Passing on the baton: Michel Marchand, right, with his successor Harry McFadden

After 31 years in ski school management, Queenstowner Michel Marchand steps down this year to again become a Coronet Peak ski instructor — 40 years after starting in that role.

Marchand, who first instructed in his native Switzerland when he was just 16, was Coronet’s ‘rookie instructor of the year’ that first year.

The following year, he met his now wife Hine, who was working in the skifield’s Penguin Club and later became an instructor, too.

In 1993, Marchand became ski school director for both Coronet and The Remarkables.

With the growth of the ski school he’s just looked after Coronet since 2014 as snowsports manager, while still handling recruitment for both mountains.

He says highlights include his ski school winning the Tourism Training Award, and attending the International Interski Congress in Switzerland, Korea and Austria.

‘‘Another highlight is when the management team of NZSki and Trojan [Holdings] won the bid to buy NZSki from Air New Zealand — that was fun, stressful, but fun.’’

Other highs include having his daughter Chloe become a ski instructor — he was her boss for nine years — and other daughter Tessa qualify as a registered legal executive.

Marchand’s overseen big changes in equipment and disciplines — ‘‘I took one of the first beginner snowboard lessons at Coronet Peak in my ski boots strapped into a snowboard’’.

‘‘I’m very grateful to NZSki and the Davies family for all these years — and my sponsor for 35 years, Salomon.’’

His plans now include ‘‘smell the roses, sleep through the night, my hobby of beekeeping, stay fit, eat well and go back teaching — my first love’’.

His boss will be Harry McFadden, who’s been made snowsports experience manager at Coronet and The Remarks after being head of snowsports at the latter last year.

McFadden, who’s had 12 years in snowsports, is an NZ Snowsports Instructors Alliance trainer/examiner and demo team member and is Level 4-certified across multiple international organisations.

Meanwhile, NZSki chief executive Paul Anderson says Marchand’s ‘‘been an absolute champion for Coronet Peak and NZSki, and anyone who’s skied with him knows his passion for skiing’’.

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