Early Days Of Skiing At Montgenevre, Briancon and Serre Chevalier

In Montgenèvre, February 11- 12, 1907, it was finally decided to hold the first international ski competition. Alpine troopers, local soldiers, members of the Swiss and Italian armies and Swedish and Norwegian ski champions competed in downhill, cross country and ski jump events. Over 1,500 people came to watch the competition, and they all needed room and board as well as sledge transport to the top of the mountain pass.

The region made a collective effort to impress visitors and journalists. Without realising, they had laid the corner stones for the 1924 winter Olympics in Chamonix and the Montgenèvre ski resort. Their first ski lift was built in 1937 and became popular with Parisian high society. Briançon was put on the map and had a bright future ahead. Even the locals seemed to have started enjoying the sport, and families skied together on Sundays.

To start with, Briançon invested in Montgenèvre. Sledge companies and army trucks secured transport from Briançon. Since 1910, the town had been a high altitude health resort with a train connection. Little by little, they became more organised for greeting winter tourists, and it was soon discovered that skiing could be a valuable asset for the area.

In the 1930s, a study was launched to find the best place for creating a ski resort in Briançon. The gentle north facing slopes of Serre Chevalier were seen as the ideal location. The Chantemerle cable car was opened in 1941, and Serre Chevalier as a ski resort was born, in less than 40 years, skiing had become part of the local economy and people’s lives.

As the resort developed, it got its own local legends too. Riquet Chaix, was one of the first legends of the Serre Chevalier area. Riquet was born in La Salle in 1923. His family were raised alongside excellent skiers such as Andre Blanchard and Milou Courtial. Riquet and his wife concentrated on developing sport shops. Riquet was, of course, also a ski instructor. Along with his World Cup and enterprising nature, he invested all his life in developing the resort and he decided to open a new ski school in Villeneuve.

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In Montgenèvre, February 11- 12, 1907, it was finally decided to hold the first international ski competition. Alpine troopers, local soldiers, members of the Swiss and Italian armies and Swedish and Norwegian ski champions competed in downhill, cross country and ski jump events. Over 1,500 people came to watch the competition, and they all needed room and board as well as sledge transport to the top of the mountain pass.

The region made a collective effort to impress visitors and journalists. Without realising, they had laid the corner stones for the 1924 winter Olympics in Chamonix and the Montgenèvre ski resort. Their first ski lift was built in 1937 and became popular with Parisian high society. Briançon was put on the map and had a bright future ahead. Even the locals seemed to have started enjoying the sport, and families skied together on Sundays.

To start with, Briançon invested in Montgenèvre. Sledge companies and army trucks secured transport from Briançon. Since 1910, the town had been a high altitude health resort with a train connection. Little by little, they became more organised for greeting winter tourists, and it was soon discovered that skiing could be a valuable asset for the area.

In the 1930s, a study was launched to find the best place for creating a ski resort in Briançon. The gentle north facing slopes of Serre Chevalier were seen as the ideal location. The Chantemerle cable car was opened in 1941, and Serre Chevalier as a ski resort was born, in less than 40 years, skiing had become part of the local economy and people’s lives.

As the resort developed, it got its own local legends too. Riquet Chaix, was one of the first legends of the Serre Chevalier area. Riquet was born in La Salle in 1923. His family were raised alongside excellent skiers such as Andre Blanchard and Milou Courtial. Riquet and his wife concentrated on developing sport shops. Riquet was, of course, also a ski instructor. Along with his World Cup and enterprising nature, he invested all his life in developing the resort and he decided to open a new ski school in Villeneuve.

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