Entirely familial, entirely international

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Three generations – one philosophy

It has thrived for 70 years now, the “Alprose” in Schönried. It is a typical small, refined hotel, firmly in family hands, as is often the case in Saanenland. Since 1947 this bijou has belonged to the von Siebenthal  family and is now in the third generation. The fourth generation is already waiting in the wings. They have gathered together: grandmother Monika von Siebenthal, unofficially retired since 2007, Carole and Michel, the current owners. And Chantal – one of three motivated children who are all active in the world of catering.

To begin with, we wanted to know whether Chantal can imagine a future in the “Alpenrose”. “My sisters and I of course think about it,although we are still relatively young”, declares the self-assured young woman with cool trainers and a tattoo, who works in service and in the kitchen. “In any case we enjoy being together and learn a great deal from our parents, who at the same time are our bosses.” They have not yet decided – and do not have to, because for the time being Carole and Michel von Siebenthal-Buck are still primarily responsible. “Our daughters should be allowed to take time over this decision. Above all they should enjoy their apprenticeship and gap-year”, thinks their mother. Grandmother Monika, who in 2007 officially “retired”, confirms this: “Follow your heart.”

This is music

Christine Baumgartner has been committed for over 20 years to beautiful music in Saanenland. She, who during the day creates beautiful ceramics with her hands out of clay, checks, along with a team of nine to twelve colleagues, the tickets for the Gstaad Menuhin Festival in Saanen’s church, shows the guests to their seats, organises the splendid bouquets for the stars and more. From pure passion,  with total enthusiasm.

“Personally, besides classical music I also listen to a great deal of rock, pop and jazz. I love singing, and sing in a small ensemble, we also perform in the church in Saanen. Thanks to the Menuhin Festival I have gained a much broader picture of classical music. This event, which in the meantime has come to mean so much to me, brings top-class musicians to Saanenland. And many a local talent – for example Reto Reichenbach from Turbach – has because of it managed to gain a foothold on the hard road to the international stage.To be able to listen to stars such as Sol Gabetta, Andras Schiff or Maurice Steger for free – what could be a better reward for the volunteers?”

Day and night on the road

The list of famous names is long: Roy Emerson, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker, Roger Federer…. As they fight for victory at the Gstaad International Tennis Tournament, all of these and many others have gloried in the incomparable mountain backdrop and the slightly thinner, therefore better air in Gstaad. Launched in 1915, the first matches were held on the sand courts beside the Gstaad Palace. These days the international elite play in the centre of the village

“I come from a family obsessed with tennis. My mother worked in Players Service, my father was for a long time head of the ball boys. It was obvious that, no question, I wanted to belong as well. Nowadays my time and effort at the tournament is a welcome change from coaching and studying. Behind the scenes I come into contact with many players and I have made some good acquaintances. Last but not least I met my girlfriend here four years ago. When you carry this virus, it follows you round the clock. So, I have done some nightshifts – for example for Dustin Brown who desperately needed replacement racquets. It is an act of honour. The icing on the cake is of course when I can play against the tennis cracks or am allowed to be a sparring partner for training.”

Almost a family

Beach volleyball is sexy, fast, young – and more steeped in tradition than one thinks. For the 18th. time in Saanenland the men’s and women’s teams will smash and dive for the flying balls – in each case the start of July is when it all kicks off. Since 2015 the tournament has belonged to the Beach Volleyball Major Series – nota bene as one of five chosen locations worldwide. Because what could be more spectacular than rolling in the sand in such a prestigious place as Gstaad.

“It all started when I was a spectator in Gstaad. I wanted to be behind the scenes one day. So, I applied to be an assistant. Meanwhile I now belong firmly to the beach volley family. In the week when the tournament takes place we have a really cool time together and are an  amusing mixed bunch of locals and helpers from different areas. It is particularly thrilling, of course, when our Swiss teams play a great game. A healthy brown colour  – good weather permitting – is also included. And of course, every year a new Swatch as a keepsake. I keep a number of them, others I have given away.”