Saas-Fee Stories is a work in progress. It aims to show the evolution of a Swiss mountain village from poverty to prosperity to uncertainty to stability. It speaks through the voices of its oldest inhabitants and through the eyes of each successive generation.


Werner Imseng

2 February 2016 

Active, enthusiastic with ever bright eyes at 92 years, Werner Imseng talks about life, living, hiking and writing in Saas-Fee. The oldest of five siblings, Werner got involved early in his father’s business - trading, buying and selling handmade fabrics produced in Saas-Fee. Sheep were slaughtered in the Autumn and during the winter months women from Saas-Fee and Saas-Grund were engaged to weave and sew, providing employment in the low season. The sportswear was highly sought after, especially for mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas. A brisk business developed, as far as Basel, also crossed the border to Munich, Germany. All mountain guides wanted these garments - sheared and woven in Saas-Fee!

While Werner’s father had the wool business, producing fabric (6000 metres per year) and cushions, in addition to the mountain wear, his father-in-law specialised in wood carving, explains Werner, proudly pointing out the carved furniture and beams in his apartment. He recalls going to Lausanne and getting over 1000 orders in two weeks! Werner is certain that they were the biggest

taxpayers at that time… Business was so good.


And the benefits were well spent - Werner travelled the world, with the intent to visit only “culturally interesting” places. So he travelled through the middle-east, visiting Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Saudi

Arabia; in Asia, India, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Indonesia, China and Japan. Similarly, through North and South America.


Werner was not one to rest - he wrote 10 books while in Saas-Fee. An eclectic mix. From an illustrated book of Valaisian Handcrafted treasures, to a state of the art publication on walks and hikes around Saas-Fee.

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