. 30

Saanen

Alpsommer Exhibition Heimatwerk Saanen

St Peter’s Anglican Church English-Speaking, Château-d’Oex Service every Sunday, 17.30 pm www.allsaints.ch/chateaudoex Contact: cliveatkinson@bluewin.ch

Gsteig

Award-winning ensemble Concertino Saanen

Fri, Jul. 31

Zweisimmen

Music Festival

Welt & Gstaad Exhibition Photographs by Jacques Naegeli

With "Blaumeisen", 7:30 pm to 3 am

Fri, Jul. 17

Sat, Aug. 1

Schönried

Various

Swiss National Day

Alphorn Concert At the Schoo-House, 8 pm Sat, Jul. 18

Gstaad

Alphorn Concert

Sat, Aug. 1

On the Promenade, 10:30 am Wed, Jul. 23 – Aug. 8

Daylong music and celebrations in Gstaad, Gsteig, Lauenen, Saanen, Turbach, Zweisimmen, et al.

Gsteig

Alpine Dairy Tour Every Wednesday, 8:30 am

Chüejer Zmorge

Golf Tournament

Zweisimmen

Mountainboarding

Ambulance 144, Police 117, Fire 118 Medical Emergency 0900 57 67 47 Dental Emergency 033 729 26 26 Police Station 033 356 84 31 Car Accident 033 744 88 80 Zweisimmen Hospital 033 729 26 26 Château-d’Oex Hospital 026 923 43 43 Veterinarian 033 748 08 58/ 033 744 06 61 For additional useful numbers please visit www.gstaadlife.ch/useful-­ numbers.html

Clubs Rotary Club Gstaad-Saanenland

For further details please visit: www.gstaad.ch

**** * GRAND HOTEL PARK +41 (0)33 748 98 00, info@grandhotelpark.ch **** * LE GRAND BELLEVUE +41 (0)33 748 00 00, info@bellevue-gstaad.ch **** * THE ALPINA GSTAAD +41 (0)33 888 98 88, info@thealpinagstaad.ch

*** * BOUTIQUE 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 **** HOTEL LE GRAND CHALET +41 (0)33 748 76 76, hotel@grandchalet.ch **** HOTEL ARC-EN-CIEL +41 (0)33 748 43 43, info@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, info@gstaaderhof.ch **** HOTEL OLDEN +41 (0)33 748 49 50, info@hotelolden.com **** ROMANTIK HOTEL HORNBERG +41 (0)33 748 66 88, willkommen@hotel-hornberg.ch

On the Rinderberg, 1 pm

Photo: jba / photocase.de

8th annual amateur-only event

Important Numbers

Brunch with fresh products from the farmers' alp huts, 8 to 11 am Thu, Aug. 6

Saaenmöser

Gstaad

**** * GSTAAD PALACE +41 (0)33 748 50 00, info@palace.ch

***** ERMITAGE, WELLNESS & SPA HOTEL +41 (0)33 748 04 30, welcome@ermitage.ch

Accordion Concert

Fri, Jul. 17 – Oct. 17

Sat, Jul. 27

Church Services

Gstaadlife is available in these Hotels

Meetings every Monday 12h00 Palace Hotel Gstaad (033 / 748 50 00), President: Rot. Christiane Griessen (079 / 432 73 93) Secretary: Rot. Markus Iseli (033 / 748 92 08)

Lions Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings each first and third week of the month on Thursdays, either at 12 pm for lunch or at 7 pm for dinner. Meetings in Ermitage, Wellness & Spa-­Hotel, Schönried, Tel. 033 748 60 60. For details and program contact Sigi Feller, president, 033 748 85 73, sigbert.feller@ubs.com gstaad-saanenland.lionsclub.ch

Soroptimist International President: Heidi Gafner-Kiser Tel. 033 748 83 15 Program: Stephanie Iseli Tel. 033 744 18 33

HOTEL DE ROUGEMONT Member of Design HotelsTM +41 (0)26 921 01 01, info@hotelderougemont.com **** STEIGENBERGER ALPENHOTEL AND SPA +41 (0)33 748 64 64, gstaad@steigenberger.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.ch *** HOTEL BELLERIVE +41 (0)33 748 88 33, info@bellerive-gstaad.ch *** HOTEL ALPENLAND +41 (0)33 765 91 34, hotel@alpenland.ch *** HOTEL ALPHORN +41 (0)33 748 45 45, office@alphorn-gstaad.ch *** HOTEL ERMITAGE +41 (0)26 924 25 00, info@hotelermitage.ch *** HOTEL KERNEN +41 (0)33 748 40 20, info@hotel-kernen.ch *** HOTEL LANDHAUS +41 (0)33 748 40 40, info@landhaus-saanen.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, spitzhorn@spitzhorn.ch *** POSTHOTEL RÖSSLI +41 (0)33 748 42 42, info@posthotelroessli.ch *** SAANEWALD LODGE +41 (0)33 744 69 69, info@saanewald-lodge.ch

Classifieds in GSTAADLIFE Place your classified ad here for CHF 17.– per line (plus CHF 20.– for the highlight box). Contact us at eliane.behrend@mmedien.ch.

22

EVENTS // GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

*** SPORTHOTEL VICTORIA +41 (0)33 748 44 22, info@victoria-gstaad.ch HOTEL RESTAURANT BÄREN +41 (0)33 755 10 33, welcome@baerengsteig.ch HOTEL GELTENHORN +41 (0)33 765 35 91, brand@hotel-geltenhorn.ch HOTEL VIKTORIA +41 (0)33 755 10 34, hotel_viktoria@bluewin.ch HOTEL WILDHORN +41 (0)33 765 30 12, info@hotel-wildhorn.ch


Technics wishes all visitors a melodious experience at the Menuhin Festival in Gstaad.

Rediscover Music Music moves our hearts and enriches our lives. And with the new-generation Technics Reference Class R1 Series, we’ve created a class-leading sound system for true music lovers. Engineered from the fi nest materials, all exquisitely crafted, it sets a new standard in audio excellence – one that takes you back to that place where only the music exists.

Radio TV Schmid AG / Rialtostrasse 15 / 3780 Gstaad Phone +41 (0)33 744 20 76 / www.schmidtv-gstaad.ch

Technics.ch GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

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GSTAADLIFE // ISSUE 4 // JULY 17, 2015

Profile for Müller Medien

GstaadLife, 17. Juli 2015  

The exclusive monthly publication about the good life in Gstaad.

GstaadLife, 17. Juli 2015  

The exclusive monthly publication about the good life in Gstaad.

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