The city of Chamonix has decided to join the Union and we are delighted to welcome you. What do you think the Union can bring to Chamonix as an Olympic city and what can Chamonix bring to the Members of the Union?
By becoming a member of the World Union of Olympic Cities, Chamonix will be a part of an important network which brings together communities that have had the chance and the honour to organize the Games. Through experiences and information sharing, Chamonix will find among its peers the necessary support to rekindle the Olympic flame within the population and ideas to highlight this milestone in its history. Chamonix will bring to the Union its aura as world capital of skiing and mountaineering, its sporting vocation and its international experience.
Could you share some examples of how Chamonix responds to the challenges faced by winter sports cities that have to be busy all year round?
For many years, Chamonix has been involved in a four-season event policy, both sporting and cultural. For example, the Mont Blanc Marathon trail races launch the summer season, while those of the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc (UTMB) are held in September. We organise musical festivals such as Musilac in spring and Cosmo Jazz in July. Chamonix also hosts the Climbing World Cup each summer and is part of the Alpine Skiing World Cup circuit.
Chamonix is associated with the history of mountaineering in France and in the Alps. Its “capital” is based on the preservation of mountains and valleys. How does Chamonix invest in protecting the environment (Arve Valley, Mont-Blanc attendance, global warming, glacier melting, etc.)?
As it is more sensitive than elsewhere to climate change, the Chamonix Valley has been conducting a proactive approach to reduce pollution factors for years. Chamonix set up the First Territorial Energy Climate Plan in the mountains, is labelled “Positive Energy Territory for Green Growth” at the national level and “Green flake”, a distinction awarded to exemplary mountain destinations that commit to sustainable tourism. Chamonix is also developing a specific plan for air quality consisting in 36 measures in two main sectors of action: public transportation – train and bus in free circulation – and housing, including many support measures for energy renovation. In parallel, the city is investing in electric mobility and soft modes of transport. In the field of energy, two ambitious hydroelectric power plant projects have been launched and methanation unit is about to be built. All of these commitments aim at enhancing and protecting the natural heritage, a source of wonder but also support for the local economy.
Are you planning to reignite Chamonix’s Olympic legacy for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 1924 Olympic Winter Games, which are also the first Winter Games in history? What does the concomitance of the Paris 2024 Games means to you?
Chamonix is very proud of its history and wishes to celebrate fittingly the centenary of the first Olympic Winter Games. A large exhibition is already planned at the Alpine Museum which will be renovated in the fall. We are already working at collecting material to complement our collections. The creation of discovery tours and the showcase of Olympic venues and facilities are also planned. A specific organization will be set up to anticipate the preparation of high quality events for this celebration. The concomitance with Paris 2024 and the commemoration of the 1924 Summer Games require from us even more involvement to honour this historic anniversary.