Interneige 1966

Entrants Winter 1966:
Switzerland (CH) • France (F)

Presenters of International Heats / Commentators:
Claude Evelyne and Georges Kleinmann (SSR-SRG - CH)
Simone Garnier, Guy Lux and Léon Zitrone (ORTF - F)

Referees:
Gennaro Olivieri
Cesare Vampa

National Producers:
Henri Lippens and Paul Siegrist (SSR-SRG - CH)
Jacques Solness, Jean-Louis Marest and Claude Savarit (ORTF - F)

National Directors:
Jean-Marcel Schorderet and Paul Siegrist (SSR-SRG - CH)
Roger Pradines (ORTF - F)

Produced by: SSR-SRG (CH) and ORTF (F) • Made in Black and White

Key:
Winter International Heats
 
l = Heat Winner
Winter International Final
l = Winter International Final Trophy Winner (decided on points scored)

CH & F

Interneige 1966

Heat 1

Event Staged: Sunday 30th January 1966
Venues: Patinoire (Ice Rink), Les Diablerets, Switzerland
and Pentes de Ski (Ski Slopes), La Mongie, France

European Transmissions (Local Timings):
SSR (CH):
Sunday 30th January 1966, 1.30-2.45pm (Live)
ORTF (F):
Sunday 30th January 1966, 1.30-2.45pm (Live)
Not transmitted in Great Britain

Weather Conditions:
Switzerland - Overcast and Cold
France - Overcast, Cold and Very Windy

Presenter Locations:
Simone Garnier (F) and Georges Kleinmann (CH) in Les Diablerets, Switzerland
Claude Evelyne (CH) and Guy Lux (F) in La Mongie, France

Referee Locations:
Cesare Vampa in Les Diablerets, Switzerland
Gennaro Olivieri in La Mongie, France

Neutral Jury in Genève, Switzerland:
André Rosat (Chairman), Ernest Blondell [Belgium], Claude Mercien [Canada]
and Jacques Antoine [Monaco]

Playing Surfaces:
Switzerland - Ice
France - Snow

Teams: Les Diablerets (CH) v. La Mongie (F)

Team Members included:
Les Diablerets (CH) -
André Bolleau, Marcel Bolleau, Daniel Bourshar, Marcel Macour, Jean-Bernard Maireau, Daniel Pishere;

La Mongie (F) - Joseph Boulaget, Jacques Galliar, Paul Gascar, Jean-François Galsmit, François Iestant, Guy Labatte.

Games: Slide Down and Step Up (in Switzerland), Catch Us If You Can (in Switzerland), Vikings, Canoeists and Acrobats (in France), The Ski High Jump (in France), The Elasticated Chefs (in Switzerland), Tyred Out (in France), Game of Questions - The Crescendo (at both venues).

Game of Questions - Round 1:
Opposition Task
(in Switzerland) -
An ice skater must pick up speed and jump over a block of polystyrene cubes (comprised of 6 cubes x 2 cubes x 2 cubes) without touching any of them with his feet. Any further attempts would result in the block being increased by an extra 2 rows of 4 cubes (2 x 2 x 2) each time;

Game of Questions - Round 2:
Opposition Task
(in France) - A skier has to descend a course negotiating 13 gates correctly within 20 seconds. Any further attempts would result in 1 second being deducted from the time in each case.

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team / Colour 1 2 3 4 5 6 GQ1 GQ1 GQ2 GQ2
Points Scored
CH 2 2 2 1 2 0 1 --- --- -1
F 0 0 0 1 0 2 --- 3

3

---
Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
CH 2 4 6 7 9 9 10 10 10 9
F 0 0 0 1 1 3 3 6 9 9

Result

 Team

Points

Final Scoreboard

1st
1st

 CH • Les Diablerets l
 F • La Mongie
l

9
9

The Host Towns and Venues

Les Diablerets, Switzerland
 

The open-air ice rink at Les Diablerets

 

Les Diablerets is a village and ski resort lying at an altitude of 1,160m (3,800ft) in the Vaud canton in Switzerland. The village is overlooked by the 2,971m (9,156ft) high Scex Rouge (Red Rock) mountain. Along with the 3,123m (10,246ft) high Oldenhorn to the east, it is one of the main peaks of the Diablerets, a huge ice-covered mountain range near the western end of the Bernese Alps, straddling the border between the cantons of Vaud, Valais and Bern, and exceeding 3,000 metres above sea level.

From humble beginnings of a modest café / grocer’s shop, the Pichard family, enlarged this building and built the Auberge de la Poste, a comfortable guest house with dormitories in 1789. Descendants of the original Pichards still continue to run the Auberge, which now boast 25 beds.

In 1856, the resort started to become a summer tourist destination, thanks to the construction of the new Hôtel des Diablerets, (which was to become the Grand Hôtel in 1871) and also the new road between the Commune of Ormont-Dessous (Le Sépey) and Les Diablerets. This was further enhanced when the railway line from Aigle was opened in 1914.

The idea of developing the valley into a winter resort was only proposed at the beginning of the 1940s, and in 1942 the first ski-lift to Les Vioz (Meilleret ski-fields) was opened. It was not for another seven years that the resort was fully opened to its first visitors in 1949.

Tragedy struck during the night of 5th and 6th June 1956, when a terrible fire broke out in the 100-year old Grand Hôtel. Unfortunately, even with all the firemen of the region tackling the blaze with a total of 12 fire tenders, it was not possible to save it. However within six months, a new Grand Hôtel had been built and was inaugurated on 20th December of that year!

The games at the Swiss venue were played on the slope directly in front of the Hotel Victoria.


La Mongie, France
 

The ski-slopes of La Mongie

 

La Mongie, located in the Haute-Pyrénées département of the Midi-Pyrénées region of south-west France, lies at an altitude of 1800m (5,905ft) and just 20km (12.5mi) from the Spanish border and is situated below the Col du Tournamalet, the highest road through the Pyrénées mountain range.

It is a popular destination offering visitors a variety of winter activities including alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiles and hiking in snowshoes. It is the largest skiable domain in the Pyrénées including the Super Barèges station. Over an area of 100km² (38.6mi²) there are 69 pistes and 43 lifts including poma tows and several four and six-man chair-lifts. In the summer, cycling (on and off road) and the use of trials motorcycles is also popular. The Tour de France has regularly passed through La Mongie on its passage over the Col du Tourmalet since the inclusion of the Pyrénées in 1910, and three tour stages have terminated in La Mongie village, most recently in 2004.

The village has two small supermarkets, a tourist information centre, gift shops and many restaurants and ski rental shops. Also popular with tourists is the cable car access to the 2,872m (9,422ft) Pic du Midi de Bigorre, on the summit of which is a 19th century observatory. Work on the observatory started in 1878 and was completed in 1908. Observatory equipment has been in place since 1905 and in 1963 NASA funded the installation of a telescope for photographs of the Moon in preparation for the Apollo missions.

The Games in Detail

Game 1 - Slide Down and Step Up

The first game - ‘Slide Down and Step Up’ - was a cat-and-mouse type game which began at the top of a greased playground slide, with two competitors and one opposing team member standing on either side of a pile of 30 rectangular polystyrene boxes. On the whistle, one of the competing team descended the slide with up to six boxes and then had to place them in a holding pen located a few metres in front of the slide’s base. He then had to ascend the slide in the same manner before the second competitor could participate. At the same time, the opposing team member had to descend the steps of the slide and then had to skate with a small trolley to the holding pen and remove any boxes within (up to a maximum of six), place them on the trolley and then take them back to the steps, climb up and replace them onto the original pile. Any boxes dropped by the competing team could be retrieved, but all boxes had to be in the pen before the competitor could ascend the slide. This was repeated until time limit of 2 minutes or until all the boxes were in fact in the holding pen. The Swiss competed first and despite having no cubes on the platform at the end of the game only 26 were counted as 4 cubes were still in play on the trolley of the opposition. The French competed second and unfortunately fared worst with a total of 16 cubes still in play (9 cubes on the platform, 4 in motion and 3 in the opposing team’s possession), and the first 2pts went to the home team of Les Diablerets.


Technical Problems at La Mongie

After confirmation of the score, the programme was handed over to La Mongie by André Rosat, the chairman of the jury. However, before the next game could begin there was a fault on the live video link due to the extreme winds and only the audio from the venue could be heard, with a freeze-frame of the local mountain being shown. Swiss presenter Claude Evelyne, unaware of this fault, continued in vain with a prolonged description of the game before a caption was placed on screen stating “Nous vous prions de nous excuser de cette interruption” (we apologise for this interruption). The jury chairman then tried frantically to attract Claude’s attention to explain the problem to her, but despite his efforts it was some time before the message got through to her. After finally getting her attention, André Rosat explained that the live video link had been restored and went back to Claude Evelyne. However, this was not the case and once again the apology was displayed on-screen and then viewers were ‘treated’ to two minutes of fluent French between Guy Lux, the French production team and the chairman discussing the problem. At this point a frozen ‘PAUSE’ message was placed on screen whilst the comments continued. It was then decided that the programme would return to Switzerland for the next game.


Game 2, Part 1 - Catch Us If You Can

The second game to be played, but the third game to be completed - ‘Catch Us If You Can’ - was again held in Switzerland, and was another cat-and-mouse contest. Unlike the previous game however, it was played over four rounds, two rounds for female and two rounds for male competitors. In the middle of the ice was a podium with two ropes leading out to either side of the rink, which six competitors on skates from either side were holding. On the whistle, the two teams had to skate around the podium and attempt to make ground on each other and the team which eventually tagged their rivals with their outside skater were declared the winner of each round. The first of the female rounds saw the Swiss make ground immediately and within 45 seconds had caught their quarry and were leading on the game 1-0. The second round saw the first of the male-only rounds and this was brought to a sudden halt after just 8 seconds when referee Cesare Vampa blew the whistle for a false start by the Swiss team. Just before the second round was restarted, French presenter Guy Lux interrupted proceedings to ask Georges Kleinmann how many rounds the game comprised. Georges replied that there were four rounds and Guy Lux stated that after the second round had been completed, the programme could return to France as the visual link had now been fixed, and it would be fairer that the games be replaced in the correct order as scheduled, and this suggestion was confirmed and accepted by André Rosat in Genève. The second round was restarted and the Swiss males, like their female team-mates, made ground on the French immediately, but despite this the French held their nerve and stayed ahead of their rivals. Then disaster struck the French team, when their fifth outermost player slipped and fell down on to the ice, therefore ending the round. However the teams played on and the Swiss made up more ground and eventually tagged their quarry in 50 seconds. The Swiss now led 2-0 on the game, but before it could be concluded, the programme returned to France.


Game 3 - Vikings, Canoeists and Acrobats

The third game (the first in France) - ‘Vikings, Canoeists and Acrobats' - was the second game to be completed due to the problems encountered earlier at the venue, and was played over three distinct rounds. However, conditions at La Mongie appeared to be deteriorating as the mist began descending onto the slopes. Claude Evelyne, who was at the top of the slope at the start line, described the game, stating that in the first round a Viking had to ski down the slope backwards, severing the heads off eight Norman soldiers as he descended. The Swiss competed first and halfway down the slope Claude Evelyne lost sight of the Viking and asked French co-presenter Guy Lux to take over as her visibility of the game had diminished. The Swiss finished the course, having severed 8 heads, in 49.6 seconds. The French participated in the second round, but their competitor had a mishap immediately the game started when he completely missed the first soldier. After recomposing himself and returning to the soldier, 12 seconds had already elapsed and it looked dire for his team in this third of the game. To make matters worse, he also missed the eighth soldier, but by this time the clock was already showing 52 seconds, and after going back and completing his task, he finally finished the game in 1 minute 3.3 seconds. The second part of the game was much simpler, and involved competitors in canoes descending the slope as quickly as possible. On the second round, the French competed first and reached the finishing line in just 18 seconds, giving them a total time of 1 minute 21.3 seconds. The Swiss now had to descend the course in less than 32 seconds to stay in front on the game. However, their team member’s descent was not as straightforward as their predecessor, as he lost direction towards the end of the course and crashed into the course fencing. He quickly corrected himself and, despite tumbling out of the canoe, he made a dash on foot for the finishing line, with canoe and paddle in tow, and he completed the course in 29.2 seconds. The Swiss team had retained their lead and had a combined time of 1 minute 18.8 seconds, just 2.5 seconds ahead of their rivals. The third and final round involved three Vikings on skis holding aloft a litter on which stood a fourth Viking. On the countdown, it was simply a case of the team descending the slope and ensuring that the standing Viking remained intact until reaching the finishing line. The Swiss went first in this final round and completed a flawless run in just 14.3 seconds, giving them a total time of 1 minute 33.1 seconds. The French team also completed the course, despite tumbling to the ground a few metres from the finish line, in 15.6 seconds giving them a total time of 1 minute 36.9 seconds. The Swiss team began celebrating their second victory in as many games, leading as they were 4-0.


Game 2, Part 2 - Catch Us If You Can

After confirmation of the scores by the neutral jury, the programme returned to Switzerland for the conclusion of the third game - ‘Catch Us If You Can’ - which had been started earlier. The Swiss team were leading by 2-0 on the game and the third round, as was the first, was played by female competitors only. As with the first two rounds, it was third time unlucky for the French, after the Swiss team tagged them are 45 seconds. With the Swiss leading 3-0 on the game and with just one round to play, the Swiss had notched up their third consecutive victory. However although academic, the fourth round was still played out with male competitors, and it ended after 41 seconds when one of the French skaters fell to the ground, ending the game. With four straight victories on the game, the Swiss had now notched up their third consecutive win and were leading the French 6-0.


Game 4 - The Ski High Jump

The fourth game (the second in France) - ‘The Ski High Jump’ - was played by three male team members from each country and was an imitation of the athletics high jump event but on skis, and it ended as being regarded as the most dangerous game ever staged in any Jeux Sans Frontières related programme. On the countdown, a skier had to descend the slope towards an ascending ramp, which at its peak was the high jump, and it was just a matter of clearing the bar. The bar was set at a height of 4m (13ft 1in) for the first round and was then raised by 20cms each progressive round. The first six rounds saw the French descending the slope first and both teams cleared the bar without any mishaps. The bar was raised to 5.20m (17ft) for the seventh round and, whilst the French skier failed to clear it, the Swiss competitor had no problem on his attempt. The French were then given a second try and after clearing the bar, it saw them progress to the next round. The eighth round, with the bar at 5.40m (17ft 8ins), saw the Swiss descending first (due to the French having the second attempt) and their skier, Daniel Pishere cleared the bar without any trouble but hit the ground face down when landing on the other side. He lay injured on the snow whilst team-mates and opponents rushed in to see if all was okay. To spare viewers any distasteful scenes, in case of serious injury, the cameras turned to Guy Lux who continually requested any news of the skier. Finally, a loud cheer went up, signifying that Daniel was okay and the cameras panned back to the scene for the French team to attempt the same height. Although the team failed on their first attempt, their second skier cleared the bar and took the contest into the ninth round. With the bar now at 5.60m (18ft 4ins), the Swiss skier descended the slope and, as they had done in the previous eight rounds, they cleared the bar at their first attempt. The French skier again failed on the first attempt at the height, but as he descended on the other side, he fell to the ground in the sitting position and slammed into the snow with his posterior. For anyone who was of a nervous disposition, it was a tooth-wrenching sight, and as he tried to get up, it could be seen that he was in pain and difficulty. Medics rushed in, but fortunately he was helped to his feet and the game continued with the French on their second attempt at the height of 5.60m. Paul Gascar, one of the country's top skiers, was in their team and cleared the bar easily. The bar was now raised to 5.80m (19ft), but with the situation now becoming dangerous with the height that the teams were expected to clear, the two team managers agreed that the game should be declared a draw. This proposal was accepted and the score on the master scoreboard was 7-1 in the Swiss team’s favour.


Game 5 - The Elasticated Chefs

The fifth game (the third in Switzerland) - ‘The Elasticated Chefs’ - was a favourite game for Jeux Sans Frontières game designers, having been used numerous times in many guises over the years. It featured two opposing chefs tied together by an elasticated rope around the waist and wearing shoes instead of ice skates. On the whistle, the chefs had to do battle in a straightforward tug-o-war on ice, collecting cream pies from either end of the rink and bringing them back and placing them on a table in the middle. The time limit for the game was 3 minutes and the Swiss competitor appeared to be the stronger of the two, as well as having the better technique. Within 10 seconds of the start of the game, the Swiss competitor had already collected and placed a pie on the table and from that moment things just got worse for the French. With a further 4 pies being collected by the Swiss competitor in just over 2 minutes, the game was virtually over for the French. The Swiss finally sealed their fate when they placed a sixth and final pie on the table, 9 seconds from the end of the game. The score ended 6-0 and with another 2pts awarded, the Swiss were leading 9-1 on the master scoreboard. But the French were not going to give up without a fight, and with one more game and two question rounds still to come, it was still possible for them to make a comeback.


Game 6 - Tyred Out

The sixth game (the third in France) - ‘Tyred Out’ - was a ski slalom which was played side-by-side and featured two skiers (one from each team) descending the slope with an increasing number of large inflatable tyres being placed around the base of their legs. Played over four rounds, it was virtually a straight race to the bottom of the course. In the first round, the skiers had to wear one tyre around their legs, and the descent was won by La Mongie. With storm clouds forming and high winds blowing, Claude Evelyne at the top of the slope stated that she was having some difficulty in hearing information from Guy Lux at the base of the course. However the game continued, and in the second round the skiers had to wear two tyres around their legs, and brought victory for the Swiss. With the game score now tied at 1-1, the third round with skiers wearing three tyres was started. After some difficulty by both teams, it was eventually won by the French, and they were now 2-1 ahead with just one round still to play. The final round saw the skiers with four tyres around their legs, and was easily won by the French, bringing the final score to 3-1 in their favour. With 2pts awarded, the French were beginning to close the deficit, with the Swiss now leading 9-3.


Game of Questions

The jury deemed that the first choice of question option would go to Switzerland, and the cameras returned to Les Diablerets for the Game of Questions. The format for this round was different and slightly more complicated to that of the previous year’s Interneige or Jeux Sans Frontières. After being given the option of question value, the team of two ‘intellectuals’ had to opt for one of two envelopes - A or B - containing a number of questions. Each question had to be answered with a single response within 15 seconds. If they answered correctly, the clock would be stopped and a task would have to be performed by an opposing competitor. If they answered incorrectly or failed to give a response within the 15 seconds, the task would not need to be performed and the team would automatically receive a negative score of the value opted by their dignitary. If the opposition had to complete the task and was successful, no points would be awarded but the ‘intellectuals’ would have to answer another question. However, if he failed the task then a positive score would be given to the team. It should be noted, that the questions and tasks became increasingly more difficult, the more occasions they had to be performed. This repetition would continue until either parties failed in their tasks.

With the Swiss already 6pts ahead of their rivals, the mayor opted for the 1pt question, and this was answered by the ‘intellectuals’ in just 4 seconds. However, the 15-year old French opposition was unable to complete his task and the Swiss team were immediately awarded 1pt, and the scores were now 10-3 in their favour. The programme then went to France for their choice, and their mayor had no option but to try the 3pt question. As with the Swiss, the French ‘intellectuals’ responded very quickly with the correct answer, and it was now up to the Swiss opposition to decide their fate. With him completing the task successfully, he forced the ‘intellectuals’ to answer a second question. With another quick response and correct answer, the Swiss opposition had to participate again, but this time he failed in his task and the French team were awarded 3pts. The scores were now 10-6 to the Swiss. The programme stayed in France and the mayor once again opted for the 3pt question. With the question being answered correctly and the Swiss opposition completing their task, a second question was asked of the French ‘intellectuals’. This had to be repeated a further three times after the Swiss opposition completed their tasks successfully. At the fourth attempt, the Swiss skier failed in his task and the French were awarded another 3pts. They were now just 1pt behind the Swiss with the scores standing at 10-9. The Swiss mayor could not risk the chance of losing, so he opted for the 1pt question again. With the 'intellectuals' and the opposition both completing their tasks on three occasions, this round also went to a fourth question, but, unlike the previous one, the question was answered incorrectly and the Swiss were deducted 1pt. The French had pulled back an 8pts deficit and the final score was a draw at 9-9.

Returning Teams and Competitors

La Mongie competitor Paul Gascar returned again to participate for La Plagne in the restaged Heat 4 later in this series of Interneige. Along with team-mates Jacques Galliar and Guy Labatte, he returned again when La Mongie staged the competition for a second time in 1967.

Additional Information

Guy Lux opened the programme with the usual introductions of the local dignitaries and the presentation of members from ETAP (École des troupes aéroportées), a school of military paratroopers from the French army based 100km (62 miles) away in Pau. He then handed over to the neutral jury in Switzerland which included members from Canada, Monaco and Belgium.

Swiss presenter, Georges Kleinmann introduced the dignitaries from the ice rink directly in front of the Hotel Victoria, on which the games would be held. He then handed over to French co-presenter Simone Garnier at the top of the apparatus of the opening game.

On the Saturday evening before Sunday's recording, the chances of this heat being abandoned looked an even bet. The rehearsals were abandoned amid 180km/h winds on the La Mongie slopes which caused serious problems to seven cameras. Meanwhile, the situation in Les Diablerets was little better, but for a reason at the other extreme. High temperatures had caused the ice rink to thaw. The possibility of postponement or outright cancellation loomed large. Remarkably, the winds dropped at La Mongie on Sunday morning and the ice rink staff were able to make the surface playable, but the all clear for the transmission was given just ten minutes before the programme was due live on air.

The bad weather also had unintentionally comical consequences in that the wooden sled which competitors had to drag behind them in the snow kept sticking, so organisers were forced to cover it with a layer of linoleum coated in soap. At the ice rink, a pie had to be covered in blue shaving foam in substitute for cream as the warm temperatures at Les Diablerets would have caused the cream to melt before the game was completed. The choice of colour for the shaving foam was made due to blue resolving well in monochrome on the black and white cameras.

Along with the French and Swiss, this year’s series was also watched by Belgian viewers on the RTB channel.

Made in B/W • This programme exists in European Archives

 

CH & F

Interneige 1966

Heat 2

Event Staged: Sunday 6th February 1966
Venues: Patinoire (Ice Rink), Champéry, Switzerland
and Pentes de Ski (Ski Slopes) Les Deux Alpes, France

European Transmissions (Local Timings):
SSR (CH):
Sunday 6th February 1966, 1.30-2.45pm (Live)
ORTF (F):
Sunday 6th February 1966, 1.30-2.45pm (Live)
Not transmitted in Great Britain

Weather Conditions:
Switzerland - Sunny and Warm
France - Sunny and Warm

Presenter Locations:
Simone Garnier (F) and Georges Kleinmann (CH) in Champéry, Switzerland
Claude Evelyne (CH), Guy Lux (F) and Léon Zitrone (F) in Les Deux Alpes, France

Referee Locations:
Cesare Vampa in Champéry, Switzerland
Gennaro Olivieri in Les Deux Alpes, France

Neutral Jury in Genève, Switzerland:
André Rosat (Chairman), Diane Lange [Belgium], Jean St. Georges [Canada]
and Jacques Antoine [Monaco]

Playing Surfaces:
Switzerland - Ice
France - Snow

Teams: Champéry (CH) v. Les Deux Alpes (F)

Team Members included:
Champéry (CH) -
Marc Aratine, Anton du Clerc, Gilbert Piron;
Les Deux Alpes (F) - Anton Blanc.

Games: Can Anyone Stomach the Cresta Run? (in France), At a Stretch (in Switzerland), The American Red Indians (in France), No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk (in Switzerland), Clowning Around (in France), The Cream Cup Carriers’ Curling Contest (in Switzerland), Game of Questions - The Crescendo (at both venues).

Game of Questions - Round 1:
Opposition Task
(in Switzerland) -
An ice skater must pick up speed and jump over a block of polystyrene cubes (comprised of 7 cubes x 2 cubes x 2 cubes) without touching any of them with his feet. Any further attempts would result in the block being increased by an extra 1 row of 4 cubes (1 x 2 x 2) each time;

Game of Questions - Round 2:
Opposition Task
(in France) - A skier has to descend a course negotiating 12 gates correctly within 16 seconds. Any further attempts would result in 1 second being deducted from the time in each case.

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team / Colour 1 2 3 4 5 6 GQ1 GQ1 GQ2 GQ2
Points Scored
CH 1 2 0 0 2 2 1 --- --- -1
F 1 0 2 2 0 0 --- -3

-3

---
Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
CH 1 3 3 3 5 7 8 8 8 7
F 1 1 3 5 5 5 5 2 -1 -1

Result

 Team

Points

Final Scoreboard

1st
2nd

 CH • Champéry l
 F • Les Deux Alpes

7
-1

The Host Towns and Venues

Champéry, Switzerland

 

The open-air ice rink at Champéry

 

Champéry is a village and ski resort located in the district of Monthey in the Valais canton. For more than 150 years Champéry, lying at an altitude of 1,050m (3,445ft) and with a permanent population of only around 1,300 (23.0% of which are resident foreign nationals), has been one of the foremost tourist destinations in Switzerland, charming visitors from all over the world.

Everything started after the village became independent from the Val-d'Illiez municipality in 1839 and with the opening of the luxurious Hotel Dent-du-Midi in 1857. In 1969, Champéry became one of the founding villages of the Portes du Soleil ski area and resort, which today covers an area of 39km² (15mi²). The majority of this area (66.1%) is used for agricultural purposes and forestation, whilst another 30.3% is mountainous and unproductive. The remaining 3.6% is classified as settled (buildings and roads).

The resort itself has 194 ski lifts and over 650km (400mi) of ski slopes, and it is in the Guinness Book of Records as being the largest linked international ski area in the world. The Champéry - Planachaux cable-car (which can carry up to 125 passengers) and the new 6-seater chairlift in Grand-Paradis take skiers to the Portes du Soleil recreational area, at an altitude of 2,000m (6,600ft). The ski slope at Pas de Chavanette - often simply called Le Mur Suisse (the Swiss Wall) - is one of the steepest in the world. Although it is only a kilometre long, the descent covers a difference in altitude of nearly 400m (1,312ft), with gradients of up to 50 degrees!


Les Deux Alpes, France

 

The ski-slopes of Les Deux Alpes

 

Les Deux Alpes (also known Les 2 Alpes or Les 2 Alpes 3600) in the Isère département of the Rhône-Alpes region in the south-east of the country. The ‘two Alps’ in the name do not refer to the two mountains that the resort encompasses, but rather the two villages of Vénosc and Mont-de-Lans that sit at either end of the north-south plateau on which the resort was built.

Access to the resort is by road from the north only, as there is no road connection to Vénosc which lies down the steep slope to the south, but a gondola lift connects the two. The village is located some 71km (44mi) south-east of Grenoble and sits at an altitude of 1,650m (5,413ft), and has ski-lifts running as high as 3,600m (11,811ft). Les Deux Alpes offers approximately 220km (137mi) of pisted runs and 2,300m (7,546ft) of vertical drop. In terms of pistes, the resort has been termed ‘upside-down’, as the lower slopes down to the resort are steeper and more challenging than the higher ski areas.

It has the largest skiable glacier in Europe and is France's second oldest ski resort (behind Chamonix-Mont-Blanc), and has the longest open on-piste vertical available anywhere in the world. The glacier enables year-round skiing (although the lifts are only open from mid-June to the end of August in Summer and December to end of April in Winter). A funicular railway tunnelled under the ice transports skiers and, in the summer, tourists to 3,450m (11,319ft), from where panoramic views can be seen of the surroundings, including Mont Blanc, some 100km (62mi) in the distant.

The Games in Detail

Game 1 - Can Anyone Stomach the Cresta Run?

The first game - ‘Can Anyone Stomach the Cresta Run?’ - was played over five rounds and featured competitors holding small deflated footballs and then running and propelling themselves onto their stomach down a mock 250m (820ft) Cresta Run at around 80kph (50mph). At the bottom of the run was a ramp which hurled the competitors upwards and towards a goalkeeper in a goal which was surrounded by piles of loose straw for protection. As the competitors approached the ramp, they had to get themselves into a position that would maximise their flight and then throw the ball towards the goal. The team scoring the greater number of goals would be awarded the points. The first run saw the French competitor miss the goal, whilst his rival scored a perfect hit and the Swiss were ahead 1-0. The second run saw both teams score goals and the score moved on to 2-1 in the Swiss team’s favour. The third run saw the French competitor getting into problems on his run which ended with him losing grip of his ball, but fortunately his downward speed allowed him to catch the ball up and grab it again. However, this was all in vain, as he did not have enough time to recompose himself before hitting the ramp, and it resulted in him missing the goal completely. The third run for the Swiss was similar to that of his rival, but he lost control of the ball completely and was unable to grab it again. The scores remained at 2-1 and the game went into its fourth round. The French competitor was rather fortunate on his next run as after hurling the football, because the Swiss goalkeeper actually saved it. However, he was unable to keep a grip on the ball, and whilst still in the air and heading towards the goal, the French competitor's moving body made contact with the rebounding ball and sent it into the net. The Swiss player was not taking any chances and literally held onto the ball and went flying into the goal like a rocket. The scores were now 3-2 for Switzerland as the teams prepared for the final round. The French player scored a perfect goal, but the Swiss player had his attempt blocked by the French goalkeeper and the game ended in a draw at 3-3. Each team were awarded 1pt each.


Game 2 - At a Stretch

The second game (the first in Switzerland) - ‘At a Stretch’ - was a game of five-a-side football played in the rink on ice skates with duration of 4 minutes. However, all the players were limited to the amount of space they could cover as they had been tied around the waist to a large elasticated rope which had been anchored into the ice. An uneventful game saw the Swiss team go ahead after 2 minutes 4 seconds, followed by a second goal 18 seconds later. The game ended with the score at 2-0 to Switzerland, and with 2pts awarded they now led the French 3-1.


Game 3 - The American Red Indians

The third game (the second in France) - ‘The American Red Indians’ - featured competitors dressed in Red Indian outfits on skis. The idea of the game was that as the competitors descended the slope, they approached a ramp which hurled them upwards, and as they dropped down had to throw javelins at a target located 50m (164ft) down on the right-hand side of the course. Each team were permitted up to three tries at the target, should they miss on any of the other previous two. After each completed run, the target was repositioned 10m (33ft) further down the slope. The team which reached the target at the greatest distance would be declared the winner and awarded the points. The initial run saw the Swiss competitor competing first and he missed the target completely but his French counterpart hit the target. The Swiss however did not miss on their second attempt, and the target was moved further down the slope. The second run saw the Swiss competitor miss the target on the first attempt whilst his French counterpart struck gold and hit the target. However, unlike the previous run, neither of the next two Swiss players could hit the target, and France had won by default. With the 2pts awarded they had pulled the contest back to a 3-3 tie.


Game 4 - No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk

The fourth game (the second in Switzerland) - ‘No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk’ - was a simple but funny game to watch. Two opposing team members on skates were dressed in a pantomime cow costume. On the countdown, they had to skate around the ice rink, whilst three members of the competing team wearing normal shoes, tried in vain to catch the cow and tag it with as many stringed balloon as possible. Whilst the cow on skates was obviously adept to going around the rink, the competitors were unable to stop themselves from sliding on the ice and crashing into the side barriers, sometimes with hilarious results. The French team participated in the first round and although the game only had 1 minute 30 seconds duration, the team were still able to tag the cow once after 1minute 5 seconds of play. Whilst the teams changed costumes and the ice rink sprayed with water and refrozen (it was very warm in Champéry on the day!), the assembled crowd and viewers at home were treated to a display of ice dance together with the familiar alpine music. The second round got under way but unfortunately, despite several attempts to tag the French cow, the Swiss could not get any of the balloons to attach and the game ended with a second consecutive win for the French. They now led the competition for the first time, with the scores standing at 5-3 in their favour.


Game 5 - Clowning Around

The fifth game (the third in France) - ‘Clowning Around’ - was played over four rounds (although the fourth was just academic) and was a straight slalom run down the course, with all the competitors dressed as pierrots (clowns). On the first run, played by two members of each team, one of the clowns was sitting in a wheelbarrow on skis whilst the ‘pusher’ had large cumbersome clog-shaped skis. The Swiss were victorious on the first run and then the cameras returned to the top of the slope. The second round was played by single members of each team on skates, but this time they were standing legs astride on rungs on sets of ladders which were held together with ropes at the top and bottom and mounted on skis. Although the French competitor took an early lead, and with the cameras panning on him all the way down, there was a sense that something was happening behind him, when loud sighs were heard from the crowd. Suddenly, just before reaching the finishing line, the Swiss player sped past his rival to claim their second victory, and were leading 2-0 on the game. The third round saw teams of two players (one dressed as a circus bear) descending the mountain arm-in-arm on skis. The clown could only use his right hand to stable himself with his ski pole, whilst the bear could only use his left hand. For the third consecutive run, the Swiss team passed the finishing line first and had now secured victory outright on the game, as they were leading 3-0. Nevertheless, the game was played to its full potential and the fourth run saw two female competitors sitting on the backs of pantomime cows on skis. This time the French team held their lead throughout and the game finally ended 3-1 to the Swiss. With the 2pts awarded, the teams were level for the third time, with the scores standing at 5-5.


Game 6 - The Cream Cup Carriers' Curling Contest

The sixth game (the third in Switzerland) - ‘The Cream Cup Carriers’ Curling Contest’ - saw the French team penalised by a scorer’s error, which fortunately made no difference to the outcome of the game. Played over two rounds of 2 minutes duration, this game saw competitors dressed as chefs wearing normal footwear crossing the ice rink carrying large bamboo poles on top of which they had to carry large bowls of cream. On the whistle, a team-mate standing on a high platform would place a bowl on top of the pole, and in order for it to be counted, it had to be received in the hands of another team-mate on the other side of the rink. In order to disrupt their passage, opposition team members would hurl curling stones across the ice to try and knock them off their feet. The French competed first and although they got off to a slow start, they successfully transported 5 bowls in 1 minute 53 seconds. The team were unfortunate in the fact that they missed out on having a score of 6 bowls, when referee Cesare Vampa blew the whistle just one-tenth of a second before it was received. However, whilst presenter Simone Garnier was adamant that the team had scored ‘cinq’ (five), she was being told by the scorer that the confirmed score was only four. Viewing playbacks of the game, it is clearly visible that the referee drops his arm to indicate to a scorer when a bowl had been successfully received, and this can clearly be seen on five occasions. Whilst this confusion was taking place, the ice was cleaned of cream and empty bowls and the assembled crowd were once again treated to traditional Swiss music and ice dancing. The second round commenced and the Swiss went at a cracking pace. Having already equalled the ‘disputed’ French total after just 56 seconds, they eventually went on to complete 8 successful crossings. With the ‘official’ final score ending 8-4, the 2pts were awarded to Switzerland and they were now leading 7-5.


Game of Questions

Following confirmation from the jury, the programme returned to Switzerland for the first round of the Game of Questions. With the Swiss ahead by 2pts on the master scoreboard, the local mayor chose the 1pt option. With envelope A chosen by the ‘intellectuals’ and a very quick response to the first question, the French team were forced into completing the first task, and failed at their first attempt. The Swiss were immediately awarded the 1pt, and the score now stood at 8-5 in their favour. Over in Les Deux Alpes, the French mayor, knowing that his team had a 3pts deficit to close, bravely chose the 3pt option. His ‘intellectuals’ did not disappoint and answered correctly within 5 seconds and they, like their rivals in Switzerland, had forced the task to take place. However unlike his French counterpart, the Swiss opposition completed his task, forcing a second question which failed to get a response in the 15 seconds allotted. The team were given a -3pts score, and the best outcome they could hope for now was a 5-5 drawn match, with the Swiss leading on the scoreboard 8-2. The programme stayed in France for the second round, and the French mayor had no option but to choose the 3pt option once again. With a correct response from the ‘intellectuals’ and the task completed successfully by the opposition, a second round was now compulsory for the French. Although a response was given to the next question, it was incorrect and the team were not only awarded their second -3pts, but they had secured outright victory for the Swiss team, who were now leading 8pts to -1pt. With the news of victory, the Swiss mayor chose the 1pt option. It was fortunate for him that he did so, as his ‘intellectuals’ failed to provide a correct answer to the first question, and were awarded -1pt. Although the task did not need to be completed by the French opposition, the whole of the French team assigned to this game displayed their prowess and descended the slope with the quickest being in just 11.8 seconds! The Swiss had won by a margin of 8pts (7 to -1) and were now the leading team for the Winter Final. However, later events in the series would see this criteria being amended.

Additional Information

This programme was opened by presenter Georges Kleinmann, in what appeared to be the dark of night, at Champéry in Switzerland, a village and ski resort located in the district of Monthey in the Valais canton. However, as the cameras panned around the arena, it was just the backdrop of the black granite mountains giving the impression of night, and was in fact a beautiful warm and sunny afternoon. With a circus-like atmosphere and traditional Swiss alpine music playing, the teams were led onto the ice rink along with carnival floats, dancers and musicians.

After a short introduction by presenter Guy Lux, the assembled crowd were greeted with music from a local band whose members were sitting on a charabanc whilst it was being driven into the arena, along with co-presenter Léon Zitrone attired in shirt and thin sweater. After he had joined Guy Lux on the podium, the programme headed 300m (984ft) up the mountain to Swiss presenter Claude Evelyne to introduce the commencement of the games.

An interesting point to note in this heat was that there appeared to be a break from the norm in the Interneige series. As was common in most programmes in the Winter series, teams displayed idents with the first letter (in most cases) of the team’s name, as opposed to their national ident letters as was the case in Jeux Sans Frontières. However, in this heat for the first and only time, the French team displayed the number ‘2’ (for Les Deux Alpes) instead of a letter on their ident tabards.

Made in B/W • This programme exists in European Archives

 

CH & F

Interneige 1966

Heat 3

Event Staged: Sunday 13th February 1966
Venues: Skipisten und Eisbahn (Ski Slopes and Ice Rink), Sankt Moritz, Switzerland
and Patinoire (Ice Rink), Villard-de-Lans, France

European Transmissions (Local Timings):
SSR (CH):
Sunday 13th February 1966, 1.30-2.45pm (Live)
ORTF (F):
Sunday 13th February 1966, 1.30-2.45pm (Live)
Not transmitted in Great Britain

Weather Conditions:
Switzerland - Overcast and Cold
France - Overcast and Cold

Presenter Locations:
Simone Garnier (F) and Georges Kleinmann (CH) in Sankt Moritz, Switzerland
Claude Evelyne (CH) and Guy Lux (F) in Villard-de-Lans, France

Referee Locations:
Cesare Vampa in Sankt Moritz, Switzerland
Gennaro Olivieri in Villard-de-Lans, France

Neutral Jury in Genève, Switzerland:
André Rosat (Chairman), Paule Herreman [Belgium], Jean St. Georges [Canada]
and Jean-Pierre Cunique [Monaco]

Playing Surfaces:
Switzerland - Snow and Ice
France - Ice

Teams: Sankt Moritz (CH) v. Villard-de-Lans (F)

Team Members included:
Sankt Moritz (CH) -
Éric Cadarizzi, Arturo Gantini, Danielle Heringe, Robin Pinache, Madeleine Schmidt, Éric Straßentroup;
Villard-de-Lans (F) - Veronique Enslat, Alain Guillaume, Rosalind Martin, Christiane Mediere, Jean-Paul Vigniant.

Games: An Equine Snow Slalom (in Switzerland), The Ice Men Cometh (in France), The Cresta Fun Runs (in Switzerland), Bulls v. Bulls with a Ball! (in France), The Five Skiers’ Descent (in Switzerland), Human Curling Stones (in France), Game of Questions - The Crescendo (at both venues).

Game of Questions - Round 1:
Opposition Task
(in Switzerland) -
An ice skater must circumnavigate the perimeter of the ice rink jumping three small obstacles on his way within 20 seconds. Any further attempts having to be made would result in 1 second being deducted from the time and an extra obstacle being added in each case;

Game of Questions - Round 2:
Opposition Task
(in France) - A skier has to descend a course negotiating 11 gates correctly within 19 seconds. Any further attempts would result in 1 second being deducted from the time in each case.

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team / Colour 1 2 3 4 5 6 GQ1 GQ1 GQ2 GQ2
Points Scored
CH 0 0 2 0 2 0 --- -3 -3 ---
F 2 2 0 2 0 2 -1 ---

---

-3

Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
CH 0 0 2 2 4 4 4 1 -2 -2
F 2 4 4 6 6 8 7 7 7 4

Result

 Team

Points

Final Scoreboard

1st
2nd

 F • Villard-de-Lans l
 CH • Sankt Moritz

4
-2

The Host Towns and Venues

Sankt Moritz, Switzerland

 

The open-air ice rink at Sankt Moritz

 

Sankt Moritz, also known as Saint-Maurice, San Maurizio and San Murezzan, is a resort town located in the Engadine valley in the district of Maloja in the trilingual Graubünden canton, which is home to three of Switzerland's ethnic groups and has three languages of Swiss German, Italian and Romansch. It is in fact the only canton where the Romansh language is still spoken.

The town is first mentioned around 1137-1139 as "ad sanctum Mauricium" and is named after Saint Maurice, a Coptic Orthodox and Roman Catholic saint. Pilgrims travelled to Saint Mauritius, the church of the springs, where they drank from the blessed, bubbling waters in the hopes of being healed. In 1519, the Medici pope, Leo X (1475-1521), promised full absolution to anyone making a pilgrimage to the church of the springs.

Although it received some visitors during the summer, the origins of the winter resort only date back to September 1864, when Sankt Moritz hotel pioneer, Johannes Badrutt (1819-1889) made a wager with four British summer guests. The wager was that they should return in winter and if it was not to their liking, he would pay for the cost of their return journey from London. If they found it attractive in winter, he would invite them to stay as his guests for as long as they wished. This marked not only the start of winter tourism in the resort but the start of winter tourism in the whole of the Alps.

The first tourist office in Switzerland was established the same year in the town, and developed rapidly in the late 19th century when the first electric light in Switzerland was installed in 1878 at the Kulm Hotel. The first curling tournament on the continent was held in 1880, and it also became the first town in the Alps to install electric trams.

The resort, famous for its Cresta Run, a natural ice 1,212.5m (3,978ft) long skeleton racing toboggan track built by William Henry Bulpett in 1884 near the hamlet of Cresta, witnessed the first-ever horse race held on the snow in 1906 and one on the frozen lake in 1907. In 1928, Sankt Moritz hosted the Winter Olympic Games and remarkably the stadium used, still stands today. It later hosted the first games to be staged after World War II in 1948.


Villard-de-Lans, France

 

The open-air ice rink at Villard-de-Lans

 

Villard-de-Lans is a small commune in the Isère département in the south-east corner of France. The town’s main industry is leisure, and during the winter months it becomes a hive for skiers and during the summer months it is awash with hikers and hot-air balloon fanatics.

During the 1968 Winter Olympic Games held at Grenoble, the town played host to the luge events on a specially buit track for the event. Costing around 3.2 million French Francs (approx. £265,000) to construct, the track was completed using 1,400m3 (49,440ft³) of soil and rock and 1,800m3 (63,566ft³) of reinforced concrete. The facility had three start houses, 132 lighting posts, telephone circuitry, 40 loudspeakers, and a signaling system for the competitors.

The games at the French venue were played on the open-air ice rink, home of Les Ours (The Bears) ice hockey team. In 1975, the mayor of Villard-de-Lans voted for the rink to be covered in order that the club could join the French elite in major championships and to ensure that meetings were not postponed due to bad weather. Between 1976 and 1977, the work was carried out, and during that time, the Bears had to play almost all their home games at away rinks. However, this inconvenience did not stop them from winning the club's first major title, the Coupe de France in 1977.

In hosting this programme, Villard-de-Lans had the honour of being the first-ever venue to have staged an International Heat (Interneige, Jeux Sans Frontières or It’s a Christmas Knockout) on more than one occasion. The same venue had previously been used for the Winter series in its debut year in 1965.

The Games in Detail

Game 1 - An Equine Snow Slalom

The first game (in Switzerland) - ‘An Equine Snow Slalom’ - was a revised version of one that was played in Crans-sur-Sierre during the previous Interneige series. As its title suggests, the game featured horses and was played over fences and ramps. On the whistle, a rider on the horse set off with a team-mate skiing behind holding on to a rectangular cloth towrope. He then had to make his way around the course over small fences, whilst the skier traversed snow ramps and ski-gates. Each team had to make two complete circumnavigations of the course, the first being by a male rider and the second by a female rider. The French team participated first and after completing the first course in 48.50 seconds, the second rider bettered her male compatriot’s time, finishing in 43.22 seconds. The French team had completed two faultless performances in a total time of 1 minute 31.72 seconds. The Swiss competed in the next round and by sheer coincidence their male rider completed the course in 48.50 seconds, exactly the same time as the French rider had done. However, the second rider was slightly slower than her French counterpart, and completed the course in 45.48 seconds. This gave the Swiss an overall time of 1 minute 33.98 seconds. The first game had been won by the French on away soil, and they were awarded the first 2pts of the programme.


Game 2 - The Ice Men Cometh

The second game (the first in France) - ‘The Ice Men Cometh’ - was played in two heats of 2 minutes duration. Four competitors wearing shoes had to carry bowls of water down the rink and pour any contents into a large barrel which was sitting on a set of industrial weighing scales. However, to make the passage down the rink more difficult, two members from the opposing team on ice skates were on either side of the course, attached together by a rope with a ring at each end. The rings of the rope were supported off the ground on either side by longer ropes, which were stretched from the one end of the course to the other. The idea of the game was that as the skaters moved down the course the opponents pulled the rope towards them, causing them to tumble or forcing them to jump the rope as it passed by. The opponents could move in any direction and could even chase after opponents that had successfully avoided them. The French team of Villard-de-Lans competed first and although there was much hilarity during the game, the team still managed to collect 18.2kgs of water. The second round began with Claude Evelyne speaking to the Swiss team in the German language (Sankt Moritz being in the teutophonic area of Switzerland) and throughout the game her calls of ‘schnell’, ‘danke schön’ and ‘so war gut’ (‘quick’, ‘thank you’ and ‘it is so good’) could be heard. However, despite the encouragement to her participating team, they were unable to emulate the opposition's score and only collected 15.2kgs of water. The French had won their second consecutive game and were leading 4-0 on the scoreboard.


Game 3 - The Cresta Fun Runs

The third game (the second in Switzerland) - ‘The Cresta Fun Runs’ - featured mock-ups of the famous Cresta Run, located not far from the actual venue, and was played over two rounds on two different courses. On the first course, a female team member on a mini-bob (disguised as a small go-kart) descended the run, dropping down onto the resort’s ice rink, on which nine skittles had been placed. The idea was for the players to direct the mini-bob as accurately as they could towards the skittles, in order to knock down as many of them as possible. The second course featured male competitors descending their run lying on their stomach on a small metal shield. However, as they descended they headed towards a small heated pool, and as they reached the end of the run, they ascended a small ramp which hurled them upwards. The pool was divided into three sections scoring 1pt, 2pts and 3pts, and the value of their run was dependant on the distance travelled before hitting the water. The scoring of the male competitor was very important as his score multiplied that of his female team-mate. The Swiss team participated first and on the first run the female player was able to knock down 2 skittles to score 2pts, whilst her male team-mate was able to travel to the furthest section and score 3pts, to give a total of 6pts (2pts x 3). Their French counterparts, after having witnessed their first competitor have an accident in which she came out of the mini-bob, were permitted to have a second player do a re-run, and she also scored 2 skittles, whilst their male competitor could only reach the 1pt section, giving them a total of 2pts (2pts x 1). On the second round, the Swiss female knocked down just 1 skittle but their male competitor reached the 2pts section of the pool, giving them another 2pts (1pt x 2) and an overall total of 8pts. The French female actually knocked down 3 skittles on her second run, but their male competitor could only reach the 1pt section of the pool, giving the team an additional 3pts (3pts x 1), and an overall total of 5pts. The Swiss had scored their first points of the competition and had reduced the deficit, trailing the French by just 2pts, with the score standing at 4-2.


Game 4 - Bulls v. Bulls with a Ball!

The fourth game (the second in France) - ‘Bulls v. Bulls with a Ball!’ - was of 4 minutes duration, and featured a football match of two halves on ice, played by three pantomime bulls on skates from each team. However, unlike the norm, there were three goals for each team to aim for - two large goals worth 1pt, and a smaller goal located between the two, which had a value of 2pts. The Swiss were first to score after 50 seconds in a 1pt goal, but the French pulled the scores level after 1 minute 26 seconds, and the scores remained level at half-time. The second half of the match saw the bulls change ends and an accidental puncture which caused the large inflatable ball being used to deflate. A second ball was brought into play, but it too suffered the same fate a minute later. With no balls left in stock, referee Gennaro Olivieri decided to bring into play a giant football for the final 35 seconds of play. Within 20 seconds of the game resuming, and with just 15 seconds to play, the French scored their second goal, which was enough to see them win the game. With 2pts added to their overall score, they now led the Swiss 6-2.


Game 5 - The Five Skiers' Descent

The fifth game (the third in Switzerland) - ‘The Five Skiers’ Descent’ - was a simple ski race by five players down a course of ski gates, tunnels and ramps. However, the team members descended the course on skis, which were comprised of two parts that had been hinged in the middle, and the quickest overall time for all five runs would be awarded the points. This game was played without commentary for the first 1 minute 53 seconds for the home audience, as all audio was lost from the venue. It was not until 90 seconds into the game that a message - VEUILLEZ-NOUS EXCUSER DE CETTE INTERRUPTION MOMENTANÈE DU SON (please excuse us for this momentary interruption to sound) - was placed on-screen. The French team participated during this sound loss and with several of their skiers having mishaps, finally completed all five runs in 2 minutes 27.20 seconds. The Swiss participated second and, with some of their members also suffering mishaps, completed the course in 2 minutes 12.09 seconds and were awarded the 2pts. The Swiss had once again reduced the deficit to a 2pt margin, with the French now leading 6-4.


Game 6 - Human Curling Stones

The sixth game (the third in France) - ‘Human Curling Stones' - was a game that had been played previously at the venue in the 1965 series of Interneige. The game featured female competitors sitting on circular concave trays protected all around by heavy padding as curling stones. At one end of the ice rink, there were ten competitors (five from each team) wrapped in padding and standing on small cylindrical podiums set out in the shape of an equilateral triangle. The front row of four were all members of the opposition, with the second row comprising two of the competing team on the outer positions and the fifth member of the opposition in the middle. The final two rows of two players and one player respectively, were all members of the competing team. The method of scoring was to try and knock down all of the opposition without displacing any of the team-mates of the competing team. Any of the opposition knocked down scored 1pt, but if any of the competing team were knocked down there was a penalty of -1pt. On the countdown, two team-mates had to hurl her down the course using a long piece of rope wrapped around the stone in a ‘U’ shape and then skating forward pulling the stone behind them. At a given point, they then released the stone in a manner similar in style to that of a child’s catapult, and so that no unfair tactics could be played by the second team participating, the stones had to pass a marked line down the ice to count as valid. If the stone failed to cross this line, the stone had to be replayed. The Swiss participated first and scored 0pts on their first run after knocking down one member from each team. Their second run was more favourable and they scored 1pt for knocking down a second member of the opposition. However, this score was wiped out when they inadvertently knocked down a member of their own team on the third run, completely missing the opposition, and their score was returned to 0pts. The fourth run for the team was pointless after they missed any of the remaining targets on the ice and finished, as they had begun, with 0pts. The teams changed places with the French competing and the Swiss opposition on the front podiums. The team took an early lead of 1pt on their first run, knocking down a sole Swiss player, and the team would now win the game if they avoided all the remaining players on their next three runs, but had to ensure the stone passed the valid line on the course to count. Their second run saw the stone pass through the triangle of podiums without knocking down any competitors, and their score remained at 1pt. The French team, smelling another victory, played tactics on their third run, and put less weight behind the stone and it just reached the valid line and was deemed to have been played. Their final stone was also hurled in the same manner and although it never reached the podiums, one of the Swiss opposition lost their balance and fell from the podium. The point was deemed to go to the French and they had won their fourth game with a 2-0 victory. They were now leading the Swiss 8-4.


Game of Questions

The competition now moved into the Game of Questions and the jury deemed that Villard-de-Lans would participate first. The mayor chose the 1pt option and his ‘intellectuals’ answered their first and second questions correctly and the Swiss opposition completed both his tasks within his allotted times. However, the third question stumped the ‘intellectuals’ completely and they were awarded a -1pt penalty. The score was now 7-4 in favour of the French, and it appeared that the Swiss could possibly level the competition. The mayor of Sankt Moritz took the gamble and chose the 3pt option, but his ‘intellectuals’ failed to answer their second question correctly and the team were awarded a -3pts penalty. The competition was virtually over for the Swiss with the score now standing at 7-1 in France’s favour. The best the team could hope for now was a 4-4 draw, but this all depended on the question value options chosen in the next round. As was the norm, the question round remained in the same venue for the start of the second round, and the mayor had no choice but the 3pt option once more. With two questions answered and two tasks completed correctly, the game went into its third round, and as with the previous round the Swiss team could not find the correct answer and were penalised with another -3pts penalty. Their score had now moved into the red, with the overall score standing at 7pts to -2pts. The competition was now over for the Swiss and the cameras returned to France and astonishingly, with the competition already in the bag, the mayor chose the 3pt option - a decision that he would almost come to regret. The intellectuals failed at the second question and like their rivals were awarded a -3pts penalty. But it did not make a difference, as the French had won the competition 4pts to -2pts. At this point, Villard-de-Lans, having won this heat with a 6pts difference, were now in the running as the team to qualify for the Winter Final. The 3pts lost by the French 'intellectuals' proved to be disastrous for the team. As a result of events that would occur in the following heat, which would ultimately cause the cancellation of the Winter Final, the 1966 Interneige Trophy would be awarded to the team with the highest points difference achieved in the Winter Heats. Had the French 'intellectuals' answered their 3pt question correctly, the resulting 12pts difference (10pts to -2pts) would have been sufficient to see Villard-de-Lans become Interneige Champions for a second successive year.

Presenters, Officials and Production Team

Appearing on the jury in Geneva for this programme was Belgian commentator Paule Herremann, who would ultimately stay with the programme until its original demise in 1982, and become the longest-ever serving member of any commentary team in the programme, a period of 18 years service (1965-1982)!

Additional Information

After the usual introductions of dignitaries at the French venue by Guy Lux and Claude Evelyne, the Mayor of Villard-de-Lans was asked for his comments, proudly standing adjacent to the Interneige Trophy which had been presented to the team at the end of the previous year’s series, following their victory over Swiss rivals, Villars-sur-Ollon. The cameras then went to Switzerland for the introduction of the jury.

When the programme first went to Sankt Moritz to Georges Kleinmann and Simone Garnier the audience at the venue and at home watching the programme were treated to a display by the Swiss Olympic bobsleigh champions and the arrival of the Swiss dignitaries on horse-drawn sleighs.

An interesting point to note during the first game in Switzerland was that viewers were treated to a rare piece of now defunct colonial Belgian-French language, when Georges Kleinmann stated the times of each completed section. After the French team had finished, he announced their time as being ‘une minute trente-et-un septante-deux’, when in fact today it would be stated as ‘une minute trente-et-un soixante-douze’ (the word ‘septante’ no longer existing in modern-day French!). Following the Swiss participation, he once more used the old language when stating that ‘98’ was ‘nonante-huit’ as opposed to modern-day ‘quatre-vingt-dix-huit’!

After this heat, the team from Villard-de-Lans was in pole position to be the French qualifier for the Winter Final as a result of their victory in this heat. However, the events of the subsequent heat between La Plagne and Crans-sur-Sierre would change everything in a quite unexpected way.

Made in B/W • This programme exists in European Archives

 

CH & F

Interneige 1966

Heat 4 (Abandoned)

Event Staged: Sunday 20th February 1966
(Official competition abandoned after Game 3)
Venues: Pentes de Ski (Ski Slopes), Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland
and Pentes de Ski (Ski Slopes), La Plagne, France

European Transmissions (Local Timings):
SSR (CH):
Sunday 20th February 1966, 1.30-2.45pm (Live but abandoned)
ORTF (F):
Sunday 20th February 1966, 1.30-2.45pm (Live but abandoned)
Not transmitted in Great Britain

Weather Conditions:
Switzerland - Cold and Very Windy
France - Sunny and Cold

Presenter Locations:
Simone Garnier (F) and Georges Kleinmann (CH) in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland
Claude Evelyne (CH) and Guy Lux (F) in La Plagne, France

Referee Locations:
Cesare Vampa in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland
Gennaro Olivieri in La Plagne, France

Neutral Jury in Genève, Switzerland:
André Rosat (Chairman), Nicolas Resimante [Belgium], Claude Mercien [Canada]
and Mireille de Lamoire [Monaco]

Playing Surfaces:
Switzerland - Ice
France - Snow

Teams: Crans-sur-Sierre (CH) v. La Plagne (F)

Team Members included:
Crans-sur-Sierre (CH) -
Liliane Prosac;
La Plagne (F) - Arielle Conamine

Games: The Skating Coffee Waiters (in Switzerland), The Go-Karting Balloon-Bursting Skaters (in Switzerland), The Spinning Custard Pie Flingers (in Switzerland), Rubber Ring Chase (in France), The Kennels, the Buckets and the Chalets (in France), Log Ski-Jumping (in France).

Game of Questions:
Opposition Tasks
Due to extreme communication problems experienced, the Game of Questions was not played in this programme and there was no need for the opposition tasks to be performed.

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team / Colour 1 2 3 4 5 6 GQ1 GQ1 GQ2 GQ2
Points Scored
CH 2 1 1 0 0 0 void void void void
F 0 1 1 2 2 2 void void

void

void
Programme abandoned after Game 3 but competition continued unofficially to a final conclusion. The Game of Question rounds were not played.
Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
CH 2 3 4 4 4 4 void void void void
F 0 1 2 4 6 8 void void void void

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 

 F • La Plagne
 CH • Crans-sur-Sierre

8 (A)
4 (A)

Match declared null and void and replayed
in place of the Winter Final

The Host Towns and Venues

Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland

 

The open-air ice rink at Crans-sur-Sierre

 

Crans-sur-Sierre is a small ski resort located in the Valais canton in the south-west of the country. The resort nestles on a plateau in the Swiss Alps at an elevation of about 1,500m (4,921ft). As the resort grew in popularity, it was merged with the nearby resort of Montana-Vermala in the mid 1970s and has since been known worldwide as Crans-Montana, which is often utilised as a venue in the Alpine Skiing World Cup calendar.

Akin with many Swiss ski resorts, it has had many famous residents including French chef Michel Roux, British actress and director Kathy Burke, magician Ali Bongo (real name William Wallace) (1929-2009), international golfers Adam Scott, Sergio García and brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari. English actor Roger Moore (James Bond 007 and The Saint), has owned a chalet in the resort for many years since moving from Gstaad, and even Sophia Loren had an apartment overlooking the 8th green of the resort's golf course!

The games at the Swiss venue were played on the resort’s outdoor ice rink.


La Plagne, France

 

The ski slopes of La Plagne and the Hotel Christina

 

La Plagne is a ski area in the alpine valley of the Tarentaise in the Savoie region of France. It was created as a single resort in 1961, in order to save the valley from becoming deserted.

As was the case with many other resorts in the Alps at the time, the agriculture and mining industries were in crisis resulting in the young people leaving the valley in search of work. In 1960, four towns (Aime, Bellentre, Longefoy and Macôt) created an association to defend their interests, with an initiative of Dr. Borrionne, mayor of Aime.

The games at the French venue were played outside the Hotel Christina at the bottom of the slope.

The Games in Detail

Game 1 - The Skating Coffee Waiters

The first game - ‘The Skating Coffee Waiters’ - was played over a 1minute 30 seconds duration and featured waiters on skates attempting to cross the ice rink carrying a tray over a zig-zag course. Their passage however, was impeded by members of the opposition with large padded pins, who tried to knock the trays from their hands. The French were deemed to play first but the gremlins at La Plagne had appeared to have travelled to Crans-sur-Sierre when the video link started to break up, but despite this, the game was started. The first round ended with the French team making 4 successful crossings with trays. With the high winds blowing, the Swiss participated next and were victorious after surpassing the French total and making 7 crossings. The first 2pts saw them leading the competition 2-0.


Game 2 - The Go-Karting Balloon-Bursting Skaters

The programme returned to Crans-sur-Sierre for the second game (originally planned as the third) - ‘The Go-Karting Balloon-Bursting Skaters’ - which was played over a 1 minute duration. Before the game began, a professional female ice skater from the opposition had to spin on one foot in any position for as long as possible. The time achieved became the total target for the competing team to achieve. The game itself featured a skater being towed behind a petrol-driven go-kart around the perimeter of the rink, which was lined with large flour-filled balloons. After one circumnavigation of the course to familiarise himself with the position of the balloons, he had to burst the same number of balloons determined by the time of the opposition’s target within the time limit. The Swiss competed first and were set a target of 18 balloons, but unfortunately the go-karter was not fast enough and his skater only burst 14 balloons of the 18 required. The Swiss professional did rather better and set an almost impossible target of 24 for the French team to aim for. As with the Swiss competitor, the Frenchman was unable to achieve his target and only burst 17 balloons. The game ended in a draw and the teams were awarded 1pt each and the overall score was now 3-1 in the Swiss team’s favour.


Game 3 - The Spinning Custard Football Flingers

The third game (originally planned as the fifth) - 'The Spinning Custard Football Flingers' - involved a horizontal metal bar which had been set into the ice with a vertical pivot, and at each end of the bar a metallic chair had been affixed. Eight members of the opposition (four on either side of the pivot facing each other) were standing holding the bar and sitting in each chair was a member of the competing side. On the countdown, the six opposition members had to spin the bar whilst the competitors in the chairs were handed halves of small footballs disguised as pies, which had been filled with cream, by team-mates as they passed a large table. After spinning around 180° to the other side of the course, the seated players who had been strapped-in for safety, had to hurl the 'pies' into a goal that was being defended by a ninth opposition member. The team scoring the greatest number of ‘goals’ within the 1 minute 30 seconds time limit (although both teams were given times of 1 minute 37 seconds each!) would be awarded the points. The French team participated first and the game was stopped after 40 seconds when one of the seat belts holding the competitors in place snapped. The game was restarted after a delay of 2 minutes whilst a new strap was fitted, and the French ended the game with a score of 30 ‘goals’. Following a further 4-minute delay whilst the equipment was cleaned and reset, the second round commenced with the Swiss team in the chairs and they also scored 30 ‘goals’. With the points shared for a second consecutive game, the scores were now 4-2 in favour of the Swiss.


Game 4 - Rubber Ring Chase

The fourth game (originally planned as the second) - ‘Rubber Ring Chase’ - was a straightforward game involving skiers chasing rubber rings that were rolled down the ski slope. The idea of the game was for the skiers to prevent as many of them as they could from reaching the finishing line, but also for the player to cross the line within 30 seconds. Although five rings were set in motion on each run, the skier was released after the third one was set in motion. The first run saw both teams scoring 2pts each for collecting two of the three rings. The second run saw the Swiss skier collect 3 rings and cross the line in 28 seconds, whilst the French competitor could only stop 2 rings. The Swiss now led by 5-4 on the game. The penultimate round saw the Swiss player stop two more rings and cross the line in 28 seconds, whilst the French player collected 3 rings in 24 seconds. The deficit had been recouped with the scores level 7-7. The final round saw the Swiss player almost fail to cross the line in time when he hesitated at the bottom of the course attempting to collect a third ring, but despite this he collected 2 rings to bring their final tally to 9 rings. The French team were not finished and on their final run they collected 3 rings to win the game 10-9. The competition was now level with the scores at 4-4.


Game 5 - The Kennels, the Buckets and the Chalets

This was quickly followed by the fifth game (originally planned as the fourth) - ‘The Kennels, the Buckets and the Chalets’ - which was a downhill race in three runs, with the first run being on sleds with dog kennels built around them, being won by the French. The second run was contested by two pairs of skiers, each of whom had one foot on a ski and the other in a bucket. Each pair of skiers was joined together by a short wooden pole at shoulder height. This run was also won by the French and they now led 2-0 on the game. Having already won the game, the French did not hold back and also won the final round which was the most spectacular of the three, with two large wooden chalets careering down the ski slope! The French were awarded the 2pts and now led the Swiss 6-4.


Game 6 - Log Ski-Jumping

The sixth game (the third in France) - ‘Log Ski-Jumping’ - involved skiers descending the slope and after completing a small slalom course had to jump over a series of 14 large logs placed in their path, and reach the end of the course in the quickest time. The game was played over four runs and the total of the three quickest runs by each team would determine the winners. The first run saw the French competitor complete the run in 17.1 seconds, whilst the Swiss took a few seconds longer, finishing in 21.7 seconds. The second run saw the Frenchman move at lightning speed, completing the course in just 14.6 seconds, but the Swiss skier could not emulate this time and finished in 19.8 seconds. The French had the quickest time again in the third run with their skier completing his run in 16.1 seconds, whilst his Swiss counterpart could only manage to finish in 18 seconds. The fourth run saw a fourth French win, after their skier completed the course in 17.1 seconds, whilst the Swiss failed to complete the course correctly after tumbling on the way down. The fastest three times were added together and the French won the game with a total of 47.8 seconds as opposed to the Swiss time of 59.5 seconds. The French had won their third consecutive game and were leading 8-4 on the master scoreboard.


Game of Questions (cancelled)

As there was no need for the Game of Questions to be played, the competition ended unofficially 8-4 to France, and despite the competition being played out in full, at no point were scores displayed on the desk of the Genève jury. However, the results of each game were announced by the presenters at each venue, and the points could be seen being added to the normal scoreboard in France.

Additional Information

This heat opened without any problem with presenters Georges Kleinmann and Simone Garnier in a bright but very windy afternoon on the ice rink at Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland. The smooth transmission would soon encounter problems which would prove disastrous and have severe ramifications for the 1966 Winter Final. Following the introduction of the jury in Switzerland, the programme was handed over to La Plagne in France.

Throughout the build up to the transmission, there were continual problems with the connection between the French station and Genève. These difficulties had manifested themselves on the Saturday evening and persisted into the Sunday of the transmission, with the live link remaining unpredictable and prone to failure. Despite this, Guy Lux decided to run the heat and trust to a miracle. He told André Rosat, the chairman of the jury in Genève, that, "We are starting the show. If the connection is lost, each station will continue with their own alternate programme." Unfortunately, it was not a day for miracles, and presenter Guy Lux continued with his presentation. For over three minutes, the executive director, Jean-Marcel Schorderet, stayed with this footage while technicians furiously tried to stabilise the picture. Finally, he cut back to the Swiss venue for the staging of the opening game. Unfortunately, the gremlins had spread to Crans-sur-Sierre and the pictures were clear but were also affected by unpredictable break up. As the game was played out, the Swiss technicians were anxious - all they kept hearing was "no connection" from La Plagne - and it became clear that the staging of the first game in France was in jeopardy.

After the first game in Switzerland, the broadcast switched back to the neutral jury in Genève. André Rosat carried out discussions with Georges Kleinmann and Guy Lux about what to do in this unique and unfortunate situation. The possibility of ending the transmission was discussed and eventually, some twenty minutes into the programme, it was decided to return to Crans-sur-Sierre for the second game, with the intention of playing the games in La Plagne at a point later in the programme, assuming the technical issues could be resolved.

Even after the second game had been played in Switzerland, the problems at La Plagne persisted, and before Georges Kleinmann could describe the next game at Crans-sur-Sierre, chairman André Rosat explained that in order to give the technicians more time to alleviate the communication problems, a short film would be shown about snow clearing! After the 3 minute film, Rosat returned the programme once more to Crans-sur-Sierre for the next game.

After the third game had been played in Switzerland, with the transmission having run for 45 minutes by this point, the technicians finally succeeded in getting stable, albeit poor quality images from La Plagne. However, in Switzerland, the captain of Crans-sur-Sierre suggested that the match should be declared null and void, with a 'compensation match' to be staged later, featuring the two teams involved. This proposal was accepted. However, the transmission would continue, mainly for the benefit of the spectators at the two venues. Finally, with the programme now entering its fiftieth minute, the first of the three games on the ski-slopes of La Plagne got underway.

As the final stages of this competition were only played out for the benefit of those at the venues, the three games held in the La Plagne resort took place over a frenetic nineteen minute period. The technical breakdowns had prompted something unprecedented in Interneige or the other competitions, a change to the staging order whereby all games in each venue were staged consecutively, rather than on an alternating basis. The Game of Questions round was also cancelled.

A filmed tele-recording (lasting 75 minutes) was made from the transmission and this survives to this day.

The considerable problems encountered in staging this heat caused the producers to restage it in place of the planned Winter Final (as had been suggested by the Crans-sur-Sierre captain). This decision was taken in order to be fair to the teams of Crans-sur-Sierre and La Plagne, who were judged to have been distracted by the confusion surrounding this technically-hampered transmission. However, as will be seen, the transmission problems would not disappear when the re-match was staged and it appeared that the gods were against this match taking place from the very start. Furthermore, the organisers decreed that the 1966 Interneige Trophy would be awarded to the winning team in the heats with the healthiest point’s difference to their opponents. Therefore, despite being scheduled, the Winter Final was never staged.

Made in B/W • This programme exists in European Archives

 

CH & F

Interneige 1966

Heat 4 (Restaged)

Staging Date: Sunday 6th March 1966
Venues: Pentes de Ski (Ski Slopes), Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland
and Pentes de Ski (Ski Slopes), La Plagne, France

European Transmissions (Local Timings):
SSR (CH):
Sunday 6th March 1966, 1.30-2.45pm (Live)
ORTF (F):
Sunday 6th March 1966, 1.30-2.45pm (Live)
Not transmitted in Great Britain

Weather Conditions:
Switzerland - Sunny and Warm
France - Sunny and Warm

Presenter Locations:
Simone Garnier (F) and Georges Kleinmann (CH) in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland
Claude Evelyne (CH) and Guy Lux (F) in La Plagne, France

Referee Locations:
Cesare Vampa in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland
Gennaro Olivieri in La Plagne, France

Neutral Jury in Genève, Switzerland:
André Rosat (Chairman), Mohamed Saudi [Algeria], Pierre Chevuaille [Belgium]
and Jacques Antoine [Monaco]

Playing Surfaces:
Switzerland - Snow
France - Snow

Teams: Crans-sur-Sierre (CH) v. La Plagne (F)

Team Members included:
Crans-sur-Sierre (CH) -
Jean-Louis Emerie;
La Plagne (F) - Émile Allais, Jean-Louis Costaire, Paul Gascar.

Games: Growing Up on Snow (in Switzerland), Box, Drop and Corral (in France), Do You Have the Stomach for This? (in Switzerland), Lord of the Rings (in France), Releasing the Sheep (in Switzerland), The High High-Jump (in France), Game of Questions - The Crescendo (at both venues).

Game of Questions - Round 1:
Opposition Task
(in France) -
A skier has to descend a course negotiating 15 gates correctly within 20 seconds. Any further attempts would be result in 1 second being deducted from the time in each case;

Game of Questions - Round 2:
Opposition Task
(in Switzerland) - A competitor must descend the slop on a mini ski-bob within 20 seconds. Any further attempts would be result in 1 second being deducted from the time in each case.

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team / Colour 1 2 3 4 5 6 GQ1 GQ1 GQ2 GQ2
Points Scored
CH 1 2 0 0 1 0 --- -3 -3 ---
F 1 0 2 2 1 2 1 ---

---

-1
Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
CH 1 3 3 3 4 4 4 1 -2 -2
F 1 1 3 5 6 8 9 9 9 8

Result

 Team

Points

Final Scoreboard

1st
2nd

 F • La Plagne l l
 CH • Crans-sur-Sierre

8
-
2

The Host Towns and Venues

Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland

Previously visited in Heat 4 (Abandoned)

As was the case for the abandoned Heat 4, the games at the Swiss venue in this restaged Winter Heat were played out on the ski-slopes of Crans-sur-Sierre.


La Plagne, France

Previously visited in Heat 4 (Abandoned)

As was the case for the abandoned Heat 4, the games at the French venue in this restaged Winter Heat were played out on the ski-slopes of La Plagne.

The Games in Detail

Game 1 - Growing Up on Snow

The first game - ‘Growing Up on Snow’ - was played in Switzerland in glorious sunshine over five rounds. The first round featured competitors dressed as babies lying in prams with their nannies on skis pushing them. A straightforward ski race down the slope saw the French team take an early lead. However, three-quarters of the way down the slope, the team hit trouble when the pram toppled over and both baby and nanny tumbled onto the snow. This allowed the Swiss team to finish the round in first place. The second round saw competitors dressed as six-year olds on push-along scooters on skis. Although the Swiss player nudged his rival on the way down causing him to fall from his scooter, he himself hit trouble further down whereby he also fell from his scooter. This allowed time for the Frenchman to recompose himself and continue down the mountain to win the round. The game score was now tied at 1-1. The game began to get bolder in the third round with the competitors dressed as teenagers sitting on full-sized bicycles on skis. Both teams descended the mountain unscathed, and with the French finishing in first place, they now led the Swiss 2-1. With the programme moving into its 16th minute, it appeared that the gremlins had got to work again in the system, when the audio link was lost completely. Although the live picture link was trouble-free, the sound would not return until 23 minutes later. The game progressed without commentary into the fourth round, which saw competitors dressed as adults with mock-up motor-bikes and side-cars on skis. On the countdown, the female (a male competitor in disguise) pushed the bike to get momentum and then had to jump into the side-car for the descent down the slope. Again both teams arrived unscathed with the Swiss passing the finishing line first, and scores were once more level at 2-2. The final round saw competitors dressed as wheelchair-bound retirees being pushed from behind by their helpers. The Swiss team became a cropper halfway down the slope which gave the French the opportunity to take first place. Three-quarters the way down the slope, the same fate befell the French, and in the meantime the Swiss team had got to their feet and grabbed their wheelchair and ran down the slope passing the French. In seeing this, the French did the same with their wheelchair in tow. It appeared that the Swiss team had won the game by 3-2 after passing the finishing line first, but when the points were awarded, both teams were given 1pt each. The rules of the game stated that all the participating team members had to be aboard their equipment used as they crossed the finishing line. After the confirmation of this score from Genevè, the programme continued and moved to La Plagne for the next game.


Game 2 - Box, Drop and Corral

The second game (the first in France) - ‘Box, Drop and Corral’ - was played by individuals over the same course as the sixth game from the previously abandoned heat, and featured skiers without the aid of poles, descending a course lined with 21 podiums housing large polystyrene cubes. Further down the slope there were a series of 15 steps in the guise of large logs and at the far end of the course there was a medium-sized holding corral which had a ‘viaduct’ built of large rectangular boxes and smaller cubes at its end. On the countdown, the skiers began to descend the slope and had to try and knock down as many of the boxes from podiums as they could. The first 5 logs that they encountered also had podiums and boxes set between them, but the final 10 rows had to be cleared in the normal way by the skiers. As they descended the final 25% of the course, they entered a long passage built of the same large rectangular boxes ultimately leading to the corral. As they entered the corral, and travelling at a rapid speed, they had to try and to stop themselves within the area of the corral in the classic way, without knocking down any of the blocks from the ‘viaduct’. However, if the skier felt that he would be unable to stop, he could take the option and try and pass between the narrow gaps of the ‘viaduct’s’ uprights without knocking any of the stones down. The skiers could travel at any speed they wished but they had to complete the course within 30 seconds. The scoring appeared to be that the number of blocks displaced from the podiums on the three descents would be totalled and the total number of blocks knocked down from the ‘viaduct’ would be deducted from this total. The team with the greatest total remaining would be awarded the points. The Swiss team competed first and their opening skier displaced 5 boxes and completed the course in 23.7 seconds, but he was unfortunate to have one of the ‘viaduct’ stones topple over as he passed under one of the spans. The second of their skiers was even less fortunate, and although he also succeeded in displace 5 more of the remaining boxes, he lost his balance over the final two logs and came crashing down to the ground with great speed. However, he was not seriously injured and clearly somewhat shaken, got back to his feet and completed the descent although his run would not count. The third skier displaced 7 more of the remaining boxes, and although he completed the course in 23.8 seconds he was more courageous and attempted to stop himself within the pen itself. Unfortunately for him, one of his skis touched one of the uprights of the ‘viaduct’ and the keystone fell to the ground. The final score for Switzerland was 12 - 2 = 10 (cubes displaced (5 + 7) minus viaduct stones displaced (1 + 1)). The French team participated next and their fortunes were much in line with their competitors with the first skier displacing 9 boxes and completing the course in 16.4 seconds but he failed to clear the ‘viaduct’ when passing beneath it. The second competitor displaced 5 more boxes but crashed to the ground after losing his balance negotiating the final log and his run did not count. The final French skier displaced 6 boxes and finished the course in 22.5 seconds but failed to stop in the pen and crashed straight through the ‘viaduct’, knocking down 4 of the stones. The final score for France was 15 - 6 = 9 (cubes displaced (9 + 6) minus viaduct stones displaced (2 + 4)). The Swiss won the game by virtue of 1pt and were awarded 2pts for their victory and had taken the lead on the master scoreboard by 3-1.


Game 3 - Do You Have the Stomach for This?

The third game (the second in Switzerland) - ‘Do You Have the Stomach for This?’ - was a straightforward game of tobogganing down the slope. Each team took four individual runs down the slope, with each competitor starting by picking up speed on foot before jumping onto the toboggan and descending the slope on his stomach. Due to the lack of sound, it is unclear whether the total time for all four runs decided the teams’ scores or, as in many other games in the JSF ilk, the worst time was discarded and only the best three times were taken into account. In this instant however, it did not matter as all of the Swiss descents were slower than those of their French rivals. The French participated first and the times taken in each round (listed chronologically) were 17.0 seconds, 15.2 seconds, 16.8 seconds and 18.8 seconds, giving a total of 67.8 seconds (or 49.0 seconds with the worst time discarded). The Swiss on the other hand had times of 17.7 seconds, 17.9 seconds, 17.1 seconds and 20.9 seconds, giving a total of 73.6 seconds (or 52.7 seconds with the worst time discarded). The 2pts were awarded to La Plagne and the scores returned to being level, now at 3-3.


Game 4 - Lord of the Rings

The fourth game (the second in France) - ‘Lord of the Rings’ - was played over three rounds and although simplistic in design it was still effective, and featured competitors from each team skiing down the slope along with a giant metal ring. A large 2.5m ring mounted on skis was attached by a support frame to the waist of one of the competitors and was located in front of him, with a team-mate on skis standing adjacent to him. On the countdown, they both began to descend the course with the lone skier making passes through the ring from one side to the other as they continued down the slope. Although the teams could use tactics and descend at a slow speed to maximise passes, the course had to be completed in 40 seconds or less, otherwise the score for the run would not be counted. The French went first and their duo completed the course in exactly 32 seconds and had made 9 passes through the ring, and this was followed by the Swiss duo who went one better and made 10 passes in 34.7 seconds. The Swiss were just one pass ahead as the game went into its second round. The next French duo did much better than their first round compatriots and made 12 passes in 38.4 seconds, bringing their total to 21. With the programme now entering its 39th minute, and 23 minutes since the silence began, the audio link was finally restored to the programme, just in time to see the Swiss begin their second run and make a total of 14 passes. However, in order to obtain such a high tally of passes, the team had descended at a very slow rate and inadvertently took 40.2 seconds to complete the course. Despite the run only being two-tenths outside the permitted time, referee Gennaro Olivieri deemed it null and void. This announcement was met with much hilarity from French presenter Guy Lux as he announced that the running totals were now 21-10 in France’s favour. At this point, and unless a total disaster occurred on their final run, the French had the game well and truly sewn up. However, this did not see them sitting on their laurels and their final descent saw them increase their total by another 15 after they completed the course in 39.1 seconds. The score on the game was now 36-10 in the French team’s favour and, with only 40 seconds to make 27 passes to win the game, it was an impossible task for their rivals. Although the Swiss team had some tactics in mind, disaster befell them when their skier tumbled after just 8 passes. Despite getting to his feet and making a total of 14 passes in exactly 38 seconds, the game had already been decided some three minutes earlier. The French were awarded the 2pts and they took the lead on the master scoreboard for the first time with the scores standing at 5-3 in their favour.


Game 5 - Releasing the Sheep

The fifth game (the second in Switzerland) - ‘Releasing the Sheep’ - was somewhat of an enigma in its design and conclusion. It featured competitors on skis, which were comprised of two parts that had been hinged in the middle (first seen during Heat 3 of Interneige 1966 at Sankt Moritz), transporting bunches of 7 balloons down the slope whilst negotiating various obstacles including a snow tunnel and a spring diving board. Teams could make an unlimited number of runs and were permitted a maximum time of 2 minutes 15 seconds to transport as many balloons intact as possible. These balloons were then attached to an effigy of a sheep, which was tied to the ground by a rope. At the end of the game, an opposing shepherd was released from the top of the slope, and 5 seconds later the sheep was released from its holding. The shepherd then had to try to reach the bottom of the course and grab a 40m (130ft) length of rope which was attached to the sheep and bring the sheep safely back to earth. The French played first and made three successful descents of 21 balloons in total, but in order to raise the sheep off the ground, an additional 7 balloons were added by the referees. The Swiss shepherd descended the slope in 18 seconds but was unable to grab the rope in time, and the sheep, along with all the balloons, continued to rise into the clear sky. The Swiss opposition played next and they made four successful descents, delivering 26 balloons in total. The French shepherd was released and was faster than his Swiss counterpart on his descent, reaching the bottom of the course in just over 14 seconds. Despite the fact that he was able to grab the rope and start bringing the sheep back to earth, he tugged at it too fervently, causing it to break away from the sheep and his quarry began to rise again, eventually disappearing into the sky above. The game was declared a draw with each team being awarded 1pt each. This was confirmed by the jury and the scoreboard was now showing that France were ahead of Switzerland by 6-4.


Game 6 - The High High-Jump

The sixth game (the third in France) - ‘The High High-Jump’ - was a game played over four rounds, with the scoring being the choice of the competitors, dependant on their own beliefs in their own abilities and skills. The Swiss team only had one competitor in this game which would result in the home crowd witnessing an act of fair play by the French team. Halfway down the slope there were three ramps all set at the same level and in front of these ramps were high jump bars which were set at three different heights. Each of these bars had different values of 1pt (for the lowest), 3pts (the middle height) and 5pts (for the highest). As the skier descended the slope at around 70-80kph (43-50mph), he had to make a conscious decision of which jump to choose and, if successful, was awarded the value of the jump pole. The French participated first and their opening skier scored 5pts after clearing the highest bar. The sole Swiss competitor tumbled on his descent and, although he got back on to his feet, he had lost his momentum but bravely attempted the 5pt bar but inevitably was unsuccessful. France were already ahead 5-0 on the game. The second round saw the French clear another 5pt bar whilst the Swiss skier attempted the 1pt bar and failed miserably. This result now meant that France were leading by 10-0 on the game and it was already inevitable that they had guaranteed themselves at least 1pt from the game. The French team again attempted the highest bar in the third round but were not successful, whilst there was a slight delay to allow the Swiss player to get to the top of the slope. This time he was successful and scored the first points on the game after clearing the 1pt bar, but fell badly on his descent to the ground, and would prevent him from completing the game. With the scores now at 10-1 and France guaranteed victory, the game went into its final round. The French, who appeared to have more conviction than their rivals, again attempted the 5pt bar but unfortunately failed to clear it. One of the French skiers volunteered to participate for the Swiss team and cleared the 5pt bar and the game ended 10-6 to the French. With 2pts awarded the French were now leading the contest 8-4, and the final result all depended on the question rounds and the choices made by the dignitaries.


Game of Questions

The jury deemed that La Plagne would participate first in the Game of Questions and saw Émile Allais (born 1912), a former World Champion alpine ski racer, choosing the 1pt option. The French ‘intellectuals’ were very quick in answering their first question, and the opposition successfully completed their task within the allotted time. The second question was answered by the French as quickly as the first, but the Swiss skier completed his task just two-tenths of a second outside the time allowed and the French were awarded 1pt and were now leading 9-4 overall. The cameras returned to Crans-sur-Sierre where the mayor, knowing his team were 5pts adrift, had no choice but to select the 3pt option. Although there appeared to be some confusion as to the exact response given by the Swiss ‘intellectuals’, the team had answered correctly, and the opposition completed their task correctly. The outcome was the same following the second, third and fourth questions being asked, despite the fact that 3 seconds had been deducted from the time allowed to complete the task. The fifth question however proved to be the Swiss team’s stumbling block and they answered incorrectly. The scores were now 9-1 in favour of the French and victory was now assured for La Plagne. Although the competition was over for the Swiss, the Swiss mayor again choose the 3pt option and the ‘intellectuals’ answered correctly. With the opposition completing the task correctly, the game went to a second question, but the intellectuals answered incorrectly and forfeited another 3pts. The overall scoreboard now showed France leading by 9pts to -2pts. With his team now leading by 11pts and with the Interneige Trophy in the balance (this year being decided on points difference over the whole series), Émile Allais chose the 1pt option again. With this choice, he already had the knowledge that no matter what the outcome, his team would be presented with the trophy, finishing with a points difference of either 12pts or 10pts, beating that of Swiss team Champéry’s 8pts difference. The ‘intellectuals’ and opposition had no problems in completing their first two duties, but the French team stumbled on the third question and answered incorrectly and were deducted the point that had been gained in the first round. The final score of the competition was France 8pts, Crans-sur-Sierre -2pts, and La Plagne were announced as the Interneige Champions as a result.

Returning Teams and Competitors

La Plagne competitor Paul Gascar had previously participated for La Mongie earlier in Heat 1 of this series of Interneige and returned again when La Mongie staged the competition for a second time in 1967.

Additional Information

This live transmission was originally planned to have been the Interneige Winter Final, but due to the unprecedented events of Sunday 20th February 1966, when the transmission of Heat 4 had to be abandoned as a result of technical failure, it was decided to replay that heat instead of staging a Winter Final. This postponed competition ultimately took the broadcast slot reserved for the Final.

The winner of the 1966 Interneige Trophy was therefore decided on points difference between the winning and losing teams in the heats, including this restaged edition. Prior to this transmission, the Swiss team of Champéry were leading the fight for the trophy with a points difference of 8pts (having won by 7pts to Les Deux Alpes' minus 1).

The restaged heat opened to glorious sunshine in La Plagne with Guy Lux explaining at great length the reasons for the heat being held a second time, but it appeared that there might have been some gremlins still in the system, as the audio link during this period was continually breaking up. However, all links soon became stable and the programme continued outside the Hotel Christina at the bottom of the slope with the introductions of the on-site dignitaries.

The programme was then handed over to André Rosat, the jury chairman who, after introducing the jury members, went on to explain how the winner of the Interneige Trophy would be decided this year. To help viewers understand, a table was displayed showing the current standings of the two best teams (greatest points difference) and the total points scored by the three national teams. It should be noted that these totals did not include the unofficial scores from the previously abandoned heat. Although pictures were clear, the audio link then started to break down intermittently until it was lost completely. This silence continued even after the hand over to Crans-sur-Sierre and, as with the third heat, a message - VEUILLEZ-NOUS EXCUSER DE CETTE INTERRUPTION MOMENTANÈE DU SON (please excuse us for this momentary interruption to sound) - was placed on-screen. The audio link was restored 4 minutes later and just in time to see the start of the opening game. But the communication problems were far from over, as the viewers at home would come to realise over the course of the programme.

According to reports of the event in the Swiss press, Émile Allais (born 1912), proved a strong competitor despite his age and met with success for the Swiss team. In a show of fair play, the manager of the La Plagne team permitted the veteran French competitor to compete for the Swiss team when one of their competitors suffered a sprained ankle. However, these reports have since been proved incorrect and in fact, it was Jean-Louis Costaire who skied on behalf of the Swiss team.

Made in B/W • This programme exists in European Archives

 

JSFnetGB Series Guide pages researched by
Alan Hayes, David Hamilton, Neil Storer, Christos Moustakas, Philippe Minet,
Sébastien Dias, Ischa Bijl, Paul Leaver and JSFnet Websites