France Emerges As Surprise Contender for 2030 Winter Olympics

Julia Schneemann | | Industry NewsIndustry NewsOlympicsOlympics
French flag
France has emerged as surprise contender for the 2030 Winter Olympics. | Picture: Olympics Website

France surprised everyone this week by announcing its intention to bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics in a lengthy press release late on Tuesday, July 18, 2023. France is also the host nation for the 2024 Summer Olympics, and the French Alpine regions of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur hope to build on the momentum of the Paris Olympics, and jointly announced the plan to bid for the 2030 Winter Games.

“Laurent Wauquiez, President of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, and Renaud Muselier, President of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region, have today expressed their wish to propose to the sports movement and the State that they submit a joint bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to host the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”

Biggest Ski Resort
Les 3 Vallées is just one resort in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. | Picture: Les 3 Vallées Facebook

The four sponsors of the project – the two regions as well as the national Olympic and national Paralympic committee ‘CNOSF’ and ‘CPSF’ – are seeking to align their bid with the new IOC rules. “Together, we must imagine the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games of the future in the context of global warming,” the joint press release states, stressing that they are aware of “the challenges linked to the preservation of biodiversity and the acceleration of global warming“ and are aiming to “rely on existing infrastructures, some of which were built during the Albertville Winter Games in 1992“ in order to host “Games that respect balance, Games that promote transitions in the mountain world, economical Games and popular Games. It is this challenge that we are ready to take up.” France has hosted the Winter Olympics three times previously: 1924 in Chamonix, 1968 in Grenoble, and 1992 in Albertville.

The bid will need the support of the French state, and the four sponsors have met on Wednesday July 19, at the Elysée Palace in France with French President Emmanuel Macron and Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castera. The outcome of these meetings has not been made public as of yet. Joint work will be carried out over the coming weeks, with all the relevant government departments in order to identify the strengths of the French bid, and they will then “collectively reach a decision by mid-September 2023, following broad consultation.”

Paris, France, will host the 2024 Summer Olympics. | Picture: Studios 2 TV Instagram

The IOC has pushed back the date for making a decision on the host for the 2030 Winter Olympics after several potential bidders dropped out of the bidding contest. Barcelona, Spain, withdrew its bid as it could not come to an agreement on hosting the Games in the Pyrenees region, where most of the snow events would be held. Sapporo, Japan, decided to put its bid on ice, following the bribing scandal surrounding the Tokyo Summer Olympics. While Sapporo’s mayor wants to forge ahead with the 2030 bid, the Japanese Olympic Committee said, it would rather support a 2034 Sapporo bid. Likewise, Salt Lake City, UT, made it known that they would rather host the 2034 Winter Games, to avoid competing with the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Games.

Stockholm-Åre, Sweden, emerged as a late bidder earlier this year and is planning to make a formal bid after wrapping up a four-month feasibility study in June. Sweden had originally bid for  the 2026 Winter Games, but had lost out to Milan-Cortina, Italy.

The International Olympic Committee ‘IOC’ had been pushing Switzerland to submit a bid, but the reclusive Alpine nation has been reluctant to submit a bid as public support for hosting a Winter Olympic is low. Switzerland has held regional referendums in the past about hosting the Winter Olympics in the cantons Bern, Graubünden/Grischa or Valais/Wallis and were met with resounding negative votes between  54% and 77% of residents voting against the project.

La Vialattea
Head right for Italy, a sign in the La Vialattea ski area which stretches across the border from France to Italy. | Picture:

Ski resorts in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes include the largest interconnected ski area in the world, Les Trois Vallées, which has a massive 360 miles (600km) of groomed runs in total, as well as the third largest ski area Paradiski (La Plagne/Les Arcs) which boasts 160 lifts and 264 miles (425 km) of groomed ski runs. Ski resorts in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur include the fifth largest ski areas in the world, Via Lattea (which means ‘Milky Way’ in Italian), which also connects into Italy. The resort boasts 70 ski lifts and 250 miles (400km) of groomed runs in total and is situated in the Piedmont region on the French-Italian border, 90 minutes from Turin airport or 2.5 hours from Milan Malpensa airport, and combines the Italian ski areas of Claviere, Sansicario, Sauze d’Oulx, Pragelato, and Sestriere with the French resort Montgenévre. The ski area was host to the on-mountain events during the Turin Winter Olympics in 2006 and host to FIS World Cup events every year and would be more than sufficiently well equipped to host Olympic skiing races.


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