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French Skiers – A Story of Persistence, Success, and Versatility

Les Trois Vallées, i.e., The Three Valleys, is one of the most renowned ski areas in Europe. Set in the Savoie department and partly situated in Vanoise National Park, this region is close to Italy and Switzerland.

Such a geographically attractive position has been fertile soil for tourism and winter sports.

Hence, La Tania and its surroundings have served as the training ground for many successful French skiers. In this article, we’ll remember some of them and their competitive success.\

Laure Pequegnot

Laure Pequegnot has been one of the most prominent female French skiers in the last 25 years.

During her senior career, Pequegnot participated in three Winter Olympic Games, having won a silver medal in slalom at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

That same year, she won “the small crystal globe” in slalom, which was her biggest success in World Cup competitions.

At her peak, she competed against some wonderful skiers, like Croat Janica Kostelic and Swede Anja Paerson. In many World Cup and Olympic races at that time, it was almost impossible to predict the winner. Today, the competition is not that harsh but guessing the results in advance is not much easier. If you like to watch skiing and wish to place a bet or two, take a look at the results from previous races, check out the standings, and scan the web for the best odds. As the Olympics approaches, you might find certain bookmakers are offering hugely improved odds for a specified event, skiing may be included. Sometimes, the money won in excess of the normal odds is paid as bonus money, so always check the terms before placing any bets on these promotions (source:

Marielle Goitschel

Born in 1945, Marielle Goitschel is one of the most successful woman skiers in the 20th century, not only in France but also on a global scale.

The shiniest trophies in her cabinet are the gold medals from the Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck (giant slalom) and Grenoble (slalom) in 1964 and 1968, respectively. She also won a silver medal at the 1964 WOG in Innsbruck.

Even more impressive are the seven gold medals she won at World Championships between 1962 and 1968 in all official disciplines at that time: slalom, giant slalom, downhill, and combined.


Luc Alphand

Born in Briançon in 1965, Luc Alphand was the most prominent French skier in the 1990s and has remained one of the most notable winter athletes originating from France.

His senior career lasted from 1987 till 1997, and he has been on a constant rise during that period. Alphand won the overall title in 1997, plus the small crystal globes in super G and downhill. It was his threepeat in terms of downhill World Cup titles, as he had already won the downhill title in 1995 and 1996.

At the peak of his skiing career, Alphand decided to retire and soon started pursuing a racing career, from the European Le Mans Series to the FIA GT Championships. In 2006, Alphand won the Dakar Rally, as the first and only (former) skier with such an accomplishment.

Jean-Claude Killy

Born in a Parisian suburb in 1943, Jean-Claude Killy is one of the most awarded male French skiers of all time. Having originated from a non-mountainous part of France, he first needed to attend some intensive skiing lessons to become a competitive junior skier.

A competing contemporary of Marielle Goitschel, Killy won three gold medals at the 1968 Winter Olympic Games in Grenoble (downhill, giant slalom, and slalom) and won another six golds at the Alpine Skiing World Championships between 1966 and 1968. Note down that at that time, medals from the Olympic Games counted together with medals from World Championships (the same goes for Ms. Goitschel above). Despite these overlapping medals, Killy had one of the most impressive skiing careers in the 1960s and has been remembered as an all-around alpine skiing specialist.

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