About Us

French Swiss Ski College calls Appalachian Ski Mountain home for a variety of reasons. Since 1962, Appalachian Ski Mountain has prided itself in being a family friendly resort and has been the mountain of choice for skiers of all ages and abilities. The coexistence of great beginner terrain, family friendly environment, and professional snow-loving instructors is what has led the French-Swiss Ski College to teach over 1,000,000 people here at this mountain!

History of French Swiss

Humble Beginnings

During the winter of 1968-9, Jim Cottrell, a ski instructor and head of the National Ski Patrol at Appalachian Ski Mountain, decided to offer a snow skiing course at Central Piedmont Community College.

Thus, an independent ski school was born. Appalachian Ski Mountain Manager, Grady Moretz Jr., agreed to allow the school to use the slopes to conduct this new snow skiing course. The first, five-week course consisted of one hundred and twenty three students and became the first of many to be conducted by this new school.

Meanwhile Jack Lester, a retired show business promoter, was spending the winter at a nearby ski resort. He was outraged at the handling of beginner skiers; although instruction was available to them, it seemed that the best instructors only worked with intermediate-advanced skiers.

Fate brought Cottrell and Lester together on a tennis court during the summer of ’69. By that winter the newly christened “French-Swiss Ski College” had become a business conducted through a card table on the lower level of the Appalachian Ski Mountain lodge.

From humble beginnings, the French-Swiss Ski College was proud to teach it’s 1,000,000 th lesson in 2005. French-Swiss has also conducted Special Olympics Games since 1977, taught US Army Green Berets, Navy Seals, West Point Instructors, Marines, and Secret Service Agents.

Why is it called French Swiss?

From the late 1930’s until the 1980’s many countries proclaimed their leadership in modern ski technique. There was the Swiss Method, the French Technique, and a newer Austrian Method. Depending on the nationality of the winning racer during the Winter Olympics, the method of the day prevailed.

During the 1968 Winter Olympics, Jean-Claude Killy won all three Gold Medals for France in the men’s events. In the same events, the Swiss skiers were close on Killy’s tail. Since Killy’s feat, no alpine ski racer has won three gold medals in a single Olympics.

The ski college adapted the best elements from the techniques of the two nationalities and thus the name, French-Swiss, couldn’t have fit any better.

By the early 1970's, Killy was a director of the college and shared much of his knowledge and expertise with Cottrell over a three year period.