Best of the Alps Destination Chamonix-Mont-Blanc to Celebrate Winter Olympics Centennial

Best of the Alps Destination Chamonix-Mont-Blanc to Celebrate Winter Olympics Centennial

Best of the Alps destination Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, which hosted the first Winter Olympics in 1924, will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the iconic event during the 2023-24 ski season. Located at the foot of Mont Blanc, the small town of Chamonix catered to summer mountaineering guests since the 19th century. The organization of the 1924 Games, however, initiated a shift toward winter sports and greatly contributed to the town’s international reputation. Today, the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc valley is an epicenter of mountain culture that in winter has four ski areas with more than 110 kilometers of marked downhill trails and 50 kilometers of marked cross-country ski trails. This winter, ski season begins Nov. 18, 2023, and ends May 4, 2024, subject to snow conditions.

“In 1924, the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc valley became a part of skiing history with the first Winter Games,” said Sammy Salm, CEO of Best of the Alps. “The spirit of that Olympics continues in the valley today, where sporting feats have taken on legendary status amid a natural environment that will take your breath away. And whether you’re an advanced skier or a novice looking to learn, Chamonix offers the opportunity to carve out a legend of your own.”

Olympic History

On the cold and sunny afternoon of Jan. 25, 1924, Chamonix celebrated the opening of the first Winter Games, organized for the VIII Olympiad.

The first Games included 260 athletes – 247 men and 13 women – from 16 countries competing in the the six sports of hockey, speedskating, figure skating, curling, bobsledding and skiing, which included only men’s cross-country skiing, ski jumping, Nordic combined and military skiing, the predecessor of biathlon. During the Games, on Feb. 2, 1924, the International Ski Federation (FIS) was also established in Chamonix. At the time, it was made up of 14 countries.

Subsequently, the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc valley became a part of skiing history and hosted numerous international competitions, including the World Ski Championships in 1937 and 1962, and 20 Kandahar (Alpine Ski World Cup) events since 1948, with the latest scheduled for February 2024.

100th Anniversary Celebrations

Planned in collaboration with the team organizing the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, this winter’s 100th anniversary celebrations in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc include the publication of a book, cultural exhibitions, sporting events, official and popular ceremonies, and more. Among them:
• Dec. 2 2023: Publication of the anniversary book “Chamonix 1924: The First Olympic Winter Games” (available in French and English).
• Dec. 2 2023-June 29, 2024: Exhibition on champions of the Olympic Games at the Maison de village in Argentière.
• Dec. 2 2023-March 15, 2025: Exhibition on the invention of the Winter Olympics at the Maison de la Mémoire et du Patrimoine in Chamonix.
• Dec. 18-21, 2023: Seventh edition of the Micros d’Or audio-visual festival on the eve of the Olympic anniversary.
• Jan. 24, 2024: 100-year anniversary of the opening ceremony for the 1924 Winter Olympics in Chamonix.
• Feb. 2-4, 2024: Kandahar (Alpine Ski World Cup) downhill and slalom in Les Houches, 100 years after the International Ski Federation (FIS) was established in Chamonix.
• March 16, 2024: Official and popular ceremony for the 100th anniversary of the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix.
• June 23, 2024: Chamonix welcomes the torch relay for 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris on Olympic Day.
New for Winter 2023-24

Along with the anniversary celebrations this winter, Chamonix has new offerings that include ski infrastructure, accommodations and dining options.

The Montenvers site near the Mer de Glace, the largest French glacier, is undergoing a major renovation that includes the December 2023 opening of a new gondola with 16 cabins that can carry 10 passengers each. The gondola will provide access to the glacier and its ice cave, as well as skiers arriving from Vallée Blanche.

The former Mercure Chamonix Centre is becoming the cozy, comfortable Lykke Slow Hotel & Spa, opening in December 2023 with 132 rooms, a restaurant, ski shop and eventually a wellness area with swimming pool, sauna, hammam, jacuzzi and spa Cinq Mondes.

The Alpenrose chalet is transforming into a bed-and-breakfast that will gives art lovers the opportunity to spend the night in the former studio of mountain painter Marcel Wibault (1904-1998). L’Atelier Marcel Wibault opens at Christmas 2023.

The Grand Hôtel des Alpes has two new suites available by architect Hartmut Grabowski, who was responsible for a recent renovation of the property.

Three ski area dining options will also reopen after renovations:

At the Brévent ski area, the Bergerie de Planpraz will have a new cozy and warm décor centered around its iconic fireplace, as well as a revamped panoramic terrace, which offers exceptional views of the Mont-Blanc range. Also at Brévent, Le Comptoir de la Bergerie will be completely redesigned to accommodate more guests indoors and outside.

And at the Flégère ski area, the Tendance Foehn snack bar is becoming Foehn Sandwicherie, with entirely new décor and a distinctly Savoyard style.