The town that sold mountains to the world
There’s a story that makes it abundantly clear how a small band of English holidaymakers changed Switzerland forever. It involves a bet between hotelier Johannes Badrutt and an aristocratic group of merchants and landowners that took place on a damp September evening in St Moritz in 1864. As the vacationers sat around the fire at the Engadiner Kulm Hotel, dreading the prospect of returning to the foggy London winter, the Swiss manager saw a golden opportunity.
傳說有個故事非常清楚地述說了一小群英國度假游客是如何徹底改變了瑞士的旅游業。1864年，九月的圣莫里茨（St Moritz），夜晚氣候濕潤。一群商人和地主組成的貴族旅游團前往圣莫里茨旅游，與酒店老板約翰內斯·巴德魯特（Johannes Badrutt）立下了賭局。游客們圍坐在恩加丁庫爾姆酒店（Engadiner Kulm Hotel）的爐火旁，一想到馬上要返回濃霧彌漫的倫敦過冬就悶悶不樂。但瑞士的酒店老板卻從中發現了絕好的商機。
“You holiday here in summer,” he challenged them over a bottle of Veltliner red wine. “Why not enjoy the mountains year-round? Winter is so pleasant that on fine days you can even walk without a jacket.” Lured by the promise of blemish-free skies against a backdrop of lofty peaks, the Englishmen were pleased to accept the wager; up until then, St Moritz had been a modest hiking destination in July and August. But if Badrutt’s promise proved false, the hotelier would pay for their journey and winter-long stay. How could they lose?
Come mid-December, the group of men returned to Switzerland. Towards the end of their week-long journey, sat on a horse-pulled sledge and wrapped head-to-toe in furs, they negotiated the 2,284m Julier Pass, a two-day Alpine crossing that first linked Chur in the Rhine valley with the Engadine valley in southeastern Switzerland. But by the time of their arrival in St Moritz, the skies had cleared, they were sweating profusely, and a beaming Badrutt, jacket-less and with his shirt sleeves rolled up, was there to greet them.
The genius of the wager, of course, was that when Badrutt won the bet (the Englishmen stayed on as paying guests until March) word quickly spread throughout their homeland about St Moritz’s distinctive ‘Champagne climate’ – dry and sunny with a high degree of snow certainty. Year-round tourism had arrived in the Alps, and the village of St Moritz seemed newborn.
“Some people think it’s a legend, but it’s all true,” said Richard Leuenberger, general manager of the five-star Badrutt’s Palace, during my visit this past July. Opened by Johannes Badrutt’s son Caspar in 1896 to further reap the benefits of his father’s gamble, the hotel has become a byword for the resort town’s lavish excess. “Before the Badrutts there was little reason to come to St Moritz, or holiday in the Swiss mountains, in winter at all. There had long been the demand in summer, but winter? It was lunacy.”
"有人說這只是傳說，但這個故事千真萬確，"去年7月，我去圣莫里茨旅行時，五星級巴德魯特皇宮酒店（Badrutt's Palace）的總經理理查德·洛伊恩貝格爾（Richard Leuenberger）這么對我說。1896年，約翰內斯·巴德魯特的兒子卡斯帕（Caspar）為進一步利用父親賭局引發的效應，創立了巴德魯特皇宮酒店，成為圣莫里茨度假勝地的視覺焦點。"在巴德魯特打賭之前，幾乎沒有什么可以吸引游客冬季前往圣莫里茨或瑞士山區度假。夏季旅游需求旺盛，但是冬季？簡直是天方夜譚。"
That the Badrutts almost single-handedly marketed this untapped winter wonderland is a little spurious. The first tourist office in Switzerland had been established in the same year as the bet, and there are tales of an Anglican priest, one Reverend Alfred Strettell, who came to preach the gospel in St Moritz in 1861 before returning to England to advocate the resort’s potential as a winter destination in open letters to British newspapers. By this time, other resorts in the Swiss regional cantons of Graubünden and Bern were also flush with business, with clinics in Davos, Arosa, Leysin and Grindelwald developed as winter sanctuaries to cure patients with tuberculosis and respiratory diseases.
But what Badrutt did was make the Swiss mountains accessible in a way that no one else had done before. In order to pay off the high cost of his ongoing investment at the Engadiner Kulm, he needed to keep the hotel open year-round, paving the way for a winter ice rink and regular curling tournaments played with stones first brought by early Scottish visitors. And by the 1880s, the number of English-speaking arrivals had increased to such an extent that a local newspaper – the Engadine Express & Alpine Post – was published entirely in English. Still, Badrutt’s role as pioneer cannot be downplayed.
“Before him there was only 75 beds in the village,” said Leuenberger, showing me around the Palace’s Great Hall, otherwise known as the ‘living room’ of St Moritz. “But because of Badrutt that number exploded to more than 2,000 over the next four decades.”
To truly understand the town’s role in marketing mountains to the world, I set off to explore in the company of John Webster, a historian and guide who, having studied St Moritz for 27 years, knows the resort’s backstory best. 紐約時報中英文網 http://www.gwbyzx.live
“The concept of the winter holiday was born here – and I’ve never come across any claims to counter the argument,” he said, while looking out to the pyramid-like peaks of the Muottas Muragl. “From the late 19th Century on, St Moritz’s evolution and sphere of influence was relentless. There is a list of firsts in St Moritz that no one else has.”
Among those novelties was Switzerland’s first electric light and streetlight, both installed at the Engadiner Kulm in 1879. That same year, Badrutt brought flushing toilets into the Alps and built the first hydro-electric plant in the country.
In tandem, winter sports found their place. Europe’s first curling tournament was held on frozen-over Lake St Moritz (now also the pitch and paddock for annual horse races, as well as ice polo and ice cricket tournaments). By 1882, the first European Ice-Skating Championships took place, then the first bobsleigh run and race were held in 1890. And all this was decades before downhill and slalom skiing became fashionable among the jet set.
The story of St Moritz is, in some ways, also a tale of social transformation.
“The newly wealthy were able to mingle with the aristocracy for the first time,” said Webster, singling out the fairytale rooftops of eight five-star hotels (nine if you include Grace St Moritz, opening in summer 2018). “And in this period, these palace hotels served as great stages.”
Evocations of the past include grainy photos of Hollywood stars like Gregory Peck tackling the notorious Cresta Run bobsleigh (fanatical rider Errol Flynn’s claim to fame was that he never once finished the course). Audrey Heburn would sit and have tea at Confiserie Hanselmann, a storied chocolate shop still doing a fine trade on Via Maistra.
好萊塢明星的老照片斑駁不清，總是讓人聯想到過去，比如格利高里·派克（Gregory Peck）身陷有舵雪橇克雷斯特朗滑雪丑聞（狂熱的雪橇乘員埃羅爾·弗林（Errol Flynn）之所以出名是因為他連一次滑道滑雪都沒能完成）。想象一下，奧黛麗·赫本（Audrey Heburn）在麥斯特拉街一家有名的巧克力商店恩曼果子屋悠然的品著下午茶。
But while the resort once reveled in Xanadu-like fantasy – outlandish stories of elephants and sea lions flown in for legendary parties at Badrutt’s Palace are all true – it remains equally bombastic in the face of fierce seasonal competition today. In particular, two recent game-changers include the Swiss resort town of Andermatt, plucked from obscurity by billionaire Egyptian property tycoon Samih Sawiris in 2013, and the Bürgenstock, a mega hotel and spa project nine years in the making that opened above Lake Lucerne this July.
圣莫里茨曾經沉浸于世外桃源的幻想之中——有關大象和海獅出現在巴德魯特皇宮酒店的怪誕故事，這些都是事實——但現在面臨激烈的季節性競爭。尤其是遇到兩大強勁的競爭對手，瑞士度假小鎮安德馬特（Andermatt）和布爾根施托克（Bürgenstock）。安德馬特在2013年因為埃及地產大亨及億萬富翁薩米·薩維雷斯（Samih Sawiris ）投資的豪華酒店一舉成名，布爾根施托克則歷時九年打造了一個大型酒店和水療中心，于今年7月在琉森湖（Lake Lucerne）上開放。
But there is still something that neither resort – nor St Moritz’s traditional rivals Gstaad and Zermatt – has. The Engadine Valley’s so-called ‘Champagne climate’. After all, St Moritz’s proud slogan, ‘300 days of sunshine a year’, is not only a cold, hard truth, but an undoubted wink to the past. Johannes Badrutt may be gone, but his impact will not be forgotten.