Ski Club Leader court appeal fails

5th May 2016, by Abi Butcher

Ski Club Leaders guide members around resorts — on- and off-piste

Ski Club Leaders guide members around resorts — on- and off-piste

The Ski Club of Great Britain has branded legal action against one of its leaders as “misguided and inappropriate” following the failure of an initial appeal hearing.

In April 2014, Ski Club leader Ken Piddlesden was stopped on the piste in Val d’Isère and questioned by the gendarmerie (military force charged with police duties). Under this article it is a legal requirement to have the relevant and appropriate qualification(s) to instruct, lead or guide skiing (groups) if remuneration is received.

The appeal was launched in January 2015 after Mr Piddlesden, 51, from Powys, Wales, was fined €10,000 following a hearing in Albertville the previous December.

This latest judgement was received yesterday evening, following a Court of Appeal hearing in Chambéry on 30 March, where a lawyer presented a case on behalf of Ski Club of Great Britain Leader Ken.

In January 2015, Albertville judge Emmanuelle Bouyé awarded the ESF a symbolic damages payment of €1 — but the Court of Appeal in Chambéry has increased this to €800. The legal reasoning behind this decision will be given in the written judgement to follow.

In a statement released to the media today, The Ski Club of Great Britain says it will, on behalf of Ken Piddlesden, seek to launch a further appeal in a higher court in Paris and “in due course”, saying the skier’s lawyer will also be lodging an official complaint with the European Commission on his behalf. A request to the appeal court in Chambéry to refer the case to the European Court of Justice was refused.

The Ski Club of Great Britain has for more than 50 years operated a Leader service in ski resorts around the world, where skiers such as Mr Piddlesden guide Ski Club members around resorts — both on-piste and off-piste. They are not paid for their services, but receive free travel, accommodation and ski passes.

But The Ski Club maintains the argument that because its leaders are non-remunerated volunteers, the legal action is misguided and inappropriate.

Ski Club Chief Executive Frank McCusker said: “This is the outcome we expected but we still believe it to be misguided and inappropriate. We will continue our fight and we will be launching a further appeal in the French Criminal Supreme Court in Paris.”

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