The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary French Skiers of all time. This list of famous French Skiers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of French Skiers.
With an HPI of 59.57, Jean-Claude Killy is the most famous French Skier. His biography has been translated into 38 different languages on wikipedia.
Jean-Claude Killy (born 30 August 1943) is a French former World Cup alpine ski racer. He dominated the sport in the late 1960s, and was a triple Olympic champion, winning the three alpine events at the 1968 Winter Olympics, becoming the most successful athlete there. He also won the first two World Cup titles, in 1967 and 1968.
With an HPI of 48.41, Marielle Goitschel is the 2nd most famous French Skier. Her biography has been translated into 21 different languages.
Marielle Goitschel (born 28 September 1945) is a French former alpine skier. Marielle is the younger sister of Christine Goitschel, another champion skier of the time, and the aunt of speed skier Philippe Goitschel. After great success in the 1962 World Championships and 1964 Winter Olympics, winning 5 medals including 3 golds, Goitschel was considered the world's best female skier. She continued her domination at the 1966 World Championships in Portillo, Chile, winning medals in all 4 events, with 3 golds and one silver. When the alpine skiing World Cup debuted a few months after those championships in January 1967, Goitschel was expected to again dominate the circuit that season. However, she narrowly lost the overall title to Nancy Greene of Canada, but did take the discipline cup in downhill and tied for the win in slalom with her compatriot Annie Famose. During the next season, she again missed the overall title, finishing only 4th while repeating as slalom champion. She won her final gold medal in slalom at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, and then retired from ski racing after that season. Goitschel's total of 11 World Championships medals in alpine skiing is second all-time among women to the 15 won by Christl Cranz of Germany (see the note below). Marielle and sister Christine were the first ever female siblings on the same individual's event Olympic podium, winning the gold (Christine) and silver (Marielle) medals in the 1964 Olympic Women's slalom. They would repeat the feat two days later, switching their gold-silver order, in the 1964 Olympic Women's giant slalom.
With an HPI of 48.18, Émile Allais is the 3rd most famous French Skier. His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.
Émile Allais (25 February 1912 – 17 October 2012) was a champion alpine ski racer from France; he won all three events at the 1937 world championships in Chamonix and the gold in the combined in 1938. Born in Megève, he was a dominant racer in the late 1930s and is considered to have been the first great French alpine skier. Allais won the bronze medal in the combined (downhill and slalom), the only alpine medal event at the 1936 Winter Olympics in Garmisch, Germany. These Olympics were the first to award medals in alpine skiing. The previous year, he had won the silver medal in the downhill and combined at the 1935 world championships. In 1937 he was a triple world champion at Chamonix, France, winning all three events (downhill, slalom, and combined). The following year at Engelberg, Switzerland, he won the combined, and took silver in the downhill and slalom. He created the École Française de Ski which taught innovative methods of Anton Seelos (who was his trainer and instructor), characterised by parallel turns, controlling the speed by sideslipping, and turning by ruade (French: kick, back kick), i.e. kicking the backs of the skis up and pivoting on the tips while rotating the body in the direction of the turn. The École du Ski Français (ESF) is now the biggest Ski school in the world in terms of numbers of ski teachers, and is present in every single French ski resort, and even abroad. After a spell in North and South America (Squaw Valley, California and Portillo, Chile) Allais held the post of technical director at Courchevel from 1954 to 1964, where he introduced many ideas from the U.S. regarding slope preparation and piste security. He later worked as a technical consultant for other resorts, notably La Plagne and Flaine. One of the Saulire couloirs at Courchevel is named after Allais. As a consultant to Skis Rossignol, Allais helped to design the laminated-wood Olympic 41 ski (1941), and the first aluminum skis to win major ski races, the Métallais (1959) and Allais 60 (1960). The Olympic 41 later served as the basis of Rossignol's very successful Strato (1964). In December 2005, 93-year-old Allais made the trip to the French Senate in Paris where he was honoured, along with a number of other ski instructors. His life has been all about skiing; he learned his skiing early, raced all over Europe, then coached the French Olympic ski team for seven years. Allais fought in World War II on skis, and even courted his wife at a ski meet. He turned 100 in February 2012.Allais died after an illness in a hospital in Sallanches in the French Alps on 17 October 2012.
With an HPI of 47.78, Henri Oreiller is the 4th most famous French Skier. His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.
Henri Jean Auguste Oreiller (5 December 1925 – 7 October 1962) was an alpine ski racer and Olympic gold medalist from France. He won two gold medals and a bronze at the 1948 Winter Olympics, becoming the most successful athlete those Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland.
With an HPI of 44.60, Christine Goitschel is the 5th most famous French Skier. Her biography has been translated into 17 different languages.
Christine Béranger-Goitschel (born 9 June 1944) is a former French alpine skier. She is the elder sister of fellow champion skier Marielle Goitschel and the aunt of the former speed skier Philippe Goitschel. Her sister Patricia was a national junior champion in the slalom in 1964.After great success in the 1964 Winter Olympics, she and her sister Marielle were considered the world's best female skiers. However, Goitschel fractured an ankle in 1966, and retired from her sporting career after the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. Christine and Marielle Goitschel were the first ever female siblings on the same individual event's Olympic podium, winning the gold (Christine) and silver (Marielle) medals in the 1964 Olympic slalom. They repeated the feat two days later, switching their gold-silver order, in the 1964 Olympic Women's giant slalom. Goitschel missed the 1968 Winter Olympics due to an injury and retired the same season. She later married her coach, Jean Béranger, and in 1970 they opened the ski resort of Val Thorens. Goitschel also published sports magazines. She was made a chevalier of the Légion d’honneur in 1995 and was promoted to an officer of the Légion d’honneur in 2009.
With an HPI of 43.57, Léo Lacroix is the 6th most famous French Skier. His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.
Léo Lacroix (born 26 November 1937) was a French alpine skier who competed in the 1960s. Competing in two Winter Olympics, he won a silver medal in the men's downhill event at Innsbruck in 1964.Lacroix took the Olympic Oath at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble.
With an HPI of 43.24, Annie Famose is the 7th most famous French Skier. Her biography has been translated into 16 different languages.
Annie Famose (born 16 June 1944) is a French former Alpine skier. She was a member of the dominating French alpine skiing national team in the 1960s. She won two medals at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, as well as three medals (including one gold in slalom) at the 1966 World Championships in Portillo, Chile.Famose was a versatile all-event skier who was a threat to win races in any discipline, but she excelled in the slalom. She won two World Cup slalom races in 1967, and had a total of 24 podium (top 3) finishes in slalom, giant slalom, and downhill in her career. She won the slalom World Cup title in 1967 (tied with Marielle Goitschel), while placing third in the race for the overall title. She retired from competition after the 1972 season.
With an HPI of 42.53, François Bonlieu is the 8th most famous French Skier. His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.
François Pierre Philippe Bonlieu (21 March 1937 – 18 August 1973) was a French alpine skier. Born at Juvincourt-et-Damary, Aisne, Bonlieu debuted for the French alpine skiing national team when he was 15 years old. From 1958 until 1959 he became a four times French Champion (twice in the Giant Slalom, once in the Slalom and Alpine Combined). He was murdered at Croisette in Cannes after an argument.
With an HPI of 40.78, Luc Alphand is the 9th most famous French Skier. His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.
Luc Alphand (born 6 August 1965) is a former World Cup alpine ski racer from France. He specialized in the speed events and later became a race car driver.
With an HPI of 40.23, Michèle Jacot is the 10th most famous French Skier. Her biography has been translated into 15 different languages.
Michèle Jacot (born 5 January 1952) is a French former alpine skier. Born at Le Pont-de-Beauvoisin, she won the Alpine Skiing World Cup of the 1970 season and World Champion in the combined event (1970). As of 2011, she is the last and only French alpine skier to win the Women's Overall Alpine Skiing World Cup. She also competed at the 1972 Winter Olympics and the 1976 Winter Olympics.
Pantheon has 41 people classified as skiers born between 1912 and 1998. Of these 41, 36 (87.80%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living skiers include Jean-Claude Killy, Marielle Goitschel, and Christine Goitschel. The most famous deceased skiers include Émile Allais, Henri Oreiller, and François Bonlieu. As of April 2022, 13 new skiers have been added to Pantheon including Henri Oreiller, Annie Famose, and François Bonlieu.
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Which Skiers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 5 most globally memorable Skiers since 1700.