The Gstaad Palace Hotel, with its battlements, is a reference in the Swiss town. THE WORLD

Climate change is also affecting the Swiss people where the big fortunes spend the winter

Gstaad, where Spanish millionaires take the grapes

Every winter around this time the great fortunes of the world meet at the Palace Hotel in Gstaad. They do not arrive by car, but land near the glacier of the canton of Bern , with its slopes full of wealthy skiers who parade along the black track of El Tigre to Wassengrat station. Michael Jackson wanted to buy this historic building, whose roof with four pointed battlements houses today an unlikely suite with private sauna and outdoor jacuzzi . Grace Kelly spent a few nights there and Marlene Dietrich once sang on her après-ski exclusive to members (after several thousand euros). Only a few privileged have been able to enjoy the views offered by this bastion of luxury designed for the practice of social mountaineering. Now the anti-climatic and unexpected greening of the Alps threatens to bitter New Year's Eve to the jet.

High temperatures have not only forced to accelerate artificial snow cultivation programs from the neighboring town of Davos, but could have devalued the mansions of the hitherto Swiss real estate Eden. According to the consultant Knight Frank, the square meter at these latitudes is still paid at 35,000 Swiss francs (about 32,000 euros). The price includes the landscape, with its more than 220 kilometers of accessible tracks and its exquisite cable car network, which is increasingly difficult to reach the heights where the snow sets. As a precaution against a possible limousine stampede , the Swiss government is considering modifying the Lex Koller law (which restricts the properties of non-residents to 200 square meters) in order to precipitate an avalanche of investments from China , whose president , Xi Jinping, has proposed to instill 300 million compatriots in skiing before 2030.

It is not clear if the 7,500 inhabitants registered in the Bernese Highlands are concerned about both global warming and the social storm that could unleash such a change in habits. For now, tourism agencies have already launched to promote among their catalog of activities the nothing glamorous routes in fatbikes (mountain bikes prepared for fine snow) as an alternative to skiing.

The recipe does not seem to work, but it provisionally compensates for losses in sales of champagne, caviar and handbags from Hermès in the prohibitive boutiques of the Promenade Strasse while Marie-Claire, the Swiss Greta Thunberg , continues to drive strikes across the country to stop the retreat of glaciers. The effects of the change are also perceived in other summits, not only climatic. It is possible that from his privileged corner on top of a mountain, the Greek shipowner Peter Livanos is wondering if the house he bought from the son of German publisher Axel Springer is worth what he paid for it today: 65 million euros.

Norman Foster and Elena Ochoa are regulars of Gstaaad.

It is not the first identity crisis faced by the opulent Swiss canton. After the inauguration of the Palace of Gstaad in 1913 , the two world battles chased away the great fortunes that had built their farms and wooden houses in the vicinity of the Berner Oberland resort .

In 1947, the hotel passed into the hands of the Scherz family, who took pains in monarchical eclecticism (Leopold III, the king of Afghanistan and some members of the Spanish royal family), invited big stars to act in the hotel (like Maurice Chevalier, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Marlene Dietrich) and ended up serving as a showcase for the visions of Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale, Grace Kelly and Julie Andrews , who frequented the GreenGo nightclub, in the basement of the hotel. Perhaps today his heirs regret not having accepted the check issued by Michael Jackson, who aspired to set up a winter branch of the Neverland Ranch there.

Valentino, with Naty Abascal, in Gstaad.

With or without snow, it is expected that this year the parties will spend some familiar faces of the Gstaad. Madonna, Elton John, Anne Hathaway and Naty Abascal are among the regulars to the New Year's Eve party organized by Valentino in his Gifferhorn chalet, next to the ski slopes of the 3000 Glacier. Nor will the Christmas appointment Ana Patricia Botín and her husband be missing. , Guillermo Morenés, who will toast for the New Year in one of the halls of the lavish Yacht Club of the Grand Hotel Bellevue in the company of the financial socialite : Juan Abelló and Ana Gamazo, Borja Prado, Carlos March, Miriam Lapique and Alfonso Cortina, Cristina Macaya and José María Aristrain ... No photos will be published because, as an old Cantonese proverb says: people go to Saint-Moritz to be seen, while Gstaad go only to have fun.

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