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The Charamillon chalet in 1930, destroyed in 1960

Le Tour, thanks to its sun and snow, very quickly attracted skiers. As early as 1902, Doctor Payot and Joseph Ducroz skied from Le Col de Balme to Le Tour for the first time. They started on February the 12th at one p.m. and it took them four hours to hike up to Le Col de Balme and ski back down.

The first lift used in the valley would be, according to Jean Belleville in his book Argentière sous la neige, the Posettes slate extraction site. It was built in 1922 by Jules Cachat and it was used to bring skiers to the top.

In 1937, a POMA drag lift was built by Charles Viard (woodseller in Sallanches) and Paul Arpin. But in fact, it wasn't used until of the end of the forties. It started a bit higher than the actual station and finished at Plan du Caiset, just below Charamillon. This drag lift permitted the organisation, in 1957 of the Kandahar slalom won by Tony Mark.

An other drag lift (656 ft long), "Le Petit des Planes" was put into service for school trips to the snow and the children were lodged at l'Igloo. It started at the actual Tour car park on the Posettes road and was destroyed by an avalanche in the late fifties.
The Charamillon drag lift built in 1937

Arrival of the chairlift

It was in 1957 that Charles Viard decided to build a two seat "débrayable" chairlift, Müller system.

It went from the Tour to the Autannes and through the intermediate station at Charamillon.

Its output was 280 people per hour, its speed 2.5 meters per second.

We should know that the seats were parallel to the cable and it was then impossible to keep skis on.

During the works wich ended in 1958, Edouard Ravanel from Montroc, was victim of a deadly accident.

At that time, the snow plows didn't exist yet so when there was a lot of snow, they had to dig trenches to make way for the chairlifts. Sometimes, because of the wind, the tenches were coverd up and the people had to do it all over again in the morning.

At the end at Charamillon, the chair was taken by a piste worker who pushed it to the other side of the station to hang it on the cable of the second section. The sections were independent so they used a switching device that permitted either to continue to up the top, or to stop at Charamillon.

On bad days tourists used blankets to keep warm.

Winter 1966


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