Swiss alpine village suspended

  14.01.2022 Local News

Frutiger AG is suspending the Swiss Alpine Village holiday resort. For Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad AG (BDG) and the municipality of Saanen, this decision did not come as a surprise.

Frutiger AG had been developing the Swiss Alpine Village holiday resort in Saanenmöser for almost ten years. It was to be built on the current car park of the Saanenersloch cable car. Now Frutiger AG has announced that it is suspending the project.

Suspended despite positive signals
In the news release, Frutiger AG writes: “The construction of a holiday resort should make a significant contribution to increasing the frequency of the cable cars.” In addition to the managed flats for tourists, flats for local residents, a health centre and a new hotel building on the neighbouring plot should have complemented the concept and created operational synergies. Initial feedback from investors and operators was very positive. The canton also declared the infrastructure project important. The development plan was approved last spring.

Frutiger cites the Horneggli master plan, which BDG presented to the public last September, as the reason for the suspension. This plan sets out BDG’s planned infrastructural development in the Horneggli/Hornberg area: replacement of chair lifts, larger water reservoirs and a new car park at the valley station.

Frutiger argues that Schönried, not Saanenmöser, is being prioritised as the new main entry point to the ski area and therefore decided to suspend the project. Frutiger AG hopes that the municipality and BDG will be able to implement the bridge project in a more targeted manner without the private interfaces.

Not entirely surprising
The municipality and BDG were informed verbally before the news release went out. “We did not expect the announcement,” says the president of the municipality Toni von Grünigen. “However, there were indications in recent months that the project was being pushed forward with less energy than before.” The municipality of Saanen regrets the decision. “The project would bring additional overnight stays and frequencies for the cable cars,” von Grünigen explains.

The BDG also regrets the decision. “For BDG, every additional bed in hospitality is a blessing,” says managing director Matthias In-Albon. Cable cars need a certain mass to finance their infrastructure. So, when building the new Saanersloch valley station, they made sure to adapt it to the planned new buildings (MOB and resort). BDG also agreed that the resort should be built on their car park. In return, they would have been provided with the same number of parking spaces in the new covered car park.

Reasoning irritates
In-Albon is not surprised by the announcement but somewhat irritated by the explanation. In his view, the Horneggli master plan does not affect the Saanenmöser entry point. Every village should have its own access point and serves a different clientele. The Saanenmöser village organisation also has difficulties following the reasoning. “I consider both entry points to be of equal value,” says president Solveig Lanz.

Pursue access bridge?
Will the bridge project also be postponed with the suspension of the resort planning? “At the moment, I cannot say how this decision will affect the access to the village of Saanenmöser and the Saanersloch cable car,” says von Grünigen.

Is there still a need for the bridge at all? “The bridge would be a good thing, especially for day visitors, but it would cost an enormous amount of money,” says In-Albon. In his view, the new development could improve the quality of life and strengthen the character of the village.

The Saanenmöser village organisation sees two sides: “For the classic ski guest, the bridge would clearly be an increase in comfort.” However, Lanz fears that the village shop would lose customers because it would no longer be on the access route. Since the roads are only congested during the winter peak season, she doubts whether the infrastructure should be optimised for short peak periods if it affects the village all year.



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