On the spot

Brigitte de Bernis

Mayor of Chamrousse, France

Chamrousse  joined the World Union of Olympic Cities this year. We are delighted to welcome you to the Olympic City family. What do you expect from being a Member of the Union?  

We are delighted and proud to join the World Union of Olympic Cities. Integrating into this family will allow us to share our experience, and to promote our region by highlighting its history and its DNA. Joining the Union will allow us to benefit from an established network, one which is caring and aware of its strengths. We will be able to gather information and support on how to add value to our region.

Chamrousse hosted the  Alpine ski competitions during the 1968 Grenoble Olympic Games. What did  this experience bring to the population at the time of the Games?    

Hosting the Olympic Games alpine skiing events in Grenoble put a spotlight on our resort, and contributed to an acceleration of the development of the ski area as well as the infrastructure and facilities. The worldwide TV broadcast in colour of this 10th edition of the Winter Games put  Chamrousse on the world map and allowed the resort to further develop. It was a unique moment that marked history and as a legacy, has been a real asset for developing the reputation of the region.

How does  Chamrousse  promote and activate its Olympic legacy on a daily basis?   

In 2018, Chamrousse celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Grenoble Olympic Games, both in the Host City and in Chamrousse, queen city of alpine skiing events. In order to revive memories, reactivate the myth and offer perspective to the new generation, Chamrousse  organised many events as part of the festivities of the 50th anniversary of the Grenoble Olympic Games. On this occasion, more than twenty events were organised, such as the Legends’ race, gathering the skiers who had made Chamrousse so famous and successful. The Olympic cauldron at Place Belledonne in Chamrousse 1650 embodies the soul of this glorious era.

In 2018, Chamrousse had the honor of welcoming the representatives of the World Union of Olympic Cities and organised a visit to the site of the alpine skiing competitions from the 10th Olympic Games. Winter 1968 was reported in the first edition of our magazine, Chamrousse, distributed to our customers, our partners, and through the Olympics book distributed throughout the local territory. Thus, we promote this Olympic legacy on a daily basis, through our infrastructures and in the broad sense, through our communication.

The current period is very hard for ski and holiday resorts which depend mainly on tourism and sport. What measures have been taken in Chamrousse? What alternatives have been developed in this time of pandemic to overcome the crisis? 

Chamrousse quickly adapted to the particular situation we are living in.
Located close to the Grenoble area, we are aware of being an easily accessible and appreciated place. As the ski lifts were closed, all resort stakeholders have been mobilised to welcome customers as well as is possible. Thus, the strategy of off-ski development, which had been well under way until then, has continued. Restaurant owners offer take-away menus and home delivery. Equipment rental companies have increased their stock of cross-country skiing, sledging and snowshoeing equipment. We created a new cross-country ski trail to extend the crowded area, offered groomed ski touring routes, set up a snowpark accessible on foot from the snow front and we secured and groomed toboggan runs. A ski lift was able to accommodate young people from ski clubs. The ski school was able to continue to offer skiing and snowboarding for beginners, children and adults, and cross-country skiing for all levels. Our desire to switch our information media to digital has been accelerated with Covid. It is in line with our commitments to reduce paper publications as specified in our Green Snowflake label.
Alpine skiing is our economic lung. One of the challenges this winter has been to offer highlights and key moments without creating gatherings. Thus, digital, along with our social networks have been precious supports as have been activities with a limited number of places and accessible upon reservation.
Adaptation, organisation and reaction were the hallmarks of this winter 2020-2021. Our invitation to show mountains to our customers in a different way began this winter and will continue throughout the year and throughout the seasons.