Nature knows no season, only the seasons. The season has come up with the human. And is very dependent on nature – more than it is often nice. Why he tries to emancipate from her, especially winter in the Alps. By artificially snowing mountains, when no snow falls. But even for that it was too warm, at least in the lower ski areas. The beginning of winter and winter season are two different things.
In the Alps, there is essentially one summer and one winter season. In some places, the transitions may be termed and marketed as pre-, post-, off-season or mid-season. In principle, they are an unseason. “One would have to skip these days or at least be able to shorten them,” writes Markus Maeder in his foreword to Simon Walther’s volume “Zwischenesaison” from the perspective of hoteliers and innkeepers, cable car operators and other tourists: “This state of limbo between not more and not yet caught always on the wrong foot. ”
The photographer Simon Walther has just opened in these phases in the Swiss Alps, with a four-wheel drive camper to document the mid-season. If there is not enough snow or not enough for winter sports. If there is still too much snow for hiking and climbing. When the hotels and inns are closed, the lifts do not drive. If the legacies of the past season have not been cleared away and those of the pending stowed yet.
Much of it then stands exposed – signs that no one is currently using, snowmobiles on a gravel surface, mats intended to soften down the falls of skiers. But on the tiny snow remains no one drives. Long red wooden pegs, which are used to mark the course of the winter’s streets, are piled up in a shed, with a tow bar hanging over brown-green slopes, and sun loungers claim a different season.
In some ways, the mid-season is also a busy time. If there are no guests, can be changed and rebuilt, the infrastructure can be renewed. Simon Walther consistently shows no people in his photographs in this illustrated book. But he documents, for example, construction vehicles or a dumpster overflowing with old, broken chairs. A snow lance sprays artificial snow on the Riffelalp near Zermatt – Walther has taken this scene from a point of view, from which it looks as if the summit of the Matterhorn on the horizon missed a cream canopy.
There are a lot of curiosities like these: they often result from the fact that things in the Alps only have a seasonal function. Sometimes things are strange in themselves: a banner reading “Arrive and Enjoy,” for example, attached to a rather rundown house. A closed food stall on the Gotthard Pass next to a stone statue of Mary. The restaurant Furkablick, on the facade of which only the letters “Rest” have been preserved.
“Mid season” is like looking into a backyard. Where things pile up that you need, or at least maybe once again, and others that you have not bothered to throw away. But again and again, Simon Walther sprinkles motifs in the photo series, where he searches for the beauty of the mid-season, for special light moods that only late autumn and early spring produce. These are rare moments that defy desolation. Here is the difference between season and season.