Jean Béranger, one of the most successful trainers in international women ski racing, died Friday morning while riding his bike with a group of friends. The 75-year-old apparently suffered a stroke while climbing the ‘Col d’Allevard’ nearby his home.
Named by French Ski Legend Honore Bonnet as the women’s head coach in the early 60s, Béranger was in charge during the emergence of an amazingly strong french team that included stars such as the Goitschel sisters, Annie Famose, Isabelle Mir, Michele Jacot, Françoise Macchi, the Lafforgue sisters as well as Fabienne Serrat, the first winner of the Europa Cup in 1972. All together they amassed tons of gold medals from 1962 to 1974 and plenty of victories on the World Cup Tour.
Jacot remains the last French Overall World Cup champion, having clinched the title in 1970.
‘Jeannot’ as he was called by his friends, ended his active career as a national ski trainer after the World Cup Finals at Pra Loup in 1972 because of a disappointing season. Married to former Slalom Olympic Champion Christine Goitschel (Innsbruck 1964), he went on to strongly contribute to the successful raise of Val Thorens, the highest ski resort in the Alps. He run the local ski club and also the ski school.
He was also briefly President of the French Federation – ending his job there in 2002 because of the difficult financial situation there. He was also in charge of the national ski racing program for several seasons as well as the regional ski association of Savoie.