Until 1929, there were no official ski schools in Switzerland; ski tuition was only provided on a private basis.
In 1929, the St. Moritz Tourist Board and the Alpina Ski Club entrusted ski instructor, Giovanni Testa, with the task of founding the St. Moritz Ski School, the first in Switzerland. Testa succeeded in securing the services of well-known and highly-qualified ski instructors, most of them manual workers by trade, who joined forces to follow a mutual goal – of providing methodically and technically first-class ski tuition. Giovanni Testa was a ski pioneer. After many conversations with his colleagues, he introduced a new, elegant, skiing technique, which in 1936 became known as “wedeln” (lit: wagging). With this method, the skier executes a series of short quick parallel turns by moving the backs of the skis from side to side (like a dog wagging its tail) at a constant speed. The ski school proved to be a great success, and satisfied course participants returned to St. Moritz time and time again during the winter holidays.
Ski instructor training of yesteryear
At the beginning of the 1920s, ski instructor training courses lasted several days. There was no official examination, but up-and-coming ski instructors were required to demonstrate their skiing prowess by skiing down the mountain at breakneck speed, which for many proved to be more of a test of courage. Anyone who after the mass start did not reach the finish still standing upright on their skis was sent back to the top again until they succeeded in manoeuvring around the final bend in a technically proficient way. After that, they received a ski instructor’s licence.
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