Birthplace of French alpine skiing


Chamrousse, birthplace of French alpine skiing

The origin of the name “Chamrousse”

There are several theories concerning the origin of this name, here are the main ones:
  • According to some people, Chamrousse holds its name from a pre-celtic root : “calm, chalm” meaning “high bare and stony plateau”.
  • In the book written by Henri Vincent, dating back from 1888, “Les 22 années du Père Tasse à Chamrousse”, the researches from Mr Pilot de Thorey are explained: he names among the titles of the Chartreuse de Prémol a donation act from 1260, written in Latin, where you could find the words “culmen rupham”, which would be the exact translation of “Chame-rousse”, with reference to “Chame-Chaude” (“cime chaude”), the highest summit in the Vercors.
  • According to others, the name Chamrousse would originate from the sunsets during which the snow has a wonderful shade. Chamrousse would also mean “le champ roussi” (the red field)

Pioneer resort of French alpine skiing

1863 – First chalet in Chamrousse

The Père Tasse builds a chalet-hostel at Roche-Béranger, he stays about 5 months a year in average, until 1885. In 2008, the rare republishing of the book written by Henri Vincent “Les 22 années du Père Tasse à Chamrousse” dating back from 1888, allows us to better understand the life of the “hermit of Roche Béranger”. He gets many visits from French and foreign people fond of hiking and open spaces.

1878 - First ski trials

Henri DUHAMEL, an alpinist from Grenoble, discovered a pair of skis at the Scandinavian stand of the Universal Exhibition of Paris. He wanted to try this mean of transport known exclusively in Northern Europe. It’s on the slopes of Recoin in Chamrousse that he performed his first descents with skis on.

1887 - Construction of the chalet de la Pra by the French Alpine Club

1891 - Henri DUHAMEL realized the first winter ski ascent to the Croix de Chamrousse alone

1893 – First alpine ski area

The Society of Tourists of the Dauphiné (STD) sets up an alpine garden in Chamrousse 1750 (ex-Roche Béranger) where it rents a chalet. A weather station is added next to it.

1902 - The first “collective” ascent to the Croix de Chamrousse is realized

1911 – Ground rental in Chamrousse to practice skiing

The Alpine Ski Club gets an area of 3000m2 to hire for 99 years, from the count St Ferriol, owner of Recoin’s meadows. He constructs the first mountain shelter dedicated to skiing.

1929 – Ski club and access road founding

Chamrousse ski club is founded. Creation of the road to access the resort. It won’t reach Chamrousse 1650 (ex-Recoin) via Chamrousse 1750 (ex-Roche Béranger) before 1949.

1950 – Birth of Chamrousse ski resort

The resort is born. The schedule spreads from 1950 to 1960. A convention is signed between Isere department and the Society for Chamrousse development.

1952 - Construction of the cable car of the Croix de Chamrousse

Construction and opening of the cable car of the Croix de Chamrousse. It was, together with the one of Courchevel-Saulire, the world’s faster and most modern.

1961 – Roche Béranger construction

Development of the residential area of Chamrousse 1750 (ex-Roche Béranger). From this year on, Chamrousse has two activity centres: Recoin (currently Chamrousse 1650) and Roche Béranger (currently Chamrousse 1750).