Your Olympe gondola lift is part of a network of more than 180 lifts serving the 650km of groomed and patrolled slopes in the immense 3 Vallées ski area. The existence of the ski area seems like a foregone conclusion to us today, but it was not always so.
In the aftermath of the First World War and after the first Winter Olympic Games were held in Chamonix in 1924, few people saw winter sports as the economic future for our valleys rather than the traditional agriculture and pastoralism.
Alpine skiing, a sport invented by the British, was to change all that. The sport first appeared at the 1932 Olympics in Lake Placid, USA, and was officially recognised at the Garmisch Olympics in Germany in 1936 where Frenchman Emile Allais won fame. Taking advantage of the electrification of the Allues valley and its easy access, a Parisian project to develop skiing was put to the town council in 1935 and won the support of the Départment.
Jean de la Valdène, who took it over, found support from keen British investors.
In 1937, they appointed Peter Lindsay, who was advised by the great Émile Allais and Chamonix-born André Tournier, among others. Soon, the Alpine pastures were being bought, their former owners surprised they could still graze their animals there in the summer.
The first lift, a 19-seater sled called the Red Dragon, was installed between the Chalet Doron (now The Pub) to the Vieille Cave on the Burgin, near the present-day Folie Douce, and this ran in the winter of 1939. After the war, Lindsay continued purchasing land and constructing the new resort and the first lifts for French and British skiers.
The oldest of our visitors remember the open-sided cabins which carried two standing passengers, and which ran in three sections from the centre of the resort to La Saulire, at 2,734m!
Answer the questions correctly and try to win 3 Vallées ski passes!