At the letter S at Colombire, meet Eugénie Gebhard-Mudry, a passionate guide at the Colombire ecomuseum. She’ll explain how life used to be on the alp and what you can see at the ecomuseum.
After 33 years in the restaurant trade (at the Relais Fleuri in Chermignon-d’en-Bas), in 2009 Eugénie moved to the family apartment in Montana Village. Just a few months later, she joined the Colombire hamlet when it opened in December 2009. With her magnificent Valaisan costume that belonged to her mother, Justine, her boundless enthusiasm and her extensive experience of welcoming both guests and locals, there was unanimous approval from the Colombire team. She very quickly became the emblematic mascot of Colombire.
Eugénie was already very familiar with the path leading from Montana-Village to Colombire via Barzettes, as she took it on foot as a child. Every summer, her mother Justine took two cows up to the Colombire pasture, and Eugénie went to visit them. She loved going there to gather small berries and plants. On the pasture, children were given cream and milk. Such a delicious souvenir ! On the day of the ‘désalpe’ (when the cows return from the high pastures), cattle owners received their share of cheese and part of the leftovers from the cheesemaking process. They sold them at auction, or to tourists who were there, at very high prices, according to her father Marcel.
Today, in hour-long guided visits, Eugénie accompanies guests visiting the ‘mayens’ (mountain chalets), and tells them about life in the past, including lots of captivating anecdotes from her experiences. In the main ‘mayen’, you can explore life as it was for her ancestors, together with their furniture, tools and implements. Educational games and animals can be found on the ground floor. The other ‘mayen’ is dedicated to seasonal transhumance ; the model enables us to visualise the long journeys ancestors regularly made from the Rhone Valley up to the mountain pastures, and back again, and the different intermediary stops, such as the lower and main villages. At the end of the visit, Eugénie takes visitors to the old cheese dairy (called a « tsijière » in dialect, which means mountain chalet). This building, dating from the 1800s, was used up until 1960. Now, the exhibition space displays implements and old pictures of life as a cheesemaker.
This seasonal activity has given her life purpose again ! She is delighted to still be active, and to be able to meet wonderful people at the Colombire hamlet.
In the heart of breathtaking natural surroundings, Colombire is an ideal departure point for beautiful walks or for a drink on a sunny terrace. Don’t miss a visit to the ecomuseum.
Sylvie Doriot Galofaro, Samuel Bonvin and Martial Kamerzin will tell you more about the 125 years project and the history of the resort.