In the 17th century, the popularity of Courmayeur was linked to thermal tourism, with the discovery of local sulphuric water sources. These natural springs were named after Victoire, Jean Baptiste and Marguerite in honour of these distinguished guests of the Savoy in Courmayeur, as well as many other personalities in the Turin court. Towards the second half of the eighteenth century, the exploration and study of the mountains in the Mont Blanc massif soon became a search to find the best way to reach the summit. After the first ascension in 1786 by the French, Courmayeur became, along with Chamonix, the capital of world alpinism and in 1850 it became the home of the first Alpine guides in Italy, the Society of Guides of Courmayeur (Société des Guides de Courmayeur). In the 1960s, following the construction of ski resorts, it became one of the most important ski centres in the Alpine Arc.