/ Resort ski leading/guiding banned in France

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Frank4short - on 19 Feb 2013
Just seen this on pistehors http://www.planetski.eu/news/4683
To be honest it doesn't surprise me. It's one of those things I always wondered how companies got away with there. As so much of the rest of the French ski industry is so heavily regulated.
Bobz - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: That was my job for a few years, and even then, about 6 years ago, I had to make sure no ESF could see I was guiding anyone, or I would have been reported. I had to ensure I didnt do any teaching, and the service was not advertised by the company anywhere - it was only when guests were in resort they found out about the guiding. Im surprised this hasn't happened sooner, as ESF were very down on UK resort guides...
ClimberEd - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
> Just seen this on pistehors http://www.planetski.eu/news/4683
> To be honest it doesn't surprise me. It's one of those things I always wondered how companies got away with there. As so much of the rest of the French ski industry is so heavily regulated.

I think it's rather sad. Is it really a big deal if some brits staying in a chalet have someone skiing with them to show them around the pistes.

(it's hardly off piste, or instructional.)
Postmanpat on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
> Just seen this on pistehors http://www.planetski.eu/news/4683
> To be honest it doesn't surprise me. It's one of those things I always wondered how companies got away with there. As so much of the rest of the French ski industry is so heavily regulated.

ESF are cutting off their noses to spite their faces. They'll lose a some visitors to other countries and those who really feel the need for a leader will probably go to an English speaking independent. The ESF will gain nothing except an even worse reputation amongst Brits.

Frank4short - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to ClimberEd:

> Is it really a big deal if some brits staying in a chalet have someone skiing with them to show them around the pistes.

No but if you're getting paid to show someone around it means you've a duty of care to them. So the fact that the ski Co's have been doing this with staff with no qualification required is pretty stupid.

Now granted, as indicated above, the French are going about this in their typically protectionist manner (at the behest of the ESF by the looks of it) however this doesn't mean it wouldn't be a good idea to have some form of qualifications for these people. Though then again this would be an additional cost of the ski Co's as they have to pay their leading staff accordingly so would be unlikely to happen.
Postmanpat on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
> (In reply to ClimberEd)
>
> [...]
> Now granted, as indicated above, the French are going about this in their typically protectionist manner (at the behest of the ESF by the looks of it) however this doesn't mean it wouldn't be a good idea to have some form of qualifications for these people. Though then again this would be an additional cost of the ski Co's as they have to pay their leading staff accordingly so would be unlikely to happen.

Do we really believe the ESF would let this happen? Essentially it would just undercut their qualifications.

niallk on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

Laughable, given that in practice 'ski-guiding' is often all that the ESF provide beyond the second day of a 6-day block of lessons. They should put as much effort into providing a quality product as they are in the courts, then the chalet-hosts wouldn't be providing direct competition!
Frank4short - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to niallk:

> Laughable, given that in practice 'ski-guiding' is often all that the ESF provide beyond the second day of a 6-day block of lessons. They should put as much effort into providing a quality product as they are in the courts, then the chalet-hosts wouldn't be providing direct competition!

Really? You sound quite bitter here. I'm no particular fan of the ESF. Though having been on numerous ski holidays with large groups of mates, 10+, where the vast majority of them have been taking ESF lessons. I've rarely heard any complaints about the quality of instruction from the gang.
Postmanpat on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
> (In reply to niallk)
>
> [...]
>
> Really? You sound quite bitter here. I'm no particular fan of the ESF. Though having been on numerous ski holidays with large groups of mates, 10+, where the vast majority of them have been taking ESF lessons. I've rarely heard any complaints about the quality of instruction from the gang.


They apparently do quite a good line in losing children and then shrugging their shoulders at to irate parents as well.

woolsack - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: Which one is ESF? Is that the long line of little kids playing follow my leader down the slopes with a couple of stragglers left randomly all on their own down the mountain?
Jimmybarr on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

I've been saying for years that a delegation from the French ski resorts need to go to north america and see the huge difference in quality of service. Having skied in Canada for the past 8 years, I don't think I'd ever go back to the hell of the french lift queue, overpriced food on the hill and the general rude attitude of the french ski staff. They do themselves no favours whatsoever.
Chateauneuf du Boeuf - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: I don't really get ski hosting, unless someone cannot read a ski map. To me it doesn't seem great that ski holiday companies are undercutting qualified pros with poorly paid staff, they should pay to get their staff properly trained. As for the ESF I've never really had any dealings with them except when I stood in such a way as to not allow a guide to put all his clients in front of me in a queue. It was the end of the day, I wanted to maximise my ski time, he got angry, but I still got the lift ahead of him. As for criticisms of their teaching i.e. leading people down in a line, having recently taught someone to ski, I favour the more minimalist, learning on the job approach - there's only so much you can wave your skis around in the air and draw diagrams in the snow, before it gets rather tedious.
niallk on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

> Really? You sound quite bitter here. I'm no particular fan of the ESF. Though having been on numerous ski holidays with large groups of mates, 10+, where the vast majority of them have been taking ESF lessons. I've rarely heard any complaints about the quality of instruction from the gang.

Bit of a generalisation (inevitably!), but is from years as a child in ski lessons just being led around, which in retrospect my parents regret spending the money on. To be fair, things improve a bit in adult lessons, where there is a higher proportion of English speakers in the class. However the wife, who I introduced to skiing a few years back, made similar comments unprompted, after we'd been going for a couple of years. By that point, she got more out of a couple of hours of my cack-handed advice than some of the mornings in lessons.

Some people seem to be content with that though, which is fair enough.



woolsack - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Chateauneuf du Boeuf:
> (In reply to Frank4short) I don't really get ski hosting, unless someone cannot read a ski map.

If you go out on a package on your own it is quite nice to join up with a group for a few days instead of being Billy No Mates for the week
Carolyn - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to woolsack:
> (In reply to Frank4short) Which one is ESF? Is that the long line of little kids playing follow my leader down the slopes with a couple of stragglers left randomly all on their own down the mountain?

That's the one ;-)
niallk on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Chateauneuf du Boeuf:
> (In reply to Frank4short) I don't really get ski hosting, unless someone cannot read a ski map. To me it doesn't seem great that ski holiday companies are undercutting qualified pros with poorly paid staff, they should pay to get their staff properly trained.

Not that I've ever bothered with it, but as the article says, it's largely a social familiarisation/comfort thing as much as anything else. Some people enjoy simply being shown around (there's a nice quiet run or two over here, this restaurant does a good steak hache etc). Even if some form of basic qualification is deemed appropriate to do with the duty of care aspects or handling people who find themselves out of their depth, I don't think the comparison with teaching and technique lessons is valid.

Picking up on the comparison with N America, if my memort serves, I think the Canadian resorts may offer complimentary ski-hosting themselves (no charge, just a tip). Do the French resorts do similar these days?
Chateauneuf du Boeuf - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to woolsack: The skiing is the bit you don't need friends for though , skiing alone is great for getting stuff done and infinitely better than skiing down blues with someone on their gap yaar. The evening drinking is (probably) better with others though, and while the French may have the skiing dialed, the Brits no doubt have skills to offer when it comes to the aprse ski.
Postmanpat on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Chateauneuf du Boeuf:
> (In reply to woolsack) The skiing is the bit you don't need friends for though , skiing alone is great for getting stuff done and infinitely better than skiing down blues with someone on their gap yaar. >

It maybe for you, and for most UKCers who feel comfortable in the mountains one suspects exploring a resort is part of the fun. But we are not typical skiers. Many regard finding their way and making decisions as a bit of a faff and prefer somebody else to take responsibility so that they can relax.
beardy mike - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: I don't ski in France much these days - it's expensive in terms of lift pass, food on the hill, beer, and time waiting for queues to abate. How more brits haven't clocked that even though they are paying rock bottom prices for the accomodation, they are just getting stung on absolutely everything else is beyond me. We are nothing but a cashcow to the french, and this development is just another proof of this. The sooner we wise up the better.
pat m - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to mike kann:
> (In reply to Frank4short) I don't ski in France much these days - it's expensive in terms of lift pass, food on the hill, beer, and time waiting for queues to abate. How more brits haven't clocked that even though they are paying rock bottom prices for the accomodation, they are just getting stung on absolutely everything else is beyond me. We are nothing but a cashcow to the french, and this development is just another proof of this. The sooner we wise up the better.

+1.
I really think the French attitude is very short sighted. Having spent the last thirty odd years with a minimum of two weeks on the slopes, after Christmas in Courchaval and 6 euros for a coffee, I am taking my money to Austria (clean and cheaper) or Italy (just cheaper!) or Canada (ridiculously expensive to get there but good customer care and prices on the hill sensible).

I don’t normally use ski guiding as I know my way around most resorts and know I can get down any slope if I misread the piste plan, I have used it when the mate I was with fell ill, as skiing with someone else was more sociable.

I don’t really think there is a duty of care issue here, as others have said, it really is just a walking talking piste map. I notice that ESF are trying to distance themselves from the prosecution, despite having initiated it with a complaint – obviously they are mindful of the publicity it now generates.
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summo on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: wonder how British Ski club leaders stand with this?
rlines - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: As climbrers/mountaineers, doesn't the term 'guiding' as applied to someone on a gap year just put you off?

Anyone that calls them selves a guide in the mountains and doesn't have the IFMGA is a bit of a fraud really. I cant see what any of these kids can offer to anyone that independently goes into the mountains in their spare time. For all the rest of the punters, it's kind of like a false sense of security - the low key advertisement works both ways, they're free but they're likely useless in a crisis.

I'd love to hear from one of these 'guides' and see what they actually know about alpine travel compared to a real IFMGA guide.

Rant over, and breath.
Chateauneuf du Boeuf - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to rlines: They're called hosts aren't they, I don't think they're trying to defraud you, they're just doing as their bosses say probably for shit money. If you meant the ski guides well their called instructors anyway and making them go through the IFMGA scheme seems somewhat excessive for taking a bunch of fat middle managers down a blue run. It would just be ludicrously excessive over qualification. Abalokov threads, steep ice technique, moving together over crevasses etc. all seem a bit excessive when your within sight of a bar and on slopes no steeper than 30 degrees.
Postmanpat on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to rlines:
> (In reply to Frank4short) As climbrers/mountaineers, doesn't the term 'guiding' as applied to someone on a gap year just put you off?
>
>
Which is why they are not called guides.

Personally I suspect most IFMGA guides would think it rather demeaning, dull and a waste of their hard earned qualifications to spend their lives leader fat punters down the piste.
rlines - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: I entirely agree, but the title of this thread uses the term guide, which is what I'm referring to. It's just something akin to calling a plumber an engineer, which bugs me, that's all. No offence intended, just bugs me.
Chateauneuf du Boeuf - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to rlines: Its not an incorrect term though. I mean they're called instructors but they also provide guidance, its not unreasonable to call them guides. Guide is just a word, it doesn't say in the dictionary that it only becomes acceptable when your taking someone up something harder than TD.
Postmanpat on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Chateauneuf du Boeuf:
> (In reply to rlines) Its not an incorrect term though. I mean they're called instructors but they also provide guidance, its not unreasonable to call them guides. Guide is just a word, it doesn't say in the dictionary that it only becomes acceptable when your taking someone up something harder than TD.

"Guide" has a pretty well understood meaning in the Alps and implies the relevant qualifications. The "hosts" don't have these qualifications or do the job holders of such qualifications would expect to do so thy don't call themselves guides. Nor do they instruct so they don't call themselves instructors.

If they just led people on an apres ski pub crawl you could also argue "guide" would not be an incorrect term but in the context of the debate it wouldn't add much.
john arran - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to mike kann:
> (In reply to Frank4short) I don't ski in France much these days - it's expensive in terms of lift pass, food on the hill, beer, and time waiting for queues to abate. How more brits haven't clocked that even though they are paying rock bottom prices for the accomodation, they are just getting stung on absolutely everything else is beyond me. We are nothing but a cashcow to the french, and this development is just another proof of this. The sooner we wise up the better.

That may be true in the Alps nowadays but here in Ariège the prices are still very reasonable for lift pass (€31/day or €23 each day with multi-day pass) lunch (hot panini €5, coffee less than €3) and this is for Ax Bonascre, hardly a small resort with 80km of piste up to 2,300m. The smaller resorts locally are much cheaper still.
SARS on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Jimmybarr:

Glad I've never bothered skiing in France! Tbh I had my suspicions about the French skiing experience, given the general shit attitude there towards tourists, and have always preferred heading back to Japan for my powder. Polite staff and customers alike, great food.
IainRUK - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Chateauneuf du Boeuf:
> (In reply to Frank4short) I don't really get ski hosting, unless someone cannot read a ski map.

Some people are very unconfident.. its like guiding on walking trails.. they are so self explanatory but some people just want to pay to remove any stress and doubt..
Chateauneuf du Boeuf - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to IainRUK: Yeah fair point.
IainRUK - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to john arran:
> (In reply to mike kann)
> [...]
>
> That may be true in the Alps nowadays but here in Ariège the prices are still very reasonable for lift pass (€31/day or €23 each day with multi-day pass) lunch (hot panini €5, coffee less than €3) and this is for Ax Bonascre, hardly a small resort with 80km of piste up to 2,300m. The smaller resorts locally are much cheaper still.

I've only really skiied in Montgenevre in the french/italian alps.. but I thought that was quite reasonable.. 35 euros for a day.. £30..

I just went skiing at Killington, Vermont, one of New Englands premier skiing spots and that was 90 dollars.. £60 for a day skiing.. on shorter runs with less choice and variety..
Postmanpat on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to SARS:
> (In reply to Jimmybarr)
>
> Glad I've never bothered skiing in France! Tbh I had my suspicions about the French skiing experience, given the general shit attitude there towards tourists, and have always preferred heading back to Japan for my powder. >

But little hills and muppets shouting "dangerous!!" at you when you a metre off piste. North America is a nice compromise.

Frank4short - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Personally I suspect most IFMGA guides would think it rather demeaning, dull and a waste of their hard earned qualifications to spend their lives leader fat punters down the piste.

What like how most of the guides in Chamonix make their money on the Vallee Blanche?
SARS on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

Agreed, I like North America too. Spent quite a bit of time down in Tahoe when I was living in Cali - loved it.

Saw plenty of Japanese flouting the off piste rules this year, but yes typical Japanese safety conscious mindset.
Postmanpat on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> [...]
>
> What like how most of the guides in Chamonix make their money on the Vallee Blanche?

Yup, except its not oficially a piste.

alanlgm - on 19 Feb 2013
although i woulndt generally use the services of the Host's i know plenty of people that would simply because they only get a week skiing a year andwant to make the nmost of it. If they can spend a day with someone showing them whatrs what it saves them 2 days messing around trying to work it out for themselves.

As for ESF utter c~@p my wife has had lessons with them in 3 different resorts and each time she hasnt really progressed. it takes her a day to get back into it so when they see her on the first day she is a bit shaky and gets put in the wrong group but by the 3rd day she is absolutely fine but the lessons are going over things she already knows.

even when i said about moving her up a group they simply refuse.

As for the Ban and the ESF supporting it the chances of me going back to france unless on a cheap last minute deal or pretty slim.
Orgsm on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

In the morning you just follow your nose, no need to worry about which piste to take till after lunch. For many linked resorts you can keep left on way out, and keep right on return or vice versa. The idea that someone on little or no wage, will know the best stops and have same taste in runs as you is a strange one. They may know the cheap restaurants doesn't mean it's good.
Morgan Woods - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
> (In reply to ClimberEd)
>
> [...]
>
> No but if you're getting paid to show someone around it means you've a duty of care to them. So the fact that the ski Co's have been doing this with staff with no qualification required is pretty stupid.
>

You need a qualification to ski with somebody on a red run really! What about having done it all season long?
jon on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

Officially UIAGM guides are not allowed to teach or 'guide' on piste. The only time they can use pistes is to get to off piste or the start of ski tours. Pistes are the preserve of the instructor. Instructors can teach on piste and off piste but cannot work on glaciers - hence they can't guide the Vallée Blanche, for instance. There is all sorts of animosity between French guides and French instructors over this division of terrain, so is it any wonder that ski bums or reps are being targeted?
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Chris the Tall - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Morgan Woods:
> (In reply to Frank4short)
> [...]
>
> You need a qualification to ski with somebody on a red run really! What about having done it all season long?

Yep, seems very silly to me. As far as I know, the ESF don't offer a comparable service. It's not as if the hosts are providing tuition or going off piste.

If they do stop Ski Club leaders, then they are really cutting off their noses. The main reason I've skied with them is to meet up with other people interested in hiring a guide.
jon on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall:

It'd be interesting to see where the SCGB reps stand in all this as their accommodation and skipass is funded by the resort.
Postmanpat on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to Chris the Tall)
>
> It'd be interesting to see where the SCGB reps stand in all this as their accommodation and skipass is funded by the resort.


My guess is that as a club rather thn a commercial operation they can be categorised differently.
Are there not French youth groups etc that do something similar?
beardy mike - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to john arran: you're right... Outside the main large ski resorts, prices drop, and attitudes change. I.e. in resorts where Brits are the minority, and French the majority. I.e. where there are Brits, they rip you off. Witness prices in the Dolomites... Last time I stayed in a hut at the top of the hill, for 50 euros a night full board, and the lift pass was less for ten days than les arcs was for 6, and the food in the huts for lunch was a decent price. Where I skied in the Erin's for years, the price in the locals resort is cheap. Head over the hill to serre che and you pay 5euros for a small punet of chips.
jon on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to jon)
> Are there not French youth groups etc that do something similar?

Something like that. I believe it's because they are in the education system.

girlymonkey - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
Some of you are being very down on ski hosts!! I have done this work a couple of times, and while it's not a service I would ever use myself, it's very popular. Most skiers aren't mountain people, and like being shown around. As for the comment that it's a kid on their gap year - it's often not!
ESF are a nightmare though. As a ski host, there were a few occasions when the punters in my chalet called me to ask me to go and find their kids who had been abandonned by ESF!! The parent's were total novices, kids had skied a little before so instructors had taken them elsewhere in resort. One time a kid fell off a lift and the instructor didn't wait and skied away with the group, and another time the instructor just finished the lesson at the far side of resort from where he started with no explanation. Where would they have been without the ski host to collect the kids after they abandonned them?!?!
Postmanpat on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to girlymonkey:

If this sort of crap happened in north America there'd be a lawsuit and a bankrupt ski school so funnily enough it doesn't.
Bruce Hooker - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

Having read the planetski article I found the incredibly hostile anti-French tone of the article and the quotes pretty disgusting - like something out of the Daily M (usual ukc reference). All the French seem to be asking for is that British companies - profit making organisations - respect French work legislation, which doesn't seem that unreasonable. There have been quite a few scandals where British companies have been quite negligent in the past - neglecting to pay their staff even, so such a self-righteous attitude seems a bit rich.

As for the ESF (non-profit IIRC), we've used them a couple of times for my wife and children and they seemed pretty good, despite tackling at least one person who I will not name who is totally allergic to skiing, so again I think some of you are being a bit unfair. In case of incompatibility you only have to say and they will change the monitor, or find some solution.

As for all those who threaten to take their custom elsewhere then I'd suggest doing it, I doubt the French will miss you, Brits don't all have such a good reputation in France, a bit like the other way round. The problem is will you find better skiing elsewhere?
PMG on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: Discrimination against foreign companies disguised as 'safety regulation'. Pure and simple.
beardy mike - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: the trouble is that its not just ski hosts they hound. The Esf are well renowned for hounding independant ski schools. Rather than improving their training and maintaining a good reputation, they resort to intimidation and bullying to get rid of the competition. It's actually the Esf who don't understand employment law. They are still recoiling from the redaction of the monopoly they once had after eu law was changed. This is not anti French, its reality. As for anywhere having as good skiing? Purlease... Are you seriously suggesting that Italy with a border which stretches the entire length of the alps doesn't have spots atleast as good? Or Switzerland? Or Austria? Or North America? That's precisely the point. The French need to adapt, or their resorts will eventually die as people wake up to the fact that their money buys more elsewhere...
beardy mike - on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to mike kann: ps its not just the British independents either. It was also the Isf, their main rival. And it's also exhibited in their protectionism towards Basi instructors, who are only allowed to practice for three years at the mid level (whatever its called these days) before they have to work elsewhere. The reality is that the next level up means serious ski race training which makes it very difficult for Brits as most haven't got that background. It doesn't make them less able to teach, but is a blatant way to prevent a flooding of their work market despite eu equivalence laws...
Postmanpat on 19 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Frank4short)
>
> As for all those who threaten to take their custom elsewhere then I'd suggest doing it, I doubt the French will miss you, Brits don't all have such a good reputation in France, a bit like the other way round. The problem is will you find better skiing elsewhere?

They may not like us much but they like our money. Brits account for approaching a quarter of ski visitors at the major resorts, more at some.
woolsack - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Thanks for the advice. Austria it is next year then!
Trangia - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Frank4short)
> The problem is will you find better skiing elsewhere?

Most definitely. On the other side of the pond.

Since discovering what the North American counties can offer in terms of quality skiing and snow, no lift queues, long uncrowded pistes, good piste discipline enforced by on the spot confiscation of lift pass for dangerous or out of control skiing, challenging Black Diamond runs, inexpensive eating out in the evening at at mountain restaurants, and very friendly people, who actually like the Brits, I have stopped going to France for skiing.

OK the flight is long and there is jet lag to contend with (that improves over time and experience), but the extra cost of the flight isn't as much as many think, and to me is certainly worth the benefits.

Otherwise as has been said by others go to Italy or Austria. I tried Finland this January and whilst the pistes don't have the length of the Alpine ones they are OK - very like Scottish resorts in terms of size but with guaranteed superb snow (and lots of it) which is like pristine powder because it doesn't go though the melt/freeze cylcles associated with the Alps because there are constant sub zero temperatures. No lift queues and plenty of lift choices, although admittedly mainly drag.

I haven't been to ski school for decades but I've holidayed with friends who have used ESF and the biggest single complaint has been the poor English or strong accents of some of the instructors. If a resort is going to teach skiing it should be employing instructos who are fluent in the language of it's clients. That's not a problem for Brits going to America or Canada.

As for ski hosts I use them when I go skiing on my own because of the social aspect - it introduces you to other solo skiers of similar standard with whom you can then ski and socialise with. There is no complulsion to go out with them every day, but it's a great service for the first couple of days.

They are not instructing or guiding, just showing you around. You make your own line down the slope and meet at the bottom. I think the French attitude is crazy but not surprising in view of their general anti British attitude which contrasts starkly with the welcome given by other skiing countries.
mike123 - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Trangia: i m intrested in this discussion because i m about to enter the world of pain associated with taking a family of 3 kids ski ing. i was thinking of driving to one of the small french resorts around briancon . however reading the above makes me think, why? there are lots of equivalents in Italy and Austria and since I rally like Italy thats where I will be going.
mike123 - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to mike123: and another thing . the french are really good at industrial action because they act as one. the british just seem to roll over and take it. the big french resorts would take a hit if en masse the brits just went elsewhere. the french must just chuckle about how badly they treat us/ all tourists and we just grin and bear it.
Jimmybarr on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Trangia:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
> [...]
>
> Most definitely. On the other side of the pond.
>

This. If I could 'Like' a post it would be this one.

Last year in Lake Louise the chap helping to load peoples ski's onto the gondola was Charlie Locke, the owner of the resort. He was chatting away to everyone, asking if people were having fun and suggesting areas for good powder. Show me anywhere in France where this would happen?! The level of service you get across the pond compared to France is mind blowing, basically they do it right.
Bruce Hooker - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to mike kann:

> As for anywhere having as good skiing? Purlease...

Well in that case what's the problem? French resorts are over crowded, if some Brits don't like the attitude then they can simply go to the better areas elsewhere - as can the tour companies who prefer to use un-qualified (in French terms) monitors, disguised as "hosts" payed on a shoe string (if they get payed!).

Hence no need for all this anti-French griping, vote with your feet, end of problem.
Bruce Hooker - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Trangia:

> and the biggest single complaint has been the poor English or strong accents of some of the instructors..

No offence meant but this sounds very much like "Storm in the Channel, continent cut off"... maybe it's also for us to learn the few words required when we visit a country? I still remember the Red Barrel signs on the Spanish coast and people complaining that they "couldn't find eggs an bacon anywhere" :-)

It's true there are many more Brits skiing in France than 30 years ago but I put this down to the general trend of foreign holidays since then but really if they don't like it then leave the place for those who do.

I quite understand why the French or any other country would try and preserve jobs for locals in mountain areas, they have a hard life there and without skiing they would find it hard to survive - many have three jobs just to pay their way. I prefer a local person as a monitor as they can give a better insight into the area, even if they have an accent and a tendency to suggest a "vin chaud" a little too often... better than a uniformity of the world into an English speaking, warm beer drinking and egg an bacon eating banality :-)
Bruce Hooker - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to mike123:

> the french must just chuckle about how badly they treat us

Really, don't believe what is being said on this thread, ukc has a strong Colonel Blimp element which is ever ready to believe the worst of any country the Daily M picks on. I've been skiing in France numerous times and always been well received and enjoyed superb pistes. Try it for yourself rather than believe the present hype which is basically about some ski tour companies wanting to avoid the cost of respecting French work regulations. If you were a worker concerned you might have less sympathy for this.

Only thing to watch out for in small stations is that if they are too low you might not have enough snow over... a high station gives you better guarantees. The main thing for skiing is the skiing itself IMO, the "attitude", true or invented, is secondary
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Trangia - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Trangia)
>
> [...]
>
> No offence meant but this sounds very much like "Storm in the Channel, continent cut off"... maybe it's also for us to learn the few words required when we visit a country? I still remember the Red Barrel signs on the Spanish coast and people complaining that they "couldn't find eggs an bacon anywhere" :-)
>
>

For general touristy travelling I agree with you that we should try and learn a few basics of the local language, but for somthing as complex as skiing instruction? Surely it makes commercial sense for the resort to employ instructors who can speak the language of their clients fluently if they want to remain competitive and attract non French speaking visitors? Good resorts in Austria, Switzerland and Italy do just this - so why do the French seem so often to lag behind on this issue? Of course there are good English speaking instructors but the general standard including pronunciation seems poor, particularly in children's classes.

The British are notoriously lazy about leaning other languages, they won't make the effort, so a good business person will recognise this and rather than fight against it, adapt to it.

When I had a property in Spain I noticed that the local Spanish businesses that prospered from ex-pat trade were the ones that spoke English or employed Engish speaking staff. Those that dug in complaining that "this is Spain, the English should learn our language" just went bust....

Postmanpat on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to mike123)
>
> [...]
>
> Really, don't believe what is being said on this thread, ukc has a strong Colonel Blimp element
>
Colonel, that's bollocks. You just have a parochial view of it. If you'd skied all over the world recently you'd realise that although France has wonderful terrain is has one of the most customer unfriendly environments in the world. The safety aspect of leading on easy pistes is a red herring and you know it.
Chris the Tall - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Trangia:
>
> The British are notoriously lazy about leaning other languages

On the contrary, I consider that I am doing these foreigners a favour by speaking English to them, and thus helping them with an important skill
Bruce Hooker - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> The safety aspect of leading on easy pistes is a red herring and you know it.

I need a translation of this sentence, my English can't be up to much either.
Morgan Woods - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> (In reply to Morgan Woods)
> [...]
>
> Yep, seems very silly to me. As far as I know, the ESF don't offer a comparable service. It's not as if the hosts are providing tuition or going off piste.
>
> If they do stop Ski Club leaders, then they are really cutting off their noses. The main reason I've skied with them is to meet up with other people interested in hiring a guide.

Is it really "a service" as such? It doesn't seem like any money is changing hands directly for this. From what I've seen the chalet staff might join the clients for a day or two of they have time, but it seems fairly casual rather than organised with an actual leader. I struggle to see how they would enforce this, because by extension any group of skiers must have a qualified leader.
pat m - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to mike123)
>
> [...]
>
> Really, don't believe what is being said on this thread, ukc has a strong Colonel Blimp element which is ever ready to believe the worst of any country the Daily M picks on. I've been skiing in France numerous times and always been well received and enjoyed superb pistes. Try it for yourself rather than believe the present hype

As I said in an earlier post I have for over thirty years and in that time I have felt a change in attitude from the French to the tourist - be they English or Danish like my wife. Comparing this year’s Christmas visit to Le Praz to my visit a couple of weeks ago to Kaprun the things that stood out as much better in Austria were - the prices on the hill and in the village, the desire to ensure that you the customer was enjoying yourself, the cleanliness of mountain toilets, that in the mountain restaurants they provided enough space including a heated area for those with a packed lunch, the lack of queues – I could go on.

I am one that will be voting with my feet and as I normally go three times a year and organise for a group of 12 -14, (some of whom do make use of the ski hosting) then there may be some loss, true this may be insignificant but if more people take this attitude then the ESF / resort managers may get the message.

PS – I am more of a gruniad reader.


Postmanpat on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> [...]
>
> I need a translation of this sentence, my English can't be up to much either.

Clearly not. Which words are the problem?

galpinos - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to mike kann:
> (In reply to mike kann) ps its not just the British independents either. It was also the Isf, their main rival. And it's also exhibited in their protectionism towards Basi instructors, who are only allowed to practice for three years at the mid level (whatever its called these days) before they have to work elsewhere. The reality is that the next level up means serious ski race training which makes it very difficult for Brits as most haven't got that background. It doesn't make them less able to teach, but is a blatant way to prevent a flooding of their work market despite eu equivalence laws...

You don't normally post drivel Mike but this post must be the exception to the rule. I'm no fan of the French System as it does put too much em,phasis on racing but it is "fair for all":

1. Who are the Isf? Do you mean the ESI? http://www.ecoledeski.fr/fr/index.aspx
2. BASI instructors are subject to the same rules as all the instructors, regardless of where they are from. One of the stages to becoming a Moniteur in France is to pass the Euro Test. Many moons ago BASI were offered to "opt out" of this requirement for their members but didn't want their qualification to be seen as inferior. It's a decision I believe they now regret.
3. I believe the Stagiere rules are the same regardless of what nationality you are.

Having the speed tests does rankle a bit but I can see why they do it. There's not much decent paid work in ski resorts so it means it provides a career for local people instead of a fun 2/3 year diversion for real life for Brits who fancy the kudos of being a ski instructor.
woolsack - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to galpinos: How achievable is the speed test for a competent British skier?
Frank4short - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: My god there isn't half an awful lot of jingoistic sounding nonsense being spouted here.

Clearly ESF have some extremely dubious protectionist practices, no one's denying that and it's obviously completely inexcusable that ski instructors would lose kids or even when finished their lessons leave them on the other side of the mountain to where they started. Though complaining about French ski instructors in France English pronunciation is just splitting hairs. Same goes for the wife who keeps getting put in beginners groups because she takes a day to find her form. Either try and be a bit more assertive or just don't go to the ski school till after the first days warm up.

However those aside an awful lot of the complaints just sound like people's own personal prejudices rather than actual reasoned arguments. In some cases lack of forsight.

The idea that Brits are just a cashcow for instance is just a nonsense. By the nature of most Brits ski holiday's they usually end up going to the super resorts. They don't over charge cause you're British they charge because there's massive extremely expensive infrastructure to run the place that cost huge amounts of money just to run. Most ski resorts don't make any money on lift passes. All of the money tends to be made on property or concessions. So if you're going to super resorts don't be surprised if it's expensive.

Ergo smaller, lower resorts will always be cheaper if you're willing to take a punt on going to them.

In my personal experience once you stay away from the big resorts for the Christmas hols & the month of Feb (Europe wide mid terms) then queues are rarely that big a problem. However I will acknowledge if you've got kids this isn't always possible.

The idea of heading to Japan to go skiing cause you're suspicious of the French attitude is possibly the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. So fly half way around the world in a journey that'll basically take 1.5-2 days each way. Just because you're suspicious, really?

As to North America. Yes they speak English, Yes they're unbearably pleasant and nice all the time, Yes they help you load your skis on to the gondola or whatever it is. However skiing on the East coast in nth America is a joke. To get to the Rockies takes a solid days travel from Europe then you have to deal with jet lag. The flights are multiples the price of what it is to get to France/continental Europe. It's is more expensive. The mountains are smaller. You can't go off piste. The time and jetlag involved in getting there mean that it's not worth going unless you can manage 2 weeks skiing. Basically if you want to ski in Nth America because you believe the snow is better, you just want to see somewhere different or you just prefer to be spoken to in English that's fine though most of the reasons people give for going there don't actually stack up and just support their own prejudices. Plus the differences in flight costs easily cover a lot of those extra expenses you'd spend in Europe.

Skiing in Austria is generally not as snow sure as the western alps as the peaks are smaller and the ski areas are at significantly lower altitudes. Plus the food is definitely not as good as in France.

Switzerland is more expensive, than well pretty much everywhere.

Italy, I haven't been, so can't comment.

Basically a lot of the comments being levelled don't stand up to close scrutiny and are really just people's preferences and biases as opposed to anything else.
niallk on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
>
> I quite understand why the French or any other country would try and preserve jobs for locals in mountain areas, they have a hard life there and without skiing they would find it hard to survive - many have three jobs just to pay their way.

Broadly speaking, ski-hosting is the equivalent of a brolly-holding rep taking you round the local amenities/attractions on other holidays. As such it isn't any competition to actual instruction on technique that lessons provide. So unless the ESF or the resorts offer a similar service (which I'm not awre they do), the argument of protecting jobs doesn't hold, whether or not it is laudable.

And are the regulations/employment law that are applied to instructors really appropriate for this sort of activity? I would suggest not, in the same way that not all of the regulations applied to a mountain guides are appropriate for ski instruction (and vice versa).

pat m - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
> (In reply to Frank4short) >
> The idea that Brits are just a cashcow for instance is just a nonsense. By the nature of most Brits ski holiday's they usually end up going to the super resorts. They don't over charge cause you're British they charge because there's massive extremely expensive infrastructure to run the place that cost huge amounts of money just to run. Most ski resorts don't make any money on lift passes. All of the money tends to be made on property or concessions.

A 15% return on equity (excluding property and concessions) is quite good as a long term investment - I would be happy with that in my pension plan.
Frank4short - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to pat m: Where does the 15% return on equity figure come from? Without a substantiating article/site/link it's meaningless.
Postmanpat on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
> (In reply to Frank4short)
>
> Basically a lot of the comments being levelled don't stand up to close scrutiny and are really just people's preferences and biases as opposed to anything else.

None of the problems with skiing in other places change the view that skiing in France is expensive and the service customer unfriendly. Indeed, they partly explain it, because the French know that their terrain is great and relatively accessible for European visitors so feel little need to improve their service.

Having said that, it actually has improved from thirty years ago when I got the distinct impression they would rather spit on their customers than serve them
French Erick - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
Go on Bruce.
Don't like it the French way...don't give them your £££. Don't moan, do your homework and find a place that will suit you: don't be lazy and think "where to?" and come up again with the same honeypot names!

Protectionism it is. It takes a skier with a real solid racing past between 2 (if mum and dad can pay it full time) and 5 years (if you pay it yourself) and an investment of around 5000 euros- provided you don't fail anything (it's dead easy to fail)!
Are you surprised they are a bit tense round lost business on their slopes?
You may disagree with it, and may also go somewhere else. If enough people do so then the French will have to change their ways.

I have no love for the ESF. In fact of all my family/friends, I'd say only about 10% belong to it...everyone else is ESI. For my own resorts it is a web of cronyism, and could seriously do with a kick in the baws as it is far too powerful a lobby.
Chris the Tall - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
Why are we even discussing the quality of lessons ?

In my experience the people who use ski-hosting services don't need lessons, so the issue of competition with the ESF is a complete red herring.

Actually to be fair most of them (me included) could probably still improve but have done the classic brit thing of not having a lesson since they learn't to do a paralel turn. I suspect the French can't understand why some many brits ski so badly and assume they are getting poor instruction.

I've had some great days with ski hosts in France - particularly the guy who took us down the 3 couloirs at Courcheval

Doug on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to French Erick: Bruce lives in Paris (or at least one of the suburbs)

Have only skied in an N American resort for one day so don't really know much about how they work but I know Cairngorm offered (still offer ?) a 'show you round the resort' service with a local skier 'guiding' visitors around the resort for an hour or two (enough in a small area to find out where everything is). Do any French resorts offer something similar ?
French Erick - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to French Erick:
I was wondering if the accusation of losing kids, was mostly British kids?
If this is the case then, may be it has much to do with the kids than with instructors ;)

My brother, whose English is pitiable, always complains that the Brit kids cannot piss in the forest. And that because of this he has to take the group right left and centre to find toilets (not that many in my resorts). Never had a bad word about italian or deutch kids. And positively hates russian kids, as they are often rich, spoilt brats.
Do that make my brother a pretentious French instructor? I am sure he can be, but he may have some truths too.
French Erick - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Doug:
Hi Doug. I really value your posts and I'm being subversive to fan the flames of British outcries at French traits.
So I will carry on for the sake of being annoying.
Is there a need for someone to show you Cairngorm? You either see it (and even the need for a map is rather dubious) or you don't and what you must seek is refuge indoors?

Now doubt someone will put me right. I don't moan and don't give them any of my £££!
pat m - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

http://www.deloitte.com/assets/Dcom-Switzerland/Local%20Assets/Documents/EN/Survey/Ski/ch_en_ski_res...

Swiss but as the french hide their financial results it provides some direction.
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galpinos - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to woolsack:

Not very, having been a ski tech for a friend when he was trying I didn't see one English aspirant pass. I've no idea of the % pass rate for English aspirants compared to French.

The official blurb:

"The test is a giant slalom run within FIS Regulations. Openers will have been calibrated at the start of the season and will each be issued with a coefficient for adjusting their times to 0 points. The openers will set a base time which is adjusted using the coefficient for each opener to 0 FIS points, the pass standard for men will be 0 FIS points + 18% and for women will be 0 FIS + 24%."

from the BASI site:
http://www.basi.org.uk/content/euro-speed-test.aspx
Doug on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to French Erick: On a typical Scottish mountain day of near zero visibility & poor snow cover it can be challenging to get around Cairngorm :-)
(even when I lived in Strathspey I rarely skied on Cairngorm except for a run down the pistes at the end of tour from time to time.

Et demain je serais dans le Jura :-)
Postmanpat on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to French Erick:
> (In reply to French Erick)
>
> My brother, whose English is pitiable, always complains that the Brit kids cannot piss in the forest. And that because of this he has to take the group right left and centre to find toilets (not that many in my resorts).
>
This is because we bring up our children not to piss on the floor :-)

Chris the Tall - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to galpinos:

> " the pass standard for men will be 0 FIS points + 18% and for women will be 0 FIS + 24%."
>


My guess is thats a bit like insisting all SPAs can lead E5 !!
pat m - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> (In reply to galpinos)
>
> [...]
>
>
> My guess is thats a bit like insisting all SPAs can lead E5 !!

Thats it in a nutshell. Seems to fail to notice that to be able to coach well you do not need to be able to perform at that level.
Doug on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to pat m: Apparently added to stop too many Parisians (or other non locals) from qualifying as ski instructors (or so my Parisian friends tell me)
French Erick - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to pat m:
Nothing to do with that, Protectionism again.
Limit the numbers by level of entry and by level of investment and keep the pay high. Have too many people with the ticket and pay them shit!
galpinos - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> (In reply to galpinos)
>
> [...]
>
>
> My guess is thats a bit like insisting all SPAs can lead E5 !!

Not really. There are stages to becoming a "moniteur", as there is SPA, MIA, MIC & IFMGA.

It's more akin to saying an IFMGA should lead E5.

That's not to say I agree with the French system, a good skier does not a good instructor make. They don't (or didn't, it's a while since I was up to speed) emphasis the teaching enough but with any thing, you get some good instructors and some bad ones, regardless of nationality. A crap skier, however, will never make a good instructor.

When I was doing seasons, all the local kids had passed the Eurotest at a young age on either the first or second go. It wasn't a big thing for them due to their racing background. I guess it's not a big thing for most alpine nations, just us Brits!
beardy mike - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to galpinos: sorry, you're right, Esi. Don't shoot the messenger though. The simple fact when I was doing courses with Basi, I was told that once I was at Isis, I would be allowed to teach for three years in France before passing the euro test was required. If I didn't pass this, then I would no longer be able to teach in France. As euro speed test in not required for Isis it effectively renders you qualification null in France. I don't disagree that euro test should be part of it, but it does make it much harder for Brits who by and large come from non racing background. Many French instructors have been brought up racing... There is a serious disadvantage to being a Brit in this case.
beardy mike - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to mike kann: isia not Isis...
woolsack - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to mike kann: How fast do you have to be to pass the Eurotest? Using a climbing analogy E5?
John2 - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to woolsack: A current FIS racer skis a slalom course and the people in the test have to come within his time plus 18%.

I have to say, the level of uninformed xenophobia expressed elsewhere in this thread is worthy of the Daily Mail. Given the behaviour of English yobs in French ski resorts, I think it would be understandable if the English were charged extra.

One more point - another ESF shortcoming not yet mentioned is taking large numbers of punters on long off piste routes without bleepers or rescue equipment. There are, however, many smaller French ski schools with exemplary safety standards.
galpinos - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to John2:
> (In reply to woolsack) A current FIS racer skis a giant slalom course and the people in the test have to come within his time plus 18%.

Slight correction. The slalom course is at stagiere level.
Pinch'a'salt on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to mike kann:

re the 3 years, bear in mind that a French stagiaire only has 3 years on his livret de formation before everything must be finished if not then time to start looking for a different job. Have a few French friends who have had to bail - ain;t just the Brits.

And there have been a fair few Brit Eurotest passes this winter already. Yes the level is high but it is achievable if you have a decent background & level of skiing.

The difference is cultural - a recreational French skier would never dream of becoming an instructor whereas a lot of recreational Brits do seem to...
John2 - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to galpinos: Correct, sorry. I think women are given a more generous allowance than 18% also, which is reasonable since the time was set by a man.

andy - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: i'm in the Portes du Soleil as I type. At half term. And i've queued for more than a couple of minutes once in three days. The lift infrastructure is absolutely brilliant (fast 6 person chairs all over the place). There's a huge amount of varied terrain (far more than most US resorts) perfect for a group with abilities ranging ranging from blues to steep off-piste. My kids are having a superb week at ski school - although it's an English school with guaranteed small groups - I wouldn't use ESF again after a bad experience in Flaine).

But French skiing is better than most places because it's accesible, has fabulous lift systems, brilliant terrain and can be eminently affordable if you plan ahead, even at half term.
Chris the Tall - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to John2:
> (In reply to woolsack) A current FIS racer skis a slalom course and the people in the test have to come within his time plus 18%.

But why judge a skiing instructor on how fast he can ski ? Do the French have similar rules for driving instructors ?

And anyway, when I try to practise my slalom racing I get shouted at by the French ;)
Bruce Hooker - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
> [...]
>
> Clearly not. Which words are the problem?

"The safety aspect of leading on easy pistes"

Did a I mention anything like this and what is "leading" on a piste?
John2 - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall: I was answering a question, not purporting to know enough to form a valid judgement on the merit of the system.
Postmanpat on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> [...]
>
> "The safety aspect of leading on easy pistes"
>
> Did a I mention anything like this and what is "leading" on a piste?

It is the explanation the court gave for banning hosts. The hosts lead skiers down easy pistes to show them the way. The court said that such activity is a safety risk. That is what I believe the French call a "manoeuvre de diversion". I could try and translate the rest for you if you like?

I really do worry about your comprehension capabilities colonel. Should you come back to blighty to brush up your English?

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beardy mike - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to woolsack: as they say, 18%. On the average course that's about 6 seconds.
jon on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Trangia:

> friends who have used ESF and the biggest single complaint has been the poor English or strong accents of some of the instructors

They go to France to ski. The instructor speaks to them in English... and they complain that he's got an accent? Unbelievable. I mean an accent... shit, what right has he got to have an accent?
Trangia - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to jon:

Yes, if the accent is so strong that the kids can't understand what he/she is saying it's rather a pointless and expensive lesson isn't it?
jon on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Trangia:

Yes, you're right. You'd never get that problem in Italy or Switzerland or Austria.
Bruce Hooker - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

So you were referring to the court decision not anything I posted?

So perhaps I'd better reply on that then, I would say it is quite legitimate for a court to apply the laws of a country, at the risk of upsetting you I'll go even further and say it is the function of a court of law to uphold the law.

Pretty shocking when it's a foreign court eh? How dare they?

If a the French legislator, democratically elected by the French people, have decided that any commercial operators who want to "lead" their clients down a ski slope, however easy, requires a certain level of competence, then that seems quite reasonable to me. All British companies need to do is employ people with the qualifications required, maybe paying a little more than they would like to pay, and they would have no problems.

If not then they can simply organise ski holidays in countries which have legal requirements which suit their business model - according to many posters there's no lack of these, so what's the problem?
climbingpixie - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to alanlgm:

> As for ESF utter c~@p my wife has had lessons with them in 3 different resorts and each time she hasnt really progressed. it takes her a day to get back into it so when they see her on the first day she is a bit shaky and gets put in the wrong group but by the 3rd day she is absolutely fine but the lessons are going over things she already knows.

> even when i said about moving her up a group they simply refuse.

Having just come back from a skiing holiday where I had six mornings of lessons with the ESF I'm surprised at this. At the resort I stayed at there was a lot of shuffling around in the first three days as people moved into the groups that suited them best.

Personally I was fairly happy with my ESF instruction. I went with them because they were really cheap compared to all the other providers. I was in the total beginner group, which was a mix of nationalities, with an enthusiastic instructor who spoke excellent english. By the end of the week our group had caught up to where we would have been if we'd done the next level up group, and on our penultimate day (when only two of us showed up for the lesson) she had us skiing down red runs and even doing little bits off piste.
Postmanpat on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> So you were referring to the court decision not anything I posted?
>
Well obviously

> So perhaps I'd better reply on that then, I would say it is quite legitimate for a court to apply the laws of a country, at the risk of upsetting you I'll go even further and say it is the function of a court of law to uphold the law.
>
So you don't think the esf had any influence on the court's interpretation of the law? You presumably accept that this is what courts do; interpret the law?

> Pretty shocking when it's a foreign court eh? How dare they?
>
No, why do you think that, colonel? Are you turning into a little francelander?

> If a the French legislator, democratically elected by the French people, have decided that any commercial operators who want to "lead" their clients down a ski slope, however easy, requires a certain level of competence,
>
The law was actually designed, if you examine it's origins, to stop illegal instruction. Since the hosts specifically don't instruct we have to look for other reasons why the court might have made the interpret the law the way it has.

> If not then they can simply organise ski holidays in countries which have legal requirements which suit their business model - according to many posters there's no lack of these, so what's the problem?

Twofold, it spoils the ski experience in France for some visitors and will likely reduce revenues for the French tourist industry.

Chris the Tall - on 20 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)

> If a the French legislator, democratically elected by the French people, have decided that any commercial operators who want to "lead" their clients down a ski slope, however easy, requires a certain level of competence, then that seems quite reasonable to me.

Except that they are subject to EC laws on restraint of trade, which are supposed to allow suitably qualified people to ply their trade throughout Europe. Setting ridiculous requirements that are irrelevant to the job in question is a prima facie case of trying to circumvent those laws
Bruce Hooker - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Since the hosts specifically don't instruct...

No, they only "lead"! You used the word.

Don't you see what is really behind this? Obviously the companies concerned and the "leaders not instructors" fall into a grey area, do they lead or do they sometimes give those who ask a bit of intensive "leading"? Behind the public statements of the British companies there may be another reality - I've looked but seen no mention of this affair in the French press so we only have one point of view and a lot of rather garrulous anti-froggy rhetoric.

The whole notion of the need for someone to show you round the slopes seems odd to me, maps and plans are freely available and one of the nicest bits of going to a new area is exploring the different runs and lifts - why spoil the pleasure by being shown around?

It all smacks of a storm in a tea-cup, froggy bashing and, most likely IMO, a few sly merchants getting upset because they are being obliged to fit in with the legislation of a country they freely chose to work in.

There are other arguments too which would probably interest no one concerning the problems of maintaining a permanent population and a centuries old mountain culture in alpine regions... something which I think is very important but clearly won't interest people on a week's holiday who seem more upset at not being faced by forelock tugging, subservient slaves than having competent ski instructors who can provide a bit of local culture as well as technical skills, amazing ski slopes, mountains and lift facilities.

The difference between MacDo and a decent meal, with slow service and a occasionally grumpy waiter... each to his own choice.
Postmanpat on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> [...]
>
> No, they only "lead"! You used the word.
>
> Don't you see what is really behind this? Obviously the companies concerned and the "leaders not instructors" fall into a grey area, do they lead or do they sometimes give those who ask a bit of intensive "leading"?
>
> The whole notion of the need for someone to show you round the slopes seems odd to me, maps and plans are freely available and one of the nicest bits of going to a new area is exploring the different runs and lifts - why spoil the pleasure by being shown around?
>
>
Quite simply, they 'lead" or "host". They don't instruct. Just because you or I prefer to find our own way around doesn't mean others feel the same.
Why don't you stick to talking about something you know about rather than spouting off tabloid cliches based on no knowledge at all even of what the role is?


Chris the Tall - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> The whole notion of the need for someone to show you round the slopes seems odd to me, maps and plans are freely available and one of the nicest bits of going to a new area is exploring the different runs and lifts - why spoil the pleasure by being shown around?
>
So basically you don't understand the issue

The company concerned is Le Ski, based in Courcheval 1650, part of the largest ski area in the world (3 Vallees). You maybe happy enough to explore it on your own, but to many people it's a huge and complex area. Getting from 1650 over to Val Thorens and back in a day isn't straightforward - get caught in a bottleneck and you may find yourself looking at an expensive taxi ride home. So rather than spend all day looking at piste maps, some people like to let people with a bit more experience show them around.

The other aspect here is social - when we went with Le Ski they actually had three levels of hosting. At the time there was quite a big gap between the standards of my wife and I, so this made it possible for us to both ski with others at our level.

Apparently Le Ski intend to appeal, so I wish them luck, partly because they are a great company but mainly because they are in the right!
EwanR on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> I've looked but seen no mention of this affair in the French press so we only have one point of view and a lot of rather garrulous anti-froggy rhetoric.

There's a short article in le dauphiné

http://www.ledauphine.com/faits-divers/2013/02/20/un-tour-operateur-anglais-condamne-a-22-500-d-amen...

Interesting to note that as well as the fine for the "leading" they were also fined for five cases of paying their (presumably British) staff less than the minimum wage.

French Erick - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall:
they'll only be in the right once the appeal has gone through and they have been deemed right. If they're found wrong, then by the law of the land they will no longer be right.

It's not because you think it is right that it is. It is all relative to where you are and to what laws you make reference too. In most of the world it is wrong to drive on the left...in this country it is the norm and the law agrees with it. Try drive on the wrong side, here or France, and you'll be breaking the law. I am no philosopher, but could this be a case of a moral vs. legal issue here?

People are upset because they are not allowed to do as they wish in another country! You have to love the, mostly law abiding, Brit getting irrate because this is a breach of EU trading convention; meanwhile there is a massive anti-EU movement at home (media, politics...). You can't have it all ;)

The French ESF, wrongly or not, feels its business being threatened by those hosts and call French law to help it...this is where it is at. No doubt lawyers will look through all that and decide for us.
Plenty of that protectionism being used daily in the UK, unfortunately.

Again if le ski is not happy about whatever the judgement is, they may then remove themselves from that blinkered country of mine and give its taxes to a more welcoming skiing nation.

If on principle you don't like the French way, vote with your feet, don't give them your custom. They don't even know UKC exists and will not care that a thread has been running in the hundred posts calling them rascals. Come to think of it, they might even been cheered up by it.
woolsack - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: Do ESF offer free ski hosting?

No.
Postmanpat on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to French Erick:
> (In reply to Chris the Tall)
> they'll only be in the right once the appeal has gone through and they have been deemed right. If they're found wrong, then by the law of the land they will no longer be right.
>
> I am no philosopher, but could this be a case of a moral vs. legal issue here?
>
I think Chris means that Le Ski are morally right. The law is, of course, open to interpretation and this question is less cut and dried than which side of the road to drive on.

Do you think that a local court is likely to be more influenced by the ESF, a partie civile in the case and important local institution, or a small foreign tour operator? That is not an entirely rhetorical question.
Bruce Hooker - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Why don't you stick to talking about something you know about rather than spouting off tabloid cliches based on no knowledge at all even of what the role is?

It happens I know the subject pretty well, I've been to French ski stations quite often over several decades, with and without a family and children... what about you?

You're are letting your real self show here, little England chauvinist at their most petty, you had been keepin' it hid quite well for quite a well!

Is coming out a relief?
Chris the Tall - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to French Erick:

>
You have to love the, mostly law abiding, Brit getting irrate because this is a breach of EU trading convention; meanwhile there is a massive anti-EU movement at home (media, politics...). You can't have it all ;)
>

That's one thing that annoys me about this case, it gives ammunition to the ant-EU lobby

> The French ESF, wrongly or not, feels its business being threatened by those hosts

And thats another - it will not benefit the ESF in the slightest. Actually in my case it would do the opposite - I'd be more likely to go out with a (proper) guide if it didn't mean my wife skiing on her own.

> Plenty of that protectionism being used daily in the UK, unfortunately.

Examples, please

BTW Has anybody considered the effects of this case on MTB holidays in France ? Not been on one myself, but I gather they are run on similar lines.
French Erick - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:
Ah tanks for letting me know it was rhetorical. I was loathe to stop pissing on the floor... zipping up etc felt like a lot of work to start answering that.

There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that Le ski is screwed here. It would be more equally matched if the foreign tour operator employed more locals. I mostly found that the ESF weight, or that kind of well established channel, was always winning.

I agree that my road example was too black and white, it was just a bit of fun. I can't wait to ski home and get a bit of that refreshing rudeness and scorn... like a very special course of medecine! Invigourating, like!
Carolyn - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

I've always though tour operators are pushing it a bit by sending out completely untrained ski hosts. It means standards vary hugely, and I've seen some take their guests down pistes they're clearly not been capable of skiing. And then not really had a clue how to sort things out. Equally, I'm sure there are plenty of really good ones who you barely notice...

But the current situation is a bit like requiring a leader to have an MIA to take a group top roping a Brimham Rocks, as there's no SPA equivalent. What would make more sense to me is some kind of basic ski guiding qualification. But I doubt that has much appeal to either ESF or the British tour operators!
Bruce Hooker - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to woolsack:
> (In reply to Frank4short) Do ESF offer free ski hosting?
>
> No.

And they don't pay their employees below minimum wages either! Clearly for them accompanying their customers is totally unskilled work.

Read the article linked above by EwanR, is explains very clearly what the real issue is in this case. I'm quite happy to moan about France when it is fair to do so, the bureaucracy, and some aspects of the health and education systems would drive anyone mad without a bottle of wine from time to time but in this case they are right, as the court has decided.

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woolsack - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
>
>
> Read the article linked above by EwanR, is explains very clearly what the real issue is in this case.

It's all ritten in foren!
Bruce Hooker - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to woolsack:

The "translate" button on your browser aint :-)

(mines on the google toolbar and works even on German and all kinds of outlandish lingos)
MJH - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
> Don't you see what is really behind this?

Yes, plain old protectionism! I don't really see the issue, I wouldn't employ a guide to show me the interesting runs in a resort so it isn't really competing with ESF.

> The whole notion of the need for someone to show you round the slopes seems odd to me, maps and plans are freely available and one of the nicest bits of going to a new area is exploring the different runs and lifts - why spoil the pleasure by being shown around?

Because in large ski areas in can be helpful to be told some hidden gems by someone who has more knowledge of a resort than you. Exploring is fun, but a bit of prior knowledge can make it even more fun.
Frank4short - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> And thats another - it will not benefit the ESF in the slightest. Actually in my case it would do the opposite - I'd be more likely to go out with a (proper) guide if it didn't mean my wife skiing on her own.

So basically you're saying here that they offer 3 different levels of hosting in Courchevel. Elsewhere further up the thread you've said that a host has taken you down 3 couloirs, again, in Courchevel. Now with just that small sample of examples you given. I can see why you are both very keen to defend the ski company and also at the same time that it may be considered competitively damaging by the local ESF. Also whatever about taking relatively mediocre skiers around blues and the odd easy red to show them their way about there are definitely liability issues when it comes to taking people down black runs and marked off piste runs.

Another point which I'm not sure anyone has raised yet is that whilst the ESF maybe excessively protectionist and keen to defend their turf. The big ski companies do take the piss as well. A large majority of the staff being employed under ex-patriate contracts where their wages are paid through the UK. Meaning the local community does not get the additional tax revenue this employment should provide. It's very easy to complain about the French protectionist attitude not being in accordance with EU regs, though it's often those very same EU regs which are being used by British companies to extract profits from the French communities. When occurrences like this are happening on a regular enough basis it's no real surprise to see the locals pounce when they see a legal opportunity to do so.

Though as Carolyn said above there really needs to be some sort of intermediate ski hosting qual. However it won't suit either the ESF or the big ski co's. As ESF will see it as demeaning their quals whilst it will add extra cost to the big ski co's which they won't want to add to their bottom line.
Bruce Hooker - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to MJH:

The point is that they admit to taking people down runs, and that's what is own up to, from there to instructing is there such a huge difference? Obviously the various ski schools who respect the rules take a dim view of companies using unqualified people, and the instructors themselves and their unions take an even dimmer view of companies undercutting their wages - "Le Ski" was convicted of various things, for a total of 22 500€ - nearly £20 000 - hardly a tiny fine, including paying some of their staff below the French minimum wage (that's what the SMIC mentioned in the Dauphiné Liberé article is).

It's surprising that the usually law abiding posters of ukc should encourage such cost cutting... especially as they are normally so "safety conscious". The first time an accident happens I wonder who will be the first to moan about "tourism companies cutting costs by employing unqualified monitors"? Whichever way one looks at it anyone who takes people down ski runs for pay, however little, is in a situation of responsibility.

As for the "need" to be shown around "complex" ski areas, I've been to all the main areas, I'm a rotten skier but I really had little difficulty in getting around and never needed a taxi ride home - at the end of each day there are systematically "pisteurs" who close down the runs and if you want to hang about up there to watch the sunset are actually quite insistent on getting you down, and if you are a quivering "whingeing pommy" as the Ozzies call us and totally at a loss they will accompany you down, free of charge!
Postmanpat on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to MJH)
>
> The point is that they admit to taking people down runs, and that's what is own up to, from there to instructing is there such a huge difference?
>
Yes, one instructs, the other doesn't. You know, like when you go for a walk with your mate. Do you "instruct" him in walking? Sheesh.....
>
>
> As for the "need" to be shown around "complex" ski areas, I've been to all the main areas,
>

Why do you think your personal experience is relevant? Lots of people like it. End of story.
Carolyn - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

Although if ESF were on the ball, I'm sure they could corner the market for training and assessing a ski leader qualification....

.....and if I was feeling cynical, I'd suggest they'd only train and assess in French ;-)
Chris the Tall - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to woolsack:
> (In reply to Frank4short) Do ESF offer free ski hosting?
>
> No.

Apparently they do now. Reported (on a skiing forum) that on the day after the ruling the ESF in Morzine starting offering an afternoon of non-instructional ski-hosting at the bargain price of 34 euros per head.

MJH - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> The point is that they admit to taking people down runs, and that's what is own up to, from there to instructing is there such a huge difference?

I think there is a huge difference. I wouldn't employ an instructor to show me round, though it can be an added bonus. An instructor's main job is to improve my (rubbish) technique.

I can see the value of someone pointing out some of the more interesting runs (particularly if I am only there for a limited time). The fact that they ski them at the same time as me doesn't make them an instructor! To be honest it is the sort of service that could be done without setting foot on the piste, but again I can see if you were skiing by yourself why a bit of company might sometimes be welcome.

> As for the "need" to be shown around "complex" ski areas, I've been to all the main areas, I'm a rotten skier but I really had little difficulty in getting around

It isn't so much about difficulty of finding your way around, but more being shown where there are interesting runs/something out of the ordinary/or even just best food.

It is a bit like saying that someone can't point out climbs to you unless they are a guide.
Chris the Tall - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
To be fair it was 15 years ago and the guy made it clear he couldn't take us down the couloirs, but he couldn't stop us doing it and would follow us down to make sure we made it down safely !
Carolyn - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to MJH:

It's perhaps rather more like saying that someone can't take you to a climb, lead it, and bring you up on a rope unless they're a guide. Particularly when they're being paid to do it (even if it's "free" to the client). Which is pretty much the situation for climbing in the Alps, I think?

Pointing out some good routes on the piste map over a beer is a rather different matter, surely?
Chris the Tall - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> As for the "need" to be shown around "complex" ski areas, I've been to all the main areas, I'm a rotten skier but I really had little difficulty in getting around and never needed a taxi ride home - at the end of each day there are systematically "pisteurs" who close down the runs and if you want to hang about up there to watch the sunset are actually quite insistent on getting you down, and if you are a quivering "whingeing pommy" as the Ozzies call us and totally at a loss they will accompany you down, free of charge!

So again you are dismissing something you don't understand.
We're talking the 3 Vallees here. There's a clue in the name as to why "getting down" and "getting home" might be differant.
MJH - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Carolyn: That is a different situation though - IMHO someone skiing the same run as me has far less effect on my ability to get to the bottom safely than someone leading a climb (which rightly would need a qualified guide).

I think the person pointing out runs on a piste map is much closer to the ski "host" than a guide.
Carolyn - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to MJH:

Yes, I agree - maybe accompanying a group on a Via Ferrata is a better example? Although tour companies have similarly pushed the boundaries of what's legal in France here, I suspect.
David Riley - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

It seems only to be a problem if you're paying.

Under Article L.212-1 of the Sport Code in France it is a legal requirement to have a qualification to teach or lead skiing if remuneration is received.

I've frequently skied in a group with the rep. But never been asked to pay.
Carolyn - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to David Riley:

On the other hand, the rep is being paid to do it as part of their job, it's just included in the price of your holiday. Which I suspect is more relevant.
Frank4short - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to David Riley:

> It seems only to be a problem if you're paying.
>
> Under Article L.212-1 of the Sport Code in France it is a legal requirement to have a qualification to teach or lead skiing if remuneration is received.
>
> I've frequently skied in a group with the rep. But never been asked to pay.

Remuneration being the pay the rep is getting from his employer. The fact that you don't happen to be the employer is irrelevant. It's that the rep/host/guide/whatever you want to call them is getting paid for showing you round.

Another point i've just discovered that part of the fine Le Ski is receiving is for paying their staff less than the French minimum wage. Which would kind of concur with my earlier point about staff being paid as ex pat employees to avoid French employment laws and conditions and in the process really pissing off the local authorities.
unclesamsauntibess - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: Frenchies? F*ck 'em.
David Riley - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Carolyn:

I'm sure it will be worked around.
At least they are not able to prevent us leading other people on piste.
Chris the Tall - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

> Another point i've just discovered that part of the fine Le Ski is receiving is for paying their staff less than the French minimum wage. Which would kind of concur with my earlier point about staff being paid as ex pat employees to avoid French employment laws and conditions and in the process really pissing off the local authorities.

I wonder about the details of that - you have a job where the accomodation and food (and maybe ski pass and equipment) are included, but you are technically working long hours, so there are a number of calculations to be made that could make a critical difference.



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Bruce Hooker - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Why do you think your personal experience is relevant?

Because just now you accused me of posting about something I had no experience of... Make up your mind!

Have you ever been to the places concerned BTW? Have you ever been skiing?
Frank4short - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> I wonder about the details of that - you have a job where the accomodation and food (and maybe ski pass and equipment) are included, but you are technically working long hours, so there are a number of calculations to be made that could make a critical difference.

I suspect it's down to the local employment laws. In the case of France, I would imagine, unless it's in some way agreed with the local authorities it's not kosher. On top of that, I suspect, that it's probably not allowed anyway. As otherwise it would provide unscrupulous employers a way of effectively paying slave labour type rates by adjusting lodging charges, etc. in their favour.

As I said earlier their are a lot of big ski tour operators, not just the British but other nationalities too, operating outside of the local law by using various work arounds. In many cases this is purely taking advantage of local amenities and naive youngsters looking to do a cheap season to the positive effect of their bottom line. In my experience, 4 seasons in Cham many years ago, this has long been a point of contention amongst the locals. Every once in a while the authorities in a given area will do something about it. I'm guessing that this particular instance is just another case of this happening. Just in this instance it's something that's of more relevance/affects the paying punters more so than the usual fines handed out to the operator. Which is why it's more contentious from the paying public's point of view.
Bruce Hooker - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall:

I was thinking of the 3 Vallées too, really it's not that hard! If it is then go with a friend who can read a map.

Concerning "instructing" or "showing"; assuming people are not capable of looking at a ski map and checking out the nice runs and restaurants (big spenders apparently!) for themselves then they must be either near beginners or pretty hopeless so I'd say some kind of experience and capacity to make decisions, give clear instructions etc was required and over the years the only way of proving an employee has such capacities is by qualifications. You all know this really - none of you would let your children go on a trip in dangerous terrain with someone who wasn't qualified as you all know damn well. We are not talking about going off with a mate, it's a service payed for and done by people you don't know.

Anyway reading the court judgement it's pretty clear that all this is really about as a British ski companies wanting to employ people more cheaply than if they were recruited locally respecting the local laws.
Postmanpat on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Chris the Tall)
>
> I was thinking of the 3 Vallées too, really it's not that hard! If it is then go with a friend who can read a map.
>
They do, with their new friend, the "host" Simples.

It seems it's hard for you to see things from other peoples' perspective but lots of people, even if they can read a map, find it an annoying faff.
And lots of people are too lazy or shy to coordinate skiing with people they only met on the coach the previous day so it's nice if somebody else does it for them. That's why they call them holidays these days;so that people can switch off and relax.
>
> Anyway reading the court judgement it's pretty clear that all this is really about as a British ski companies wanting to employ people more cheaply than if they were recruited locally respecting the local laws.
>
In this case there is no alternative service.

Howard1 - on 21 Feb 2013
If the ESF want to ensure the usage of instructors comes with certain qualifications then they should ensure their own guys are up to the task. I am currently snowboarding in the Ecrins and so far have had one arguements with an ESF employee who felt his group of 8 kids had more right to go through the ticket barrier than the 60+ people waiting to use it. And today whilst stuck on a lift with two lovely French kids under instruction felt it was appropriate to stab my board with their sticks so the surpass snow would fall on people below and when I told them to stop they then took to spitting on the unsuspecting below. When we reached the top I confronted their instructor and be just dismissed it as boyish behaviour.

Obviously if they start like this they can only get worse

I have however used a ski/board guide before and he is brilliant but not an ESF member and he to gets told sometimes to stop instructing at certain resorts despite being an IFMGA guide and French
French Erick - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to unclesamsauntibess:
I lnow, they're tiring and if not true to form destroy your elbows. And it takes so many to make a difference in one's climbing ability!
Pinch'a'salt on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Howard1:
> I have however used a ski/board guide before and he is brilliant but not an ESF member and he to gets told sometimes to stop instructing at certain resorts despite being an IFMGA guide and French

And if he is instructing on piste then whoever is telling him to stop is correct as IFMGA guides are not qualified to instruct on piste...
JIB - on 21 Feb 2013
The French regulate their professions, and all companies that operate in France need to respect the laws that are in place. The EU regulations on employment harmonisation allow for this process. The French offer the route of 'equivalence' for the competent qualified professional to operate legally in France, whether it is for skiing, climbing, mountain biking and trekking.

French law does not allow unregulated guides or leaders to operate - hence there is the process of 'equivalence' to become regulated - and the relevant French authorities do prosecute the unregulated operators regularly, as reports of the PGHM arresting, and the French authorities prosecuting, 'guides' and 'leaders' testify.

In France, the ski host operates in the same paradigm as the guide and accompagnateur de moyen montagne/international mountain leader:- namely, they all use routes which the competent could reasonably access. All are operating within the terms of their contracts. The difference is that the former are appropriately regulated professionals...and the ski host isn't.

It's quite incomprehensible that British commercial companies were unaware of the French legal requirements when they launched their businesses. Instead, the evidence is that British commercial operators show contempt for French law by employing unqualified guides/leaders/hosts who, in some cases, lack even a first aid qualification. The contempt expressed for the requirement to pay the minimum wage and the complete disregard for the nature of what is required as regulated 'professionalism' is poorly disguised as 'free market/laissez faire' jingoism, rather than the commercial exploitation of the unqualified.




Howard1 - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Pinch'a'salt: in this case rubbish he formerly was an ESF member and has coached the regional ski team and judged and organised tournaments

Current regulations may prohibit but are by no means a gauge of qualification
Frank4short - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Howard1: Clearly the kids you shared the lift with sound like little pricks. However this asides the ski instructor is entitled to cut across the lift line with his pupils. It's just usually they've enough common sense to only put 1 or 2 kids on a lift at a time thus only partially holding up the the rest of the queue. Though judging the entire nation by the behaviour of only a couple of kids and 1 ski instructor is well a bit beyond the extreme, don't you think?
Paul Atkinson - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to JIB:
> The French regulate their professions, and all companies that operate in France need to respect the laws that are in place. The EU regulations on employment harmonisation allow for this process. The French offer the route of 'equivalence' for the competent qualified professional to operate legally in France, whether it is for skiing, climbing, mountain biking and trekking.
>
> French law does not allow unregulated guides or leaders to operate - hence there is the process of 'equivalence' to become regulated - and the relevant French authorities do prosecute the unregulated operators regularly, as reports of the PGHM arresting, and the French authorities prosecuting, 'guides' and 'leaders' testify.
>
> In France, the ski host operates in the same paradigm as the guide and accompagnateur de moyen montagne/international mountain leader:- namely, they all use routes which the competent could reasonably access. All are operating within the terms of their contracts. The difference is that the former are appropriately regulated professionals...and the ski host isn't.
>
> It's quite incomprehensible that British commercial companies were unaware of the French legal requirements when they launched their businesses. Instead, the evidence is that British commercial operators show contempt for French law by employing unqualified guides/leaders/hosts who, in some cases, lack even a first aid qualification. The contempt expressed for the requirement to pay the minimum wage and the complete disregard for the nature of what is required as regulated 'professionalism' is poorly disguised as 'free market/laissez faire' jingoism, rather than the commercial exploitation of the unqualified.


This
woolsack - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
> Though judging the entire nation by the behaviour of only a couple of kids and 1 ski instructor is well a bit beyond the extreme, don't you think?

Seems to be the case most of the time. I especially worry that they plonk kids on lifts with random adults with absolutely no idea who they have just sat the kid next to.
TheGeneralist - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

>
> Skiing in Austria .... Plus the food is definitely not as good as in France.

I get the distinct impression from that statement that you've never actually been to either country?
jon on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Howard1:
> I have however used a ski/board guide before and he is brilliant but not an ESF member and he to gets told sometimes to stop instructing at certain resorts despite being an IFMGA guide and French

Howard, this is quite correct. See my post from yesterday:

> Officially UIAGM guides are not allowed to teach or 'guide' on piste. The only time they can use pistes is to get to off piste or the start of ski tours. Pistes are the preserve of the instructor. Instructors can teach on piste and off piste but cannot work on glaciers - hence they can't guide the Vallée Blanche, for instance. There is all sorts of animosity between French guides and French instructors over this division of terrain, so is it any wonder that ski bums or reps are being targeted?

Bruce Hooker - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to woolsack:
> (In reply to Frank4short)
> [...]
>
> Seems to be the case most of the time. I especially worry that they plonk kids on lifts with random adults with absolutely no idea who they have just sat the kid next to.

You'll probably find that being French kids they ski better than you do, most certainly ski better than me! Having said that many French kids are real pains in the arse, I can't disagree with that, quite unlike the little angels I sometimes see hanging around outside Budgen's in Rye, spitting on the pavement, chucking empty drink cans on the floor and generally baiting the staff who seem unable to do anything to get rid of them :-)

Concerning this "affair", I did a google on "tour-opérateur anglais condamné" and found loads of stuff, some of which puts a new light on it. Apparently it has become a bit of a "cause celebre" in British skiing circles and subject of much agitation on "social networks" - "a campaign of denigration against the ESF" with boycott calls and all. The truth is that it was the French police who did a spot check and found staff of this company who were being payed lower than the legal wage and even working on the black - the company wasn't paying their social charges even - no social security payments, pension etc. and this led to the condemnation more recently and part of the fine.

I remember a thread a while ago when many ukcers got hot under the collar about people working on the black in Britain, yet are posting on this thread in favour of a British company which has just been convicted of doing just this with unqualified and undeclared ski "hosts" in France! There's no pleasing some it seems. So let's not be naive, this whole business is more to do with companies out for a quick buck, and it's been going on for a while with the French police making an example of one from time to time. It's not good for the profession, not good for the exploited employees with no social cover and working illegally either.

It is a good excuse, it seems, for some to launch a sordid and dishonest campaign against the ESF, and through this all those schools who respect the law and are penalised by this unfair competition from companies who don't.

http://www.meltyxtrem.fr/l-ecole-du-ski-francais-craint-elle-la-fuite-des-britanniques-a159078.html
http://presseagence.com/lettre-economique-politique-paca/2013/02/19/paris-declaration-publiee-au-nom...

Sorry, all in French, but it's like that to get the other point of view.


Bruce Hooker - on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

You still haven't answered my question, have you been skiing in any of these resorts and do you ski at all?

PS. How do you feel about companies who employ people on the black without social cover, insurance etc? I can't remember what you said on previous threads on the subject.
Postmanpat on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> You still haven't answered my question, have you been skiing in any of these resorts and do you ski at all?
>
What question, when? I've been skiing for forty years, recently mainly in France.

> PS. How do you feel about companies who employ people on the black without social cover, insurance etc? I can't remember what you said on previous threads on the subject.

Nothing that I remember. I'm against companies employing people "0n the black" but that is not why hosting has been banned.

Postmanpat on 21 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> [...]
>
> Because just now you accused me of posting about something I had no experience of... Make up your mind!
>
Ah, I see, your old English comprehension is rearing its head gain. Your personal "experience" in this context implies your personal likes and dislikes. That is irrelevant in determining what other people like and therefore what companies aim to provide. It's called "customer service".

So, personal experience is useful if it creates knowledge of the situation (which in terms of ski hosting it apparently hasn't for you) but not in determine what others should like or dislike. Got it?

Really, what is wrong with you that you can't understand such simple points?



beardy mike - on 22 Feb 2013
Dogwatch - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> Anyway reading the court judgement it's pretty clear that all this is really about as a British ski companies wanting to employ people more cheaply than if they were recruited locally respecting the local laws.

There isn't the slightest chance that skiing instructors would be employed to do the kind of leading/hosting that's currently done by resort hosts as just one aspect of their job. Ski instruction is something you pay (dearly) for, whereas being led - for those who want it - is part of the prepaid package. The sole result of this ruling is that something that's given enjoyment to many people as part of their skiing holiday will no longer happen. Further, there's no evidence at all that it ever presented a safety hazard versus the alternative, which is that the same skiers will simply ski independently.

ads.ukclimbing.com
EwanR on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: In case anybody is in doubt about the legal basis for the fine for leading the relevant part of the law is

Code du Sport: Article L212-1

I.-Seuls peuvent, contre rémunération, enseigner, animer ou encadrer une activité physique ou sportive ou entraîner ses pratiquants, à titre d'occupation principale ou secondaire, de façon habituelle, saisonnière ou occasionnelle, sous réserve des dispositions du quatrième alinéa du présent article et de l'article L. 212-2 du présent code, les titulaires d'un diplôme, titre à finalité professionnelle ou certificat de qualification :

The key here is "enseigner, animer ou encadrer" which translates as teach, lead or organise

A rough paraphrasing is

Only those holding a diploma, professional qualification or certificate of qualification are permitted to be remunerated for teaching, leading or organising a physical activity or to coach participants.

Despite being no fan of French bureaucracy in this case the actions of the police seem justified. If one factors in the abuse of working conditions then the company really does seem to have acted wrongly both morally and legally.

If anything British ski instructors should be supporting this as it means they will be more in demand for such "leading and guiding" work.
graham F - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to EwanR: Exactly. And here's ESF's statement - in English - making it clear that the police brought this action and not ESF.
http://chaletlacharme.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/esf-statement-after-ski-hosting-banned/
woolsack - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to graham F:
> (In reply to EwanR) Exactly. And here's ESF's statement - in English - making it clear that the police brought this action and not ESF.
> http://chaletlacharme.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/esf-statement-after-ski-hosting-banned/

Presumably the French police operate the same brown envelope system as here then :)
Postmanpat on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to graham F:
> (In reply to EwanR) Exactly. And here's ESF's statement - in English - making it clear that the police brought this action and not ESF.
> http://chaletlacharme.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/esf-statement-after-ski-hosting-banned/

The ESF were paid for their role as a partie civile in the case. It is laughable to imply they are some sort of neutral observer. Why now, and why the strict interpretation?

There is a very reasonable case to suggest some sort of training and licencing system should be introduced for on piste hosting. It'll be a cold day in hell when the ESF accepts that.

Chris the Tall - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to EwanR:
The Law sounds reasonable on paper, but less so when it becomes apparent that the qualication required is riducolous for the job in question. you don't need 3 years of training and to be able to ski slalom at near competion standard just to give people an orientation tour of the pistes. It's like insisting that everyone who works in a hospital can perform heart surgery, regardless of whether they are a doctor or a porter.

Furthermore, when the effect of the law is to keep jobs in the hands of a local cartel, it looks less ridiculous and more a simple case of protectionism.

The ESF say they had no hand in the prosecution and would like to find a reasonable solution - I believe the latter as much as I believe the former
beardy mike - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat: A cold day indeed. http://www.planetski.eu/news/4392
The trouble about all of this is how you interpret remuneration. If the ski company is including this as a free service, then how is the client remunerating them for that service. I suppose if clients were to buy the "host" lunch or a drink then that could count. On the other hand, the client has paid for accommodation and food. In the end it's all semantics. The ESF can no longer try to hound ski instructors as a precedent has been set in court, so it's only natural that they turn their attention to the next closest threat, whether the threat is real or imagined is immaterial - they have the laws backing this time. In the end I think it will only hurt the french economy...
EwanR on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> The Law sounds reasonable on paper, but less so when it becomes apparent that the qualication required is riducolous for the job in question. you don't need 3 years of training and to be able to ski slalom at near competion standard just to give people an orientation tour of the pistes. It's like insisting that everyone who works in a hospital can perform heart surgery, regardless of whether they are a doctor or a porter.

It's more like saying that one doesn't need three years of training and the ability to climb TD routes to be paid to take people across a glacier. After all a winter ML with a bit of ropework practice should be allowed to do that surely?

> Furthermore, when the effect of the law is to keep jobs in the hands of a local cartel, it looks less ridiculous and more a simple case of protectionism.

There are plenty of non French ski schools that pay their employees properly and comply with the local regulations without a problem.

If paying the minimum wage and providing health insurance is protectionism then I'm all for it.

Trangia - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

It would be interesting to see how this law would work in practice. A few years ago the Mountaineering Club I belonged to hired a chalet for a skiing holiday in La Plagne. About 2 dozen of us went. On the first day one of our group, the organiser who had been there before, showed the rest of us round the pistes. Would he now fall foul of this law? After all it was just a guy showing group of mates around. We didn't pay him for this services but had paid for the holiday on the basis that by raising the group he got a free holiday with the chalet company.
EwanR on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to mike kann:

> The trouble about all of this is how you interpret remuneration.

If the person providing the service is being paid to do so then it's clearly remunerated. Presumably the ski-hosts are required or allowed to do this as part of their job in which case they're being paid.

As has already been explained above the "client" doesn't have to pay for this to be the case.

Postmanpat on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to mike kann:
> (In reply to Postmanpat) A cold day indeed. http://www.planetski.eu/news/4392
> The trouble about all of this is how you interpret remuneration. If the ski company is including this as a free service, then how is the client remunerating them for that service.
>
I think it refers to whether the host is remunerated by the tour operator and if so what for-washing up or skiing?
HeMa on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> Except that they are subject to EC laws on restraint of trade, which are supposed to allow suitably qualified people to ply their trade throughout Europe. Setting ridiculous requirements that are irrelevant to the job in question is a prima facie case of trying to circumvent those laws

Ummn, no. Since they require it from local or foreign. And it's not impossible to achieve, just hard.

beardy mike - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to EwanR: Fair enough. Although this is as I've pointed out, the latest in a long grudge match. Don't believe the rosey picture painted by the head of the ESF that they welcome British ski instructors - http://pistehors.com/news/forums/viewthread/126/

There is more to this than employment law.
Dogwatch - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Trangia:
> (In reply to Frank4short)
>
> It would be interesting to see how this law would work in practice.

Interesting for the Ski Club of GB,which pays expenses and allowance but not "salary" to resort leaders.

If tour operator resort reps aren't "required" to lead clients but "happen" to decide to anyway, are they being remunerated?

As for these poor workers exploited by tour companies, give us a break. They are - overwhelmingly - the children of upper middle class Brits making pin money, subsidised by indulgent parent, while enjoying a season or two combining easy work with access to the slopes. I know plenty who've done it. They had a whale of a time before knuckling down to middle-class lives in Britain.

EwanR on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Trangia:

> Would he now fall foul of this law? After all it was just a guy showing group of mates around. We didn't pay him for this services but had paid for the holiday on the basis that by raising the group he got a free holiday with the chalet company.

In this case he would be classed as a bénévole (volunteer) so would be entitled to expenses incurred as part of the activity. The situation is the same as in Switzerland where, as a "chef de courses" for the Swiss alpine club I can have my travel and accommodation paid for as part of a club trip. It's also the framework used by amateur French ski clubs who are allowed to pay for their volunteer instructors ski passes and travel.

jon on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Dogwatch:
> (In reply to Trangia)
> [...]
>
> Interesting for the Ski Club of GB,which pays expenses and allowance but not "salary" to resort leaders.

Well no it doesn't. It's the resort that pays accommodation and ski pass (unless things have changed dramatically), which makes it even more interesting.
Zillas - on 22 Feb 2013


Just to add some reality to the comparisons between France & Austria...

The legal basis for "ski hosting" in Austria is at least as restrictive as in France and the actual wording of the law is unforgiving.

But then again, Austrians seem to be more customer focussed so this has never been a big problem. I agree that "risks" of "social skiing" on slopes
are a red herring - except for proper first aid qualification and adherance to piste rules. This training could easily be provided by the local structure which would in return gain control and create extra income.

I think that the main mistake of the French was to actually let this service establish itself in an entirely unregulated manner for over 25 years. Now they are trying to do something about it in their traditional charming way and as a result they receive a (justified) bashing throughout the media.


Dogwatch - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to jon:
It's the resort that pays accommodation and ski pass (for SCGB reps)(unless things have changed dramatically)

I never knew that. So the SCGB charges members for access to resort reps but the resorts pay most of the bill. Clever old SCGB.

Bruce Hooker - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> I'm against companies employing people "0n the black" but that is not why hosting has been banned.

It was one of the charges they were condemned for in the recent court case, perhaps you should read the articles linked on this thread which would enable you to comment on the reality, not the xenophobic spin?

"Hosting", whatever this means exactly, has not been banned, it did not come up in the judgements, but the courts reminded Leski that they must respect the regulations that exist in France, including respecting minimum wages, declaring their employees and paying the various charges (not employing them on the black) etc. If this means that the company no longer wants to provide this service as they think that respecting the laws would entail too much cost this is their decision and an indirect consequence.

It appears you are all for a free market economy but not in favour of a level playing field for the different companies in competition... There is no reason why those who respect the regulations, and respect their employees, should face unfair competition from those who don't.
Postmanpat on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Dogwatch:
> (In reply to jon)
> It's the resort that pays accommodation and ski pass (for SCGB reps)(unless things have changed dramatically)
>
> I never knew that. So the SCGB charges members for access to resort reps but the resorts pay most of the bill. Clever old SCGB.

Peculiarly perverse way of looking at it. The SCGB has a membership fee which which gives access to a variety of things, not least discounts which would probably cover the fee most years.

Bruce Hooker - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Dogwatch:

> The sole result of this ruling is that something that's given enjoyment to many people as part of their skiing holiday will no longer happen.

Why? They can still do it but they'll have to stop employing people on the black, pay at least minimum wages, and generally respect the laws of the country they have chosen to work in, and the employees concerned... How on earth can you contest this?

PS. You are a new poster who has only posted on this one subject, have you any relation to the case in question? I ask this as apparently there has been a pretty nasty campaign running for some time to denigrate the ESF, accusing them of being behind the court action - they weren't. The trade union concerned by ski employees were though I think, which is only normal, their role is to prevent employers underpaying and ensure that hard won regulations are applied.
Postmanpat on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> [...]
>
> It was one of the charges they were condemned for in the recent court case, perhaps you should read the articles linked on this thread which would enable you to comment on the reality, not the xenophobic spin?
>
My understanding is that the ruling regarding hosting was made on the following grounds as per Ewan's post above:

I.-Seuls peuvent, contre rémunération, enseigner, animer ou encadrer une activité physique ou sportive ou entraîner ses pratiquants, à titre d'occupation principale ou secondaire, de façon habituelle, saisonnière ou occasionnelle, sous réserve des dispositions du quatrième alinéa du présent article et de l'article L. 212-2 du présent code, les titulaires d'un diplôme, titre à finalité professionnelle ou certificat de qualification :


A rough paraphrasing is

Only those holding a diploma, professional qualification or certificate of qualification are permitted to be remunerated for teaching, leading or organising a physical activity or to coach participants.
> "Hosting", whatever this means exactly, has not been banned, it did not come up in the judgements, but the courts reminded Leski that they must respect the regulations that exist in France, including respecting minimum wages, declaring their employees and paying the various charges (not employing them on the black) etc. If this means that the company no longer wants to provide this service as they think that respecting the laws would entail too much cost this is their decision and an indirect consequence.
>
The company was also found guilty of transgressing some employment regulations but this, as I understand it, is not the reason the "hosting" element has been outlawed. They could meet those requirements and hosting would still be outlawed.

Please highlight the bit which substantiates your interpretation.
Dogwatch - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> >
> PS. You are a new poster who has only posted on this one subject

Actually I've been posting on UKC for many years.
Bruce Hooker - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

No, the problem for hosting is a probable consequence of the court judgement. The court considered, rightly in my view, that the regulation that you have re-quoted covered this activity - the "accompanying", aspect ("encadrement" in the text). Unless this judgement is overturned in appeal this would imply that no one could take, lead, accompany clients on the ski slopes without the stated qualifications, or their equivalents.

This, and the obligation of respecting standard work regulations - declaring pay, payment of insurance contributions, which are very high in France, you can add on about 50 to 60% of the basic wage cost for the employer, and all the paperwork that goes with it, is said by some tour companies prohibitive for them - the service would put prices up too much.

As said though other companies manage apparently, so why not the all of them?

PS. The ESF were not "payed as partie civil" they just had their legal costs repaid. I think that the union got some symbolic damages but I can't find the article that mentions this. Doesn't seem unreasonable though.
Postmanpat on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> No, the problem for hosting is a probable consequence of the court judgement. The court considered, rightly in my view, that the regulation that you have re-quoted covered this activity - the "accompanying", aspect ("encadrement" in the text). Unless this judgement is overturned in appeal this would imply that no one could take, lead, accompany clients on the ski slopes without the stated qualifications, or their equivalents.
>
> This, and the obligation of respecting standard work regulations - declaring pay, payment of insurance contributions, which are very high in France, you can add on about 50 to 60% of the basic wage cost for the employer, and all the paperwork that goes with it, is said by some tour companies prohibitive for them - the service would put prices up too much.
>
> As said though other companies manage apparently, so why not the all of them?
>
So you acknowledge that the two issues are separate and that even if the employer met all the work regulation on insurance etc that would not enable those in question to host?

So your claim that we didn't understand the rulings was one of those "manoeuvre de diversion" thingies?

The other companies don't manage. They presumably meet the employment regulations but are now unable to provide a hosting service.
Bruce Hooker - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Dogwatch:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
> [...]
>
> Actually I've been posting on UKC for many years.

Sorry then but this doesn't show up on your profile - the French internet press is a bit up in arms at the "campaign of lies" against the ESF in the British "social networks" and I wondered if it hadn't crept on to ukc. "Leski" is a Yorkshire company and they could have a few pals who climb.

Altogether the anti-French aspect, the willingness to see evil in all things French, is what shocks me a bit in this thread. The same sort of anti-Brit attitudes in France exist and can be a bit of a pain too... You'd think we could all get over the 100 Years War and Waterloo.

Bruce Hooker - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> So you acknowledge that the two issues are separate and that even if the employer met all the work regulation on insurance etc that would not enable those in question to host?

Not at all, if they respect the regulations they could do all the "hosting" they wanted.
Postmanpat on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> [...]
>
> Not at all, if they respect the regulations they could do all the "hosting" they wanted.

Jesus mother of Mary!!! Are you having one of your comprehension problems again or trolling?

What do you actually think I meant by employment regulations on insurance etc??
For clarification:" standard work regulations - declaring pay, payment of insurance contributions, which are very high in France, "

They could meet these and not be allowed to host because a completely different regulation as been interpreted as disallowing it.

Got it???

Postmanpat on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

Make that "Mary, mother of Jesus"....
MJH - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> Concerning "instructing" or "showing"; assuming people are not capable of looking at a ski map and checking out the nice runs and restaurants (big spenders apparently!) for themselves then they must be either near beginners or pretty hopeless so I'd say some kind of experience and capacity to make decisions, give clear instructions etc was required and over the years the only way of proving an employee has such capacities is by qualifications.

It is nothing to do with ability to read a map (or skiing ability), but about knowledge. I completely disagree about the need for qualifications to tell someone which runs are nice or which restaurants are good. For example a couple of weeks ago I was skiing in France and skied some incredibly boring stuff as well as some nice runs, equally I ate at some rubbish places and some great places - a little bit of prior knowledge would have helped a lot.
EwanR on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
> [...]
> So you acknowledge that the two issues are separate and that even if the employer met all the work regulation on insurance etc that would not enable those in question to host?

That's certainly my understanding. The €15000 fine is a direct consequence of breaching the law as specified by code du sport and would be the case no matter how well paid the leaders were.

Part of the confusion seems to be that the police were investigating illegal working practices and found both this and the employment issues at the same time. They are in no way linked otherwise.

> The other companies don't manage. They presumably meet the employment regulations but are now unable to provide a hosting service.

They were, according to the law, never allowed to do this unless they had qualified people doing it or could justify that they were truly voluntary and doing it as part of a club. As soon as somebody was told that as part of their job that they were expected to show people around the stations then they were operating illegally and were also mostly likely not insured.


Gustav - on 22 Feb 2013

A few small points of view:

To all those who argue that ski hosting is not useful and none needs it- the fact that so many tour operators offer ski hosting says otherwise - people must be using this service again and again. Personally I'd not use it, but my mother often goes on ski holidays alone and loves using these services to ski with other people. She is also a very cautious skier and worries about getting lost if she is on her own. For her, being able to ski with a group without any worries about finding her way makes for a much more relaxing and social ski experience.


On another note, it is about time that the working standards of some UK ski companies was questioned a little more. Mimimum wage, working hours, living conditions are all way lower then they should be. I know of a company that fed it's staff the same portions as the 6 year olds they looked after and supplied no cooking facilities. They use loopholes to neither follow the laws of their country or the host country. But to bring up the standards, then we'd need to pay more for our holidays - which seems unlikely to be popular!

Bruce Hooker - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Got it???

I have, but it seems you haven't!
Postmanpat on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> [...]
>
> I have, but it seems you haven't!

Well ewan agrees with me. Since your'e in a minority and we have both explained, in my case twice, our reasoning it behoves you to justify yours.
Or have even you run out of wriggle room and resorted to bluster?

beardy mike - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Bruce, my posts are not anti-french. I'm pointing out that there is a very very different feel to the way in which people treat you from country to country. In france, where I have skied since I was 5, there seems to be, especially in larger purpose built resorts a particular brand of gallic callousness towards brits, which is a touch odd seeing as we provide such a large proportion of their income. Whilst some of this returns to the UK through the ski company, much of it also goes to the resort in the form of lift passes, in bars etc. some to the ESF, some to UIAGM's etc. To me it seems odd that the french would want to ban ski hosting. I have nothing against the working conditions issue - it's quite right that people should be paid for their efforts.

But in the case of the hosting, why would you put people off, making them decide to take their money elsewhere? What harm does it really do the french economy? People are not going to be hiring ESF instructors to show them the pistes, they will just find their own way, or go to Italy where they CAN get hosting. You can argue otherwise till you're blue in the face, but that's the reality... so rather than have SOME income, they will lose a portion of the market, which in times of recession you would have thought they wouldn't like.

As for the action being brought by the police, do you really think that's how it happened? Read the article I posted above - the ESF are all over this - they just got the police to do their work for them. Regardless of whether or not hosting should be allowed, the ESF have a long history of being involved in the politics of the slopes. This whole dispute is not as black and white as you are making it out to be.
Bruce Hooker - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to EwanR:

There are several things involved, it wasn't just one fine. Some were to do with unpaid social security payments, five fines of 1500€ for paying under the SMIC and one of 15000€ for using staff who didn't have the qualifications required by the article you have cited. There were also payments to cover the legal costs of the parties civiles. That was on the Dauphiné Liberé but another spoke of problems due to SS payments, but it's all a bit mixed up as we are quoting resumés of resumés.

The key point is the Albertville court considered that taking people down ski slopes required the high level of qualification mentioned in the Code du Sport, I imagine because the word "encadrement" applies - it's the same word used when a school group is taken to a museum by teachers and parents, the adults "encardrent" the kids, so the word is a very wide term. Until then I think that problems had come up from time to time but this judgement is said to create a "jurisprudence", hence the panic.

In short, the employers must, of course, respect the "Code du Travail" - work law and declare their employees and pay the various dues, respect minimum wages and also the "Convention Collective", ie. the national agreement for the sector (if one exists), but on top of this if they also want to accompany their clients on the slopes they must have the qualifications required, either French or foreign equivalents. All of which costs money, but then respecting the laws, respecting the employees, paying dues and generally accepting life in the 21st century often does.
Frank4short - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Gustav:

> On another note, it is about time that the working standards of some UK ski companies was questioned a little more. Mimimum wage, working hours, living conditions are all way lower then they should be.

> They use loopholes to neither follow the laws of their country or the host country. But to bring up the standards, then we'd need to pay more for our holidays - which seems unlikely to be popular!

This is in my opinion at the heart of it. Contrary to what a lot of people round these parts think a ski holiday is really a luxury holiday. Especially when you consider everything involved, for instance in comparison to sitting by the beach for a week. However over the last 10-15 years the main tour operators have been pricing and marketing them as a mass market activity. Which is great if you're a punter with not a whole lot of cash. Though in order to do this numerous working conditions and laws are bent to provide the services at a mass market price point. In this regard the chickens are coming home to roost. Now the market either has to accept that the availability of extras has to be reduced or the price has to go up to take account of local laws and working standards.

Whether or not the ESF is at the heart of it. The operators are still breaking the local laws. Should they continue to offer these services then people have to realise they will have to pay accordingly for them.

David Riley - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to mike kann:

> But in the case of the hosting, why would you put people off

Most people like to ski in a group. Often to make new friends.
There are two choices, ski rep, or ski school.
Many people (like me) never went to ski school as they can learn as they go.
I'm sure the ski school hates this.
Obviously hugely more people would go to ski school (just to socialise) if they could stop it.



Erik B - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Trangia: Im sorry, N America is just too tame. There is no better place on the planet for full on skiing on a huge scale than the french alps. Also, there is one thing worse than the French in the mountains(yes they are really bad!) and thats the resident/seasonaire Brits! Arrogant tossers who forget they are actually guests in a foreign country. So Im all for the French sticking up for their own industry and workers!
Bruce Hooker - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to mike kann:

> To me it seems odd that the french would want to ban ski hosting.

They don't. They just want all companies to respect the laws, French or foreign. Anyone who has worked in France and employed people will tell you how strict they are. Many companies do leave France claiming that these regulations are far to strict, but for the moment all French governments have stuck by the system, often, talking of change but never doing much. For example in the last place I worked employing language teachers, you could more or less double the pay of an employee to work out the cost of employing him or her. You were supposed to give written contracts for each course of lessons, or employ the teacher on a permanent basis with a regular salary - obviously the best solution for all concerned but a costly one as you could find yourself paying someone for whom you had no work.

These ski tour companies try to get round the laws, although there is already a system called "emploi saisonière" which allow more flexibility for activities like ski instruction as it is only a seasonal activity, hence no need to go through the complex redundancy procedures at the end of each season.

I suspect that what is behind it is that the difference between "hosting" and instructing is hard to define and in the past there may have been abuses which obviously the companies concerned won't mention. Faced with this the French administration have acted the way they always do, with a blunt instrument.

Concerning the ESF they have 17 000 instructors, are so well known in France, just saw them on the telly - ski teaching = ESF for many French people and they have the interests of all these employees, and through them the very economic survival of many an alpine valley is at stake, so I think they are right to stick to their guns.

If people really want hosting then they're just going to have to pay the true cost, and if British companies want to make money in France they're going to have to accept the social constraints, which frankly wouldn't be a bad thing.... We haven't had a Madame Chaumer here yet :-)
Postmanpat on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to EwanR)
>

>
> In short, the employers must, of course, respect the "Code du Travail" - work law and declare their employees and pay the various dues, respect minimum wages and also the "Convention Collective", ie. the national agreement for the sector (if one exists), but on top of this if they also want to accompany their clients on the slopes they must have the qualifications required, either French or foreign equivalents. All of which costs money, but then respecting the laws, respecting the employees, paying dues and generally accepting life in the 21st century often does.
>

Humour me colonel.

How do you think this differs from Ewan and my interpretation except that you have described the "convention collectif" as "on top of" rather than "different"(me) from the "code du travail" and Ewan distinguished them as "illegal working" (ie,breaking the convention collectif) and employment practices (ie.breaking the code de travail)?

Do you disagree with the conclusion that one could meet the requirements of the code du travail but still not be allowed to employ people as hosts?

Bruce Hooker - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:

> Whether or not the ESF is at the heart of it. The operators are still breaking the local laws. Should they continue to offer these services then people have to realise they will have to pay accordingly for them.

Snap :-)

They could also get together and try to negotiate a different statute to cover hosting. It would be long, France is France, and would certainly need to be done with the ESF, despite the present ill will. On the other hand the ESF seems to be making conciliatory noises and saying they want to work with British ski tour companies so it might be the time to make approaches. It would have more chance of success than the present anti-French moaning.
Dogwatch - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
>
> I suspect that what is behind it is that the difference between "hosting" and instructing is hard to define

It isn't hard at all.

"Over there is a nice blue run. Would you like to go down it?" is "hosting".

"Follow me down this slope and turn where I do" is "instructing".

If the objective is to show how the runs link up and the location of restaurants, that's hosting. If the objective is to improve your ski technique, that's instructing.

Where's the difficulty?
Bruce Hooker - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Do you disagree with the conclusion that one could meet the requirements of the code du travail but still not be allowed to employ people as hosts?

As long as they had the qualifications imposed by the Code du Sport, Ewan linked to the text above. The important new fact that comes from the recent court judgement is the confirmation that "hosting" activity falls within the scope of the article concerned, hence the necessity of qualifications. The respect of work laws is obvious and nothing new.
Bruce Hooker - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Dogwatch:

What about,

"Now follow me and I'll show you a nice run"?

Or as suggested already taking people around and about the Trois Vallées showing them the connections at various levels of difficulty and so on?

Or, after going down a run on a hosting basis, do you think a host wouldn't say, "Jimmy, you'd do better if..." Likewise if Jimmy fell over wouldn't the host go back and help him up?

Whatever, the Code du Sport is clear, even accompanying people on ski slopes requires the high level of qualifications as for instructing. Whether this is right or wrong it's the present law.

Basically the only clear way of defining it would be hosting done without skis on... which wouldn't be very handy.
Postmanpat on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> [...]
>
> As long as they had the qualifications imposed by the Code du Sport, Ewan linked to the text above. The important new fact that comes from the recent court judgement is the confirmation that "hosting" activity falls within the scope of the article concerned, hence the necessity of qualifications. The respect of work laws is obvious and nothing new.

So we're agreed. Well done.I knew you'd get there in the end.

Perhaps you can agree that the "important new fact" is an interpretation of a law that might, had the ESF and other French institutions so wished, have been interpreted differently. This ruling is negative for British visitors, negative for British tour operators and therefore negative for local business and employment in the French resorts and at very best neutral for the ESF. In short; an own goal.

As I noted above, some sort of training and licencing system for hosts, out of which the ESF might make a few Euros, would be a sensible step and allay the safety concerns but, as you pointed out, that will be a long road to hoe.

Dogwatch - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Dogwatch)
>
> What about,
>
> "Now follow me and I'll show you a nice run"?

Hosting

> Or as suggested already taking people around and about the Trois Vallées showing them the connections at various levels of difficulty and so on?

Hosting

> Or, after going down a run on a hosting basis, do you think a host wouldn't say, "Jimmy, you'd do better if..."

Instructing. And no, it's unlikely they would say that, because they are invariably briefed not to.



Bruce Hooker - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> So we're agreed. Well done.I knew you'd get there in the end.

I was there at the beginning, I don't know where you were though... on a high horse somewhere I'd imagine.
MJH - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Dogwatch: Agreed, plus the reason they don't give instruction is because no one in their right mind see them as instructors. They are absolutely not instructors on the cheap (despite some attempts to muddy the water by presenting them as such).

If people want instruction then they should pay for it. Simple.
Bruce Hooker - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Dogwatch:

But unfortunately the French Code du Sport doesn't agree.

The only get out I can see, and maybe I shouldn't be giving them the idea, would be if they were non profit clubs with unpaid hosts doing it for fun, or maybe just with their costs covered... this exists already. The problem is that to do this it's best to be low profile so the present attitude of some companies is a bit silly. Anyway you can bet the Police des Frontiers (it seems to be their job) would be on the lookout, and if it was a fraud then those concerned could end up with more than a fine.

Best solution is for them to go elsewhere and take all those who require "hosting" and can't stand France with them. The very idea of coming to France if you want US style smarmy service is weird :-) It's not in the culture.
beardy mike - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Yes, all they want is for the companies to adhere to their laws, which effectively put a stop to ski hosting. The plain fact is, a ski instructor becomes a ski instructor so that he can instruct people. Why on earth would he/she then go and work as a host for much less money and not use their qualification to full effect? And do instructors really want to be dragging around clients to show them runs?

The difference between hosting and instructing is easy. The difference between Instructing and guiding is also easy. But you tell that to ski instructors the world over who bend the rules and take clients into terrain which should be the sole preserve of IFMGA Guides. Its the same thing - they are not qualified to do so but it happens every day of the season. The rule of thumb is if you have to walk more than 15 mins from a lift, you should be guided. Yet I've seen plenty of ski instructors well beyond this,(particularly in Italy) taking clients on a 45 minute romp across a high plateau to access Val Mesdi in the Dolomites. I'm not saying that they aren't capable of leading a group safely in this terrain, clearly many of them are, but instructors also don't always adhere to the rules of the profession, and it's rather hypocritical turning a blind eye to their own "overstepping the mark" and then haul others over the coals for it...
Anonymous on 22 Feb 2013 - 60.179.187.81.in-addr.arpa
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Dogwatch)
>

>
> The very idea of coming to France if you want any kind of good customer service is weird :-) It's not in the culture.


There, fixed it for you

beardy mike - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> Best solution is for them to go elsewhere and take all those who require "hosting" and can't stand France with them. The very idea of coming to France if you want US style smarmy service is weird :-) It's not in the culture.

I'm hoping the smiley is actually you being ironic - you really don't understand what hosting is about if that's the solution... and who's being xenophobic now eh? :)
Frank4short - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to mike kann:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker) Yes, all they want is for the companies to adhere to their laws, which effectively put a stop to ski hosting. The plain fact is, a ski instructor becomes a ski instructor so that he can instruct people. Why on earth would he/she then go and work as a host for much less money and not use their qualification to full effect? And do instructors really want to be dragging around clients to show them runs?

I disagree on the point about becoming instructors to instruct. If you live in a little alpine town/village becoming a ski instructor is a clear career path where often there aren't many available. If you live in the UK it's a lifestyle choice. You want to ski and becoming an instructor is option that gives you this possibility. A further extension of this are the middle class gap year kids who clearly have no interest in the hard graft of becoming a fully certified instructor so take the underpaid hosting jobs. However if there was an option of becoming a certified ski host that doesn't involve the additional cost that's involved in becoming a ski instructor you can guarantee it would become another, probably lesser paid lesser standing granted, career path for locals and it would also offer the seasonairres a better paid alternative. Though you can be sure plenty of local instructors will be perfectly happy to host so long as they're getting paid properly.

As to the guiding thing with ski instructors. You of all people should know that the rules for guides in France is specifically relating to glaciated terrain. Which is why the likes of Pinch a Salt of this parish can do off piste skiing and ski touring courses which stray well more than 15 mins away from the piste and still operate within the bounds of the law.
spamo on 22 Feb 2013
I havnt read the whole topic but just thought I would add my 2 cents as someone who has just lost their job from all this....

I started as a ski host for a large UK company in November in the Espace Killy as the part of my gap year after uni. I have been skiing since I was 5 and have always thought it would be a great way to spend 5 months- it is!!!

Hosting has always been a blury line in terms of legality for which british companies have taken one side and the french have taken the other. Unfortunately my job is now illegal and I now have to spend the rest of the season enjoying the sun and skiing with my friends- awful I know :p

My personal opinion is that this is a load of protectionism rubbish. My job was to show guests of the hotel around the mountain, fun runs in safety and the best lunch stops. I ensured that there was always a first aid qualified person skiing with the guests and helped try and make them aware of the FIS skiing code of conduct. I then took them to the mountain restaurants where they spend on average 120 euros per day (and I was just one of 3 hosts in the hotel).

I think what has happened is a great shame for everyone. The restaurants will lose out significantly, guests of British tour companies will be annoyed and might start looking for alternatives and the ESF will certainly NOT benefit. The last thing they need is more bad publicity and no guest will pay for a fully qualified guide every day as it is far too much of an expensive option.

I sent many guests to both British and French ski schools. All would agree that if they wanted professional teaching they would not look to me BUT if they wanted somone to show them a good coffee stop and a bit of skiing then what i did was perfect.

I know a lot of People cannot understand the 'lazy' guests that can't be bothered to get out a piste map and neither could I to begin with. But I do now understand that not everyone cares exactly WHERE they are skiing. A lot just want to forget about it and have somone think for them on thief holiday

We shall see what the future holds. I really enjoyed my time hosting and fundamentally believe it is a positive thing for the French economy AND British guests. I will just have to look forward to my summer of climbing and cycling.... Its not a bad life being a graduate 'gap yahh' bum!!
Postmanpat on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> [...]
>
> I was there at the beginning, I don't know where you were though...


I gathered that from your incomprehension of my simple explanations and irrelevant replies
Bruce Hooker - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Anonymous:
> (In reply to Bruce Hooker)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
>
> There, fixed it for you

I can't disagree, but I was trying to be nice :-)

It's not all bad though as it means if you run your company in a way that provides a minimal service, someone on the phone at lunchtime, flexibility in payments, prompt reaction to requests for brochures etc., only very basic stuff, you are doing so much better than most of your French competitors that you can do quite well. Every cloud has a silver lining.
Bruce Hooker - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to mike kann:

I quite understand what hosting is, but like all these Americanisms I don't like it much, I don't want to be "hosted", prefer to find things for myself... and I can't see what's xenophobic about that, unless you think that disliking the "American way of life" is being xenophobic?

As you implied in your previous post the lines are a bit grey between guiding, instructing and hosting and I'm prepared to bet that if this problem came up it's because some hosts went over the line a little too often... And why wouldn't they? After a bit of hosting one of the "guests" asked if the nice young host fancied giving a bit of tuition on a one to one basis for cash the next day how many would refuse - hosting can hardly be full time by its very nature.

Neither party probably fully understanding the long list of laws they were breaking and with payment in cash or in kind it's hard to believe this didn't happen. It might explain why the French police who are not known for going out of there way for extra work actually brought the case up. Where there's smoke there's often fire.
Bruce Hooker - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to spamo:

Did you just get sacked overnight then? No contract or anything?
girlymonkey - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short:
The companies will just have to start called their hosts 'restaruant and pub guides'. It just by chance that you have to use ski pistes to get to the restaurants etc on the tour!!
woolsack - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to girlymonkey:
> (In reply to Frank4short)
> The companies will just have to start called their hosts 'restaruant and pub guides'. It just by chance that you have to use ski pistes to get to the restaurants etc on the tour!!

There would need to be a formal qualification for this with a Euro drinking test. You'd need to drink enough units of alcohol to be within 18% of the average British holiday p*sshead
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beardy mike - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: 1: It's not an americanism - UK companies do it, as do Italian, Austrian etc.
2: Implying americans are all smarmy is roughly about as xenophobic as saying all french people are cheese eating surrender monkeys.
3: Just because you see it as people being lazy doesn't mean that is the truth. If you have a limited amount of time on holiday, some people like to be taken to the best lunch spots, shown nice views, taken on long scenic tours etc. Some people are on their own for whatever reason but want to ski with others. There's plenty of reasons.
4: Because they all know that teaching is off limits - it's not worth the hassle you'd get on the slopes from Qualified instructors - leaders were frequently stopped to check they weren't leading.
5: Yep where there is smoke there is usually fire. So the fact that theres lots of people complaining about the quality of ESF service means that some people are more than likely not getting good service. And that they have been party to years of politics trying to oust the competition is also most likely true. Or are they exempt from the rule?
girlymonkey - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to woolsack:
ha ha!
beardy mike - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: Actually you're right about most of what you say - the only thing I'd say about it is that you'd need to be at a high level as an instructor to lead tours like you're suggesting. Certainly in Italy there was an on going battle between the guides, who had been told to get off the pistes at all times as they were contravening the laws. They responded by saying the same about deep off piste terrain. Unfortunately most of my knowledge is from Italy. All I'm saying is that there is a good deal of rule bending that goes on on their side of the story as well...
Bruce Hooker - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to mike kann:

> 2: Implying americans are all smarmy is roughly about as xenophobic as saying all french people are cheese eating surrender monkeys.

It would be if I'd said that but I referred to the hypocritical sort of gushing over the top politesse, always ending with "Have a good day" and so on which is so common over there, and even in Britain today... Tesco's cashiers who always ask if you need any help with packing the bags, all stock phrases learnt by heart which are quiet the opposite of true politesse in my view. It's typically US commercial, some may like it, I loathe it, at least with French sullenness you know it's genuine.
Trangia - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to mike kann)
>
> [...]
>
> Tesco's cashiers who always ask if you need any help with packing the bags, all stock phrases learnt by heart

That has just happened to me! I nipped in to buy just a loaf of bread.

I asked her, with a smile, if I could think about it? But she missed the gentle sarcasm...
Pinch'a'salt on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Howard1:
> (In reply to Pinch'a'salt) in this case rubbish he formerly was an ESF member and has coached the regional ski team and judged and organised tournaments


Ah - but if you don't mention that to begin with then one has to work with the material given... you said he was an IFMGA guide getting hassle and that is not an unlikely scenario in a ski area if he was seen to be teaching on piste. If he is also a race coach then that is a different matter.

Funnily enough (particularly this week and the next 2) this is a sore point in certain large resorts where IFMGA Guides are drafted in to reinforce numbers at certain ski schools (many indies included) and spend the week teaching snowploughs on green runs. Whether they are capable of this or not is irrelevant, it is not covered by their quals... (unless they are dual ticketed like your mate).
beardy mike - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: You really think that most ski bums are capable of that type of dialogue? Think you're applying a bit too much thought to that - I'd have thought most of the gap year kids would be the absolute antithesis of this... maybe american by the way they say dude and knarly way too much...
Bruce Hooker - on 22 Feb 2013
In reply to mike kann:

I'm only going by what many posters have said about ESF and all things French not providing the sort of reception they would like, whereas in the USA it was so much better and so on. I've never been hosted or hoster myself, despite my name, neither appeal in the slightest.

What I can't understand is if this is what they think and it's important for them, why do they worry about going to France? It couldn't be that in reality under the "shock/horror" they are also aware that the quality of the skiing in France is more important than the "Can I do anything else for you sir?"?
Dogwatch - on 23 Feb 2013
"5 More Things the French Want to Ban" http://www.alpineaction.co.uk/blog/2013/02/21/5-more-things-the-french-want-to-ban/

3.Croissants

The age old tradition of chalet companies buying in frozen Croissants for their chalet host to cook is also to be placed under strict controls. From now on ‘having baked a Croissant from frozen on training week’ will not be adequate training. Each host must be able to bake a Croissant to perfection within 10% of the current Croissant Baking World Record time.

And no I'm not "anti-French". It's just really funny - and relevant.
girlymonkey - on 23 Feb 2013
In reply to Dogwatch:
Lol! thanks for sharing that. I enjoyed the British walking in ski boots one!! It can be painful to watch!
beardy mike - on 23 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: personally I reckon its more to do with the level of linguistics Brits have. We're taught French by default, so by and large people are more comfortable going somewhere where they can at least get by rather than not having a clue. German and Italian present more of an obstacle. Also there is the issue of distance - you can drive to the French resorts easily in a day, whereas many of the Italian and Austrian resorts are over this, making it a flight and transfer which sounds expensive. By the time you pay for your 5 euro chips every day for four, I doubt there's much difference but people don't think of it that way. France does have a good snow record, but actually Switzerland and Italy generally get more. In the Dolomites they have impressive snow making facilities and prepare before the season so even in a lean year the skiing is good. The wealth of skiing is really no different in any of the countries... Maybe you should try it sometime?
Bruce Hooker - on 23 Feb 2013
In reply to Dogwatch:

You do realise that this page is a joke, don't you?

Even the start : "The French courts have ruled against a Meribel ski company offering a ski guiding and hosting service on the slopes." is untrue.

The site is for a British chalet hire company who apparently answer the question as to why some locals might not be too worried about upsetting us :-)

I'm never ashamed of being British living in France but quiet often the gross behaviour of my compatriots makes me cringe a bit :-)
Bruce Hooker - on 23 Feb 2013
In reply to mike kann:

> By the time you pay for your 5 euro chips every day for four,

I never do, always hire a self catering flat like most people, as long as you take your food with you it doesn't work out expensive at all - when in France do as the French do. Only thing to watch out for is when you stop to load up with grub in the last hypermarket never leave your car unattended, there are yobos waiting for this and they don't care whose car they break into.

As for other ski areas, I'm sure there are many more but I still haven't seen all the French ones and I prefer the higher stations as we tend to go at Easter when the lower stations are a bit green. There's so much of the world to see though, even in the British Isles, and so little time available in one lifetime.
Postmanpat on 24 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Dogwatch)
>
> You do realise that this page is a joke, don't you?
>
> Even the start : "The French courts have ruled against a Meribel ski company offering a ski guiding and hosting service on the slopes." is untrue.
>
>
How is it untrue?
Bruce Hooker - on 24 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

Not again! Read the thread again and it will jog your memory... perhaps.
Postmanpat on 24 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> Not again! Read the thread again and it will jog your memory... perhaps.

French court: check
Found against: check
Meribel: check (althoughcompany british)
offering guiding and hosting:Well,hosting actually
Found against: check

So I repeat my question. What is untrue?

In addition, of course, we have established the company was found to have broken a number of the regulations of the code du travail.



Bruce Hooker - on 24 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

> we have established the company was found to have broken a number of the regulations of the code du travail.

Yes, but the important ruling was that the relevant article of the Code du Sport applied so they would need the appropriate qualifications to accompany paying customers on the ski slopes... The activity wasn't banned at all, but the company was found guilty of not respecting the long existing French regulations. They were fined for this just as they were fined for diddling the state and their employees over various payments that are obligatory in France - similar ones are obligatory in the UK too so it can hardly have been a surprise.

Are you being deliberately thick again? It was not the activity that was banned, it was a company that was fined for not respecting French law on several counts, including (and this is the bit that you seem to have trouble with) one concerning the qualifications required in law for this activity. The company could carry on doing it but next time they were caught, if they were unwise enough to do this, they would face much stiffer penalties. All they have to do is respect the laws of the land they are operating in and all would be well, they could host to their heart's content.

Have you got it now or are you still dozing at the back next to the radiator?
Postmanpat on 24 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> [...]
>
> Yes, but the important ruling was that the relevant article of the Code du Sport applied so they would need the appropriate qualifications to accompany paying customers on the ski slopes... The activity wasn't banned at all, but the company was found guilty of not respecting the long existing French regulations. They were fined for this just as they were fined for diddling the state and their employees over various payments that are obligatory in France - similar ones are obligatory in the UK too so it can hardly have been a surprise.
>
>
All of which is covered by the sentence:

"The French courts have ruled against a Meribel ski company offering a ski guiding and hosting service on the slopes" which obviously refers to the ruling under the code du sport.

So, lets try again: how is this sentence untrue? Maybe your comprehension is failing you again? Try and break it down bit by bit, cut out the bluster, and identify the untruths in the sentence.
>
>

Postmanpat on 24 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

Come on now colonel. Clever chap like you must be able to explain something so simple even to a thickie like me.
Or you could just agree the sentence is not untrue......
summo on 24 Feb 2013
In reply to Frank4short: how about a change of angle, many young frenchies sacrifice their education and future employment prospects for the potential opportunity to ski for France. They don't make it, so the state assists them by giving them a potential employment opportunity?

Plus not all ski instructor work is knowing how to teach the first 5 days of skiing basics, I've hired an instructor for 1 to 1 tuition before, to assist in the removal of annoying traits and to give me some pointers on what to focus on whilst I'm skiing. This was in Norway though, not France.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Dogwatch - on 25 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Dogwatch)
>
> You do realise that this page is a joke, don't you?
>

A joke as in humourous. Yes I do get that. It's why I posted it.

Know any good Maoist jokes you can share with us? I need a laugh on this Monday morning.

Bruce Hooker - on 25 Feb 2013
In reply to Postmanpat:

Incomplete quoting, the complete one was:

"5 more things the French want to ban the Brits doing on their ski holiday.

The French courts ruled against a Meribel ski company offering a ski guiding and hosting service on the slopes. Read on to discover five other things that the French are trying to ban on the slopes."


"Five other things... " makes the meaning of the paragraph quite clear. It is a lie to say that the court banned hosting, they just fined a crooked employer who was not respecting the law, they didn't ban hosting.

I realise it's difficult to admit anything abroad is acceptable, but the British Raj doesn't run beyond the Channel, you must make an effort to accept this or your life will be tainted by frustration.
Bruce Hooker - on 25 Feb 2013
In reply to Dogwatch:

Doesn't the rather xenophobic tone from Brits who are running a company abroad, and presumably doing quite well judging by the growth of their company, disturb you at all? It's hardly surprising some locals get irritated.
beardy mike - on 25 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker: Bruce, thats rather mellodramatic. They are breaking the law, not being xenophobic. I'm sure there are plenty of French companies also breaking the law - you wouldn't call them xenophobic though.
Bruce Hooker - on 25 Feb 2013
In reply to mike kann:

I was referring to the web site of the chalet company that is linked just above... "5 more things the French want to ban the Brits doing on their ski holiday." etc.
Postmanpat on 25 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to mike kann)
>
> I was referring to the web site of the chalet company that is linked just above... "5 more things the French want to ban the Brits doing on their ski holiday." etc.

"You do realise that this page is a joke, don't you?"

Postmanpat on 25 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Postmanpat)
>
> Incomplete quoting, the complete one was:
>
Ah, silly of me not to realise the sentence you quoted and I quoted back to you twice was not actually the sentence under discussion at all. You're a gem. Keep 'em coming.

>
> I realise it's difficult to admit anything abroad is acceptable, but the British Raj doesn't run beyond the Channel, you must make an effort to accept this or your life will be tainted by frustration.

It must hard, colonel, from your colonial outpost "abroad" to accept that not everybody shares your obsessive nostalgia for old imperial attitudes. Move on old boy, there's a whole generation of people around who weren't even born in the days of empire.Can you believe it?

beardy mike - on 25 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Dogwatch)
>
> Doesn't the rather xenophobic tone from Brits who are running a company abroad, and presumably doing quite well judging by the growth of their company, disturb you at all? It's hardly surprising some locals get irritated.

In that case, I'd say it's ill considered as the French won't get the joke, but hardly xenophobic. Most of it is actually taking the mick out of the french taking the mick out of the English. e.g. "A French lift company are trying to pass a law that requires all skiers to speak French. With the English’s hereditary inability to learn a second language, even when residing permanently in a foreign nation, we could soon see an end to British ski holidays in France"

It's quite clear that many english can speak French pretty well (others atrociously badly, but no worse than many french speak english), but ze ross beefs are terrible at ze french is pretty standard fair with the french. As is telling us in all seriousness that our food is terrible, that we're awful skiers, that we enjoy queuing etc.
Dogwatch - on 25 Feb 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to Dogwatch)
>
> Doesn't the rather xenophobic tone from Brits who are running a company abroad, and presumably doing quite well judging by the growth of their company, disturb you at all?

It seems to me that you are suffering a sense of humour failure. I don't think the nation that produced Voltaire, for example, is quite as po-faced as you are being in this instance.



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