First of all Christophe can you tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are and where you come from?
I’m from les Contamines-Montjoie. I’m 29 years old and learnt to ski at a very early age. I was a member of the local ski club and enjoyed competing. Today, I’m a ski instructor for the French Ski School (ESF) in Hauteluce. I live in Les Contamines with my 8 year old daughter Lucie.
Can you tell us a little about your career path?
I studied mechanics and did four summer seasons canoeing in the Ardeche before starting work as an apprentice joiner. For the past ten winter seasons I have instructed at the ESF ski school in Hauteluce. I started here at age 19 and I am due to pass my final instructors diploma.
Why did you decide to teach in Hauteluce?
The atmosphere in Hauteluce is quite different from larger ski schools, a rather more family atmosphere. I started here as a trainee a decade ago, met a lot of nice people and decided to stay.
How many instructors teach in Hauteluce?
There are 5 male instructors, unfortunately no women! Before, we were independent but now the administrative and secretarial duties are linked to the ESF ski school in Les Contamines-Montjoie.
What type of lessons are popular?
Private lessons are declining because of the current economic situation but group lessons remain popular! We have created a new structure with a few children from Les Saisies who don’t wish to be part of the local ski club. This is a fun project that involves both skiing and snowboarding. There’s an order amongst the instructors, I’m third out of five. We have great seasons with plenty of work for us all, even this Christmas when the snow conditions were far from optimal!
Do you have many clients in January?
In January we work mainly with school groups. There’s a holiday centre near the slopes in Hauteluce. This structure provides us with sufficient work in January. During the half term holidays we teach children that come here on holiday camps.
And in the summer months ?
In summer I’m a joiner but I also guide disabled visitors on holiday in the mountains and have done so for the past 5 years. The camp is based in les Contamines-Montjoie at the Hotel Gélinotte. We organize trips that last two weeks with two nights in a mountain refuge, walking or 4 x 4. On our 4 x 4 circuits we cover the Beaufortain region, Saint-Gervais, les Contamines-Montjoie and Chamonix. This is a very interesting part of my job!
Thank you for your time and Happy Christmas!