Saying Farewell to Magic

  01.03.2024 Events, Editors Picks, OUTDOOR - HIKING - BIKING, Behind the Scenes

For five enchanting years, Philipp Bigler has been the visionary behind the Magic Trail, guiding locals and tourists alike through snow-covered forests to his Lochstafel restaurant with imaginative light installations. As the project comes to a close, Philipp Bigler prepares for his final hike up the magic mountain with his guests on March 2nd.
Sonja Wolf dove into the story behind the magic with the man himself.

When was the first Magic Trail realised?
The first Magic Trail came to life five years ago, in the winter of 2019.

How did you come up with the idea?
After renovating the Lochstafel restaurant, I envisioned people experiencing its charm in the evening hours. The second year, amidst lockdown, we themed the trail "Mount Everest," drawing crowds even when other establishments were closed. It was surreal to see visitors hiking up in a single line, like mountaineers, at one time as many 250.


Not quite as high as Mount Everest, but at least as beautiful: refreshments after a successful ascent in the Mount Everest theme year 2021

The Magic Trail always followed a specific theme. Where did you draw your inspiration from?
The themes sprang from my imagination. Crafting a concise yet universal motto was a summer task. While I initially had clear visions for installations, the process often led to delightful compromises during construction, akin to a love affair.

Who assisted you in realising the Magic Trail?
Alongside my construction crew, we enlisted external artists for various installations. I entrusted them with 95 percent of the realisation based on my initial concepts.

Was the Magic Trail more than a PR stunt for your restaurant, the Lochstafel
Financially, it was more of a hobby. However, it was a privilege to bring it to life. While it cost between 30,000 to 50,000 francs annually, it served as excellent advertising for the Lochstafel restaurant. Maintaining creative control was worth the investment.

I recall a publication regarding a building and exemption application in 2021. Can you shed some light on that?
Yeah, it was an ordeal! Initially, without a license, we eventually submitted a planning application involving extensive documentation. Despite challenges, the authorities recognised the Magic Trail's benign impact, for which I'm grateful.

Any other memorable moments from the five years?
One standout memory was the debate over illuminating trees, which eventually became less contentious. Witnessing the ingenuity of my team during setup and teardown affirmed their artistry.


Transformers shone the enchanted forest in a mysterious light in 2022, in keeping with the motto "Out of Space".According to Bigler, the electricity consumption for lighting the installations was kept within limits thanks to LED lighting.

Why are you concluding the project after only five years?
While I had ideas for future trails, changes in the core team prompted reflection. Sometimes, it's best to recognise the right moment to move on, akin to love.

Any special plans for the final Magic Trail evening?
We'll bid farewell with balloons and Nena's "99 Luftballons," fitting for the "Luna Park" theme and echoing global sentiments. After delivering speeches every Friday for five years, it's only fitting to let Nena have the final word.


Based on an interview with Sonja Wolf | AvS

Read the full interview (in German) with Bigler on AvS website, or dive deeper into the Magic here

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