Philippe Pouchkine, committed to disabled sport

A lifelong skier, he created the Handisport-Val d'Isère association to develop and promote various winter sports activities for disabled people and PRMs (people with reduced mobility). 


Born in Bourg Saint Maurice, Philippe only left Val d'Isère for his studies. He returned to work as a ski instructor, seeking to open up the sport to as many people as possible. In 2008, he founded the Handisport-Val d'Isère association and collected donations to invest in special equipment. It costs €8,000 for a ski-assis. To date, the organization has 147 benefactor members, who contribute greatly to its development. This enables it to carry out a wide range of activities in the commune: training ESF instructors, loaning adapted ski equipment to private individuals and other structures, making available a room lent by the town hall near the snow front to store adapted ski equipment, renovating the PRM toilets in the same room... The aim is to make life easier for skiers and instructors, of whom there are now around 15, who are able to accompany people with disabilities (handisport qualification).


Opening up skiing to all

Thanks to various techniques, skiing is possible for people with physical, mental or visual impairments: it's all a question of adaptation. The equipment used is obviously important, but so is communication. For the visually impaired, for example, a system of microphones and headphones can guide people using a specific code to give the rhythm and angle of turns. With his head full of memories, Philippe recounts with emotion that a real bond is created with the people. On the slopes, everything changes: you can let yourself go, hurtling down the slope, enjoying the balance and well-being provided by movement. He remembers several people on sit-skis, crying with emotion at being able to be autonomous on the snow, exhilarated by the freedom given by the sport. That's why they come back to Val d'Isère: to rediscover that sparkle of emotion on the immense white blanket.


A large-scale concern

What's the point of making skiing accessible if people can't enjoy it off the slopes? At the same time, Philippe encourages the development of the village, advocates more action in favor of adapted tourism, and calls for a global commitment on the part of all players in the field. In his view, thinking about the accessibility of sport and the resort should not be confined to the snow: the summer season would also be a great opportunity to create a thousand and one activities accessible to all. A case in point is his current summer project: the renovation of an old farmhouse in the Creuse region of France, which he intends to transform into a gite and multi-activity center for the disabled.

In Val d'Isère, Philippe would like to see the association continue to grow, and is looking for new members to ensure the organization's continuity.


Would you like to get involved? Do you have any questions? Contact Joëlle Pouchkine 04 79 24 27 40 or write to

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