Ski hosting appeal deferred

7th November 2013, by Abi Butcher

More British skiers have booked with the ESF this year than in 2012

More British skiers have booked with the ESF this year than in 2012

The ESF says British bookings are up, as a Court of Appeal hearing over ski hosting in France was yesterday deferred until next May. The case was deferred to give both parties — Le Ski and the Ecole du Ski Français (ESF), on behalf of the French government — more time to consider the complex legal issues raised.

On 21 February this year, a court in Albertville ruled that ski hosting — where tour operators show their clients around a resort, but do not teach them — is illegal in France. It ruled that only qualified ski instructors may guide skiers around the French mountains.

Following the ruling, a number of British tour operators — Alpine Elements, Crystal Ski, Inghams, Mark Warner, Neilson, Ski Esprit, Ski Olympic, Ski Total, Skiworld, Thomson — agreed support Le Ski in its appeal.

That appeal was scheduled for yesterday (6 November) in Chambery, but deferred until May 2014 at the joint request of ESF and Le Ski.

A statement released today by Crystal, which is supporting Le Ski in its appeal, said: “Both parties concur in considering that the European legal issues raised by the case are complex and require careful examination. This highlights the importance of the decision which the Court will take and of the need to ensure the best possible preparation of such decision by all parties concerned.”

The ESF is supporting the action taken on behalf of the French Government.

Simon Atkinson, director of the ESF in La Rosiere, told WTSS: “People think that we are supporting this because ski hosting takes work away from us, that’s not the case. Ski hosting actually brought us work.”

He said the ESF was duty bound to support the case, as part of the French union of ski instructors, the Syndicat National des Moniteurs du Ski Français (SNMSF).

He added: “We are monitoring the situation closely. We knew it would be a sensitive issue as it has been around for about 20 years now, and we want France to remain the top choice for British skiers. Our job is to look after people and making sure they have a good time.”

He added that the ESF has received a lot of support from the Brits, and that ESF bookings across France from British skiers is up 10 to 15% this year.

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