Coach, racing official, historian

Passing Date: 
Saturday, October 24, 2015

ISHA member and ski historian Alain Lazard, who coached under Georges Joubert and worked as the U.S. representative for a consortium of French resort-equipment suppliers, passed away from pneumonia on October 24, 2015. He was 73 years old.

Born in Aix-en-Provence in Southern France, Alain studied chemistry in Marseilles before becoming a certified ski instructor. In 1969, he arrived in New York and drove to the West Coast in his Citroën 2CV, including a stop to teach skiing at Club Med in Bear Valley, California.

Back in France, he attended the University of Grenoble, where he met Georges Joubert and graduated with a degree in coaching and management. Joubert offered him a coaching job with the French alpine team through 1974. The following year, he managed the racing team at La Clusaz, a resort near Annecy. In 1976 he moved to Squaw Valley, where he headed the Far West Ski Association. In the early 1980s, he became director of the Peugeot Far West Pro Tour, then took a new job as the official liaison between France Neige International—a consortium of French resort equipment suppliers such as Poma lifts—and more than 400 U.S. ski resorts.

In 2005, Lazard retired to work on his properties in the Sierra foothills and immerse himself in writing about modern ski history. Among other publications, he researched and re-opened the discussion about the firing of six French ski team racers by Joubert and Jean Vuarnet in the mid-1970s (available online at His most recent contributions to Skiing History include “Rise and Fall,” a unique chart showing how the top alpine racing nations have fared in international competition since World War II (May-June 2015), and an article about Joe Marillac, the little-known Frenchman who helped Squaw Valley win the 1960 Winter Olympics. 

In recent years, Lazard had made Penn Valley, California his home. He is survived by his wife Sarah and step-daughter Lillie. –JF Lanvers

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