Jan
22

Ski hosting suspended in Les Trois Vallees
Tuesday January 22, 2013 - Email this article to a friend

The French police have stopped a group of UK skiers out with their Crystal Ski hosts in Meribel.. A legal case is taking place against a small British operator that claims ski hosting is illegal as the hosts are not suitably qualified under French law.

In the latest incident two male reps from the resort of Courchevel were stopped with their group of holidaymakers while skiing in neighbouring Meribel.

The local gendarme questioned them but they were not arrested or taken to the local police station.

The company has now suspended the service to guests and other operators, including Skiworld and Thomson, have followed suit.

Ski hosting, or social skiing as Crystal calls it, is where a trained rep from the holiday company takes guests on familiarisation tours of the slopes. They do not go on black runs or off piste and stick to gentle slopes. No instruction is given.

However the authorities, in conjunction with the ESF ski school, believe it breaks the law as the leaders are not correctly qualified to take groups on the slopes.

A test case is going on at the moment with a court ruling being handed down on February 18th.  The company in question, Le Ski, appeared before a court in Albertville on January 7th. 

For a report on the case and the background then see this earlier PlanetSKI story.

Ski hosting is popular with British guests and some companies fear that if it is outlawed guests will go elsewhere.

"It is bonkers that the ESF wants to stop it as it is enjoyed by our guests, is safe and does not take any business  away from the EFS. If anything we give them business as the ski hosts often advise people to take a lesson and help them to do so," said a senior figure from a leading UK Tour Operator to PlanetSKI.

The outcome of the court case will have significant implications and here at PlanetSKI we expect it to go against the UK operators.

If it does so then Le Ski will consider an appeal to a higher court.

The company is being supported by the other UK operators.

In the meantime the leading operators have suspended ski hosting in Les Trois Vallees but it continues elsewhere in France.

"Our guests are very disappointed when they arrive on their annual ski holiday and are told they can not enjoy this service, but they understand our difficult position and that it is the French authorities leading us to do this," said a spokeswoman from one UK company.

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