The Ski Club in a mountain resort is THE place to belong – a champion breeding ground coveted by all the village children who dream of competing in their chosen discipline.
Small children join the ASCCM at first, a reservoir for the local club. They then integrate the Ski Club with its friendly, experienced and talented coaches, high level competitors themselves and past members of the club like Magda, Quentin and Choc. They work hard to give children the desire to progress and maybe even the opportunity to pursue a career in sport. Bastien, the cross-country coach, has been in place for 8 years and is seconded in biathlon the by Alex Aubert, former member of the French biathlon team.
From their earliest age, kids get a taste of pleasure and victory but also learn perseverance and tenacity through their efforts. They face the heavy demands of intensive training, disappointments, choices, sacrifices and injury whilst maintaining confidence and enthusiasm to continue and progress. Only the highly motivated get to race at the top.
In September 2011 the Ski Club in Les Contamines celebrated 100 years. Initially, it was created to teach the young residents of the village hamlets. At that time the Nordic disciplines were very popular, cross-country and ski jumping. Alpine skiing first appeared in the 1930s.
Among those who competed at a high level, certain names remain engraved in the sporting history of les Contamines Montjoie:
Downhill: André SIMOND, Magda MATTEL
Giant Slalom: François BONLIEU, Laurent GUFFOND
Ski Jump :Regis and Robert REY preceded by Didier MOLLARD
Nordic combined: Ludovic ROUX
Telemark: Ludovic CALLAMARD
without forgetting Benjamin Raffort, Marie Marchand Arvier or Jason Duperthuy who all brought medals back to Les Contamines.
On the current circuits…
Coline Mattel, Noellic Lakshmi-Blanchard, Thomas Roch Dupland (ski jump), Nicolas Raffort (descent), Anouk Errard and Candice Peillex (downhill), Marie Marguet (snowboard), Nicolas Martin and Thomas Strappazzon (Nordic combined) and Antoine Bouvier (telemark) continue to represent Les Contamines-Montjoie at both national and international levels.
Today, the ski club has approximately 300 members, including more than 60 competitors in three different disciplines: downhill, cross-country/biathlon, ski jump/Nordic combined.
Les Contamines Ski Club is dynamic and efficient. A number of volunteers and ESF instructors also help supervise races and events. The most recent events included:
– The World Cup Ski Cross in 2012 (for the 11th consecutive year),
– The French Nordic Championships in 2013,
– The Telemark World Cup in 2011 and late 2013,
– The National Nordic Combined Criterium for young skiers / special ski jump in 2012 and 2014,
– The 4th stage of the SAMSE Biathlon National Tour this February
On 19th February , the Ski Club organized a big party:
On the programme: a fun team ski competition between members of the ESF and youngsters from the Ski Club. The event started at 12:30 with a picnic at the top of the François Bonlieu stadium. The sun was shining and the coaches were all present too: Magda, Florian and Quentin from the Ski Club, Farid and Manu from the ESF.
On this occasion I took the opportunity to chat with some of the kids…
Matthew, age 13, does cross-country skiing with Bastien and ski jumping with Choc. He was here to participate in the event, even though it’s not his specialty, “just for the fun” he said, “and to spend time with his friends.”
Elliot, also age 13, trained by Magda and Florian, likes Giant slalom and competing with his mates. Others don’t agree, there’s too much competition!
Antoine (U14) prefers slalom. His idol is the World Champion J – Baptiste Grange.
All the kids regret the disappearance of the snowboard section which failed to survive with only 8 members despite some good results by Justine, Alison, Mauranne, Marie and Paul. Marie has continued successfully despite.
The U16 group are more reserved: Mathilde, Alice and Emilie all think that the Ski Club is great fun and excellent preparation to become an instructor. Anouk, successful in slalom and super-G also enjoys snowboarding. She was Vice French Champion in Super G in 2014 . Candice continues to progress and is due to participate in the ‘Topolino’, a prestigious international competition.
It was impossible to speak to each and every child, time was running out and the race was due to start. I did however manage to exchange a few words with the little ones trained by Quentin. They were all smiles!
A great course awaited the young competitors… a ski jump, an upward loom, a relay, a pursuit between slalom poles and a giant slalom to finish! 2 legs in teams of 2 with 45 teams participating.
The race took place in good spirit; the battles were fierce and the atmosphere wild. The racers all did their best, finishing exhausted but happy. The event was a great success!
The results were announced in the entertainment all that evening. Olivier and Damien represented the ESF. Antoine Bouvier, Thomas Strappazzon, and Marie Marguet, among the current champions from Les Contamines, were invited to present the trophies. Before the buffet, Gaëlle, the ski-club secretary, commented with enthusiasm videos of other important sporting events. Music and dancing continued late into the night.
Les Contamines Ski Club is a big family. The club has succeeded in training several champions in a number of disciplines and their future is bright!