2021 is the year of the golden anniversary between Champagny en Vanoise and La Plagne. Indeed, just 50 years ago, in 1971, the first chairlift linking our village to the very young resort of La Plagne went into service.
Before the arrival of tourism, agricultural activity was for a long time the only source of life and sometimes prosperity for the inhabitants, who lived in autarky. The first visitors were the spa patients from Brides Les Bains and the mountaineers in search of summits to conquer.
In 1959, there were two small communal ski lifts, Nourgeval and Plan Roulant. At the same time, Emma Ruffier-Lanche built a holiday camp, Joie et Soleil. This was the beginning of skiing in Champagny. In the summer too, the village had its attractions, notably with the Champagny le Haut valley. In 1963, the PNV was created and 43% of the commune's territory became a preserved paradise for fauna and flora.
In 1965, the Société d'Aménagement de La Plagne (SAP) built a cable car, the only one of its kind in Europe, reaching the summit of the Grande Rochette, dominating the southern side of Champagny en Vanoise. A great opportunity to extend the ski area.
Michel Renaud, mayor at the time, consulted the inhabitants by referendum. Negotiations were concluded in 1970 with the construction of a chairlift from the village and 2 ski lifts, Borseliers and Verdon. The chairlift is 1800 metres long with a difference in height of 705 metres. While today it has a capacity of 2000 people per hour, at the time it was impressive with 700 people per hour. We will remember, on the coldest days of the year, skiers wrapped up in blankets to face the 20-minute climb, one of the most vertiginous in the Alps.
The transformation of Champagny en Vanoise into a village resort was guided by the first POS, the Land Use Plan. Established in 1981, it included a 15-point town planning regulation, which favoured conformity with the existing buildings, limited heights, gable roofs, the presence of wood on the facade, etc. The creation of property development zones was encouraged and the first hotel was built: Le Bellecôte.
In 1986 the historic chairlift was replaced by a more efficient gondola. The number of tourist beds increased as well as those dedicated to the local population. A ski school, a shopping centre, the Tourist Office, a cinema, technical premises, etc. were installed. The tourist capacity reached 3000 beds in chalets, flats and tourist residences.
In 1991, the Champagny le Haut valley was classified as a natural site. Traditionally, this high plateau at the foot of the glaciers already hosted the first cross-country ski races. The Nordic site developed with the creation of numerous trails and snowshoeing routes. In 2003, Champagny gave birth to the Tour de Glace, the only one of its kind in Europe in the heart of this listed site.
Summer activities are developing: adventure courses, huts, via ferrata, botanical discovery circuit... The old presbytery is transformed into a museum, a glacier interpretation centre: Espace Glacialis, created in 2007.
Since then, while keeping its soul, Champagny en Vanoise offers new services: a municipal swimming pool, shuttles between the hamlets, creation of a snow front while the SAP develops the snow culture and links its domain to that of Les Arcs, forming : Paradiski.
In 2017, the swimming pool was enlarged with a spa area and a removable roof, which offers an ideal cover for swimming in winter. In 2019 the gondola will be upgraded with larger, more modern cabins.
For 50 years, Champagny en Vanoise has been developing its tourism in a harmonious way to preserve its charm and authenticity.
Let’s get the party started!
This winter, Champagny intends to celebrate this half-century with its visitors and inhabitants thanks to the commitment of all its actors.
Every Tuesday evening during the Christmas and February holidays, you will find a unique show, combining narration and pyrotechnics.
The shopkeepers' association will be holding a tombola on this occasion, with some great prizes to be won!
All winter long, the animation team will propose activities related to the 50 years of the resort, for young and old!
Straight from the archives of the inhabitants, old photos of the village will be exhibited in the shops and the main sites of the village. Keep your eyes open! But will you be able to find the places shown on these black and white photos?
A "period" 2-seater will be present in the Place du Centre to take some great souvenir photos 😊
A collector's poster is available (free of charge) at the Tourist Office to take home a bit of Champagny en Vanoise!