Since 1938 we teach snow sports at Les Paccots.
With each passing year, rather than ageing and becoming ankylosed, the Les Paccots ski and snowboard school become more dynamic and youthful. As it celebrates its 75th anniversary, it is ever more forward-looking and youthful. As proof, no fewer than 42,000 hours of ski lessons were given in 2012. We’ve come a long way since our founding in 1938. At the time, it was Paul Pauli, president of the Société de développement de Châtel-Saint-Denis, Auguste Millasson, the canton’s first instructor, and Roger Diserens who got the ball rolling. They founded the Swiss Ski School of Châtel-Saint-Denis / Les Paccots. The year 1938 marked an important turning point for the resort. At the same time as the ski school was being set up, the Monte-Pente de Corbetta SA company was also created. The beginnings were modest, with a small team of two instructors to pass on their knowledge. It wasn’t until 1940 that the ski school joined the Association of Swiss Ski Schools (AESS). Then, in 1990, the AESS and the Interassociation Suisse du Ski merged, considerably changing the profession of ski instructor. Recognition is now federal, and snowboarding has made its appearance.
Professionalism on the skis and in the uniform
Training is more advanced, and the ESSS itself has integrated in-house courses. Initial instructors and new recruits have become more professional. This professionalization can also be seen in the instructor’s image with students. While some current members readily admit that, at one time, après-ski was part of the ritual and that the instructor’s jacket could contribute to the charm of the job, today there’s no question of watering down a day’s skiing or wearing the uniform outside lessons. But one thing’s for sure: the good atmosphere at ESSS has lasted through the years, from the first day of its creation to the present day. And that’s despite the ever-increasing number of students and instructors, who now number over one hundred and twenty accompanied by auxiliaries.
More and more children on the slats
It’s not just the ski school’s membership that has changed dramatically, but also its customers. Mostly adults in the early years, many more children now take to the slopes at Les Paccots behind an instructor. More and more children, but also younger ones. The Jardin des Neiges was created in 1982 and has recently been completely redesigned to cater for the youngest guests. What can we say about the evolution of equipment and prices? In 1938, a day’s course cost 3.50 fr., a half-day 2 fr. Nowadays, a half-day course costs 42 fr.
This has not prevented the school’s clientele from remaining loyal and family-oriented. Since the beginning of the school and the resort, skiers from the Riviera have made up the lion’s share of Les Paccots’ clientele, which has endured through the years in the hearts of skiers and instructors alike.