Ski Club leader fined €10k for guiding

13th January 2015, by Abi Butcher

The Ski Club maintains its Leaders are non-remunerated volunteers

The Ski Club maintains its Leaders are non-remunerated volunteers

The Ski Club of Great Britain is to lodge an immediate appeal against a court ruling made in France against one of its leaders last Thursday.

Ski Club leader Ken Piddlesden appeared in court in Albertville on 8 December, accused of not having the relevant and appropriate qualifications to lead a group of skiers in Val d’Isère where he was stopped in April 2014.

Mr Piddlesden, 51, from Powys, Wales was yesterday fined €10,000, with a further suspended fine of €5,000. The judge, Emmanuelle Bouyé, also awarded the ESF a symbolic damages payment of €1.

“This is the outcome we expected,” said Frank McCusker CEO at the Ski Club of Great Britain.

“We have asked our lawyer to immediately lodge an appeal to the court in Chambery. He will also be lodging an official complaint with the European Commission on our behalf. It is sad that skiing with a Ski Club Leader will not be reinstated in France this season.”

The Ski Club of GB 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.

Club leader Ken Piddlesden was stopped on the piste in Val d’Isère, France in April 2014 and subsequently charged in relation to Art.L.212-1 of the French Code du Sport. 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 Ski Club maintains its Leaders are non-remunerated volunteers, but immediately withdrew the service in France — where ski hosting is also currently banned. Instead, it is offering a ski Ambassador programme, but running a Leader service in Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Andorra, Canada and America — which remains unaffected.

“By adapting our services to members we are able to continue resort operations this season and we look forward to helping people to get the most out of their stay in the French resorts,” continued Mr McCusker. “Our Ambassadors whilst not able to ski alongside the members can still help them to plan an epic day on the mountains by suggesting routes and organising instructors and guides to optimise their time and experiences on snow.”

Tour operator ski hosting is currently suspended in Italy and France, awaiting legal action.

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