Lozère: sports teacher, technical advisor, writer … the successive lives of Claude Terraz around skiing


The native of Doubs confided in Midi Libre, on his life, his sport, his projects and especially on his convictions which led him to commit to disabled sports, and blind people. Meet.

The literary week M’lire 2021, on the theme Literature and team sports, ended with the book fair. The Lamartine media library and the Departmental Olympic and Sports Committee (Cdos) invited Claude Terraz, the former sports director of skiing at the French Handisport Federation, who accepted, with pleasure, to meet the Lozère public during a talk, the Thursday November 17th.

This dashing octogenarian is originally from the upper Doubs. One of his ancestors was a peddler. « With the arrival of autumn, he left the village with his loaded mule. He sold haberdashery. He crossed the Aosta Valley, Switzerland and returned in spring. On the way, he swarmed », he says with a smile.

« I was running with my skis on my feet, I was sliding »

“My father was born in Pontarlier and my mother in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. I worked from the age of 8 as a farm clerk until the ferry, during the holidays. During the war, my parents smuggled me in Switzerland, to get away from the worries of the war. « 

At the age of 14, he put on skis for the first time. « I found myself in a space of freedom. It was magical, I was running with my skis on my feet, I was sliding. » Later, he became a summer camp instructor at Lazaret, in Sète.

And there it is love at first sight. « In the refectory, I meet Jacqueline carrying a plate of eggplants. I had never seen eggplants, nor such beautiful eyes! », he recalls. Claude married her on December 31, 1960, in Florac, where she lived. They have four children and ten grandchildren and have lived in perfect harmony for sixty-one years.

From sports teacher to disabled sports

In 1961, he was crowned French university champion. After his studies and eighteen months in the army, he became a professor of PE in Pontarlier, then in Villard-de-Lans, where there was no cross-country skiing yet, when he arrived there in 1964, as a sports teacher at the climatic high school.

His first desire, at the start of winter 1964-1965, was to put on cross-country skis brought back from his native Jura and take the GR 91, starting from Corrençon, heading south, towards the highlands. He participated in the creation of the Nordic ski club, then became the first cross-country ski technical advisor, and organizing member of the 1968 Olympic Games in Grenoble.

« I was already concerned about the visually impaired »

He then turned to disabled sports and decided to offer the possibility of skiing to blind people. « How to teach them the gestures? I was shocked by an instructor who told them, do like me! I then created a disabled sports club. They have a hell of a will! The blindness from birth really touched me. , when I worked in the able-bodied environment, I was concerned about the visually impaired, he explains. As a teacher, I was interested in how to teach this audience. « 

He became federal technical director (the equivalent of the DS today) of Nordic skiing in 1989. Claude Terraz has written four books including Cross-country skiing and the blind.

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