French ski guide hosting ruling seen as 'protectionist' move

French ski guide hosting ruling seen as 'protectionist' move

Ski guide hosting by non-qualified instructors - including British tour operators - has been outlawed in France following a court ruling.

The case made against tour operator Le Ski was that having British guides showing guests around the slopes compromised safety and broke French law, which requires leaders of organised groups to be either a qualified ski or snowboard instructor.

French national ski school Ecole du Ski Francais (ESF) backed the move.

Le Ski has said it will appeal the decision of a court in Albertville, arguing that its hosts do not take guests off piste or on difficult black slopes, and give no instruction.

Nick Morgan, founder of Le Ski, said: “As we expected, the court in Albertville has taken the side of the locals and the protectionist agenda of the ESF.

“We will be appealing and the case now goes to a court in Chambery. The fight goes on and we will take this all the way.

"We are determined to carry on and we are not prepared to see British ski hosting outlawed. By taking the British on in this way the French Authorities, and the ESF, have created a problem where there really wasn't one."

In a statement Crystal Ski said: "Crystal Ski is disappointed with today’s court ruling; however, we are pleased to hear that the tour operator has decided to appeal.

“We have temporarily suspended our social skiing service in France whilst this process goes through the courts.

“We have never seen social skiing as a replacement for a ski school as social skiing is where a representative from the holiday company takes guests on familiarisation tours of the slopes, to show them good lunch spots and how to avoid the queues.

“They do not go on black runs or off piste and stick to gentle slopes. No instruction is given."

The ESF said in a statement: "This is not an ESF-led court action, but the organisation has rightly shown its support for French law to be upheld and that for those organisations using hosting or other personnel to 'guide' such people must possess a valid qualification to do so."


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