Interneige 1968

Entrants Winter 1968:
Switzerland (CH) • France (F)

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

International Referees:
Gennaro Olivieri
Guido Pancaldi
Cesare Vampa

National Producers:
Paul Siegrist (SSR-SRG - CH)
Jean-Louis Marest and Claude Savarit (ORTF - F)

National Directors:
Paul Siegrist (SSR-SRG - CH)
Roger Pradines (ORTF - F)

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

Key:
Winter International Heats
 
l = Qualified for Winter International Final / l = Heat Winner
Winter International Final
l = Winter International Final Trophy Winner

F

Interneige 1968

Heat 1

Event Staged: Sunday 14th January 1968
Venue: Pentes de Ski (Ski Slopes), Les Gets, France

European Transmissions (Local Timings):
SSR (CH):
Sunday 14th January 1968, 1.30-2.45pm (Live)
ORTF (F):
Sunday 14th January 1968, 1.30-2.45pm (Live)
Not transmitted in Great Britain

Weather Conditions:
Heavy Snow and Very Cold

Playing Surface:
Snow

Teams: Les Diablerets (CH) v. Les Gets (F)

Team Members included:
Les Diablerets (CH) -
Rene Moignent;
Les Gets (F) - Ronnie Burton, Daniel Courter, Raymond Partière

Games: King Arthur and his Courtiers, Broom Ballet, The Winter Gardeners, All His Bones, The Masters of the Bar, The High Ball (Jeu Divisée), Game of Questions / Parallel Slalom (The Crescendo).

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team / Colour 1 2 3 4 5 JD GQ1 GQ2 GQ3 GQ4 GQ5
Points Scored
CH 0 0 0 0 2 1 1 0 0 0 5
F 2 2 2 2 0 1 1 2

0

0 0
Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
CH 0 0 0 0 2 3 4 4 4 4 9
F 2 4 6 8 8 9 10 12 12 12 12

Result

 Team

Points

Final Scoreboard

1st
2nd

F • Les Gets l
CH • Les Diablerets

12
9

The Host Town and Venue

Les Gets, France

Les Gets, with a permanent population of just over 1,000 inhabitants, is a village and one of the 13 linked ski resorts within the Portes du Soleil ski area, which has more than 650km (403mi) of marked pistes and about 200 lifts in total, spread over 14 valleys and 1,036km² (400mi²).

Located at between 900-1,820m (2,952-5,971ft) in the Haute-Savoie département in the Rhône-Alpes region of south-east France, Les Gets is a multi-purpose resort open throughout the year. During the winter months, the resort consists mainly of blue (beginners) and red (intermediate) runs and there is an area known as The Bowl into which numerous ski runs and chairlifts feed. Also at the resort are the most easily accessible black (difficult) runs including Yeti, which is accessed by the resort’s slowest chairlift, La Rosta. There is an open-air ice rink in the centre of the village specially constructed each year during the winter season. In order to cater for families, Les Gets also offers an exclusive children’s only area called Le Grande Cry. This offers two button lifts and several runs, all themed around trappers and Indians.

The village itself has many restaurants ranging from the family-friendly and reasonably priced to fairly top-end, all specialising in the local Savoyard cuisine, such as tartiflette, a dish of potatoes ‘au gratin’ with Reblochon cheese and lardons. There are also numerous pubs and bars serving a traditional liqueur called génépi, similar in make-up to absinthe, which is often drunk as a digestif although the exact constituents vary as many of the locals produce their own! During the summer months there are all kinds of evening activities in the centre, ranging from discotheques to the weekly Monday night Pot de Bienvenue (a welcome drink) which is provided for by the local businesses to welcome visitors to the town. Live bands regularly perform on the semi-permanent stage in the centre of the village, attracting both locals and tourists. A lot of emphasis is also given to children’s entertainment, with street performers, carousels and wooden games set out in the street being regular attractions and there are also weekly treasure hunts around the village. Also in the village is the Museum of Mechanical Music which hosts a bi-annual festival. It has been running for over 25 years and during this period all the streets are closed off and barrel-organs or orgues fill the streets with mechanical music, with many of the organ grinders coming from Germany and the Netherlands.
 

The ski resort and slopes of Les Gets

 

The games at this heat were played on the resort's ski slopes.

The Games in Detail

Game 1 - King Arthur and his Courtiers
(Le Roi Arthur et sa Suite)

The first game - ‘King Arthur and his Courtiers’ (Le Roi Arthur et sa Suite) - was preceded by a 45-second clip of Joshua Logan’s 1967 film Camelot starring Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave. The game was played over four rounds with each round being played in unison. The first of the four rounds involved a ‘King Arthur’ from each team sitting on his throne which had been mounted on skis. On the countdown, the two monarchs were released and they had to guide the thrones down the slope by means of a rudder and brake. First blood went to the French team and they led 1-0 on the game. The second round featured four chevaliers holding a litter on which lay another male team member dressed as Queen Guinevere and it involved them descending the slope whilst attempting to keep the litter aloft. Following the countdown, the teams began descending the slope but had only travelled a few metres when the French team tumbled to the ground. The Swiss team suffered the same fate almost immediately and resulted in both teams lying in the snow. The wintry conditions severely hampered the teams’ efforts to recompose themselves but after a short time, the Swiss were back on their feet and completed the course to tie the game at 1-1. The third round saw two knights from each team sitting at a table on skis which had to be guided down the slope by means of rudders. The run was completed by both teams without any problems with the French team crossing the finish line ahead of the Swiss, to take a 2-1 lead. The fourth round became a little more daring and featured a ‘Sir Lancelot’ from each team standing with their back to the slope whilst standing on forward facing skis. On the countdown, the skiers had to descend the slope facing backwards and for the third time the French team were victorious and had won the first game by 3-1. The points were awarded to the Les Gets team and they were leading the Swiss by 2-0 on the master scoreboard.


Jeu Divisée, Round 1 - The High Ball
(La Balle Haute)

The Jeu Divisée - ‘The High Ball’ (La Balle Haute) - was a game that was similar to ones played in earlier series of Interneige and featured a ball hanging from a prescribed height and skiers descended the slope to a ramp and then attempting to head-butt the ball. Each team had two attempts at each height (the second only needed if the team were unsuccessful on the first), and the team winning the greater number of rounds would be declared the winners. The first round saw the ball hanging from a height of 4m (13ft 1in) and the French team achieved their goal on their first attempt, whilst it took the Swiss two attempts to emulate their rivals. The first round stood at 1-1.


Game 2 - Broom Ballet
(Balai-Ballet)

The second game - ‘Broom Ballet’ (Balai-Ballet) - was a game played individually over two heats and featured a backpacker with two ‘brooms’ attached to his backpack descending a zigzag slalom course. However, on the way down he had to knock down 21 large blocks with his skis or brooms and cause them to tumble from their upright position. There was a 1-second penalty for each block that was not knocked down in the prescribed manner. The team completing the course in the quickest amalgamated time were declared the winners. The Swiss team went first and completed the course in exactly 29 seconds. However, the 18th block, although it had been touched by the backpacker, did not fall to the ground and he was therefore awarded a penalty of 1 second, bringing the team’s total time to 30 seconds. The French team went second completed the course without penalty in 27.5 seconds and were awarded the 2pts. With the first two games under their belt, they were now leading the Swiss 4-0 on the master scoreboard.


Jeu Divisée, Round 2 - The High Ball
(La Balle Haute)

The second round of the Jeu Divisée saw the ball raised to 4.5m (14ft 9ins), despite Guy Lux incorrectly stating that it was at 4m (13ft 1in), and both teams being successful on their first attempts. The scores remained tied at 2-2.


Game 3 - The Winter Gardeners
(Les Jardiniers des Neige)

The third game - ‘The Winter Gardeners’ (Les Jardiniers des Neige) - was played in unison over five extraordinary rounds. The first round featured two skiers in the classic children’s ‘wheelbarrow’ position, with one standing on skis whilst supporting the legs of the other, who was facedown holding onto a static wheel which had been mounted on a single ski. On the countdown, it was a simple race down the slope in this position. The Swiss took an early lead but tumbled a third of the way down the course, which gave the French the chance to catch up and overtake them. In a strange twist of fate however, the French team also tumbled at the exact same spot, and it was now a matter as to which team could compose themselves again first. The Swiss appeared to take a considerable time to do this and it allowed the French, who were incredibly quick, to descend the course first and win the round. They were leading 1-0 on the game. The second round featured two skiers dressed as gardeners each holding a semi-deflated balloon, and on the countdown, they had to descend the slope whilst stamping one of their feet. The reason for this soon became clear, as the foot was attached to a rope which in turn was attached to a set of fire bellows mounted on his back. The bellows were connected to a plastic tube which was attached to the balloon, and the constant stamping caused air to be blown into the balloon as he descended. At the bottom of the course, the balloons were measured and whichever team’s balloon had the greater diameter would be declared the winners. The French skier appeared to descend the course very fast and crossed the line first and when his balloon was measured it had a diameter of 23cm (9ins) whilst the Swiss balloon was only 19cm (7½ins). The French were now leading 2-0 on the game. The third round saw two gardeners on skis, each with a large plant pot in front of them also set on skis. Inside the pot was a team-mate dressed as a large flower and it was straight race down the course to the finish line. On the countdown both teams set off, but almost immediately the Swiss team tumbled into the snow whilst their opposition sped down the course. Despite the fact that the French themselves also tumbled two-thirds of the way down the course, they were able to compose themselves again very quickly and went on to win the third round and, in theory, the game overall. They now had an unassailable lead of 3-0 on the game with just two rounds to play. At this point, referee Gennaro Olivieri tried to rile Swiss presenter, Georges Kleinmann about the scores by stating that the French were leading 3-0 on the game and repeated it twice. Georges, not to be seen to be agitated by this, simply looked at Gennaro and French co-presenter Guy Lux and replied ‘3-0! Bravo!’ Despite the game having already been decided, it was played to a finish and the fourth round featured two skiers in full tree trunk costumes skiing down the course with their arms spread out in branches and without the aid of ski poles. The French were not to be outdone and went one better and won the fourth round as well and were now leading 4-0 on the game. The fifth and final round turned out to be even more extraordinary than the previous four. It began with two skiers from each team descending the slope to a given point. On reaching this marker, one of the skiers had to stand upside-down with legs akimbo on his team-mate’s skis, whilst being held around the waist. They then had to descend further down the slope in this position to a second given point. At this point, the skiers had to stop and get into position in order to hold onto each others skis and roll down the remainder of the slope in a caterpillar track motion. Although both teams descended the course without serious problem, the French team once again reached the finish line first and won the game 5-0 overall. With another 2pts and their third successive win, the French were leading 6-0 on the master scoreboard.


Jeu Divisée, Round 3 - The High Ball
(La Balle Haute)

The third round of the Jeu Divisée saw the ball raised to 5m (16ft 4½ins). Again, Guy Lux stated the incorrect height as being 4.5m (14ft 9ins), but was corrected by Gennaro Olivieri after both of the first players from each team had failed to hit the ball. Guy Lux realising his mistake stated that Gennaro was indeed correct, as the ball had been raised by 50cm (1ft 7½ins) each round so far. With both of the teams’ second players also missing their target, the scores remained tied at 3-3.


Game 4 - All His Bones
(Chacun son Os)

The fourth game - ‘All His Bones’ (Chacun son Os) - was a tug-o-war type game between two opposing players dressed as dogs who were tied together around the waist by a long leash. On the countdown, the two descended a course which was lined on both sides with 10 large bones, and the idea of the game was for each dog to try and knock down as many of the bones on his side, whilst the other tried to prevent him from doing so whilst attempting to do the same on the his side. Contested over two rounds, the first round saw the French dog bring his Swiss opposition to the ground and was able to knock down four bones before he had a chance to get back to his feet and make a challenge. Despite all his efforts, in which he was able to knock down two bones himself, the Swiss dog could not prevent the French dog winning the round 4-2. In the second round the dogs swapped sides for parity, but again the Swiss dog was not as agile or adept as his French opposition and allowed his rival to knock down a further 5 bones whilst he could only emulate his team-mate’s score of 2 from the first round. The aggregate scores over the two rounds were France 9, Switzerland 4 and with yet another 2pts awarded, the French were leading the competition 8-0, and things started to look somewhat grim for the Swiss team.


Jeu Divisée, Round 4 - The High Ball
(La Balle Haute)

The programme returned to the Jeu Divisée for the fourth round with the height of the ball remaining at 5m (16ft 4½ins). Just as had been the case in the previous round, neither of the team’s two players could reach the ball and again the round ended in a draw with the scores at 4-4.


Game 5 - Masters of the Bar
(Les Maitres du Barreau)

The fifth game - ‘Masters of the Bar’ (Les Maitres du Barreau) - was played individually and featured four skiers carrying a large wooden ladder on their shoulders with their heads through the rungs throughout its length. On the countdown, the team had to descend the slope negotiating a course of small gates and a section of crests and troughs (which was quite balletic to watch). The final section of the course required the team to get into a horizontal line and pass though four lanes separately. The team to finish the course in the quickest time would be awarded the points. The French team participated first and completed the course without mishap in 35.4 seconds. The Swiss, who were determined to win this game and add a little respectability back to their score, also finished the course without mishap but in a faster time of exactly 33 seconds. The Swiss had won their first game of the competition and scored their first points. With the 2pts added to their score, the French were now leading by 8-2 overall.


Jeu Divisée, Round 5 - The High Ball
(La Balle Haute)

The final round of the Jeu Divisée was played with the ball remaining at the same height as the previous two rounds. Just as had been the case in those rounds, neither of the team’s two players could reach the ball and again the round ended in a draw with the scores level at 5-5. Both teams were awarded 1pt each and the master scoreboard showed France leading by 9-3.


Game of Questions / Parallel Slalom (The Crescendo)

The format for this year’s ‘academic’ round was very different to that of any previous Interneige programmes, and one that would be repeated somewhat for the 1976 series when the competition was revived. The team that were deemed to play first were given the opportunity to select an envelope, A or B. Inside each envelope there were five questions with an ascending points value of 1-5. The first question required just one answer and it would score 1pt, the second required two answers (2pts), the third required three answers (3pts) etc. The ‘intellectuals’ had 30 seconds to answer each question and if they gave a correct response, they would be awarded the points value of that particular question. However, in order to secure these points, a team-mate had to compete in a ski slalom race against the opposition and win it. If the skier lost the race, the points awarded in that round would be nullified. Each team could therefore attain a maximum of 15pts (1pt + 2pts + 3pts + 4pts + 5pts) if all questions were answered correctly and all five runs of the slalom were to be won. However, with the ski-slalom ultimately deciding the outcome of the round, a team could find themselves answering all the five questions correctly and then lose all the slaloms and score 0pts. If the question was answered incorrect in the first place, then the slalom did not take place for that particular round and the next question was set. All five questions were answered consecutively by one team before the second team participated.

The team that was trailing at this point were deemed to play first, and in this case it was the Swiss. However, despite the Swiss ‘intellectuals’ giving correct responses to all five questions, the points attained in rounds 2, 3 and 4 were nullified following the French skier winning these ski slalom races. With a total of 6pts (1pt + 5pts) added to their score, the Swiss had levelled the scores at 9-9. A point to note was that the 4pt question in this round would have been of particular interest to British viewers (had the programme been broadcast in Great Britain), as it required the ‘intellectuals’ to give the full names of the four members of Liverpudlian rock group, The Beatles – the correct answer being George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

With the scores at 9-9, the French needed to secure just 1pt from the five rounds to win the competition. Within the first minute of their participation they achieved this when the 1pt question was answered correctly and their skier won the slalom. Not sitting on their laurels, they also scored 2pts from the second question and although they answered the third and fourth questions correctly, they were disappointed when the Swiss skier was victorious in the ski slalom. Despite answering the fifth question incorrectly, Guy Lux insisted that the ski slalom be run. However, with 3pts (1pt + 2pts) scored, the French had won the competition 12-9 giving them a winning points difference of 3pts.

Presenters, Officials and Production Team

Suitably clad for the weather conditions, presenters Guy Lux and Georges Kleinmann were stationed at the base of the slopes whilst co-presenters Simone Garnier and Claude Evelyne commentated from the top.

Additional Information

This year’s Interneige series included for the first time the Jeu Divisée (The Divided Game) which was first introduced in the 1967 Jeux Sans Frontières series. Played over five rounds, it was interspersed between the remaining competitive games, with the final result and points announced at the end of the fifth round.

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

 

CH

Interneige 1968

Heat 2

Event Staged: Sunday 21st January 1968
Venue: Pentes de Ski (Ski Slopes), Moléson-Village, Switzerland

European Transmissions (Local Timings):
SSR (CH):
Sunday 21st January 1968, 1.30-2.45pm (Live)
ORTF (F):
Sunday 21st January 1968, 1.30-2.45pm (Live)
Not transmitted in Great Britain

Weather Conditions:
Unknown

Playing Surface:
Snow

Teams: Moléson-Village (CH) v. Le Corbier (F)

Team Members included:
Le Corbier (F) -
Jean Bertay, Jean-François Dieper, Charlie Esalter.

Games: The Drunkard and the Shrew, Rugby in the Snow, The Slippery Tables, The Downhill Obstacle Course, The Candles, Snow Scooter Obstacle Course, Game of Questions / Parallel Slalom (The Crescendo).

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 F • Le Corbier l l

 CH • Moléson-Village

16
8

The Host Town and Venue

Moléson-Village, Switzerland

Moléson-Village (officially known as Moléson-sur-Gruyères) is a village located in the Fribourg canton of Switzerland. The village is situated in the Gruyères region, south of the town of Bulle, at a height of 1,132m (3,714ft) above sea level. The village sits at the foot of the 2,002m (6,568ft) high Moléson mountain from which it takes its name, and can be easily reached by funicular or cable car.

Moléson Village came from the fertile imagination of some Fribourgeois residents who were ready to combine economic development with tourism. The utopian project of the 1960s to build an ideal village was dissolved in murky waters of controversy and financial difficulties. It was fully realised in 1978, but in a very distant form to that what was originally planned.

The story of this epic is as much to do with tourism (the dream of a resort) as architectural (more than 150 plans were submitted with the majority unrealised) and economical (more than 20 million Swiss Francs invested). Robert Boschung, the owner / proprietor of the Vieux Chalet Crésuz, had a dream of a restaurant at the top of Le Moléson connected by a cable car. He gathered around him a few personalities and businessmen from Fribourg who were excited by the idea of the cantonal tourism development. In November 1959, the initiative committee filed a first license application to the federal Department of Posts and Railways for a cable car from Pringy to Plan-Francey with an intermediate station at La Chaux and a cable car from Plan-Francey to the top of Moléson.

The Grand Council accepted the Fribourgeois plans and, in May 1961, the motion was passed by Gruyère councillor Pierre Morard and 60 other signatories. It called for the construction of a main road connecting Pringy to La Chaux. Four kilometres long with a width of six metres and a maximum gradient of 10%, it was given a budget of around 7 million Swiss Francs, 3 million of which was to build the future station. Work began in March 1962 and ended in July 1963. A concession already granted to the municipality of Enney forced developers to build a gondola, known today as ‘The Can’, linking La Chaux to La Vudalla with two lifts completing the plans. The three stations and the intermediate station were assigned to the Lausanne architect, Marc Wuarin, and would have inclined concrete bases, wooden walls and multi-layered roofs. The lifts began operation in December 1963 with the exception of the section Plan-Francey to Moléson, which opened the following winter. William Dunkel, a prominent Zurich architect and retired teacher, trained in the school of the German Bauhaus, was given the task of the future holiday development planning on the slopes of Moléson.

In 1978, after years of wrangling between the owners, locals and councillors, Valais-born brothers, Bernard and Philippe Micheloud, bought the 14,496m² (156,033ft²) of land and ensured the survival of the resort. In the process, they built 14 chalets and gradually took over the running of the station. In 1983, they centralised the ski lifts, restaurants, office administration and management of chalets and apartments. In five years, they had managed to do what had been expected in the previous twenty years to build fifty chalets, a village with three apartment buildings and shops, a sports centre with tennis and minigolf.

In 1988, the resort boasted 1,200 beds in chalets and apartments of the 3,500 planned. Since then Moléson has faced the economic crisis, and has had to adapt to utilising the summer months with development of an astronomical observatory and traditional cheese-making in old chalets, as well as providing various summer sports.
 

The ski slopes of Moléson-sur-Gruyères with
the Moléson in the background

 

The games at this heat were played on the resort's ski-slopes.

Made in B/W • This programme may exist in European Archives

 

F

Interneige 1968

Heat 3

Event Staged: Sunday 28th January 1968
Venue: Pentes de Ski (Ski Slopes), La Clusaz, France

European Transmissions (Local Timings):
SSR (CH):
Sunday 28th January 1968, 1.30-2.45pm (Live)
ORTF (F):
Sunday 28th January 1968, 1.30-2.45pm (Live)
Not transmitted in Great Britain

Weather Conditions:
Unknown

Playing Surface:
Snow

Teams: Anzère (CH) v. La Clusaz (F)

Team Members included:
Anzère (CH) -
Gionardi Canashe, Jean-Jacques Debonne.

Games: Asterix and Obelix v. William Tell, The Pastry Makers, Trampoline Basketball, Jumping the Cottage, Downhill Bob-Ski, Unattached Skiing, Game of Questions / Parallel Slalom (The Crescendo).

Game Results and Standings

Result

 Team

Points

1st
2nd

 CH • Anzère l l

 F • La Clusaz

Anzere won by scoring 5 points more than La Clusaz

The Host Town and Venue

La Clusaz, France

La Clusaz is a village and ski resort located 32km (20mi) east of Annecy in the Haute-Savoie département of south-eastern France. It is has been hosting winter sports since 1907 and it is the birthplace of two famous French sportsmen - skier, Vincent Vittoz and yachtsman, Phillippe Monnet.

The name Clusaz derives from the word cluse (meaning narrow path between mountains) and was once called Cusa Locus Dei or God’ narrow place. It was not until the opening of the road connecting Annecy with the Aravis valley that this once small and remote village became a tourist centre for summer and winter sports.

The resort’s first cable car was introduced in 1956, with the first luge being installed in 1985 and its first snow cannon in 1994. The main draw of La Clusaz is skiing during the winter season and each year the resort hosts the Candide Invitational, a ski contest / demonstration on La Balme mountain. It is organised by skier, Candide Thovex and consists of a number of top international skiers.

Shopping in La Clusaz is much like other small alpine villages - centred around local shops specialising in either local delicacies such as cheese, meats and wines, or ski shops.
 

The village centre of La Clusaz

 

The games at this heat were played on the resort's ski slopes.

Made in B/W • This programme may exist in European Archives

 

CH

Interneige 1968

Heat 4

Event Staged: Sunday 4th February 1968
Venue: Pentes de Ski (Ski Slopes), Leysin, Switzerland

European Transmissions (Local Timings):
SSR (CH):
Sunday 4th February 1968, 1.30-2.45pm (Live)
ORTF (F):
Sunday 4th February 1968, 1.30-2.45pm (Live)
Not transmitted in Great Britain

Weather Conditions:
Cold and Overcast

Playing Surface:
Snow

Teams: Leysin (CH) v. Serre-Chevalier (F)

Team Members included:
Leysin (CH) -
Guy Asellie, Gilbert Augerre, Jean-Luc Bourdain, Eric Eftille, Cristian Morpant, Eric Vertnier;
Serre-Chevalier (F) - Leon Deliere, Jean-Marc Dodinere, Jean-Louis Jouliere.

Games: Great Escapes, Ski-Jumping, Carnival of Animals, The Frogman's Air Tank, The Exploding Toboggan, The Firemen, Game of Questions / Parallel Slalom (The Crescendo).

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team / Colour 1 2 3 4 5 JD GQ1 GQ2 GQ3 GQ4 GQ5
Points Scored
CH 2 1 2 0 2 2 1 0 0 0 5
F 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 2

3

0 5
Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
CH 2 3 5 5 7 9 10 10 10 10 15
F 0 1 1 3 3 3 3 5 8 8 13

Result

 Team

Points

Final Scoreboard

1st
2nd

 CH • Leysin l

 F • Serre-Chevalier

15
13

The Host Town and Venue

Leysin, Switzerland

Leysin is a municipality in the Aigle district of the Vaud canton in Switzerland. Located at 1,260m (4,134ft) in the Bernese Alps, it is a sunny alpine resort village at the eastern end of Lake Geneva.

In the early part of the 19th century the village was better known for its sanatoriums that dealt with tuberculosis. Today, its spectacular Alpine views across the Rhône Valley towards the Dents du Midi invite year-round mountain sports and recreation.

The village of Leysin and the neighbouring hamlet of Veyges are designated as part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites, a 1981 Ordinance of the Swiss Federal Council implementing the Federal Law on the Protection of Nature and Cultural Heritage.

Leysin has an area of about 18.57km² (7.17mi²), of which 6.48km² (2.51mi²) or 34.9% is used for agricultural purposes, and 6.91km² (2.67mi²) or 37.2% is forestation (with only 3.4% being used for agriculture, e.g. orchards). Of the rest of the land, 1.43km² (0.55mi2) or 7.7% is settled (buildings and roads), 0.04km² (9.9 acres) or 0.2% is either rivers or lakes and 3.67km² (1.42mi²) or 19.8% is unproductive land.

The majority of the population (56%) speaks French, with English being second most common (11%), German (3.5%) being third and Italian (1.2%) being fourth. In the most recent census, it was found that just 1 person spoke the ever-decreasing Romansch language!
 

The village of Leysin, a jewel at the heart of the Swiss Alps

 

The games at this heat were played on the resort's ski slopes.

The Games in Detail

Game 1 - Famous Escapes
(Évasions Célèbres)

The first game - ‘Famous Escapes’ (Évasions Célèbres) - was played over five rounds each featuring a different ‘escape route’ by prisoners or criminals in history and fiction (see indented text directly below for more details). The first round was entitled ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’* (L’Homme au Masque de Fer) and featured two players from each team dressed in a pantomime horse costume with a team-mate wearing a black cloth to mask his face, mounted on its back. A straight race down the slope saw the French team tumble after about 30m (100ft) which allowed the Swiss, who had already been ahead, to complete the course without worry. However due to the earlier heavy snowfall, the slopes had become very fast and the Swiss team, despite having won the round, came down at such a speed that they tumbled heavily when they hit the untouched fresh snow at the bottom of the course. The Swiss were leading 1-0 on the game.

The second round was entitled ‘The Two Orphans’ (Les Deux Orphelins) and featured two pairs of orphans, with each pair connected by a cord. This time the two teams had to descend the course backwards whilst keeping a grasp on the cord. Whilst the Swiss team took an early lead and created a large distance between themselves and the French, they unfortunately became victims of their own success, when they got too close to each other and tumbled to the ground, just a few metres from the finish line. This permitted the French team to speed past to win the second round. The teams were level at 1-1 on the game.

The third round entitled ‘The King’s Rescue’ (Le Sauvetage du Roi) featured three team-mates in a scaled down rocket-fuelled jet on skis. This round was played individually and it was a straight descent down the course in the jet. With the weather conditions beginning to deteriorate with heavy mist, part of the game was obscured from view, but the French went first and crossed the finish line in 15.8 seconds. The second run featured the Swiss who completed the course in a faster time of 14.5 seconds, and with their second victory they were now leading 2-1 on the game.

The fourth round was entitled ‘The Four Daltons’** (Le Quatre Daltons) and featured four outlaws standing behind each other with a large rectangular wooden box (representing the torso of a horse) around their waists. Attached to the front of the box was a theatrical horse’s head. On the countdown both teams descended the slope in unison, but it was the Swiss team that reached the finish line first in just under 12 seconds. Meanwhile the French team had hit problems on the descent and finally crossed the line with just three of the team inside the box. The Swiss team were now in an unassailable lead of 3-1.

The final round was based on the life of French criminal Eugene François Vidocq*** and featured five escaping chain-gang members on skis descending the slope. Despite its simplicity, it was a very close run race with both teams crossing the line together. Referee Gennaro Olivieri then explained that the French team were declared the winners of the round as their fifth player had crossed the line ahead of any remaining Swiss players. The final score on the game was 3-2 to the Swiss and they were awarded 2pts to lead 2-0 on the master scoreboard.

* Although entitled The Man in the Iron Mask, the story is centred on a prisoner arrested as Eustache Dauger in 1669 and held in a number of jails, including the Bastille and Pinerolo, over a period of 34 years. However, when he died in 1703 he was listed under the name of Marchioly. The real identity of the man has been a subject of many discussions and books since, because no one ever saw his face, which was hidden by a mask of black velvet cloth. It was only when writer Alexander Dumas (1802-70) elaborated on the theme for the final instalment of his Three Musketeers saga, that the prisoner was forced to wear an actual iron mask!

** The Dalton Gang was an outfit of outlaws in the American Old West during 1890-1892. It was also known as The Dalton Brothers because three of its members were brothers, although not all of the gang members came from the Dalton family, and not all of the Dalton brothers were in the gang. The gang specialised in bank and train robberies. The three Dalton brothers involved were Gratton (1861-92), Bob (1869-92) and Emmett (1871-1937) Dalton. A fourth brother, William (1866-94), also had a career as an outlaw, but operated as a member of the Wild Bunch.

*** Eugene François Vidocq (1775-1857) was a French criminal and criminalist whose life inspired many writers including Victor Hugo. The former criminal became the founder and first director of the crime-detection Sûrete-Nationale as well as the head of the first known private detective agency. He is considered to be the father of modern criminology and of the French police department.


Game 2 - Ski-Jumping

The second game - ‘Ski-Jumping’ - was played over four rounds and in unison. Two skiers had to descend the slope negotiating several ski gates in addition to small jumps which had to be utilised to clear lengths of bunting stretch between poles. The height of the bunting was raised by 10cm after each round. The first witnessed the Swiss skier go off course and miss one of the gates and his run was nullified. The French won the round and were in a 1-0 early lead on the game. The second round saw the teams swap lanes for parity, and this time it was the French skier that made the error and allowed the Swiss skier to win the round and level the score on the game to 1-1. The third round started with what appeared to be a false start. Presenter Claude Evelyne started the countdown from the top of the slope, whilst at the same time referee, Gennaro Olivieri, and co-presenter, Guy Lux, attempted to interrupt her to delay the start due to personnel still on the bottom of the slope. Their calls however were not heard and went unheeded by Claude and she continued to set the skiers in motion. The French team descended the slope without any problem and crossed the finish line first. Despite the mix-up at the start, Gennaro stated that the result would stand and the French team were now leading 2-1 on the game. The final round passed without any problem and saw the Swiss team level the game 2-2 after finishing the course a few meters ahead of their rivals. With the game ending in a draw, both teams were awarded 1pt each and Switzerland were now ahead of France by 3-1.


Game 3 - Carnival of the Animals
(Carnaval des Animaux)

The third game - ‘Carnival of the Animals’ (Carnaval des Animaux) - was played over three rounds and featured skiers dressed in various animal costumes descending the slope. The first round saw the competitors dressed as frogs but the French team player was not attentive at the start and missed the countdown completely which permitted the Swiss to get a commanding lead from start to finish. Crossing the line in first place, the Swiss were already leading 1-0 on the game. The second round saw six players from each team dressed in a Chinese dragon-style costume descending the slope. Whilst both teams met with difficulty and lost players on their downward journey, the Swiss team crossed the line with only four players in the costume. Referee Gennaro Olivieri stated that the game was not finished until the last player (the sixth) from the team crossed the line. At this point, the remaining two Swiss players had got to their feet and completed the course, whilst the French were still halfway up the slope. Despite having lost the round (and the game), they recomposed themselves, albeit in a somewhat unorthodox fashion, and crossed the line with their sixth player being dragged behind the costume face-down in the snow! The Swiss were now in an unbeatable position, leading the game 2-0. In spite of this, the third round was played and featured a team member underneath and inside a giant mammoth costume being pulled and steered by two of his team-mates. Despite the result already having been decided, the game ended with a very funny and unexpected conclusion. On the countdown, both the teams descended the slope, but as they picked up speed it caused the French mammoth to tumble to the ground. The Swiss team, although attempting to avoid the fallen animal, crashed into an igloo (part of the next game) and then into a ‘Serre-Chevalier’ supporter’s placard, knocking it to the ground. Meanwhile, whilst the French mammoth attempted to get to its feet, it tumbled even further down, moving itself closer to the Swiss team and blocking their path. Both teams struggled to free themselves, but it was the Swiss that cleared the blockage and continued down the slope. As the Swiss team approached the finish line, a French supporter hurled an inflatable raft into the Swiss team’s path. However, this did not hinder the team, and was in fact seen by the presenters as somewhat hilarious and within the spirit of the game. The Swiss had won the third round and the game by 3-0. With their second victory, the Swiss were leading 5-1 on the master scoreboard.

After a short delay, whilst stagehands cleared the course of the debris from the fallen French mammoth, the cameras returned to the top of the slope.


Game 4 - The Frogman's Air Tank
(Le Réservoir d'Air du Homme-Grenouille)

The fourth game - ‘The Frogman’s Air Tank’ (Le Réservoir d’Air du Homme-Grenouille) - was played individually over three rounds (six descents) with a 50 seconds time limit on each. However, the game would be decided on the team that could descend the slope in the fastest time overall. At the top of the slope there was a skier dressed as a frogman with a compressed-air tank strapped to his back. The tank was connected by a tube to a large deflated balloon which he had to hold. Following the countdown, the frogman had to wait four seconds whilst the air tank’s valve was opened to begin inflating the balloon. Once released, and with the balloon continually inflating, he had to negotiate a course of obstacles designed to puncture the balloon during his descent. The course comprised of ski-gates, two igloos and a set of gates with large nails protruding inwards which he had to pass through. With the mist still rolling in, the live pictures were somewhat obliterated, with some of the long shots losing the skiers completely. However, the Swiss went first and completed the course in 45 seconds followed by the French in 41 seconds. The French time was now the target for the Swiss to overhaul. On the second round, the Swiss skier became entangled with one of the igloos and he lost a considerable amount of time entangling himself, and although he regained his momentum, he was to hit further disaster when his balloon was pierced by one of the nails on the final obstacle. The second French skier descended the course without hindrance and completed his run in 41 seconds. The French time of 41 seconds remained the target for the Swiss to beat. The third round saw the Swiss complete the course in 43 seconds, and despite now having already secured the points, the Frenchman descended the slope in the best time of 40 seconds. The French had won the game and the master scoreboard now showed that they had closed the deficit on the Swiss with the scores standing at 5-3.


Game 5 - The Exploding Toboggan
(L'Explosion de Luge)

The fifth game - ‘The Exploding Toboggan’ (L’Explosion de Luge) - was played over three rounds in two distinct halves. From the top of the slope, a skier descended the course and as he approached a small ramp, he had to try and jump as far as possible on the other side before touching the ground. The area was marked out in 1 metre spacings between 19 and 29 metres. The par for the course which the skiers had to reach was the 22-metre line. If reached, this number would be deducted from 40 seconds and give his team-mate 18 seconds to complete the course. However, there was a penalty if the par line was not reached and a bonus if exceeded. For each metre short of the line, the time permitted would be reduced by one second, and for each metre exceeded would increase the time by one second. The second part of the game featured a toboggan with a basket attached to its front end and in which was placed an exploding ‘basketball’. Before each countdown, the referees set a fuse for the time remaining on each particular round and the team-mate had to reach the end of the course before the ball exploded (in reality, it amounted to black smoke being released once the time had been exceeded). All three rounds were played in the same order with the French team participating first. In the first round, the French skier jumped the required 22 metres which gave his team-mate the basic 18 seconds to descend the slope in the toboggan. However, he got off to a very slow start which cost him vital seconds and the bomb exploded before he reached the finish line. The Swiss skier jumped the same distance and with 18 seconds to descend the slope, his team-mate also failed to reach the bottom within the allotted time. The score on the game was 0-0. The second round was almost a repeat of the first with the French attaining the required distance and his team-mate failing to reach the end of course in the required time. The Swiss skier did much better and achieved a 26-metre jump which gave his team-mate 22 seconds (an additional four seconds) to complete his task. This additional time was not needed however, because in their haste, the referees had not secured the ‘basketball’ correctly and on the descent the ball bounced out of the basket onto the snow. Referee Gennaro Olivieri explained that this was not the fault of the competitor and therefore he had to accept that he would have passed the finish line in time. In any case, re-runs of the game clearly show that the tobogganist actually crossed the line well within the 22 seconds. The Swiss were now leading 1-0 on the game. The third round began for the French exactly as it had in the previous two with their skier attaining the 22-metre mark. At the start of the toboggan run, the referees set the fuse alight before the competitor was ready and it resulted in a mad scramble by them and the French tobogganist to ‘defuse’ the ball before it exploded. After a restart, he suffered the same fate as his team-mates and failed to reach the finish line before the explosion. The game remained 1-0 to the Swiss with their final run still to play. Not to be outdone, their skier reached the 26-metre mark once again and with the additional four seconds, their tobogganist became the first of the six to cross the line without explosion. The Swiss had won the game by 2-0 and with 2pts awarded they were now leading 7-3 on the master scoreboard.


Game 6 - The Firemen
(Les Pompiers)

The sixth game - ‘The Firemen’ (Les Pompiers) - was played in unison over three rounds and featured firemen rescuing team-mates in various guises from a ‘burning’ barn halfway down the course. On the first round, the firemen descended the slope in order to tag team-mates dressed as giant matchboxes, who then burst forth through the front doors of the barn and descended the remainder of the slope. The first round saw the Swiss triumphant after the French matchbox tumbled shortly after leaving the barn, and were leading 1-0 on the game. The second round saw the firemen rescuing team-mates on beds which also saw the Swiss triumphant. The Swiss were now leading 2-0 on the game. The final round saw the rescued team-mates in bath tubs descending the slopes and ended in the same fashion as the first two rounds with the Swiss winning the game 3-0. The master scoreboard was now displaying the Swiss leading the French by 6pts with the scores at 9-3.


Game of Questions / Parallel Slalom (The Crescendo)

With the French trailing on the scoreboard, they were deemed to play first in the Game of Questions. However, despite their ‘intellectuals’ correctly answering all five questions, their skiers - in this heat wearing one ski with their other foot being used as balance - could only win the second, third and fifth slaloms giving them 10pts (2pts + 3pts + 5pts) bringing their final total on the master scored to 13. The French were now leading the Swiss for the first time in the competition by 4pts with the scores standing at 13-9. The Swiss ‘intellectuals’ fared slightly worst than their French counterparts answering questions 1, 2, 4 and 5 correctly, resulting in the third slalom not being competed for. However, their skiers could only secure the points on the first and final rounds, and scoring 6pts (1pt + 5pts) in total. The Swiss had won the heat by a narrow margin of just 2pts, with the scores ending 15-13 in their favour.

Additional Information

The programme opened with a local brass band descending the ski slopes on wooden sleighs whilst co-presenters discussed the current teams qualifying for the Interneige Final - Anzère from Switzerland and Le Corbier from France. Although the weather conditions appeared clear and bright at the start of the programme, the viewing conditions from the bottom were hampered by heavy mist from the mountains above, and at certain times during the transmission, television pictures were completely obliterated by the mist.

At the end of the programme, presenter Guy Lux announced that the next programme in the series would be in three week’s time in order to show live coverage of the Xth Olympic Games being staged in Grenoble, France from 6th February.

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

 

CH & F

Interneige 1968

Winter Final

Event Staged: Sunday 25th February 1968
Venues: Patinoire (Ice Rink), Centre Sportif des Vernets (Vernets Sports Centre),
Bâtie-Acacias, Jonction, Genève, Switzerland
and Pentes de Ski (Ski Slopes), L'Alpe d'Huez, France

European Transmissions (Local Timings):
SSR (CH):
Sunday 25th February 1968, 1.30-2.45pm (Live)
ORTF (F):
Sunday 25th February 1968, 1.30-2.45pm (Live)
Not transmitted in Great Britain

Weather Conditions:
Switzerland - Not applicable as events were staged indoors
France - Sunny and Warm

Presenter Locations:
Simone Garnier (F) and Georges Kleinmann (CH) in Bâtie-Acacias, Switzerland
Claude Evelyne (CH) and Guy Lux (F) in L’Alpe d’Huez, France

Referee Locations:
Guido Pancaldi in Bâtie-Acacias, Switzerland
Gennaro Olivieri and Cesare Vampa in L’Alpe d’Huez, France

Playing Surfaces:
Switzerland - Ice
France - Snow

Teams: Anzère (CH) v. Le Corbier (F)

Team Members included:
Anzère (CH) -
Gionardi Canashe, Jean-Jacques Debonne;
Le Corbier (F) - Jean Bertay, Jean-François Dieper, Charlie Esalter.

Games: From Australia to the Congo, The Parallel Slalom, Beware of the Bag!, Go, Go, Go!, Toboggan Chess, Slalom Extravaganza, Game of Questions / Parallel Slalom (The Crescendo).

Game Results and Standings

Games

Team / Colour 1 2 3 4 5 JD GQ1 GQ2 GQ3 GQ4 GQ5
Points Scored
CH 2 2 0 2 0 2 1 0 3 0 0
F 0 0 2 0 2 0 1 0

0

4 5
Running Totals
(Leading teams shown in red)
CH 2 4 4 6 6 8 9 9 12 12 12
F 0 0 2 2 4 4 5 5 5 9 14

Result

 Team

Points

Final Scoreboard

1st
2nd

 F • Le Corbier l

 CH • Anzère

14
12

The Host Towns and Venues

Genève, Switzerland

Genève is the second most populous city in Switzerland (after Zürich) but is the most populous in the francophone (French-speaking) Romandy region. The city has a population of around 195,000 people but including all the suburbs the total rises to around 472,000. It is classified as a global city, a financial centre and a worldwide centre for diplomacy due to the number of international organisations that are based there. These include the United Nations and the International Red Cross.

The city has an area of 15.93km2 (6.2mi²) whilst the canton itself is around 282km2 (108.9mi²). This second figure includes the two small enclaves of Céligny, further up the western shore of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva), located in the département of Vaud.

One of the city’s most famous landmarks is the Jet d’Eau (water jet), a large fountain in Lac Léman which is visible throughout the city and from the air, even when flying at an altitude of 10km (33,000ft). An incredible 500 litres (132 gallons) per second are pumped to an altitude of 140m (459ft) by two 500kw pumps. The water leaves the nozzle at a speed of 200kph (124mph) and when it is in operation, at any given moment there are about 7,000 litres (1849 gallons) of water in the air. Unsuspecting visitors to the fountain, which can be reached via a stone jetty from the left bank of the lake, may be surprised to find themselves drenched after a slight change in wind direction.
 

The indoor ice rink of the Vernets Sports Centre

 

The games at the Swiss venue of this Interneige Final were played in the neighbourhood of Bâtie-Acacias, in the suburb of Jonction located on the left bank of the River Arve. It is a popular industrial area that has experienced strong growth with the installation of several private banks, IT companies and departments of university hospitals. Les Vernets and Queue d’Arve are sub-sectors of the neighbourhood and is fortunate to have many sporting facilities such as Centre Sportif Queue d’Arve, an indoor arena and velodrome, and Centre Sportif des Vernets, a complex dedicated to water and ice sports, and which includes two ice rinks and several indoor and outdoor swimming pools.


L'Alpe d'Huez, France

L'Alpe d'Huez is located in the Isère département in the Rhône Alpes region of France, with an altitude ranging from 1,250-3,330m (4,100-10,930ft). It is one of Europe's premier skiing venues and was the site of the Pomagalski’s (a French manufacturer of cable-driven lift systems) first surface lift in the mid-1930s.

The resort gained popularity when it hosted the bobsleigh events for the 1968 Winter Olympic Games held at Grenoble some 40 miles (65km) away. At that time the resort was seen as a competitor to Courchevel as France's most upmarket purpose built resort but the development of Les Trois Valles, Val d’Isère, Tignes and La Plagne saw L’Alpe d'Huez fall from favour in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Today however, with 249km (154mi) of piste and 84 ski lifts, the resort is now one of the world's largest and popular, and is one of the main mountains in the Tour de France cycling tournament. The climb is 13.8km (8.5mi) at an average 7.9%, with 21 hairpin bends. It was first included in the race in 1952 and has been a stage finish regularly since 1976.

At the time of transmission, the resort was seen as a competitor to Courchevel as France's most upmarket purpose built resort but the development of Les Trois Valles, Val d’Isère, Tignes and La Plagne saw L’Alpe d'Huez fall from favour in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Today however, with 249km (154mi) of piste and 84 ski lifts, the resort is now one of the world's largest and popular, and is one of the main mountains in the Tour de France cycling tournament. The climb is 13.8km (8.5mi) at an average 7.9%, with 21 hairpin bends. It was first included in the race in 1952 and has been a stage finish regularly since 1976.
 

The ski-slopes of L'Alpe d'Huez

 

The games at the French venue of this Interneige Final were played on the resort’s ski slopes.

The Games in Detail

Game 1 - From Australia to the Congo
(De l'Australie au Congo)

The first game (the first in Switzerland) - ‘From Australia to the Congo’ (De l’Australie au Congo) - which was played over five rounds and featured competitors dressed in costumes of animals from around the world. The first round saw two opposing Australian kangaroos tethered to ends of elasticated ropes which were stretched across the rink and connected by pulley wheels. The other ends of the rope were attached to babies’ prams which were located in front of the kangaroos in the middle of the ice. On the countdown, the ‘kangaroos’ who were only wearing rubber-soled shoes, had to make their way up the ice in order to ‘capture’ the baby in the pram. However, with the end of the rope attached to the front of the pram, any movement forward by the kangaroo ultimately pulled the pram up the ice in front of them. The French team were the first to draw blood, achieving their goal in just 9 seconds, and were leading 1-0 on the game. The second round featured two North American grizzly bears connected by a single rope in a tug-o-war style contest with the aim of reaching and stealing honey from a beehive located halfway down the course. On the countdown and with just 45 seconds to achieve their goal, both grizzlies set off towards the hive. But with the game being played on ice and with the additional burden of the rope being taut from their opponent’s strength, neither of them was able to get to the hive within the time limit. The round finished in a draw and the scores remained at 1-0 to the French. The third round featured some African giraffes which were operated by two members of each team. On the head of each giraffe was a small spike which had to be utilised to burst a balloon (disguised as an apple) hanging above the rink at the end of the course. On the countdown, both giraffes (with referee Guido Pancaldi in tow) skated down the rink and the first giraffe to burst two balloons would win the round. Despite a good start by the French on the first run, the Swiss giraffe overtook it at the last moment and burst the apple. The second run was almost a repeat of the first with the Swiss giraffe reaching the balloon second but being able to burst it. The Swiss had now burst two balloons and in theory had won the round. However, the third and final run went ahead and the Swiss once again repeated that from the first two runs and burst the balloon. The Swiss had won by 3-0 and the overall score on the game after three rounds was 1-1. The fourth round featured two Indian elephants and was played in the same vein as the first round. On the countdown, the two elephants had to chase after a basket of hay and stop it. The Swiss elephant reached its basket very quickly and won the round and they were now leading 2-1 on the game. The final round was set in Arabia and featured a classic tug-o-war between a French horse and a Swiss mule, both with small spikes on their heads and, unlike the previous tug-o-war, was played face-to-face. Both animals were tethered at the back and to each other by means of an elasticated rope and pulley wheels at both ends of the course. On the countdown both teams had to race forward in order to burst a balloon (in the guise of a carrot) within a 30 seconds time limit. The game appeared to be stalemate whilst both teams held fast on the ice. However, disaster struck the Swiss mule when it slipped on the ice after 22 seconds. This permitted the French horse to make its way towards the centre of the rink, but it missed the carrot at its first attempt. After repositioning itself, the carrot was finally burst and it appeared that the French had won the round and tied the game. Referee Guido Pancaldi then delivered a disappointing blow to the French and stated that the balloon had been burst outside the time limit (in fact it just on 40 seconds) and therefore the round was tied. With two rounds tied, the Swiss had won the first game by 2-1 and the first 2pts of this Interneige Winter Final were awarded to them and they led 2-0 on the master scoreboard.


Game 2 - The Parallel Slalom
(Le Slalom Parallèle)

The second game (the first in France) - ‘The Parallel Slalom’ (Le Slalom Parallèle) - was a game featuring skiers wrapped in large inflatable black rings and played over three rounds. As its title suggests, the game was played by both teams together and after descending through 11 ski gates, the skiers had to negotiate a small ramp, which would provide some difficulty to an otherwise easy game, and then race to the finish line. The first round saw the skiers with four rings around their body with the Swiss team victorious after the French skier lost his footing negotiating the ramp. The Swiss were leading 1-0 on the game. The second round saw the skiers with five rings and it was another victory for the Swiss team, finishing the course over 20 seconds ahead of their rivals, and were now leading the French 2-0. Despite the result already being ascertained, the third round was played and it caused some problems for both teams as they had to negotiate the slope with six rings each. This somewhat hampered their arm movements and also their sights of the slope. Nevertheless, the Swiss team finished the round in first place and the team had won the game by a clear 3-0. With their second victory overall, they were leading 4-0 on the scoreboard.


Game 3 - Beware of the Bag
(Méfiez-vous du Sac)

The third game (the second in Switzerland) - ‘Beware of the Bag’ (Méfiez-vous du Sac) - was a simple game of two skaters passing buckets of water from one side of the rink to the other and then pouring any contents into a large barrel. However, their task was made more difficult for two reasons. Firstly, the skaters were attached to elasticated ropes that only provided a perfect handover when stretched to their fullest and secondly, the opposition were swinging large sacks of corn across their path in order to knock the players off-course and also to prevent as much of the water as possible from being passed. The teams had two minutes to complete this game and the Swiss participated first and transported 10 buckets, whilst the French transported 11 buckets across the ice within the time allowed. The amount of water collected was not revealed until both teams had played as it was to be done on a set of balancing scales. When Guido Pancaldi gave the signal for the supports on either side of the scales to be removed, it was the French barrel that dropped to the floor. The French had recorded their first win of the day and scored 2pts and reducing their deficit to 2pts with the Swiss now leading by 4-2.


Game 4 - Go, Go, Go!
(Allez, Allez, Allez!)

The fourth game (the second in France) - ‘Go, Go, Go!’ (Allez, Allez, Allez!) - featured three skiers from each team descending the slope whilst negotiating four jumps cleanly. The first of these was in the guise of a small tunnel which was being transported down the slope by two team-mates. The second obstacle was an open jump, also being moved down the slope, whilst the final two were open static jumps which had small hillocks built-in. All three skiers played in quick succession, with the second commencing as soon as the first had crossed the finish line and the third commencing after the second had done the same. All the jumps had to be negotiated in order by each skier, irrespective of their location on the slope at the time (the portable jumps continued down the slope throughout the game). The Swiss participated first and completed all three descents but only completed 11 jumps cleanly in 2 minutes 1.5 seconds. The French team fared worst and although they completed the course in 2 minutes 0.2 seconds, they had only completed 10 of the jumps cleanly. The Swiss had won their third game, and with the 2pts added to the master scoreboard, they were leading their rivals 6-2.


Game 5 - Toboggan Chess
(Luge Échecs)

The fifth game (the third in Switzerland) - ‘Toboggan Chess’ (Luge Échecs) - featured a long chute from the gallery of the ice rink down onto the ice itself. In front of the chute was a playing area which had four very large chess pieces on ropes on either side. On the countdown, a tobogganist descended the chute whilst eight opposing team members pulled the chess pieces into the playing area from one side to the other, in order for him to knock down. So that there could be no underhand tactics, the chess pieces had to be pushed over a centre line otherwise they would be deemed as having been knocked down. Any that fell over due to the opposition pulling on the ropes too hard were also counted likewise. The team knocking down the greatest number of pieces knocked down over four runs would win the points. At the end of each run all the chess pieces were put back into play. The Swiss went first and knocked down three pieces on their first run followed by four more on their second run. Their third run proved more fruitful when he knocked down six pieces and another four on his final attempt. This gave the Swiss a total of 17 (3 + 4 + 6 + 4) and the target for the French team to beat. The first run of the French, witnessed what presenter, Georges Kleinmann, called a ‘massacre’, when their tobogganist knocked down seven pieces (although a couple had been ‘pulled over’ by the opposition), after their rivals had pulled all the pieces straight into his firing line. On the second run, the opposition skilfully pulled the pieces further over the playing area and the French team could only score three. The third run saw the team score an additional five pieces (two of which had hit the ice before the tobogganist had exited the chute). Their total at this point was now 15 (7 + 3 + 5) and the team only needed three more pieces to win the game. However, the team need not have worried, as the Swiss pullers had already ‘pulled over’ three pieces before their tobogganist exited the chute and therefore handed them the game. In total, the French were deemed to have scored five pieces giving the French a victory by 20-17. Their second game win saw the French close the deficit for a second time and the scores stood at 6-4 in the Swiss team’s favour.


Game 6 - Slalom Extravaganza
(Slalom Spectacle)

The sixth game (the third in France) - ‘Slalom Extravaganza’ (Slalom Spectacle) - was, like many of the other games in this programme, a compendium of runs in various guises, played over three rounds. The first round featured a mariner on skis in a boat which had a water-skier attached. On the countdown, the duo had one minute to descend the slope and whilst the boat descended in a straight line, the skier had to wind his way around large balloons from one side of the course to the other. The French went first and appeared to be doing well until the mariner tumbled to the ground after 28 seconds and became entangled with the rope and the boat. Despite all efforts, he was unable to get to his feet again and referee, Gennaro Olivieri, deemed that the team had a score of just 7 balloons. With the delay in clearing the slope and with this being a ‘live’ transmission, the second run was delayed until after the second round of the game was played. The next part of the game, which had been scheduled to begin halfway down the slope, saw two players from each team standing on small sledges holding on to a rope attached to the front. On the countdown, it was a simple race to the bottom of the slope. The aggregate scores of both players would decide the points. The Swiss team finished in 1st and 2nd places (4pts + 3pts = 7pts) whilst the French finished in 3rd and 4th places (2pts + 1pt = 3pts). Switzerland were leading 1-0 on the game. The cameras then returned to the top of the slope for the conclusion of the delayed first round of the game. Although the Swiss team got off to a bad start when their mariner fell to the ground after the first balloon had been passed, unlike his French counterpart, he was able to get back onto his feet again and the team negotiated 11 balloons within the allotted one minute time limit. The Swiss were now leading 2-0 and had in theory won the game. However, despite this the third round went ahead and was very daring in its design. It featured two skiers positioned in a classic pantomime horse posture attached to a sulky kart on which sat a third team member. On the countdown, it was a straight race down the slope with two sulkies from each team, with the aggregate scores of crossing the finish line deciding the points. Although the second of the Swiss team’s sulkies tumbled to the ground almost immediately, the remaining three completed the course at high speed, with all three crashing and tumbling to the ground whilst attempting to bring their karts to a halt. The watching crowd at the bottom of the slope could clearly be seen dispersing in preparation from flying parts. The Swiss crossed the line in 1st place, whilst the French sulkies finished in 2nd and 3rd places (3pts + 2pts = 5pts), and with the other Swiss team players deemed to have finished in 4th place (4pts + 1pt = 5pts), the game ended in a draw. The game finished 3-1 in the Swiss team’s favour and, with their fourth win of the day, they were leading 8-4 on the master scoreboard, but the French were still to have their moment of glory.


Game of Questions / Parallel Slalom (The Crescendo)

The Game of Questions and the 2nd (pyramid carry) and 4th (skating) parallel slaloms were played in the ice rink, whilst the 1st (mono-ski [for France] / ski-bob [for Switzerland]), 3rd (ski-bob [for France] / mono-ski [for Switzerland]) and 5th (skiing) parallel slalom were played on the ski slopes in France. As they were trailing by 4pts, the French team were deemed to participate first. The ‘intellectuals’ were informed that they had responded to the first question correctly and the cameras went to France for the first slalom. However, before it could begin, Guy Lux asked co-presenter, Claude Evelyne if the competitors on ski bobs were ready. She stated that the ski-bobbers were not at the top of the slope but the mono-skiers were. He then announced that there was some confusion as to the order of the slalom at the top of the slope and that the second question should be set. After the second slalom race had been played the cameras returned to France for the first slalom, only to find that the mono-skiers were preparing to descend. At the end of the round, the French ‘intellectuals had answered all five questions correctly, but their slalom participants had failed to win the 2nd and 3rd runs. This gave the French team an additional 10pts (1pt + 4pts + 5pts) bringing the overall scores to 14-8 in the French team’s favour. The destination of the Interneige Trophy now hinged on the knowledge of the Swiss ‘intellectuals’ and the abilities of their slalom participants. After giving a correct response to the first question the programme was handed over to France for the first slalom, but there was some confusion at the top of the slope as to which of the slaloms should be taking place. Guy Lux categorically stated that it should be the ski-bob although everyone at the top was prepared with the mono-ski. After the correct race had been run, the cameras returned to Switzerland, only to be met with questions by the Swiss team and presenter Georges Kleinmann questioning the order again. At this point referee, Gennaro Olivieri stepped in and confirmed the exact same comments of Guy Lux earlier. It was clear that many in Switzerland were unhappy that the order was different to that of the French team, but Gennaro stated that there had been no disadvantage to the Swiss team as the French bobber had fallen and that they had won the round. Having won the first slalom and failed in answering the second question, the scores were standing at 14-9 in France’s favour. The third question was answered correctly and with the slalom also won the Swiss had gained another 3pts to bring the scores to 14-12. With the fourth question also being answered incorrectly and the scores remaining as they were, the competition was to be decided on the very last question and slalom race. The final question was to name the five capital cities of Australia, Burma, Cyprus, Madagascar and Ukraine with the correct answers being, at the time of transmission, Canberra, Rangoon, Nicosia, Tananarive and Kiev. With the fifth correct answer being given on the stroke of 24 seconds, it all hinged on the skiers in France. Unfortunately for the Swiss, the French skier, unlike both his compatriots in the previous two snow-based slaloms, kept his feet on the ground and won the race by a mere three metres. It was all over for the Swiss with the French having made an incredible comeback, after trailing throughout the Final, to win the Interneige Trophy!

Additional Information

This Interneige Winter Final opened to much brighter and warmer conditions than the previous qualifying heat, with French presenter, Guy Lux, in L’Alpe d’Huez introducing the viewers to the usual dignitaries, whilst Swiss co-presenter, Claude Evelyne, took her usual position presenting from the top of the slope. The cameras were then handed over Swiss presenter, Georges Kleinmann, in the indoor ice rink in Bâtie-Acacias to introduce referee, Guido Pancaldi and co-presenter, Simone Garnier (with some trepidation) onto the ice.

During his opening introductions, the watching audience were treated to a display on the ice by three-time (1966-1968) British, European and World champions, British skaters Diane Towler and Bernard Ford. They would further enhance their consecutive record in 1969, when they were once again crowned British, European and World champions. At the 1968 Olympics staged two weeks earlier, the pair participated in a demonstration event for ice-dancing, winning the gold medal. However, the sport was not officially introduced to the Winter Olympic Games until 1976. Both skaters were awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 1968 Queen’s Honours List for their achievements in their sport.

There had been a winter break of two weeks between the staging and recording of Heat 4 and the Interneige Final, due to the Xth Winter Olympic Games being staged in Grenoble, France between Tuesday 6th February and Sunday 18th February 1968. This break allowed broadcasters to carry live coverage of the events and free up technical, administrative and presentation staff and resources for the sporting tournament.

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