Martin_RufenerDecember 31 - Switzerland's Alpine head coach Martin Rufener, the man behind the team's revival, will leave at the end of the season, it was announced today.

Swiss Ski, the national governing body, said in a statement it could not agree a contract to keep 51-year-old Rufener through until the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, and has started looking for a replacement.

Rufener took charge in 2004 - being chosen from 20 candidates to replace Karl Frehsner - when Switzerland was overshadowed by a dominant Austrian squad.

Under Rufener, who had previously coached the United States and Canadian teams, the Swiss men won their first Olympic Alpine gold medals since 1988.

Didier Defago won the downhill and Carlo Janka took giant slalom gold at Vancouver in February.

Janka also became Switzerland's first World Cup overall champion since 1992.

Rufener will take-up a new job working for Swiss Jet, a private aviation company, after he leaves Swiss Ski.

Rufener is a fully qualified commercial helicopter pilot.

"With Martin Rufener we are losing a very competent boss," Dierk Beisel, head of Swiss Ski's competitive sport section said.

"Martin took over the team during a very difficult time.

"In six years he achieved exceptional results."

The search for Rufener's replacement has started but Swiss Ski are refusing to rush into a decision.

"For now we're focusing on the current season and the upcoming alpine World Championships so that together Martin Rufener and his team can be successful contestants," said Urs Lehmann, the President of Swiss Ski.