Liliane Nicolier

Lilliane Nicolier, ski teacher

I started skiing when I was three and it has always been my passion. Later, I took part in minor competitions, then more important ones, eventually as part of the Swiss team. It was natural to go on to obtain my ski-teaching qualification. Living in a region well-equipped with ski-pistes, I used occasionally to help out the ski-school by giving lessons. Then, by force of circumstance, ski-teaching became my full-time career. I adore being outdoors. Of course, sometimes it’s tough when it’s snowing and cold, but I love to be in my mountains. I also like contact with people – adults and children. I’ve found that I have a lot of patience. When I became a mother, I started to have a greater rapport with youngsters, who then grew up and, in their turn, entrusted me with their children. I meet students of all nationalities, often whose language I do not know. With children, I speak in French and with gestures : they learn by imititation. With older students, I can talk to them in German, English or Italian. In the case of those who speak none of these languages, I ask their parents to teach me some everyday phrases, such as « bend the knees » !

How do you say that in Japanese ? After all, Liliane has even taught Vin, the son of my friend Masahiro, to ski when he was five years old… Hiza magete !

Adults find imitating more difficult.

But during ski lessons we can have friendly exchanges, and reciprocal feelings, even though we can’t communicate through language.

Sometimes we encounter spoilt children to whom we must not just teach skiing but also how to be polite. Having said this, there are so many adorable children.

On the other hand, teaching handicapped people, whether physically or mentally disabled, is extremely rewarding, even if difficult. I remember a little girl of 13 who had been born with a dislocated hip, which made her incapable to turning in one direction. I tried to analyse her problem and to get to the bottom of it : I hate to admit defeat. Then, when she finally was able to turn in both directions I had tears in my eyes. And the look of satisfaction you could see written on her face made me love my career even more !

Truly, it makes you more fulfilled and happy to have a job that you love.

Translation : Gordon Douglas