Ski instructor to fight French ruling

18th June 2014, by Abi Butcher

British ski instructor Simon Butler says the French only want the ESF to teach in France

British ski instructor Simon Butler says the French only want the ESF to teach in France

A British ski instructor says he will “fight to the bitter end” a court ruling that he has been teaching illegally in France.

Simon Butler, 51, was on Monday ordered to serve 200 days in jail in France or pay a hefty fine of €30,000 (£24,000) after a court in Bonneville, Haute Savoie, ruled he did not have the right licence to teach skiing in France.

Mr Butler teaches in Megève and has been in trouble with French law twice in the past ten years for not having the correct paperwork. He was arrested while on a chairlift in Megève in February and detained for 36 hours in a police station. Six other instructors who work for his company, Simon Butler Skiing, were on Monday fined between €1,000 and €4,000 each.

To teach skiing in France, an instructor must pass a “Eurotest” — a timed slalom speed test. The rule was brought in by French authorities as a controversial measure of quality control in 20014, but Mr Butler obtained his skiing qualifications in 1985, and has been teaching in France for 30 years. He maintains his qualifications are equal to the Eurotest and that locals have a vendetta against him.

“I know I am in the right and I will fight this to the bitter end,” he told The Daily Telegraph after the court hearing in Bonneville on Monday.

“I have been singled out by rival ski instructors, by the local justice system and even by the French Embassy for reasons which I can only put down to racism and victimisation,” he said.

“I am prepared to go to prison because I have no intention of paying this fine. I have done nothing wrong. This is absolutely despicable and the court has given me no explanation of the reasons behind it.”

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