Ski Club Leader questioned on slopes

21st May 2014, by Abi Butcher

A Ski Club Leader was stopped in Val d’Isère by a gendarme. Photo:

A Ski Club Leader was stopped in Val d’Isère by a gendarme. Photo:

A Ski Club Leader is due to appear in a French court this September under the same legislation that affects UK tour operators’ ski hosting service in France.

Ski Club chief executive Frank McCusker confirmed to WTSS that a Ski Club Leader was stopped and questioned in Val d’Isère by a gendarme (policeman) at the end of the season. The Ski Club has employed the same lawyers to attend the “preliminary investigative hearing” as are being used by Le Ski and the group of British tour operators.

The Ski Club has hundreds of trained volunteer Leaders in 30 resorts. They guide Ski Club members around to the best spots in resort to find powder, quiet slopes and good restaurants and host a social hour each evening in resort. While they are not paid, Leaders receive free accommodation, travel and ski pass in return for their time.

Mr McCusker told Where to Ski and Snowboard: “A Ski Club Leader was questioned in relation to Art.L.212-1 of the French Code du Sport. Under Article L.212-1 of the Code du Sport, it is a legal requirement to have the relevant and appropriate qualification(s) to instruct, lead or guide skiing (groups) if remuneration is received.”

But he added: “All Ski Club Leaders are non-remunerated volunteers. After a short period the Leader was allowed to resume the ski-leading programme in Val d’Isere.”

Following the on-slope questioning, the Leader attended a local police station and a date was set for the hearing in Albertville in September where Mr McCusker explained: “The Leader will appear with the appropriate papers to prove his volunteer status.” 

The Ski Club is continuing to support the Leader and has appointed a local solicitor who is, said Mr McCusker, “well aware of the challenges involved and is currently representing UK tour operators in relation to the ski hosting ban.”

Following the incident in Val d’Isère the Ski Club Leader programme continued to operate in France for the remainder of the season.

Mr McCusker said there are no planned changed to the Leading services for next season, adding: “We will provide updates as the case develops.” 

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