That kind of question makes us have a rethink occasionally. I’m always the follower, rarely the leader and my husband and a few of his friends take great pride in their knowledge of the slopes in various resorts. So where does that put them with regard to French law regarding ski-guiding, the kind of activity that makes guests get the most out of the resort, showing them the key routes, lunch hot spots and how best to avoid the longest bottlenecks and queues? We are a business owner as such, but don’t profess to have set ourselves up as professional mountain guides, but how can you not offer advice if asked???
So it’s with interest that we watch the outcome of the appeal being brought by Le Ski (a Huddersfield based company that has offered ski hosing for 30 years) supported by 12 other British tour operators to argue that the decision is in breach of European law. It was fined 15,000Euro in 2013 after having it’s ski instructors carted off the mountain for illegal practices, breaching safety.
The dispute began in February 2013, when Le Ski was told by a court in Albertville that the practice of ski hosting was contrary to French law and that leaders of organised groups on the French Alps must be qualified ski or snowboard instructors. The practice of ski hosting is not lesson based, rather it is geared towards guiding tourists on the slopes with an employee from a tour operator showing the skiers or snowboarders the slopes and giving tips for enjoying a day on the snow. – hence all sorts of use could contravene the law without intention.
It makes absolute sense to protect people from taking advice from what they think is an experienced ski guide, but who may have only spent a few days in resort and not be more than capable of achieving red runs. Honesty about the ‘advisors’ levels or experience is absolutely necessary so that you can make up your own mind about the quality of advice being given, but to potentially criminalise a helpful chalet employee that you may have built up a friendship with over the years for taking a few runs with you seems rather heavy handed. We know a few people who have felt that the new laws have spoiled an element of the ‘customer service’ of their holiday, so we are hoping common sense prevails when the appeal is heard at the end of the season (which of course has been postponed until after the end of the ski season, May 2014)
This entry was posted in Other travel related bits and tagged am I allowed to offer ski route advice to friends, British ski guides not allowed to work in France, Court appeal against ski guiding, ski hosting in france.