Ski Hosting Ban Enforced in France

One of the great things about staying in a catered chalet used to be the ski hosting provided by the chalet operator. Generally speaking, this is where an employee of the chalet company, usually a very experienced skier who knows the area well, takes a very small group of skiers or snowboarders into the mountains to guide them around the region.

This would be to show chalet guests the best runs, the safest areas to ski, the best places to stop for lunch and so on – the service was usually¬†free of charge and worked in everybody’s favour.

However, recent legislation (Article L.212-1 of the French Code du Sport) has banned ski guiding, whether on or off piste, if the leader is paid for the service but isn’t a qualified ski instructor or mountain guide. French civil servants and teachers “established in France” however don’t need to have instructor qualifications to guide on the slopes.

In theory therefore, a non-skiing teacher from Paris, with no knowledge of the local area, could quite legally take a group out ski hosting, whilst an experience skier with several years knowledge of the area would not be allowed.

The Ski Club of Great Britain got into trouble recently with it’s Ski Leader programme, when one of their leaders was stopped and questioned by the gendarmes in Val d’Isere. The police had apparently been notified by the French Ski School (ESF) and the gendarmes had boon looking for the leader for several days before he was stopped.

In a recent court case, the ESF was awarded damages against the Huddersfield based tour operator Le Ski for a breach of the rules – this was after an appeal had ended up in the French Appeals Court in Chambery. Lawyers for Le Ski have now been instructed to take the case to the Supreme Court in Paris and if necessary the European Court in Luxembourg.

Crystal Ski have stopped ski hosting, but instead have arrange a Sundays only ski hosting service in collaboration with the Evolution 2 ski school. In each of the resorts where this hosting service is available, Crystal has made Evolution 2 it’s main ski school partner, rather than the ESF..