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"Too ski or not to Ski" that is the question 


9 September 2014 Author Paul Quigley


Time seems to be running out for UK Chalet opertor Le Ski who now have 5 days to lodge an appeal in the Supreme court in Paris following an earlier French Judges decision to ban guiding in the French Alps by non qualified ski instructors and too award damages to the french ski school, ESF.


The dispute began in the winter of 2013 when a court in Albertsville told Le Ski that the practice of ski hosting was contrary to French law and that ski guides working in France must be French qualified ski or snowboard instructors.


Twelve British winter sports operators - Alpine Elements, Crystal Ski Holidays, Esprit Ski, Inghams, Mark Warner, Neilson, Ski Olympic, Ski Total, Skiworld and Thomson Ski – joined forces for the appeal hearing in July, which was heard in Chambery.


The original complaint was brought by the French national School, Ecole de Ski Francais and as a consequence many of the UK opertors have boycotted Ecole de Ski Francais and recommended smaller locally run ski schools.


In a joint statement, the 12 operators said “We are very disappointed to report that Le Ski’s Chambery appeal against the ski hosting ruling has been rejected.


There has been uproar in certain sections in what has been seen to be another case of protectionism by the French courts in safe guarding French jobs despite EU legislation being in force with regard the to the free movement of goods and services.


Paul Quigley from skicover.com stated "Ski guiding by tour operators has been an established part of their business model for many years and there is a clear a difference between the complimentary hosting service offered by a Tour operator and that of a paid ski instructor emplyed by the ESF.


In fact it should be noted that in other countries such as the US and Canada, non qualified ski instructors provide daily hosted tours of the slopes for resort clients in order that skiers and boarders can get the best experience from their stay. Maybe the French should look West and understand that by looking after your customers, your customers will look after you"