Who are we?

François Roux

The early years

My schooling was interrupted after I obtained a CAP in auto mechanics. The first part of my professional life was therefore devoted to repairing cars in a garage on the French Riviera. Then I moved into aeronautical maintenance, as an electromechanic in the French Navy. And, fortuitously, I discovered Briançon and its mountains, winter and summer.


I went back to school to obtain a CAP in general mechanical drawing. Then I continued in this way by passing a diploma of draftsman of study (AFPA), always in general mechanics. Afterwards, the desire for the mountains pushed me to return to Briançon where I found a job as a home appliance repairman, thanks to which I travelled through the valleys of the Briançon region, saw the peaks and decided to go there. How I had been amazed at the age of 18 by the sensations of gliding that alpine skiing provides. I decided to apply for a job as a perchman at the resort of Montgenèvre, in order to perfect my techniques, until I had the idea of becoming an instructor. At the same time, I met a high mountain guide, a perchman like me, with whom I got on well and who took me into this environment that both attracts and frightens me.

This change in leisure activity has reoriented my professional life. Because if you want to ski in the mountains all year round, if you are not wealthy, you have to become an instructor and guide. After several failures in the selection for the instructor certification, I worked at the Union des Centres Sportifs de Plein Air (UCPA) where trainers prepared me for the exams. So, I took the first degree of instructor, the aspiring guide, the second degree and the guide.

The forties

So I worked as an alpine ski instructor and high mountain guide at UCPA and found that I was not relevant to pass on the sports techniques that I used on a daily basis. So I asked the head of the training department how I could improve my pedagogical and didactic skills. He offered me, within the framework of an individual training leave (CIF), to take part in a university diploma in educational sciences, which allowed me to better transmit my knowledge and to discover that I didn’t know what to transmit in alpine skiing. Because the young competitors with whom I would compete on Sunday in the regional competitions, were not at all carrying out the techniques institutionalized by the French Skiing Memento.

Five years later, which is the legal deadline to obtain a new CIF, I approached several universities (ergonomics and technical sciences of sports activities [STAPS]) to participate in a training course that could enlighten me. It was in Orsay that I enrolled in the STAPS Master’s degree course in education and motor skills. Then in DEA, at the laboratory of didactics of sciences and techniques of the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Cachan, under the direction of Jean-Louis Martinand, then in doctoral thesis with Alain Durey, in collaboration with the service of advanced research of the Rossignol skis and the DTN of the French Ski Federation. And it is during this research work that we learned to model, in three dimensions, the system “polyarticulated body of the skier-skier-physical context”.

Middle age!

Since then, I have put our discoveries to the test of real training, for six years with the Deux Alpes sports club. With the coaches of this club, we have formalised an “observation grid” of skiers’ techniques, which aims to objectify their evaluations and put into words their advice and a technical progression that proposes to go through the stages of technicality, along a continuum where a single motor skill is modified, from initiation to the highest level of competition. I have participated in teaching alpine skiing technology to second level coaching trainees at the National School of Skiing and Mountaineering. I have collaborated and still collaborate with coaches and World Cup skiers. With some success, I organise training courses to prepare apprentice instructors for the tests of this certification. I give ski lessons and supervise mountaineering and climbing activities.

Hubert Verwilghen

Ingénieur Quality Control System measurement and control
Process Control, Software
Engineering Practices and System design