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TRIBUTES TO GB ESF DIRECTOR - James Cove, PlanetSKI Editor
Monday December 11, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

The funeral of 51-year old Simon Atkinson has taken place. He was director of the ESF ski school in La Rosiere. NEW



Simon was a good friend of ours at PlanetSKI.

We skied with him in La Rosiere, saw him at numerous industry events and are deeply saddened by his passing.   

He fought a long and courageous battle with cancer and died last week.  

He was a Yorkshireman who arrived in La Rosiere in 1989 and worked at Le Roc Noir and helped in a local ski shop.

He became an instructor in 1995 and worked his way up to became ESF director in 2011.

It is rare for a foreigner to rise to such a position in the ESF and he was widely regarded across the whole industry snowsports industry - in France and the UK.

In his early years as an instructor he presented a morning and late afternoon radio programme for RFM La Rosiere in 2003.  

Weather, snow and piste reports were an essential part of his broadcasts.

Simon was involved with the La Rosiere Golf Club since arriving in 1989 and he helped in the development and care of the course and became President of the La Rosiere Golf Association until 2011.

Cycling was a huge part of his life and he brought the Tour de L'Avenir to La Rosiere and has worked tirelessly to bring a finish stage of the TDF to the resort.

That work will pay off in July 2018.

"Simon was an accomplished sportsman, a knowledgeable cyclist, and he was the first person from England to join the union's steering committee," said Gilles Chabert, the president of the National Union of French Ski Instructors (SNMSF).  

Simon was a real gentleman and I am so sorry to hear of his passing. 

I last skied with him with my son a couple of years ago in La Rosiere and it was a pleasure to be shown round the resort by a man who so loved the place he chose to call home.

I am not alone in the UK ski industry to have such a view. 

"I was saddened to read that Simon Atkinson, the ESF Director from La Rosiere died last week, he was a true gentleman, a lovely man and my thoughts are with his family at this time," said Jane Bolton, the MD of Erna Low.  

As a journalist I found him a valuable source of accurate and impartial information whenever I needed information about the ESF and in particular with some of its battles with the British over ski hosting and ski instructor rules.  

He gave a balanced and fair view of his side of the case and always returned my calls and emails. 

I and many others will miss him dearly. 

UPDATE:

Several tributes have been posted on PlanetSKI's Facebook page:

Catherine Murphy: Very sorry to hear this, I met Simon a couple of years ago.

Nicola Smith: If only he had got to see the TDF stage finish in La Rosiere next year!

Pete Silver Gillespie: Very sad, heli skied with Simon a few times when I worked over the valley in Villaroger. A truly nice guy. RIP Simon.

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