The Schweizerische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für die Berggebiete (SAB/Swiss Working Group for Mountain Regions) and the Swiss mountain rescue organization Schweizer Berghilfe have awarded the Prix Montagne every year since 2011. It recognizes commercially successful projects and companies “that demonstrably and exemplarily contribute to added value, employment or economic diversity” according to a press release. The award winners for 2021 are the ski manufacturer Timbaer Skimanufaktur from Appenzell and the Baumwipfelpfad Neckertal treetop walkway from Mogelsberg.
Timbaer has been manufacturing skis with a patented wooden core since 2016. They are created in Appenzell using elaborate craftsmanship. The company sells around 100 pairs of skis each year, but it also produces skis for other markets. Co-Founder Dano Waldburger is quoted in the press release, saying: “Over recent years we have invested an enormous amount of energy in realizing our dream of producing our own skis. We are absolutely delighted with this recognition and the confirmation that we are going in the right direction.” Together with Co-Founder Andreas Dobler, when he first founded the company he decided on a name that illustrated the link to their home. Timbaer is a portmanteau of the English word timber and the German word for bear (Bär), which is the heraldic animal of Appenzell. The award is worth 40,000 Swiss francs.
The Prix Montagne 2021 public award went to the Baumwipfelpfad Neckertal. It is the first treetop walkway in Switzerland and attracts around 100,000 visitors to Mogelsberg each year. Furthermore, it won the majority of the 6,500 votes from the online poll for the public award. The prize of 20,000 Swiss francs was funded by the Mobiliar cooperative. Florian Knapp, Senior Manager of CSR Mediation at Mobiliar states: “The treetop walkway is a prime example of how to promote soft tourism and sustainably support peripheral regions. It draws in people who are seeking to experience nature and at the same time offers highly welcome jobs.”