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THE HISTORY OF LES 2 ALPES

THE HISTORY OF LES 2 ALPES

Did you know that Les 2 Alpes was formed from two mountain pastures of Mont de Lans and Venosc? Every summer, fifteen or so families would come up from the villages of Venosc and Mont de Lans to graze their cattle and grow enough crops to see them through the winter. Here is the story of the 2 Alpes resort.

HISTORY

From 1924 to 1950

From the installation of the first families to the first ski lifts, the birth of a mythical ski resort.

1924

The first winter Olympic Games in Chamonix in 1924 sparked a passion for winter sports.

1930

Skiing exploded in France in the 1930s when the first ski resorts were created. 

1932

Rodolphe TESSA built a mountain refuge on Alpe de Mont de Lans

1934

The MOUNIER family opened an inn on Alpe de Venosc. The first skiers reached the plateau on foot with their equipment carried on the backs of mules.

1936

The GRAVIER and CHALVIN families built the Hôtel des Glaciers.

The first road link was built between Mont de Lans village and the Alpe, with completion taking place the day before World War II was declared. The pioneers felt that these mountains had everything required to be the perfect tourist destination: the landscape’s natural beauty, the configuration of the plateau, and an exceptional ski area.

1938

Jean KEMLER, an engineer from Lyon who was holidaying in the area, decided to turn a dream into a reality and install the first ski lift on the slopes of Les Cloûtets. He was unsuccessful, and the war put a temporary halt to development in the area.

1945

Jean de ROODENBECKE, a priest from Belgium, built the Foyer St Benoît with local workers from the plateau.

1946

The first button lift went into operation around Christmas 1946 on the Pied Moûtet ski area. That winter, on the 20th of December, Louis CARREL opened the first ski school: La Meije ski club, with Auguste CARREL, Hippolyte MOUNIER, Germaine CARREL, Louis GUIGNARD and Joseph MARTIN. The latter transformed his family alpine pasture chalet into a café-delicatessen-restaurant in the summer of 1947.

1947

Father de RODENBECKE went on to run the events committee.

The GRAVIER brothers and Edouard CHALVIN installed La Morte button lift.

1950

The GRAVIER brothers, Edouard CHALVIN and Joseph Martin each acquired one third shares in the Pied Moûtet button lift, which kickstarted the whole ski lift adventure. More and more shops began to pop up.

HISTORY

From 1951 to 1975

Conquering the glacier, Les 2 Alpes rises to an altitude of 3000 metres. Summer skiing began!

1951

Etienne MARTIN began construction of Le Diable gondola lift and one of the largest hotels on the Alpe.

1955

Joseph MARTIN sold the first skipass at a cost of 2.50 Francs. The same year, the resort was officially named Les 2 Alpes.

1957

René FAURE was given the role of resort manager, assisted by Joseph MARTIN and Edouard CHALVIN from the ski lift company, as well as Louis CARREL from the ski school. Tourism was gathering pace and an extensive action plan was launched: organisation of sporting events, activities and entertainment, accommodation and the creation of a ski patrol and rescue service.

1972

3,000 metre goal! The glacier was reached with the installation of the Jandri 3 gondola lift. Venosc was linked to LES 2 ALPES by gondola lift.

1973

Summer skiing began!

1975

The conquest of the glacier continued, and the Dôme de Puy Salié was reached at 3,421 metres.

HISTORY

From 1980 to 2000

Time for a new era, 20 years of progress and ascension.

Les 2 Alpes is becoming a must-see ski resort.

1980

A new era began for the resort, which was now attracting an international clientele. The resort reached a welcome capacity of 22,000 tourist beds and the ski area then had 160 kilometres of ski runs.
In summer, the resort’s transalpine reputation was cemented with the arrival of premier Italian ski clubs.

 

1984

A lift was installed at Le Dôme de la Lauze at 3,568 metres, providing access to the Vallons de la Meije. Several operating companies united under the name Deux Alpes Loisirs.

1985

At Christmas, the POMAGALSKI company erected the Jandri Express, which took a total of 30 minutes in two stints to climb the 1,550 metres separating the resort from the glacier (with capacity to transport 1,800 passengers an hour).

1989

The resort opened the highest altitude funicular lift in France: Le Dôme Express. It linked the bottom of the glacier to Dôme de Puy Salié at 3,421 metres.

1990

The snowsports era began with the first “surf trials”, born from the dedication of two shopkeepers André LEPLUS and Lina HUAN. By 1993 these trials had turned into an unmissable event: the MONDIAL DU SNOWBOARD. 5 years later, 1998 saw the addition of the MONDIAL DU SKI. The resort rode on the crest of this new wave, leading to the creation of the snowpark in the summer of 1994, which has since become one of the best parks in Europe.

1993

A new concession agreement was signed between the three communes of Venosc, Mont de Lans and Saint Christophe. A ski run was covered in artificial snow, allowing skiers to ski straight back to the resort

1999

The Choucas Bikers launched the legendary Mountain of Hell mountain bike race.

2000

The Petite Aiguille went into operation, creating a link between the Vallée Blanche and the Glacier sector.
A fire destroyed the Jandri 3 lift and a slopeside restaurant in the summer of 2000.

HISTORY

From 2004 to 2020

A new dimension and large-scale projects for the ski resort.

2004

The resort took on a new dimension by hosting the first ever Mondial VTT. The Alpine mountain biking trend sparked a new enthusiasm for the summer season. Ski lifts were adapted to the new discipline and mountain biking trails were created to provide 105 kilometres of itineraries to date on the summer ski area.

2008

The hands-free skipass was launched.

2012

Work began on Le Diable detachable 6-seater chair lift (winter 2013), with protective bubbles every 5 seats, linking the resort to Les Crêtes sector (replacing the red gondola lifts).

2016

The “return route” blue run was completed. Intermediate skiers could now ski back to their accommodation, which reduced the strain on the Jandri 1 gondola lift (white eggs) and the chair lifts on the lower part of the slopes.

2017

The resort of Les 2 Alpes entered a new era with the creation of the new Les 2 Alpes commune merging the 2 communes that originally made up the resort: Mont de Lans and Venosc. Ski touring became all the rage and its very own dedicated runs were created on the Vallée Blanche and Le Diable sector. Pedestrians and skiers could enjoy unmissable views at 3,400 metres, thanks to the new Écrins viewing point… A skywalk platform!

2018

As the land of freestyle, Les 2 Alpes needed a skatepark worthy of the name! Job done thanks to the creation of the 2 Alpes Skatepark in association with Les 2 Alpes town council. Anecdote of the year: the speed record for mountain biking on the glacier was beaten during the Mountain of Hell event. Cyclist Tim Bratschi clocked up 127 kilometres an hour. A new 8-seater detachable chair lift was installed on La Toura sector (2,600 metres) to replace the Toura and Lac Noir chair lifts.

2019

A new 8-seater detachable chair lift was installed on Les Crêtes sector.

2020

Lancement de la télécabine de Pierre Grosse. Une télécabine 8 places qui relie le secteur de La Fée (2221m) au glacier (3175m ) avec un débit de 2400 personnes par heure. Le 1er décembre, la gestion du domaine skiable est confiée à la SAEM SATA (société touristique de l’Alpe d’Huez).

The big news of this winter was the Pierre Grosse gondola lift. An 8-seater gondola lift designed by Swiss manufacturer Bartholet, linking La Fée sector (2,221 metres) to the glacier (3,175 metres / 954-metre vertical climb / 2,400 people an hour). On the 1st of December 2020, responsibility for the management of its ski area was handed over to a new public service delegation: the SAEM, Alpe d’Huez tourist association (SATA).

HISTORY

From 2021 to 2023

Years rich in novelties, especially in the ski area!

2021

Official closure of all ski areas in France during winter 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Total overhaul of the 2 Alpes destination website: a new design for the new 2 Alpes charter. An improved customer journey: the Internet user can easily finalise the purchase of his stay and live the 2 Alpes experience. Discover different universes with a summer and winter, English and Italian version.

La Balade des Ardoisiers: a new discovery trail and open-air heritage museum in Venosc / Slate mining until 1972, a whole part of the history of the Vénéon valley.

2021 … continued …

Early opening of the ski area in summer on 29 May. A major first linked to global warming and the adaptation of resorts.

Real Estate :
– Les Terres de Venosc development on the Vallée Blanche side: 30 luxury chalets, i.e. 700 beds.

– The Neige & Soleil / Terrésens residence/hotel offers 34 flats from studio to T6, i.e. 221 beds.

– The SAFILAF Néméa tourist residence offers 104 4-star and 91 4-star Premium accommodation for a total of 931 beds.

– Several private chalets: BLACK and WHITE COMBS chalets, L’atelier chalet and LE PETIT BES chalet.

2022

This is the first winter of operation of the 2 Alpes ski area by SATA 2 Alpes.

The Super Venosc cable car in the Vallée Blanche sector facilitates the departure and return of clients on skis. The Super Venosc gondola line is 1168m long and has a 405m vertical drop to reach the area around the Mais summit at 2101m from the Alpe de Venosc at 1696m.

The new blue Pierre Grosse piste which serves the new Pierre Grosse gondola (completed in 2020). This new run will satisfy experts and intermediates by facilitating the passage of the Col des Gours and making the steep areas safer.

Redevelopment of the lower slopes in the Vikings sector with a new ski lift and conveyor belt.

The ice cave is now at 3400m: new sculptures, entirely handmade by fifteen sculptors.

New medical centre in Les 2 Alpes, open all year round.

2022 … continued …

Real Estate
The former Hotel des Champions is now a trendy hostel, the BASE CAMP LODGE. 30 rooms in mountain style and decoration, design, wood, metal, very pure and in a trapper spirit!

New 4-star CLUB MMV LES CLARINES residence, located at the new Super Venosc ski lift. 158 fully equipped and comfortable flats with services included, supervision of children from 4 to 15 years, ski shop…

Creation of a permanent Cross Park at 3200m, in April 2022, in order to welcome the training of athletes and World Cups. The latter is FFS/FIS certified.

Les 2 Alpes will host the 1st Snowboard Cross World Cup from 30 November to 3 December 2022.

2023

Ambitious development projects for the ski area for an ever more qualitative ski offer.
In 4 words, the choices of the SATA 2 Alpes ski area company are based on modernity, flow, accessibility and comfort.

Replacement of the Vallée Blanche chairlift with a Telemix to reach the summit at 2100m. A new, more comfortable facility, accessible to pedestrians and beginners, with a twofold increase in customer flow.

The first green slope was also built on the Vallée Blanche side for accessibility to all in this low-altitude sector (2100m to 1600m). 72 6-seater chairlifts and 18 10-seater gondolas – 1655m to 2100m – 5-minute ascent – 2800 people per hour.

2023… continued ...

The Diable chairlift becomes the Telemix du Diable, a combination of cabins and seats which optimises the flow and allows skiers, beginners and pedestrians to access 2400m quickly and easily. 86 6-seater chairlifts and 28 6-seater gondolas – 1655m to 2410m – 5.30 min of ascent – 3000 people per hour.

On 2 May 2023, the creation of the 3S gondola lift to replace the Jandri Express gondola lift will begin.
“The only cable car of this type in France”, says Fabrice Boutet, General Manager of the SATA Group (Alpe d’Huez, Les 2 Alpes and La Grave ski areas).
This new gondola lift, more comfortable and more reliable in the face of climatic conditions, will enable the resort’s clients to be lifted to the high peaks at 3200 m with an intermediate at 2600m.

2023…continued …

The access time to 3200m will be 15 minutes instead of 40 minutes today! It will be made up of 7 pylons instead of the current 15, for less visual pollution.
The 3S between the station and the 3200m sector should be completed by December 2024.

A 3S to modernise, to act on the flows and to make it possible to arrive at more than 3000 m in all weathers and to absorb the users by considerably reducing the queues (fluidity)!
This is the biggest project of the last 10 years in the French Alps!

Continuation of the redevelopment of the bottom of the slopes with the installation of the brand new Champamé conveyor belt, for a distribution of the flow of skiers and the learning of skiing near the houses.

2023…continued …

Development of ski touring trails or itineraries with 3 new areas in the Vallée Blanche:
-From Super Venosc: fairly difficult
-Departure from Mairie: fairly difficult
-Vallée Blanche departure: easy

The mythical “white eggs” of Les 2 Alpes will disappear on April 23rd 2023. For 50 years, they have allowed customers to link the resort to the Crêtes sector. In 1973, an installation was needed to improve the flow but above all to create a real chain between the resort, the old Crêtes cable car (1972) and the gondolas which linked the glacier.
The Jandri line was thus completed between 1600m and 3200m.

2023…continued …

The mythical red track of Venosc, the most frequented in the high summer season, will have a competitor from April 2023 with a new mountain bike track, the BLACK GARDEN, an elite black track dedicated to experts, also joining the village of Venosc.
This track has been entirely handmade by the Bike Park teams and renowned riders such as Adrien Loron and Camille Servant. This second route to Venosc Village is 1.8km long with a D-500m.

2023…continued …

Spring skiing from 2 May to 30 June – the ski area is adapting to climate change, reorganising its opening times and responding to a demand from athletes and professionals who need a training site.

The commune of Les 2 Alpes is equipped with its first electric shuttles for free intra-urban transport.

2023…continued …

The resort is working towards obtaining the Flocon Vert label, created by the Mountain Riders association.

The Venosc gondola is now open at night until 10.30pm every Thursday, winter and summer.

Early closure of the lifts one week earlier on 23 April 2023 due to the national obligation to reduce energy consumption.

Discover the mountain atmosphere

Villages of character

Mont de Lans village

Take a break in the small mountain village of Mont de Lans, between heritage and authentic decor.

Venosc Village

In the middle of Vénéon valley, on the edge of the Écrins National Park, the small village of Venosc invites you to discover its arts and crafts but also its charm.

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  • Glacier - 3200m
  • Toura-fee-bellecombe - 2600m
  • Les crêtes - 2100m
  • Station 1650 - 1650m
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