Thousands of British ski guides could end up losing their jobs after being banned from showing guests around the French slopes.A court in France has ruled that safety is compromised when tour operators provide holidaymakers with informal tours of the piste.
But a British ski company, which is to appeal the ruling, has said the court 'has taken the side of the locals and the protectionist agenda' of the French ski school, Ecole du Ski Francais.
In the past tens of thousands of British holidaymakers have enjoyed the experience each winter. They are shown around the resort and the best slopes and restaurants are pointed out.
A court in France has ruled that British ski hosts cannot show holidaymakers around the French slopes
The ski hosts did not take skiers on the most advanced runs and did not instruct.Monday’s ruling in Albertville is being seen by British firms as a test case that threatens the future of ski companies offering such a service. The court ruled that the practice breaks French law which cites that leaders of organised groups on the slopes must be qualified instructors.French authorities, together with the ESF national ski school, singled out a British operator in Les Trois Vallees, Le Ski, which provided the service free of charge, and took it to court.
The co-founder of Le Ski, Nick Morgan, has said he will appeal the ruling.'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,' he said.'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.'
UK tour operators say they are bitterly disappointed by the decision to outlaw British tour operators
The dispute began when a ski host, employed by Le Ski, was stopped by police on the pistes in Meribel – a popular destination for British skiers, in Les Trois Vallees region.
The ski host was informed that his actions were illegal, and was told to report to the Courchevel police.The French ski instructors’ union joined the French police in pressing charges.Jean-Marc Simon, director of the ski instructors’ union, said at the time: 'This is purely about ski safety. We cannot have unqualified people taking groups of skiers around the mountain. We did not instigate this investigation, but as people responsible for mountain safety we must support the authorities.'
Other UK tour operators say they are bitterly disappointed by the decision.Crystal Ski, the UK’s largest ski tour operator, said: 'Crystal Ski is disappointed with the court ruling, however, we are pleased to hear that the tour operator has decided to appeal.’A statement from ESF read: 'ESF is committed to ensuring the safety of UK tourists using French resorts for wintersports.'ESF reiterates its commitment to supporting the UK ski industry and will work with UK tour operators in finding workable solutions for lawful guiding on the French ski slopes.'The current row is the latest in a long line of disputes between the French and British ski professionals. The French lost a long-running battle to prevent British-qualified ski instructors from teaching in their country in 2000.
- 2013/02/21(木) 15:20:16|