Yesterday a French court ruled that British tour operators are not allowed to offer ski hosting to show customers around the local slopes, the Albertville court ruled that skier safety is compromised.
British Tour Operator, Le Ski, were taken to court as a test case and the ruling means that no British companies can now offer the service. Le Ski's founder, Nick Morgan, has confirmed they will appeal the ruling.
Morgan said: "as we expected the court in Albertville has taken the side of the locals and the protectionist agenda of the ESF. We will be appealing and the case now goes to a court in Chambery. The fight goes on and we will take this all the way."
"We are determined to carry on and we are not prepared to see British ski hosting outlawed. By taking the British on in this way the French Authorities, and the ESF, have created a problem where there really wasn't one."
Crystal Ski, the UK tour operator, said: "Crystal Ski is disappointed with today’s court ruling, however, we are pleased to hear that the tour operator has decided to appeal. We have temporarily suspended our social skiing service in France whilst this process goes through the courts. We have never seen social skiing as a replacement for a ski school as social skiing is where a representative from the holiday company takes guests on familiarisation tours of the slopes, show them good lunch spots and how to avoid the queues. They do not go on black runs or off piste and stick to gentle slopes. No instruction is given."
The court has banned the practice, stating that it breaks French law which requires leaders of organised groups on the ski slopes to be either a qualified ski or snowboard instructor. The case was supported by the national ski school, Ecole du Ski Francais (ESF).
Through a PR firm in London, the ESF has given its reaction to the decision of the court: "This is not an ESF led court action, but the organisation has rightly shown its support for French law to be upheld and that for those organisations using hosting or other personnel to 'guide' such people must possess a valid qualifications to do so."
Though there are many skiers who don't use the service, those that enjoyed the on mountain ski hosting will now have to consider skiing in Austria or Switzerland if they want hosting as part of their holiday.
Written by Stephen Adam