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French ski legend dies
Thursday October 18, 2012 - Email this article to a friend

Émile Allais has died aged 100. He set up the Ecole de Ski Francais, helped create modern ski resorts and is considered the first great French ski racer as he dominated the sport in the 1930s.

He was born in Megève in February 1912, the son of a baker. 

He won the first alpine skiing medal at the 1936 Olympics and was a World Champion in all ski disciplines. He dominated ski racing in the 1930s. 

At the 1937 World Championships in Chamonix he won gold in slalom, downhill and combined.

He went on to coach the French national ski team for 7 years.

Émile Allais went on to establish the Ecole de Ski Français that is the largest ski school in the world and has branches in every French ski resort. 

At the time his teaching methods were innovative as he brought race techniques to holiday skiers and broke away from the Arlberg technique taught by the Austrians.

He was instrumental is developing grooming and slope safety and was involved in ski resort development across the French Alps at resorts including Courchevel, La Plagne, Vars and Flaine.

Much of this came from working in the USA before bringing back the ideas to Europe.

He was closely involved with the development of equipment especially with the French ski-maker, Rossignol.

A keen off piste skier and climber he completed many first descents. There is a couloir in Courchevel named after him.

In 2005 he was invited to the French Senate in Paris to be honoured for his services to skiing.

He died in hospital in Sallanches in the French Alps on Wednesday after an illness.

Golden eraGolden era

















Below Émile Allais is interviewed by Tv8Mont-Blanc earlier this year as he turned 100. 

It is in French and interspersed with some lovely sepia ski footage.

Tv8Mont-Blanc shows Émile Allais downhill skiing.

For the spirit of the mountains

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