Queries, comments and responses regarding the history of skiing and snowboarding.
Monday, December 13, 2010
The Man Who Taught Us Modern Skiing
Georges Joubert studied world-class skiers and translated their winning techniques into lessons that recreational skiers could learn
By Ron LeMaster
Georges Joubert, a giant in the world of ski coaching and instruction, passed away on November 1, 2010. From the late 1950s through the late 1970s he analyzed and described, in print and pictures, the significant movements of skiing being developed by the best competitive skiers in the world, and how the rest of us could learn to make them ourselves. It is fair to say that no single person has had a greater impact on our understanding of how modern skiing works, and how it can be taught.
Joubert was a professor of physical education and the president of the Grenoble University club when Jean Vuarnet joined its skiing program in the mid-1950s. Vuarnet was eighteen years old, and had done little skiing before then. After four years of training under Joubert, he was the French national champion in slalom, giant slalom and downhill, and in 1960 won the Olympic gold medal in downhill at Squaw Valley. Joubert went on to train many top-level racers, including world championship and World Cup winning skiers Patrick Russel and Perrine Pelen, and did an ill-fated stint as head coach of the French Ski Team. Although it is commonly thought that Joubert unilaterally fired the leading members of the French men’s World Cup team in 1973, that action was the majority decision of a panel of five, one of whom was Joubert, who cast a dissenting vote and later characterized the panel's decision as a “gross error.” Yet, over the following decades, he accepted responsibility and suffered the ensuing criticism without complaint. Read more!