‘Winning case won’t end ski guiding battle’

Ski hosting has been pulled by many tour operators
Ski hosting has been pulled by many tour operators

Britain’s ski industry will still face a battle with French authorities over offer ski guide services in the country even if current cases win in court, a ski company boss told the industry this week.

Dan Fox, managing director of Ski Weekends said the British snowsports industry is ‘railroading’ into an argument that tour operators will lose due to French regulations into teachers and guiding on the slopes.

“We might win the appeal but not the argument overall as it brings in issues such as employment rights,” he said speaking at LISTEX this week. “There needs to be a recognised qualification [for ski guides] that ESF and all parties here are happy with.”

It is illegal for a ski group to be led by an unqualified instructor if they are given a wage to do so.

Many tour operators and travel companies had been offering ski guiding or hosting as part of the ski holiday experience but stopped offering the service after more arrests were made, the most high profile of Le Ski and the Ski Club of Great Britain.

The latter has a detailed explanation of the history of the battle on its website, and argues that as its service is run by volunteers it does not operate outside of the law.

Speaking at LISTEX, Ski Club’s Jonny Cassidy said the club is now waiting on its hearing on 8 December into the guiding issue and said it has previously hit a ‘brick wall’ when trying to validate a course.

“We will certainly see an impact as it means some of our members won’t go back to France, in the Club we want people to ski together and there will be a short term impact with the court case coming up. It is a challenge and could take some time [to resolve],” he said.

The debate into the level of qualification needed is also continuing, with discussions at a European Union level, BASI’s Tania Alloid added.

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