The Internation Ski Area test has appointed Leo Jeker as honorary president. In a statement thye say:
In Kitzbühel in the Rasmushof at the foot of the Hahnenkamm Leo Jeker was appointed honorary president of the international ski area test. "With Leo Jeker we were able to present this honor to an arranged politician and a cable car operator with passion, courage and vision as a role model for the cable car and tourism industry", according to Hönigsberger. His pioneering achievements in snowmaking are legendary.
Damian Bumann from Saas-Fee, a long-time companion of Leo Jeker, found the right words in his lute and pointed out the many political, private and professional stations of the new honorary president.
Leo Jeker the great creator
Leo Jeker was born on August 25, 1943 in Churwalden in the canton of Graubünden. He grew up there and attended school. He learned to ski early on. Later also competed in ski races in the Parpan ski club with future Olympic champion Heini Hemmi (born 1949). He then completed secondary school at Disentis Abbey for three years. Sporting achievements inspired him. He took part in marathons, guns, 100 km and mountain runs. Even later in his committed life he was passionate about sports. In 1964, on the occasion of the Expo, he ran from Chur over the Oberalp, Grimsel and Jaun passes to Lausanne.
In 1960 Leo Jeker began his commercial apprenticeship in the law firm of Kuoni Tobias in Landquart. Nandro-Bergbahnen AG was founded there in May 1962 by Tobias Kuoni. The aim of Nandro-Bergbahnen AG was to realize and operate an attractive ski area in Savognin. Leo Jeker was given the task of helping to implement this demanding task. In December of the same year, three systems were already in operation. In the years that followed, the company made various pioneering achievements. Among other things, it set up the first automatic snow and slope report in 1965, built the longest cable car in the world in 1969 and was the first holiday resort in Switzerland to introduce a car sticker with the label “My destination Savognin”. In the beginning, Nandro-Bergbahnen AG was run as a very small company.
Leo Jeker was often in the Alps, in Scandinavia as well as in America and Canada to see the developments in winter sports there. Since he did not want to stand still, he initiated and implemented exemplary showcase offers on his ski mountain. Thanks to Leo Jeker's commitment, the range of winter facilities in Savognin has been continuously expanded, without Savognin losing its village character. Thanks to the support of the community, the place developed into a pioneering destination. In 1978 the company built the first large snowmaking system in Europe. As a ski area with the only snow system far and wide, Savognin became an attractive training location for professional skiers, and between 1983 and 1995 the venue for seven FIS double events.
1986/87 the world novelty for the double use summer lake and winter parking lot or the accommodation concept "Cube" which opened its doors in 2005 were further innovative projects in which Leo Jeker was actively involved from the beginning. For almost 60 years he has provided his service at Savognin Bergbahnen AG. For example, from 1971 to 1977 as deputy director and from 1978 to 2008 as director and from 1989 to today also as board member of the company.
In addition to his commitment to tourism, Leo Jeker campaigned for the interests of society. Leo Jeker was Bündner Grand Councilor for 24 years until 2018. First for the Swiss People's Party (SVP) and then for the Civil Democratic Party (BDP). Because National Councilor Christoph Blocher was not elected to the Federal Council, the SVP Graubünden was kicked out of the national SVP party and the BDP was created, in which Leo Jeker had the same interests for the canton as we did before. In 2007/08 he chaired the Graubünden parliament as president of the state. Leo Jeker has been committed to the Graubünden economy for decades. He was the founding president of the (Graubünden Tourism Interest Group) (ITG), which bundles the interests of Graubünden tourism and brings them to parliament. One of his important commitments was the realization of the “Tardisland” industrial park near Landquart twenty years ago. However, the course was set five years earlier. Together with Grand Councilor Ernst Nigg von Igis-Landquart, Leo Jeker founded the working group for the development of the “Tardis” industrial area. Today, numerous companies are located there that secure jobs and generate high added value.
Leo Jeker was always open to new innovative ideas. He also supported the idea of the world's first solar ski lift in Tenna, which opened in December 2011. Solar panels are installed on the 450 meter long ski lift, which generate more electricity than a conventional system on a roof. The solar system produces around 90,000 kWh per year. Around 10,000 kWh are required for the ski lift to operate. The overproduction of solar energy is sold to the local electricity company.
He was also responsible for the continuation of the Savognin Bergbahnen AG company. In 2010, Markus Schröcksnadel and the brothers Anton and Peter Schmidl acquired the majority of the shares, which further developed the company. The snow-making and transport systems were further renewed, increasing the attractiveness of the family resort of Savognin. In 2014 - 2016, sustainable apartments for around 250 people were opened in his home town of Zizers. None other than Leo Jeker was the initiator of this flagship project. From 2016 to 2020 he headed the Panathlon Club Chur and the surrounding area. As is well known, he has always been enthusiastic about sport.
It is impossible to grasp the entire oeuvre of Leo Jeker, because his thirst for action was and is immeasurable. He was always a doer, which he has remained to this day. Leo Jeker also made his services and experience available to the International Ski Area Test. In his dedicated opening speeches, he motivated those responsible and congratulated those who were awarded for their achievements. In 2004 he was honored there for his life's work. Two years later he received the Swiss “Milestone” tourism award for his life's work. For the 40th anniversary of snowmaking in Savognin, pioneer Leo Jeker was made an honorary member of Bergbahnen Graubünden (BBGR) in November 2018.
Despite his numerous merits, he has always remained a courteous, humble and dear person and takes time for his colleagues. He is an extraordinary personality who deserves a lot of respect and recognition.