Ski hosting drama continues

2nd July 2014, by Abi Butcher

Ski Club of GB drops Leading service in France as Le Ski goes back to court

Ski Club of GB drops Leading service in France as Le Ski goes back to court

Le Ski is back in court today, appealing against a ban on ski hosting imposed in February 2013. The court case comes as the Ski Club of Great Britain suspends its Leader service in France for next season.

Last year, a court in Albertville ruled that under French law it is illegal for someone to be paid to lead or guide groups around the mountain unless they are a fully qualified ski instructor or guide. The Le Ski appeal, which was due to be heard in May, is being heard at the Court of Appeal in Chambéry. It is being seen as a test case for British tour operators who have all suspended their popular ski hosting services in France.

But yesterday, the Ski Club of Great Britain announced it was to suspend its popular Ski Club Leader service while a Leader awaits court action after being stopped on the piste in Val d’Isère in April.

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.

In a statement released yesterday, the Ski Club chief executive Frank McCusker said: “It is disappointing that the Club has had to withdraw the on-snow service in France but it will continue to ensure members can still meet and ski together in resort.”

Instead of the leading service, the Ski Club will appoint “Ambassadors” to meet members at designated points in resort, make introductions and outline possible routes and itineraries for the day. They will also help organise and meet with members for lunch and après-ski, provide snow updates and book mountain guides and instructors for the group if required.

The Ski Club is using the same lawyer to represent its Leader — due in court this September — as Le Ski has employed for the court case being heard today. 

Le Ski has the backing of a number of different British tour operators: Alpine Elements, Crystal Ski, Inghams, Mark Warner, Neilson, Ski Esprit, Ski Olympic, Ski Total, Skiworld, Thomson.

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