WATCH: Ski coach began assaulting me at 17, witness says as trial begins

The first witness at Bertrand Charest's sex assault trial told a Quebec courtroom on Thursday the former national ski coach began kissing her and touching her breasts in 1997 when she was 17.

The woman testified she met Charest over the next several months for various sexual encounters in France, Austria and Mont-Tremblant, Que.

Charest is facing 57 charges including sexual assault and breach of trust, with the 12 alleged victims between the ages of 12 and 19 at the time.

The witness, who is now in her 30s, said she felt the relationship was "abnormal'' even though she believed she was in love with Charest.

"He laughed at me, he brought my self-esteem as low as possible only to build it up a little bit with small compliments,'' she said.

Charest was present in the Saint-Jerome courthouse, where a screen was erected between himself and the alleged victim.

He took notes as the witness described various sexual meetings in locations including hotel rooms, a van, a physio table, an airplane and Charest's house.

His trial is being held in Saint-Jerome, north of Montreal, and is expected to last about a month.

Charest, who worked with Alpine Canada's women's development team between 1996 and 1998, has been in custody since his arrest in March 2015.

The allegations date back to the 1990s and also involve other locations such as Whistler, B.C., New Zealand and the United States.