Since 1945, only five presidents have succeeded Gaston Cathiard, the founding father of the National Union of French Ski Instructors (SNMSF), demonstrating, according to La Fontaine's adage, that "Patience and length of time are more than strength or that rage "...
Gaston Cathiard | The builder (1945-1969, esf Val d'Isère)
Originally from Uriage where he made his first slips, Gaston Cathiard was an undisputed leader, unifier, charismatic and inspired. His various professional experiences, from his father's grocery store to Félix Potin in Paris, then on snow in Chamrousse, Mont-Dore, Villard-de-Lans or even in Chamonix, where he was the guide for two seasons, taught him in particular listening to others.
Director of esf Val d'Isère (1942-1960), sensing the rush for white gold, he succeeded in convincing Avalins, Chamoniards, Mégevans, Chablaisiens, Dauphinois and Pyrenees to unite to create the SNMSF. A year later, he was also at the origin, alongside Armand Charlet and Etienne Livacic, of the National Union of Guides ... For nearly a quarter of a century, he largely contributed to the fame of French skiing before leaving the keys to the red house of which "he made the concrete", says Gilles Chabert, and to start a brilliant career as an industrialist at Poma. Unfortunately, he lost his life in the Himalayas in October 1983.