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Megeve was home to one of the great names in the history of downhill skiing, Emile Allais, who died six months after reaching his centenary, in autumn 2012.
The influence of the great man has travelled around the world, but although he is now gone, you will find plenty of memories of him in the village, and these are worth seeking out.
Allais was born in Megeve in 1912 the son of the village baker, just a few years before the transformation of the little village into a world-class ski area by Noémie de Rothschild, the wife of Baron Maurice de Rothschild, and 21 years before the first ski lift was installed. So Allais grew up during those crucial years of development and developed into a great skier, taking four gold medals and four silver medals in the early World Championships of 1935, ‘37 and ‘38 and a bronze in the 1936 Winter Olympics at Garmisch-Partenkirchen where he shook hands with Hitler, not knowing who he was at the time, but didn’t join in the Nazi salute.
However Allais’ influence was just beginning, he founded the École du Ski Français (ESF), now the largest ski school in the world; he created the Rossignol Allais 60, the first metal-edged skis which gave French victory in the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley. At various times he coached the Canadian and US teams and helped in the creation of ski resorts including Courchevel and the Chilean resort of Portillo. Famous names he taught to ski included Cary Grant and Brigitte Bardot. The list of achievements goes on.
But back when he was first winning medals, Allais had also been a tailor, working in his uncle's shop, where he helped his uncle create special trousers for skiing, an idea that had not dawned on anyone else at that point. His ‘fuseau’ was the height of ski fashion for the next 50 years. You can still shop where Emile worked all those years ago in the central Place de l'Eglise (AAllard, 148 place de l'Eglise; +33 (0)4.50.21.03.85. aallard.com), now run by his children and grandchildren.
You can of course also ski the Allais piste above the village and now you'll know where the name comes from when you see it on other pistes around the French Alps.
Projected Opening Ski Season: 12/22/2012
Projected Closing Ski Season: 04/21/2013
Years Open: 100
Average Snowfall: 200"
Pros: Domaine magnifique
Cons: altitude peu Ã©levÃ©e
Cons: Impolite, rude, vain staff
Great place to ski & people watch. Fun & relaxed night life. Not that expensive if you have money (should have taken your parents credit card Tom). All in all the real... [! full_review
Great if you like stuck-up French people, snotty bar owners and ridiculously strict night club entry policies. Howeverâ¦â¦â¦. Although the resort is at a low altitude compared to many others in the... [! full_review
Megeuve, Megev, Megeve, Megive
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