Chamrousse history

Name Cham-rousse chamrousse ski resort isere french alps

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)
Chamrousse history chamrousse ski resort isere french alps

Chamrousse, birthplace 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).

From Grenoble Winter Olympic Games of Grenoble to Chamrousse 2030 project

1968 - Winter Olympic Games of Grenoble-Chamrousse

Men and women results:
  • Jean-Claude KILLY becomes a ski legend by winning 3 gold medals in descent, giant slalom and special slalom.
  • Guy PERILLAT wins the silver medal in descent.
  • Marielle GOITSCHEL wins the gold medal in special slalom.
  • Isabelle MIR wins the silver medal in descent.
  • Annie FAMOSE wins the silver medal in giant slalom and the bronze medal in special slalom.
Athletes of all nations have their accommodation in the children villages of Bachat Bouloud, which have now become the tourist residence of Villages du Bachat (previously Domaines de l’Arselle).

1989 - Creation of Chamrousse commune and election of its first town council

2001 – Passage of the Tour de France

The Tour de France is in Chamrousse on July, 18th. It’s the 11th stage : time trial Grenoble/Chamrousse. 300,000 to 500,000 people were on the tour (according to the newspaper “Dauphiné Libéré”.
2005 - Renovation of Bachat Bouloud villages with the construction of the apartment hotel “Le Domaine de l’Arselle” (named todfay Les Villages du Bachat).

2006 - Renovation of the Renouveau building with the construction of an apartment hotel “L’Ecrin des Neiges***”


2007 - Renovation of the Youth and Sports centre with the construction of an apartment hotel “Les Balcons de Recoin” and a wellness centre – SPA open to the public


2009 - Opening of La Croix gondola, replacing the cable-car and two chairlifts


2013 - Landscaping of la Croix de Chamrousse summit

The summit of La Croix was made up of the former arrival station of the former cable-car, comprising a mountain restaurant, the disused Météo France site and a TDF infrastructure.
The site’s landscaping has been both a global environmental step and a will to enhance the site’s tourism (for families, walkers, skiers…)
The site has retrieved its natural aspect. The unnecessary elements, such as the remnants of former works have been removed.
The cable-car’s arrival station and the restaurant were demolished. With a totally new architecture in a mountain landscape, the new restaurant was designed to fit into the natural profile of the dome. The north part of the building was buried and the south and west parts glazed. It is accessible to disabled people.
A special attention was given to the site’s landscaping with a quality nature atmosphere. The ski area was reshaped for the access to the Olympique Hommes slope.
Innovating solutions concerning water and cleaning up are also thought about, as well as a way to decrease the visual impact of the TDF net especially.

2014 – Arrival stage of the Tour de France


2016 – New Casserousse chairlift replacing the two draglifts Casserousse and Marmottes


2018 - Celebration of the 50th anniversary of Grenoble Olympics

Chamrousse appeared to the outside world in 1964, when Grenoble was chosen to host the Olympic Games. But it is only in 1968 that the resort became mythical, thanks to Jean-Claude Killy and his three gold medals.

Within the frame of the 50th anniversary of Grenoble Olympics, Chamrousse will organize events from January to March 2018 and will offer a light and sound show about the history of skiing.
Celebrations programme: ski competitions, torchlight descent world record attempt, ski test, concerts and exhibitions.