Who was Werner?

He was a man of integrity, a beloved alpine race coach, a mountain climber, husband and father.   

Born and raised in Saanen, Switzerland, he spent his free-time clipped into a climbing rope to hang nose to rock-face, while balancing his toe tips on a rock outcrop the size of a toothpick. 


If he wasn’t climbing the Alps, he was skiing down glacier-snow-bowls and competing on slalom, giant slalom and downhill races. The Alps were his first passion. 

Determination characterized every endeavor to which he put his hands.  Humble, courageous, and reliable. A doer! 

Faith in God the underpinning for his fervor for living and his strength battling with esophageal cancer.

He earned a degree in architectural drafting  from the in Thun, Switzerland. When he finished his education, he  traveled to the United States to further hone his English skills and ski-instruct at a NH resort.

He met me, fell in love, married me.  We settled in NH, where Werner owned a successful landscape design and nursery business. His love and care for nature and the mountains is clear when one views his many landscape design projects throughout the White Mountain Region. 

Alpine skiing also his passion * His teaching & technical skills well-respected in Alpine racing communities *  Loved by the many young  athletes he mentored.

  • 35-years involved in the sport of skiing
  • Raced with Swiss Ski Team,
  • Certified Swiss and US PSIA instructor,
  • Coach, PSIA Examiner, Director of ski schools, Alpine Director.
  • Even did crazy stunts on skis. Photo-shot for a ski resort brochure cover
  • Continuously upgraded and perfected the teaching levels of instructors and coaches,
  • Authored,  The Technical Instructors Manual, still in use.
  • Sports journalists quoted his philosophy of teaching skiing in newspapers across the country and television events.
  • Strong and dedicated to his coaching staff, his young racers and their families, he entered a race for is life with esophageal cancer, a  lethal competitor.

  • Cancer could not stop him. He worked tirelessly as the Director of the Loon Race Team

  • The gates Werner faced during the race for his life against esophageal cancer

  • tested his physical strength, emotional well-being, courage, and faith,

  • he met each challenge with grace and  a no quitting spirit.

  • His character, integrity, professionally and personally inspired several generations of athletes.

  • The Werner Zwahlen Ski Education Foundation Mission

Coach Werner Zwahlen believed young alpine racers podium results did not entirely measure a their success. Other qualities of the young athletes factored in mix. Success is also measured by the athlete’s will to develop their strengths. What does that mean?

It means an athlete who continuously experiences tough challenges on the racecourse, does not quit. It means tis athlete is a team player, shows up on time, accepts positive critiques from a coach, and encourages his or her team mates.

Coach Werner understood growing athletes were more than a ski racers running gates down a steep, icy and rutted course. He realized how life off the hill impacted young athletes approach to a training day. Disappointments easily spill over into a teenagers training. Coach Werner young athletes who worked and grew through their difficulties deserved recognition.

Werner coached his athletes to win, but his coaching style went beyond the technicality of running gates. Because of how he led, he inspired several generations of skiers to become the victors and not the victims on the podium of life.

The Mission of The Werner Zwahlen Ski Education Foundation                                                

The Werner Zwahlen Ski Education recognizes a Loon Race Team J2 boy and J2 girl, who faced their tough challenges with the courage, tenacity, and spirit that exemplified the qualities of Werner’s character.


The Werner Zwahlen Ski-Education Foundation