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Chandolin, from yesterday to today

In 1250, the village was called “ Eschandulyns ” a name that may derive from the Latin “ escandulina ” a term that means “ shingles ”, the larch planks used for covering roofs. Probably until the fourteenth century, the inhabitants of Leuk had pastures in Chandolin which they reached from the Illgraben side. The road was abandoned subsequent to increasingly signficant collapses in this sector.

   Map of Chandolin

 

Beginning in the fifteenth century, the site had a mayen (medium altitude pastures associated with small buildings) which later became a village, with the unique feature of possessing mayens downstream at La Reche (1700 m) and at Soussillon (1380m). During the remuages, movements between the mountain and the plain, Soussillon was an intermediate stop. Going back to the village from the valley of the Rhone, the inhabitants of Chandolin left the carts and the equipment they did not need higher up behind. They continued on foot using mules to carry different loads and fodder for livestock. The path that connected Soussillon to Chandolin was very narrow and did not allow the passage of carts.

Chandolin was part of the parish of Anniviers which was based in Vissoie, and after in 1806, became part of the parish of Luc. In 1884 the parish was divided in two, separating Luc and Chandolin.

By 1897, with the opening of the Grand Hotel by Pierre Pont, summer tourism began to develop. Major changes were made in the 1960s : the road from Saint-Luc was built after years of transport by foot or with mules; the Plampras road leading to the old village, built by residents was paved in 1943; the Plampras Hotel was built and the area around the tourist office (1979 m) developed.

The construction of the Illhorn ski lift in 1961 marked the beginning of the ski resort of Chandolin.

 

The new road

The construction of the road between Saint-Luc and Chandolin marked the beginning of a new era : “ The first time I went through the new road, I was on foot with my mother and my uncle. The buses were not yet coming up to Chandolin. We went down to Saint-Luc to take it. The arrival of the postal buses facilitated our movements towards the valley of the Rhone. The world opened up for us. We took the bus every Sunday night to get to Sierre to continue our education. But what a pleasure to go back on Saturday for the weekend and school holidays. With the arrival of tourists, people lived better. Chandolin continued its momentum through motivated people and became a winter and summer resort, the one you love today and where I still live. ” (Huguette Epiney)

 

Chandolin before and now

Much work was done by the inhabitants of Chandolin to transform this small village into a resort.“ It’s winter, it snows. You come to Chandolin for holidays. The main road is clear. You enter the village without difficulty. If the snow continues to fall, the plow will return soon, however... in the years 1940-1950 :

... Nobody was talking yet about roads. The narrow roads were cleared by the men of the village with shovels. They cleared the snow so that cows had access to the basins and that children could go to school, or that the priest could go to church. When the snow continued to fall, the men worked tirelessly back and forth on the same paths. Sometimes they harnessed a triangular wooden snow plow on the back of a mule.

It’s summer, and you can see a farmer in his field cutting hay with a gasoline-powered machine. Soon, a self-loading tractor loads the hay to transport it to the community stable. It will then be distributed to the cows with a silo during the winter. Troughs allow animals to drink without leaving the barn, however ... in the years 1940-1950 :

... The meadows were cut down by hand with scythes, carefully sharpened with a stone, for hours. Once cut, the hay was collected in a pile and then deposited on a sheet that was tied very tightly with a rope. The farmers carried loads on their heads into the barns of the village. In winter, there was no elevator, as there is now. The farmers carried the hay from the barn to the stable, and fed the cows. In addition, twice a day, it was necessary to drive the cows to the village basin for watering. Throughout most of the winter, the cattle remained in the mayens, where the summer hay was stored. ” (Huguette Epiney)