At the end of the ski season the number of tourists in Swiss mountain resorts might drop as steeply as the pistes, but life goes on as locals clean up and prepare for summer. Swiss photographer Tomas Wüthrich captured this seasonal transition in eastern Switzerland.
Silvretta Arena is a ski area straddling Samnaun in canton Graubünden and Ischgl in the Austrian Tirol. In winter, the various mountain restaurants and ski huts welcome skiers and snowboarders; in summer, they fill up with mountain bikers and hikers.
As the snow melts, the Romansh-speaking restaurateurs, hotel owners and lift operators – to name just a few – would like to catch their breath, but they have plenty of work to do.
Few tourists ever see rows of rugs hung out in the sun or empty ski rooms ready to be cleaned, but Wüthrich’s images bear witness to the behind-the-scenes work that is required to ensure Swiss resorts – already feeling the pinch from the strong franc – remain competitive and continue to attract enough tourists, and Swiss, to make a profit.
(Picture editor: Christoph Balsiger; Text: Thomas Stephens)