7 Ski Resorts with Interesting Etymologies

1) Avoriaz

Ski Total | Avoriaz town center

The plateau on which the resort was built belonged to the acclaimed Chablais family, the counts of Rovorée. Taking the counts name, the plateau was originally named ‘Rovorée’. Then, dropping the first syllable, it became known as ‘Avorée’. Later, simply owing to the passing of time, it became known as ‘d’Avoréaz’, which is extremely similar to ‘Avoriaz’, as it is known today.
Information sourced from Avoriaz.com.

Thinking about spending your ski holiday in Avoriaz? Then check out this blog – Top 5 Activities in Avoriaz!

2) Les Gets

Ski Total | image of a piste in Les Gets, with mountains as a back drop

Originating in the 11th Century, Les Gets has always been known for its wood; utilising the material to make everything from the main building structure, to chimneys, partition walls and roofing tiles. The name ‘Les Gets’ derives from the local dialect words ‘gitte’, or ‘giette’, which refers to the corridors utilised to send logs rapidly down the mountain.
Information sourced from mountainxtra.com.

3) Les Deux Alpes

Ski Total | skiers on a ski lift next to the Les Deux Alpes sign

Surprisingly, the “two Alps” do not refer to the two facing mountain-sides that the resort comprises of, but rather to the two adjacent areas of mountain pasture on the north-south plateau on which the resort was constructed. These pasture areas (or ‘alps’) are part of the two villages that lie in the deep valleys; Mont-de-Lans in the North and Vénosc in the south.
Information sourced from 2alpesnet.com.

4) Meribel

Ski Total | snowy chalet in Meribel, taken during sunrise.

The first chalets were built at an altitude of 1450m, just beyond the existing hamlet of Mussillon (now incorporated into the resort). As Mussillon was thought difficult to pronounce, the new resort was named ‘Méribel’, after the local name for a pasture situated near Méribel Village. The name ‘Méribel’ derives from the Latin ‘mirare’, meaning ‘to look at’ and ‘bel’, meaning beautiful.
Information sourced from merinet.com.

Thinking about a ski holiday in Meribel? Then click here to find out why it is the place to be!

5) Obergurgl

Ski Total | Obergurgl town built into the mountain with bluebird skies

The name ‘Gurgl’ was first mentioned in historical documents in 1250. It refers to a retainer of the Earls of Montalban, from Italy’s Vinschgau region ‘Heberhardus von Gurgele’, which is derived from the old word ‘Gurgall’, meaning ‘village in the glacier-crowned area’.
Information sourced from obergurgl.com.

Often referred to as the ‘diamond of the Alps’, Obergurgl boasts incredible snow conditions. Read more in our blog: Skiing Bliss in Snow-sure Obergurgl!

6) Ischgl

Ski Total | snowy mountains in Ischgl

Ischgl first began appearing on maps when Rhaeto-Romans ventured over the Fimberpass in search of summer pasturelands. It was originally established as the old settlement of ‘Yscla’, but later evolved to become known as ‘Ischgl’.
Information sourced from indianchieftravel.com.


7) Lech

Ski Total | snowy Lech town center with igloo

Originally, Lech was named ‘Tannberg am Lech’ and until the 19th century, it was simply known as ‘Tannberg’. Over time, its original name gave rise to the present name ‘Lech’. Want to know more? Then click here to read our blog about the history of Lech.

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