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British tour operator back in court
Wednesday November 6, 2013 - Email this article to a friend

The company Le Ski was in court this week in Chambery to appeal against a ban on ski hosting. Last season a French court ruled it was illegal. The case was deferred. We have been speaking to the ESF about the issues raised.

The appeal was to have taken place on Wednesday afternoon in the Court of Appeals in Chambery yet both sides agreed to defer the case until next May.

It came at the joint request of the Ecole du Ski Français (ESF) and Le Ski.

Both parties told the court that the European legal issues raised by the case are complex and require careful examination.

"This highlights the importance of the decision which the Court will take and of the need to ensure the best possible preparation of such decision by all parties concerned," said a statement from the British side.

It follows an earlier hearing in Albertville where the court ruled that the ski hosts who work for the British companies are not properly qualified under French law to take people around the slopes.

We reported on the case at the time and our story contains all the background information to the issues raised - see here.

If the court eventually upholds the decision of the lower court in Albertville then a further appeal may be made to Paris or Brussels by Le Ski and its supporting companies.

The case is as a test case and Le Ski has the backing of all the other major UK Tour Operators including Alpine Elements, Crystal Ski, Inghams, Mark Warner, Neilson, Ski Esprit, Ski Olympic, Ski Total, Skiworld and Thomson.

They have all stopped offering ski hosting following the court ruling.

It has provoked some strong reaction in the UK with some anger being directed at the ESF who have supported the case against Le Ski.

The UK's largest tour operator, Crystal, has moved its contracts from the ESF to a rival ski school, Evolution 2, in 11 of its 39 resorts in France; see here for further details.

Last week we spoke to Simon Atkinson, a director of the ESF in the resort of La Rosiere, about the issue.

He was speaking to our content editor, James Cove.

It is one of the first interviews the ESF has done about the situation as they have preferred not to speak to the media in detail.

Simon Atkinson talked in the interview about a cancelled event in London in 2012 - it was to have been a flashmob and was pulled at the last minute for fear of a backlash against the ESF - see here for our story from the time.

For the spirit of the mountains

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