Early in February, a film crew descended on the picturesque town of Leukerbad
with one aim: to capture exactly what makes this town so special, and to share that with the world.
For the videographers, the Alpine snows were a new challenge they were keen to meet. A snowstorm arrived in Leukerbad not long after they did, and at times they found themselves walking through waist-deep snow. Despite the occasional struggle, however, the snow was a blessing: the powder was perfect for the skiers and snowboarders who feature so strongly in the final films alongside snowshoers, tobogganists, and snowmobilers.
There was plenty of action to capture indoors, too: a visit to the towns skating rink, training ground of the Swiss Olympic team, lead to a chance encounter with a young Japanese figure-skater, whose grace and talent put the teams own skating to shame. Based in Milan, she had travelled to Leukerbad with her father to further her training at the towns world-class facilities.
When blue skies appeared, the crew were determined to capture the majesty of the Alpine landscape. That required a little creative thinking, and the assistance of some of the townspeople. One, a paraglider, took flight with two cameras, capturing a perfect birds-eye view of the town far below. Another camera was flown high above Leukerbad using a remote-control drone, which captured sweeping shots of the valley.
The natural beauty of the Alps is complemented in Leukerbad by stunning architecture, both historic and contemporary, sitting in perfect harmony. In an interview, Jean-François Garneau, the CEO of the Swiss Development Group
, and David Gaymard, the SDGs Executive Director of Acquisitions and Development, revealed a wealth of information about the towns architectural history, and the thought and expertise that is behind the design of 51° Spa Residences
The team also traced the way the thermal waters, which are Leukerbads raîson dêtre and which give the Residences their name, flows through every element of life here from the source, to public fountains, to the private spas within each and every residence.
After long days spent filming, the hospitality of Leukerbads bars and restaurants was very welcome. The film crew met many of the towns talented chefs, waiting staff and bartenders, from fine dining at the Hotel Terminus, to fondue and raclette at Waldhaus
and Bujles, to the cherry-cheeked roast-chestnut seller, whose curbside stall proved a magnet for the youngest of the towns inhabitants perhaps because she was so willing to slip a sample of her wares into a small gloved hand.
More even than the stunning setting and incredible activities on offer, the warmth and generosity of the people of Leukerbad is what will stay with the filming crew. With so much to be proud of, its no surprise that they cant wait to share their town with the world.
The final films will be released soon, and will do just that. Stay tuned over the coming months to see them for yourself.