Interview with Yohan Lemoine, Director of ESF Courchevel Moriond

​​Every year over 2,000,000 people learn to ski and snowboard at an ESF ski school in France. Steeped in 75 years of history and made up of passion, commitment, sharing and innovation, we speak with Yohan Lemoine, Director of ESF Courchevel Moriond below.

What’s the history of ESF Courchevel Moriond, and what was your own journey to becoming Director?

ESF Courchevel Moriond is the first ski school of Courchevel. It was created in 1949 around the only drag lift in the area, in the Moriond region.

Since the 70s, this ski school has been very dynamic: we organise two events every winter season and we offer ski, snowboard, off-piste, ski touring, cross country, and telemark lessons throughout winter.

Originally, I studied sports management, and since then I’ve been a ski instructor at the Moriond ski school for 20 years. What I really appreciate here is the diversity of students, from group lessons to private ski guiding. I took the leadership role of the ski school last year after being elected by the assembly of ski instructors. One of my objectives is to intrinsically link the development of the ski school to that of the Moriond resort.

How has the ski school become a pillar of its mountain community?

From the onset, this ski school has been the avant-garde in Courchevel. And we have never stopped innovating and questioning ourselves, improving our offer to match the demands of our clients and students.

What training do your instructors receive?

After a ski technical test, our instructors receive 15 days of training followed by a second ski test. Afterwards, there’s an important programme, which usually takes four to five seasons. This includes training courses of several weeks at the national ski school and complementary on-site training modules within the ski school covering instruction training, security, off-piste, and the learning curve of children and of adults.

What’s the secret to being a fantastic skier? What qualities do you need most?

The best way to become a great skier is to start as young as possible. If you start at a more advanced age, the best thing is to arrive in the best possible physical shape. In any case, our instructors will always support you, ensuring you thrive and enjoy, whatever the qualities you bring.

What does a typical day of skiing with ESF Courchevel look like?

There is no typical day as the diversity of opportunities and pupils is too broad. If we were really to sum it up, I would say we follow the sun and the best snow throughout Les 3 Vallées, taking you from Courchevel Moriond to Val Thorens, enjoying a delightful lunch in a restaurant with a perfect view.

What is the most extraordinary thing about skiing in the area?

The best thing here is without hesitation the snow quality. The resort is north-facing in aspect, so it keeps the snow fresh and good all winter long. After that the size of the slopes and the grooming are fantastic. The off-piste playground is particularly accessible to all types of skiers in Courchevel Moriond.

How does skiing, personally, make you feel?

It makes me feel free: free to accelerate or slow down; free to stay on the slope or to go into the wild; free to do one more run or to rest in an inspiring spot.

What kind of positive influence can the sport of skiing have on children?

I think skiing brings several positive impacts, particularly with physiology, health benefits from breathing fresh air, the friendships made, but also the competitive mindset, connection to nature and the opportunity to escape routine.

What’s your favourite ski run in the area, and why?

So many and none in particular. In Courchevel and Les 3 Vallées the pistes are changing every day depending on the snow quality, the grooming, the weather and the daily shape. This is precisely the objective of a ski instructor, to bring their client to the perfect spot. It’s not always the same but that is our job.

How do you hope the ski school will evolve over the coming years? And how about the resort of Courchevel itself?

For our Moriond ski school, I sincerely hope we will carry on innovating and meeting our guests’ requests, transforming ourselves to fit with each and every client’s aspiration. Beyond that, we are also very concerned about climate change; I hope we’ll be able to evolve a positive business plan taking more care of our environment.

In the same way, I am looking forward to Courchevel managing the green shift we are all expecting.

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