Then & Now The World’s Best-Loved Ski Resorts
POSTED BY Mavy | August 17, 2017
Label: Fun Facts
While we love all the modern conveniences of ski holidaying in 2017, such as underfloor heating in the chalets and speedy chair lifts, we still get nostalgic pangs for days when skiing was a relatively new and exciting activity for tourists.
Skis were a lot more rudimentary, resorts were few and far between to what we have these days, and fashion on the slopes certainly left something to be desired!
With that in mind, we’ve taken a look through some of the world’s most popular ski resorts to see how they’ve changed over time.
Val d’Isère is one of the most popular ski resort in Europe for Brits, with just the right balance of great terrain and a bustling town with great nightlife.
However, when Jacques Mouflier stumbled upon the valley n 1929, it was merely a few hotels and other buildings centred around a 17th-century church, with no telephones or electricity.
Flash forward to the present day, however, and there are hundreds of hotels and chalets across the resorts, with room for 27,000 guests at a time.
As you can see from the images below, the resort has completely changed in the last 70 years or so, but you can see that the church still remains as do some of the hotels, such as the Bellevue, opened in 1919.
Back in those days, the area was visited only by walkers and botanists, but today it attracts not just skiers, but also a large snowboarding scene, as well as those who go simply for the après ski party experience!
On the other side of the Espace Killy area, you’ll find Tignes, another of Europe’s most popular ski resorts.
Today Tignes is a large resort comprising of five separate villages, but initially, it was just two small farming villages, one of which has since disappeared completely.
That’s right, the original Tignes village was there one day, and then in 1952, seemingly vanished into thin air.
So how did this happen? A hydroelectric dam was constructed in the area, which was supposed to supply 10% of France’s electricity, and the village was completely flooded by the new lake, the Lac du Chevril.
In the photos below, you can see how the small villages looked over 50 years ago, before it was flooded, and the reservoir which sits there these days.
The money that the dam brought in led to the creation of the Tignes we know today, and below you can see the village of Val Claret being built back in the 1960s, and how it looks today.
Many of today’s popular ski resorts, such as Courchevel were fairly cut off until the early 20th century, when rail travel and widely available electricity began to bring in visitors.
The first hotel in the area, the Lac Bleu opened in Saint-Bon 1908, and you can see below, it’s still there today!
Back in the early days, when skiing was just starting to take off in the region, the hotel was a hub of activity, as it was the place where hordes of motor cars would congregate to drop off new arrivals, who would have to then complete the rest of their journey by sledge or ski!
Another landmark of Courchevel is Le Panoramic, the famous restaurant perched at 2,732 metres above sea level at the summit of the Sommet de la Saulire.
The restaurant offers incredible 360˚ views over the Alps, including Mont Blanc, and as you can see, punters have been enjoying it for almost 70 years!