Storage hut turned refuge

  18.09.2020 Gstaad Living

"The current building on the Hugeli has been standing empty for some time now," says Michel Zysset of Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus (GST) on request. This hut will now be converted and made accessible to the public. The project is being financed by Mountain View AG.

A hut for everybody
The groomed winter hiking trail Rellerli valley station – Rosengarten – Grossi Vorschess – Hugeli – Rellerli – Rellerli valley station will be available to guests and locals. The fireplace at the Grosse Vorschess at 1600 metres has also been redesigned. Now another piece of the puzzle is being worked out: a cosy wooden hut for hikers, bikers, snowshoe trekkers and ski tourers, located directly on the network of paths.

It will be 5 metres wide and 5.2 metres long and consist of a single heated room and sanitary facilities. The guest room has a long bench, two wooden tables and a "Potaschi" (wood-burning kitchen stove), running water and electricity. There will also be seating around the hut.

High costs
Because of the water connection and the sewage tank, the costs will amount to more than CHF 100,000, which will be entirely covered by Mountain View AG. A larger version of the refuge failed a year ago due to objections.

If the building permit arrives in time, construction of the Hugeli hut is planned for this autumn. This means that winter hikers, ski tourers and snowshoe trekkers could benefit from it as early as December. If it is not possible to build the hut in autumn, it will be built for the 2021 summer season.

Zysset describes the cooperation with Mountain View AG as very good. The company is anxious to upgrade the Rellerli for all users as a space to experience the outdoors, which is why it has also financially supported the conversion of the Grossi Vorschess fireplace. The maintenance, however, is being taken care of by GST. The same procedure is also planned for the conversion of the refuge.

Points of criticism
The new project is not only met with approval: Martin Hefti from Schönried is bothered by the fact that the refuge is on the Hugeli and not on the Rellerli. When the BDG's renovation package was accepted five years ago, the Rellerli mountain station was sold with the condition that the buyer, Mountain View AG, will set up a buvette on the Rellerli. Hefti now fears that Mountain View AG wants to work off this condition. "But the Hugeli is not the Rellerli," he emphasises. If this is the case, he thinks the issue should be dealt with at another public vote.

When asked about this, Mountain View AG writes: "We have presented the project to the Friends of the Rellerli. They have pledged their support for the elegant and discreet building".

Summit without a refuge?
Martin Hefti also thinks that not every mountain needs a refuge, which is a blight on nature, because today many mountain lovers are looking for natural peaks. Hefti would rather adapt an empty Schürli (barn) on the way to the Rellerli instead. The GST is always open to new ideas, according to Zysset. However, since the Rellerli is a much-travelled mountain and the existing hut is ideally suited as a new refuge, they are sticking to the present concept in this case.

He emphasises the need for the management and sustainable development of the Rellerli: "As soon as many people walk the same path, it is important that we provide and maintain a certain infrastructure to ensure the desired quality". This includes the network of paths, which must be properly maintained and optimised where necessary.

Based on AvS/Blanca Burri

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