Alpine Community – Andermatt Vision Series – Winter 2023

The Andermatt Swiss Alps project is all about place-making – creating a sustainable, year-round Alpine community that grows organically and is nourished by a rich and diverse lifestyle.

This is a community that blends old and new, is both ground-breaking while being respectful of tradition, and which shows that a Swiss Alpine village famed for having some of the country’s most challenging pistes can be about so much more than skiing.

To bring this all to life, we invited 16 leading lights in their industries from all over the world to share ideas and spark debate in a series of six fireside discussions, entitled ‘A Vision for Swiss Alpine Living’, held throughout the winter 2023 season.

The illustrious panel included an Olympic champion skier, a Michelin-starred chef, award-winning designers, Alpine real estate specialists and leaders in sustainability who, over six events, tackled themes that are key to the future of Alpine living, including sustainable design, mountain sports, retail and gastronomy.

Each event took on a life of its own, with attending locals and visitors engaged in lively chat, but there were common threads that wove their way through each theme…

Community is king

As every one of our panellists acknowledged, what is an Alpine destination without a community to sustain it? The community is the backbone of any destination, the glue that holds it together. It shapes the culture and provides that destination with a strong sense of identity. Its residents are custodians of tradition; they move with the times while also providing reassuring consistency and respect for their roots. They give a place its energy and vibrancy all year round.

Alpine living without a community has a limited future, as Domenica Biederman, Andermatt’s Swiss Alps’ retail manager, discussed. To thrive, Andermatt needs to provide a range of retail and gastronomic offerings that will both entice and sustain visitors and the local community alike. These aren’t just one-off experiences, but attractions that ensure that, whether you are resident or not, you can’t wait to try it again.

Collaboration beats competition

Alpine destinations like Andermatt are mini eco-systems that compete with other destinations for holidaymakers and permanent residents. There will always be somewhere that does things bigger and better, but such trend-setting is often ephemeral and superficial. What is hard to beat is that intrinsic, often intangible sense of togetherness, identity and pride that radiates from a community that is proudly working towards a shared goal. It’s a powerful force that draws people in and makes them long to return.

This sentiment was echoed by Christian Marstrander, co-founder of Cotton Club, who will take over the operation of The Swiss House restaurant in December 2023. As Christian told the audience: “We just need to work together. We don’t see that much in other destinations where operators compete against each other. We must work well together to build an incredible destination. That is the key to success.”

Sustainability is non-negotiable

The impacts of climate change are there for all of us to see across the globe and the Swiss Alps have specific challenges of their own. So naturally, the topic of sustainability was a talking point that gripped audiences in each of our fireside discussions.

It’s a subject that concerns everyone, but our speakers provided encouraging insight into how sustainability leads thoughts and action in their respective spheres.

Switzerland in general ranks highly among global nations for its sustainable initiatives and it’s able to harness its mountains and climate to its advantage, by producing much of its electricity through hydropower. Andermatt, specifically, puts sustainability on top, and we heard the Michelin-starred chef Markus Neff explain how he prioritises using locally-farmed produce in his restaurant, while Pascal Heiniger from the environmental group Wald Und Klima Ursern told us about his organisation’s pioneering initiative to reforest the region around Andermatt.

Year-round living

For Alpine resorts, sustainability also depends on year-round appeal. Skiers and other snow-lovers may be the town’s bread and butter in winter, but the success of an Alpine destination relies on a full and varied programme of activities throughout every other season too. Year-round entertainment has also become a top consideration for property buyers, not just for their own enjoyment but to enhance the rental appeal and value of their properties, as Jeremy Rollason, head of ski at Savills estate agency, explained.

This sentiment was echoed by Mike Goar, managing director of Andermatt Sedrun Sport AG, who promised that “an enhancement of Andermatt’s already significant summer sports and events programme is planned for the near future”.

The value of new

Leading architects have attended our event series and the message that rings out among all of them is what a unique opportunity and commodity Andermatt presents in offering scope to develop new-build homes in the Alps. As founding partner of Mach Architecture, David Marquart pointed out that “due to the Lex Weber legislation in Switzerland, the housing stock in the majority of Swiss Alpine destinations tends to be limited and often dated”. Andermatt, he added, is unique “as it acts like an incubator for the design of Alpine real estate, where the benchmark for future Alpine properties can be set”.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the expert panellists that joined us for our inaugural ‘Vision for Swiss Alpine Living’ event series.

• Jeremy Rollason – Head of Savills Ski Website
• David Marquart – Founder of Mach Architecture Website
• Mike and Isabell Rabensteiner – Founders of Montamont Website
• Jonas Seilern – atelier oi Website
• Oliver Brandenberger – Brandenberger Kloter Architekten Website
• Alexander Angermeier – Andermatt Swiss Alps
• Mike Goar – Managing Director of Andermatt Sedrun Sport AG
• Bernhard Russi –Olympic champion skier / Local legend
• Raphael Krucker – CEO of Andermatt Swiss Alps
• Domenica Biederman – Retail Manager at Andermatt Swiss Alps
• Pascal Heiniger – Environmental Specialist at Wald & Klima Website
• Andreas Kronawitter – Managing Director of My Buxi Website
• Audrey Bovey – Protect Our Winters Website
• Carmen Carfora – Sustainability and Communications Expert at Andermatt Swiss Alps
• Christian Marstrander – Founder of Cotton lifestyle Website
• Markus Neff – Head Chef at Gütsch restaurant Website
• Peter Hollenstein – Managing Director at Rotauf Website