Ski Club Leader service unaffected by the hosting ban in France
Tour operator ski hosting on the snow in France has been banned but Leader service will continue
The French court in Albertville led the prosecution against chalet specialist operator Le Ski. Le Ski are in the process of lodging an appeal and are supported by a group of other tour operators whose hosting services have also been affected and withdrawn following the outcome.
Many tour operators offer a ski hosting programme where reps and hosts ski with their guests and help them find their way to the best pistes, restaurants and hot chocolate stops. No instruction is given. The ruling stipulates it is legal requirement to have an appropriate qualification to teach or lead skiing if remuneration is received.
The Ski Club of Great Britain’s Leader service remains unaffected by the court ruling because the members that lead in resort are (unpaid) volunteers.
Ski hosting in other destinations is still available with many tour operators.
This is a completely ludicrous decision, albeit one ESF have been after for years. It's not even protectionism because no French ski schools offer an equivalent service. Im completely in favour of stringent controls on off-psite guiding but how can you possibly argue the need for a qualification to show people round a piste which they are at liberty to ski unaccompanied anyway?
I agree - we have enjoyed the services of Mark Warner in Tignes for many years. As 'lone' travellers, we welcome the opportunity to team up with others in a similar situation and have made many friendships as a result. ESF cannot match that. Our ski hosts have always gone to great lengths to emphasize they are not able to teach or even offer advice. Indeed, they tell us which direction and usually go ahead. They expect us to catch up at the next lift or convenient stopping place.
Yes - a great service - we chose Mark Warner and Ski Olympic holidays for several years when my husband was in Ski School so that I had a group to ski with. I have never seen a TO rep go off piste ar "lead" a snake down the mountain like an instructor might.
I echo the sentiments of Chris above. It's a service that would be sadly missed, so hopefully a loophole can be found.
I echo all the comments above having used ski hosting services for 4 years in France which have never crossed the line on instruction and off-piste. I can't understand why a compromise ruling could not have been reached that timetabled changes for the next season, which allows the host companies to plan their services; acknowledges the skills acquired by the local ski schools; and respect the tourists (who brings the financial benefits to the resorts) who have committed to their resort choices.
In recent years I have beneffitted from excellent 'hosting' by tour operator staff in France, Switzerland and Italy. I can see I won't be going to France for a while...
... does ESF realise what a tangle they are getting themselves into here?
Gervase has the answer "timetabled changes for the next season".
I very much enjoyed ski hosting with Ski Club of Great Britain this year in Alpe d'Huez (Thanks John Bennett).
I hope to repeat the experience next year. If there are problems in France then I will go to Austria.
No one is going to tell me to ski on my own.
We have used Mark Warner ski hosting for 20 years. My husband is more of a fair weather skiing than I am and this enables me to ski with other people when he cries off. How can the French be allowed to enforce a court ruling that clearly defies one of the fundamental principles of the EU - ' an internal market where competition is free and undistorted'? Even if the ski hosts were teaching - which as other comments have pointed out, they absolutely are not - this should still be permissible!!
if it is a safety reason then why do french mountain restaurants serve alcohol.esf are rude and ignorant to british skiers so they would be glad to see us absent from their slopes, if they still wanted us to visit france then they would have put forward an acceptable alternative before court action. i have just returned from the french alps and the independent ski schools are worried about the british staying away. my family ski split between ski lessons and ski hosting we will now go to italy
One way of getting round the ruling is to avoid crowded and expensive France and enjoy the often cheaper, less crowded and more friendly skiing that other European countries have to offer. Already had 2 great skiing holidays in Italy this season. No ski hosting as booked independently but operators offering hosting services do go there and to Austria, Switzerland, etc. Operators which go mainly to France might think about doing the same thing.
Congratulations ESF, you have succeeded in shooting yourselves in "le foot"!.
If they hoped that they would get a flood of people signing up for expensive lessons just to be shown around the resort, then they are living on a different planet. People, whether Singles, Couple or 'Split' families, who are of a decent skiing standard, will just go to resorts (countries) that do allow hosting.
Result :- British skiers will abandon overpriced, & arrogant France, and go where they are truly welcom
If the French think this type of ski hosting is dangerous they should see me Ski Host :-)
And on a more serious note - This will badly hit the British Ski Companies who operate on the basis of hosting as a loss leader ( forgive the pun ) service.
But be assured, the French have no problem shooting themselves in the 'Le Foot', after all this is a Nation where 50% of teenagers aspire to work for the Goverment and wealth is taxes @ >90%
We will not be missed :-(
A simple solution which I thought was already happening would be to employ some of the people who have completed one of the many instuctor courses now on offer around the world. As most finish their season long courses with a recognized teaching qualification, or have the French ruled that it must be a French qulification to guide guests around the mountain?
As a Ski Club Leader I can completely empathise with those who've used Tour Operator Ski Hosting services in the past. It's a valuable service and it seems the French and ESF have quite likely shot themselves in the foot. Unless a resolution is found it's clear from the comments above that many British skiers will likely choose to ski in other countries as a result. Fortunately the Ski Club leader services is not affected - so do come and ski with us if you are off to France this season.
Typically French !!
If you really must go to France then go to a resort where SCGB is represented otherwise vote with 'your feet'
Oh and of course to really show our displeasure drink other than French wine, home or abroad !!
Before I joined Ski Club I holidayed twice a year in France, usually once with with Le Ski, because I could get TO guiding.
In 20 years or so I have never had a TO guide take me off piste or teach me.
Unless Nick wins on appeal I will now go to Austria, Switzerland or America instead.
I am so pleased Ski Club is, so far, not affected by the ban.
It tells you every thing you need to know about France's attitude to enterprise.!
Easy ski in another country kiss France goodbye
Does that basically mean that ski reps effectively wont even be able to ski with people they host for fear of it being branded guiding? What if I'm out skiing, bump into my rep and ask him which way to something? Can they then point me in the direction without fear that they will be seen to be guiding.
Also, is it the case that renumeration is involved. I am paying for my holiday, accommodation, etc but I have never seen this as part of the holiday, merely something the reps and hosts do.
And..what some people don't realise is the ESF is just a commercial organisation and has no "official" status (no more than the French farmers taking to the motorways with their tractors, or their fishermen blockading ports!) - they just like to behave as if they do.
All the T/Os in France have been aware of the risk 'guiding/leading' for the whole of this season - they seem to call it 'social skiing'. Can't see it happening now in any form.
Thank goodness for SCGB Leaders - haven't met a 'bad'un' yet! Long may they provide this excellent service.
In the meantime (next season onwards) could I suggest that the T/Os should recommend any ski-school APART from ESF and there are usually a few of them available...hit them in the pocket, as it were??
Ski hosting has been going on for decades, so to ban it now smacks of protectionism. The French have always been ridiculous in this respect and the court decision confirms this. What the French need is a good dose of commonsense and put the customer's needs first.
There are plenty of alternatives for us all to turn to; Switzerland, Austria, Italy, the Pyrenees, N. America to name but a few.
Agreed. I ski for Christmas with a friend and often go with Mark Warner to France as the ski hosting is great and very sociable. Will be avoiding France this year an aiming for St Anton instead!
It was 'hosting' (with Mark Warner) that enabled me to continue skiing, as a lone female skier. I would not have wanted, or been able to afford, to join ESF groups and would probably have given up skiing. The 'hosts' did not teach or take us off piste. The ruling is dreadful and seems nationalistic, from an EU member.
Since then, I've moved on to skiing off piste with the Ski Club, This has been fantastic and I can't believe that this too is now threatened by the French.
The problem seems to be with "leading or guiding". I therefore have 3 suggestions: 1) The Club should consider dropping the word "Leader" and go back to using the word "Rep"; and 2) The Rep should not ski at the front of the group but should be somewhere around the middle, or even towards the back of it; and 3) The Rep should ask the group where they would like to ski.
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