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Have you captured a colourful sunset on the Spitzhorn or a glamorous get-together in Gstaad? We want to see it!

Once again this season, GSTAADLIFE will feature a reader's photo and short accompanying text in each printed issue.  The lucky winner each month will see their Saanenland photograph published, alongside a personal portrait and short bio. They will also receive a copy of the magazine. 

Submit your favourite Saanenland photo and descriptive paragraph, along with your name and contact details to




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Huus Sweet Home--Steigenberger to Reopen as Innovative, New Hotel


Marwan Naja, left, and Günter Weilguni, right, in front of the upcoming HUUS project.

Photo: Mark Nolan



The Steigenberger Hotel Gstaad-Saanen has been acquired by the newly established

HUUS Gstaad AG. Following substantial renovations, the hotel will open its

doors as HUUS in December 2016. The new hotel will offer an innovative concept,

new owners and a management team with lots of savoir-faire who is familiar with

the Gstaad-Saanen region.  Marwan Naja wil act as chairman of the board while Günter Weilguni will serve as CEO, and work hand-in-hand with general manager Mirka Czybik.

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Drama in Lauenen: Actor Couple Who Managed Wildhorn Will Leave March 2016


Photo: ZvG


After a tenuous run, Isabelle von Siebenthal and husband Hans Schenker will leave the Hotel Wildhorn in March 2016. The well-known actors took over three years ago and brought a touch of their theatrical nature to the hotel, with a modern restyling of the bar and eclectic atmosphere that set it apart from the traditional establishments in Lauenen.

The changes were apparently not welcomed by all patrons and the couple saw several acts of vandalism at the property. An unknown attacker targeted the cow sculpture named Ingrid outside the hotel earlier this year, smearing it with manure and straw.  The animosity became unliveable for von Siebenthal and Schenker, who announced they would leave the hotel at the end of the upcoming winter season. Sadly, von Siebenthal succumbed to the stress of the situation, suffering a nervous breakdown as a result.

Schenker, who enjoys considerable fame in the entertainment world, has not take the events of the past few years laying down, and gave many interviews in the Swiss and German press.  He has even stirred up controversy with sarcastic YouTube videos criticising the situation.

Yet despite couple’s departure announcement, which pleased some locals including a woman interviewed by the newspaper Blick, another act of vandalism has been perpetrated.  Last week, the four small birch tress in front of the Wildhorn were cut and thrown in the hotel’s garden and the chains of lights that adorn the infamous cow statue were severed.

In a show of tenacity, Schenker has declared he will return 22 December to finish the winter season—with or without his ailing wife.

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Saanenland Scores Higher Tourist Count in September



After a bumpy start to 2015, the latest tourism figures show reason for cautious celebration.

Throughout Switzerland, September 2015 figures are comparable to those from September 2014, with a small increase of 1%.  In the Bernese Oberland, overnight stays increased as well, bringing an additional 10,000 guests to the region. 

Looking at the national makeup of guests, the Swiss were more likely to spend their holidays abroad in September 2015 compared to 2014.  They accounted for a 2,5% decrease in overnight stays (approximately 39,000 fewer guests).  Foreign guests increased minimally, with 1,8 million overnight stays, a small jump of 0,3%.  In total, the touristic year 2015 saw overnight stays total 28,5 million, showing a 0,5% higher figure than 2014. 

The biggest loss of tourists was, unsurprisingly, from the euro region. With the National Bank of Switzerland’s unexpected abandoning of the cap on the franc’s value against the euro in January 2015, European guests saw their currency plummet.  Overall, Sepetember 2015 decrease was 9,4%, or 105,000 overnight guests.  Guests from other parts of the world included Asians at 25,9% of total guests, Americans at 4,2%, Africa at 10,3%, and Oceania at 3,3%.

Nine of Switzerland’s 14 tourist regions saw a decrease, with Ticino, Valais, and Graubünden the biggest losers.  Regions that saw an increase included Zürich, Luzern, and our region, the Bernese Oberland.

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Top Weather - Top Cows - Topschau!


Traditional costumes and beautiful cows were aplenty at Topschau 2015.

Photo: Heidi Rolli



The 12th Topschau brought more than 80 fine cows to Gstaad last week. The day’s top honours are divided into separate categories for different races of animal.  In the Simmentaler category, Miss Topschau, went to Studer Letizia, owned by Markus and Jörg Gander.  Earning Miss Nice Udders was Michael Reichenbach’s Denis Leonie.  In the Holstein category, Lorenz Bach’s Shottle Becare won Miss Topschau, while Miss Nice Udders was awarded to three-year old Iota Levana, owned by Alexander Gobeli.

Please see our photo gallery below:


Contestants were paraded in a ring around the crowds.

Photo: Vreni Müllener

Topschau 3

Breeders are thrilled when their cows are chosen as finalists.

Photo: Vreni Müllener



This year featured a calf and youth competition.

Photo: Vreni Müllener



Holstein finalists with winner Miss Topschau Shottle Becare (Lorenz Bach) second from right.

Photo: Vreni Müllener

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New Management Team at Iconic Gstaad Café


Christa Hauswirth and Helmut Haldi are set to take over Charly's in Gstaad.




Christa Hauswirth and Helmut Haldi have announced they will take over Gstaad’s legendary Charly’s café.

“It was always my dream to run a cafe that would be a meeting point for both guests and locals,” says Hauswirth.   

Charly’s Gstaad AG is owned by an investor group that includes Marcel Bach, Chaletbau Matti, and Dr Jamal Kaddaj.  Speaking for the group, Bach expressed delight at the fact the café would be run by locals.  

Hauswirth has in fact worked with Bach for over 27 years, as a collaborator at his Country Night Gstaad music festival.  She will manage the front of house, staff, and service, while Haldi will be responsible for production.  A baker and confiseur by trade, Haldi brings eight years of experience gained at Early Beck.

Changes to the café include more than just the management. Next March, Charly’s will close for a complete renovation, reopening in time for the summer season 2016.   

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Brass Band Harmonie Saanen & Jodlerklub Bärgfriede Join Forces for Fall Concert



Brass Band Harmonie Saanen and the Jodlerklub Bärgfriede at the Landhaus Saanen.

Photo: AvS



Saanen’s popular brass band Harmonie held their annual autumn concert last week.  This year, the band teamed with the Jodlerklub Bärgfriede to deliver a variety of music to the enthusiastic audience.

Bärgfriede and musical director Jörg Domke first sang several pieces accompanied by Harmonie.  The brass band’s conductor Michael Bach had arranged three yodel songs for his musicians, including “Zfriede sy” by Jürg Domke and “Alpsäge” Ferdinand Krayenbühl.  The evening continued on a journey thorough the Swiss music scene.  Next up was a march composed by local Gottfriend von Siebenthal, entitled “The Saanenland.” 

Highlights included “Traversada”, a piece written expressly for Harmonie by Swiss composer Oliver Waespi in 2013, and a collection of songs in Bernese dialect by the late, great Mani Matter. 

Despite a kitschy reputation, yodling remains a point of pride for many in the Saanenland.  Bärgfriede's group of 30 active singers boasts many young members who are passionate about continuing the musical traditions of their ancestors. The same goes for the 32 musicians in Harmonie, which has been going strong since it was founded in 1884.

For a schedule of upcoming concerts, please visit or

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Grund Schoolhouse Re-Opens as Estate Housing


Photo: AvS



Answering the need for greater housing investment, the municipality of Saanen has just rented six new studios to people who need temporary subsidized living space. The apartments are located on the premises of the former schoolhouse in Grund. The building's woodshop has been preserved for the community and will continue to be used by local clubs.

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Topschau Cow Beauty Pageant to Be Held Saturday


Photo: AvS


Cow beauty pageants are mother’s milk to Switzerland, where alpine villages have been holding such events for more than a century. Here in the Saanenland, various events have been held this week, known as “Cow Show Week.”  As a grand finale, the top bovines will strut their stuff at the legendary Topschau competition this Saturday 31 October.  Dozens of the region’s most attractive cows will participate in front of a distinguished panel of local experts.  In addition to the coveted award of Miss Topschau, the title of Miss Nice Udders is also handed out to the most buxom cow on the catwalk.

The Topschau competition attracts hundreds of spectators for a full day of fun.  Held this year on Gstaad’s Wispile parking lot, the event will team with folk music and yodelling, and there will be plenty of cheese and wine on hand. This is a great chance to take in some of the region’s finest bovines while cheering on your favourite. The calf competition—a first-time event—will be held at 12.30 followed by the cow portion at 1 pm.

What do you think? What do you think? (Comments 3)

Saanenland Loses Fight to Keep Mountain Airfield


Photo: AvS/Anja Moosmann


The Saanenland must say goodbye to its mountain airfield. Gumm, which is situated above Feutersoey, will be closed along with Rosenegg-West in Grindelwald, Switzerland’s Federal Council announced last week.  This comes as no surprise, as a reduction in the number of mountain airfields has been up for discussion since last year.

In 2014, the Anzeiger von Saanen reported that the Federal Council had made the decision to lower the number of mountain landing sites from 42 to 40.  A year and a half after that news was released, Gumm and Rosenegg-West have been selected to permanently cease operations.

According to an official media release, the decision was the result of “a balancing of interests between the objectives for nature, landscape, and wildlife protection on one side, and the concerns of flight training on the other side.” 

Mayor Aldo Kropf is unhappy with the decision, stating, “We had always hoped that we could keep both landing sites,” insisting that Gumm is important for the region.  He added: "I have a feeling that the closure is primarily a spoonful of sugar for environmental organizations. In my eyes, Gumm and Rosenegg have been sacrificed.”

Environmental groups VCS and WWF, which are united against aircraft noise, welcome the Council’s decision.  Yet, they are still battling for more progress on closure of the mountain airfields, and suggest the Council is too susceptible to strong pressure from helicopter companies. 

Heliskiing is a burgeoning tourist activity in the region, and whether or not entities other than the helicopter companies will feel the pinch is still unknown. 

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Saanen Named on Tour de France 2016 Route


Photo: Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus



Mark your calendars for 20 July, 2016, when the Tour de France will race through the Saanenland.  The world’s most famous cycling event will spend three full days in Switzerland, including two daylong stages separated by an official day of rest, 19 July, in the nation’s capital of Bern.

The next morning, Stage 17 will see the participants pass through Saanen before making their way to Finhaut-Emosson, Valais, the site of a massive hydroelectric dam near the French border.

The last portion of the ride is set to be spectacular indeed—including a ride through a 7-km long underground tunnel beneath the CHF 2-billion project that is expected to begin operations in 2018.

Switzerland isn’t the only country outside the French borders to welcome Tour de France riders next year—Spain and Andorra will also host portions of the race.


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Other recent articles

Swiss Vote Overwhelming“Ja” for Far-Right Swiss People’s Party
Gstaadermesse Business Fair Begins This Week
Saanenland Remains Food Mecca According to 2015 Gault Millau Guide
First Snow in the Saanenland
Local Families Win Big at Horse Shows
Saanen Walk-In Clinic to Open in Mid-December
Walter Heer Named New City Councilman
Team Gstaad Yacht Club Qualifies for the “Small” Final at Littlecup 2015
Saanenland Scores at Bernese Alpine Cheese Championship
Work Continues on Ten-Year Overhaul of Saanenmöser - Zweisimmen Road
Advanced Booking on Winter Ski Passes
Live NY Met Opera Performances to Grace Château-d'Oex's Cinema Eden
BDG Updates at Saanen Municipal Meeting
“Rally for Ambitious Bon Vivants” Off to a Successful Start
Obituary -- Longtime Resident Peter Notz
Obituary -- Longtime Resident Peter Notz
Live Opera & Ballet in the Off-Season
On the Road with Bugatti -- Local Car Enthusiast & his Classic Supercars
City Council President to Step Down -- Kropf Cites Professional and Familial Reasons for Departure
Europe's Biggest Country Fest -- Country Night Gstaad to Host Patty Loveless and More

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GstaadLife is the exclusive monthly publication about the good life in Gstaad. We’re the only magazine covering local news, arts and entertainment, events, business, the great outdoors and style in the region, in English. Whether you’re in town for the weekend, the season or the rest of your life, there is something for everyone at GstaadLife.
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History of GstaadLife and the GstaadLife print edition are the English-language sister publications to the German-language Anzeiger von Saanen. The print edition was launched on February 3 2004, with the website first appearing in August 2006. and the GstaadLife print edition have a separate editorial team from the Anzeiger von Saanen, with some articles in GstaadLife publications being translations of items that appeared in the Anzeiger von Saanen. The Anzeiger von Saanen has been printed in Saanen and Gstaad since 1880, and is the leading source of local news coverage for the area known as Saanenland, which includes Gstaad and surrounding areas of the western Bernese Oberland in the Swiss Alps., GstaadLife, and the Anzeiger von Saanen are all publications of Müller Marketing und Druck AG. For additional information about the publications, please contact Müller Marketing und Druck AG at the address below:

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