Skiing in France today is like a trip into the 21st century. In the Olympic winter ahead, visitors to the Grenoble Games will discover a string of superb new playgrounds, many of them never before heard of. Pra-Loup, La Plagne, Flaine, Tignes, Avoriaz. The architecture of these resorts is a triumphantly audacious breakaway from mountain cuteness, the pistes are the best cared-for in all of Europe. Jean-Claude Killy and Marielle Goitschel, whose home town of Val-d'ls√®re (right) has Europe's best skiing, have given French skiing one shot in the stretch pants. Another has come from government tax relief on recreational building. If the French continue to string téléphériques across the Alps at the present pace, one soon will be able to ski all the way from Geneva to Nice. French ski fashion is as daring as French ski architecture. The clothes designed by Mich√®le Rosier of Paris are the most advanced in the world. Her Olympic year collection, including the quilted jump suit at right, adorns the cover and helps decorate the next 12 pages. Following, on page 59, begins a guide to the best of skiing in France in an Olympic winter and a guide to the whereabouts of the Mich√®le Rosier ski gear at home and abroad. Finally, on page 80, Jack Olsen presents his own salty impression of Grenoble on the eve of the Games.
Ski leaps into the future in a quilted velvet suit stretched out in an Avoriaz porthole. A skyscraper soars above La Plagne snowfields and a para-skier descends on them.
Motorcycle jackets, helmets and goggles are Rosier's revved-up look. At La Plagne the Rolls-Royce of lifts glides to a view of Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.
The ski house of tomorrow is a double-hulled prefab, helmeted in polyester; the racing suit of today is of the same superstretch nylon worn by French team.
The shingled facade of a condominium is as rugged as an Avoriaz cliff. The shock colors of a quilted jumpsuit echo those of Avoriaz lift-crew uniforms.
Courchevel is the kind of place where the girls ski in minipants and the lights glow until dawn. It was the first town in Europe built solely for skiers.
Ski jump suits of parachute nylon tower above Grenoble, as seen from the Saint-Nizier hill.