Josef Giger had brilliantly conceived the Waldhaus and then, just as brilliantly, launched its first seasons, but he wore himself out in the process. Sooner than expected, the responsibility passed to his only son and oldest daughter. The outbreak of World War I in 1914 and its economic impact hit them and the hotel, barely six years old, like a storm and confronted them with almost impossible challenges. In 1918, Oskar and Helen Kienberger-Giger came to the rescue, already tried and tested hoteliers in their own right. Helen (1882–1959) was the Gigers’ second-oldest daughter, Oskar (1879–1965) another ‘hotel child’ from Bad Ragaz, from the Grand Hotel Quellenhof.
Oskar Kienberger’s entrepreneurial gifts were a great blessing for the hotel, as were his considerable private means, which he ultimately invested in the enterprise to the very last penny. With the ever-growing popularity of winter sports, the Kienbergers decided to start opening in winter, too, in 1924, and soon both summer and winter were booming.
On March 11, 1927, a major fire gutted the southern part of the hotel. Undaunted, the Kienbergers set to rebuilding at once, making important improvements in the process. After a mere three months, the Waldhaus reopened for the 1927 summer season, looking even better than before.
Their response to a disaster of a very different kind, the Depression starting in 1930 and the war years that followed, was no less impressive. They and the entire family put everything into saving the family business. In 1939, the winter season had to be given up, but the Waldhaus tenaciously stayed open every summer – as it always has, ever since 1908.
- 1908–1912 Josef and Amalie Giger-Nigg with Gustav Giger
- 1913–1917 Gustav Giger, Amalie Wolflisberg-Giger
- 1918–1949 (1960) Oskar and Helen Kienberger-Giger until 1924 mit Gustav Giger and Amalie Wolflisberg-Giger 1950–1960 with Rolf and Rita Kienberger