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SCGB Suspends Repping Service in France

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Ski Club of Great Britain has announced today that its rep service will not run in France next Winter. French authorities have declared illegal the on-snow leading for profit of groups by anyone other than a qualified ski instructor. The SCGB was hoping to get around the issue on the grounds that their reps are technically unpaid volunteers but legal advice has now persuaded them otherwise.
One of their reps was stopped and questioned by gendarmes near the end of last season and is due to appear oin court in Albertville in September.
...The press release in full:
SCGB wrote:
Ski Club suspends French leading service and introduces new Ski Club Ambassadors in French resorts

A Ski Club Leader was stopped on the piste in Val d’Isere, France in April and questioned by gendarmes in relation to Art.L.212-1 of the French Code du Sport. Under this article it is a legal requirement to have the relevant and appropriate qualification(s) to instruct, lead or guide skiing (groups) if remuneration is received. Since then the Leader has been requested by the local authorities to attend a preliminary investigative hearing in Albertville. All Ski Club Leaders are non-remunerated volunteers. The Leader will be represented in court in September with the appropriate papers to prove his volunteer status.
The Ski Club is fully behind the Leader and has appointed a local lawyer who is well aware of the challenges involved and is currently representing UK tour operators in relation to the ski hosting ban.
The Club will only ever operate its ski leading programme in the knowledge that it is both safe and also fully compliant with local laws within any of the countries and jurisdictions of its programmes. The Club continues to believe the ski leading programme satisfies both these conditions. However, because the leading service is currently facing legal challenge, specifically in Val d'Isere, we have been advised to temporarily withdraw the on snow Resort Leader programme in France and introduce Ski Club Ambassadors for the 2014-15 winter season."
Ski Club Members travelling to Leader resorts in France can rest assured the Ski Club will still be on hand to offer information and guidance and help them have the most enjoyable skiing experience possible. Ski Club Ambassadors will continue to meet with members at designated meeting points, make introductions and outline possible routes and itineraries for the day. They will also help organise and meet with members for lunch and apres ski, provide the latest snow updates and book mountain guides and instructors for the group if required. Ambassadors are selected for their knowledge of the ski area and resort they are based in and are full of tips, advice and recommendations that only a local would know. They will continue to bring members together in resort and maintain the lively Ski Club community. Members can also meet up with other members on the Ski Club online forum, arrange to ski together in resort and pre-register to meet the Ski Club Ambassador (SCAmbassador). They can arrange holidays, events, drinks, lifts out to the mountains or just to chat with fellow Ski Club members. There is a wealth of information and advice available at skiclub.co.uk and members can ask the dedicated information and advice team or local resort Ambassador any questions they may have with the assurance they will receive a prompt and expert reply.
The Club continues to support the Leader and the Leading services and will provide updates on this particular case as it develops. It is disappointing the Club has had to temporarily withdraw the on-snow service in France but it will continue to ensure members can still meet and ski together in resort and enjoy the benefits of being part of the UK’s biggest skiing community.
We believe members will continue to support the Club during these challenges and make the most of the facilities and services available.
The Ski Club Leader service will continue as usual in all other Leader destinations.
-ENDS-
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Shocked
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
More here http://www.planetski.eu/news/6131
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boredsurfin wrote:
More here http://www.planetski.eu/news/6131

Quote:
We understand that the Ski Club feels it is part of a concerted move by French authorities against the British holiday skier.
Shocked
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Shocked indeed!
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I very much doubt its anti-British. The French seem adept at avoiding the supposed EU open market. I will not get into an argument about that. I go to Tignes every year and ski with the SCGB as a solo skier sometimes. I will review my plan. Pastures new probably beckon. The leaders are not guides. We rarely go more than a few yards off the piste without hiring a guide. They do not instruct. With some of the leaders I was with last year I would suggest where we went. It is just skiing with someone who knows the resort well(usually). I can say for a fact that multiple times last season I saw Val d'Isere ESF instructors off piste with punters without any avalanche kit (including the instructors). Not impressed.
If I decide not to go I will write to the lift company and state the reason.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Their legal advice seems to be at least 6 months behind the forum discussion around 'remuneration' etc on here.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
albinomountainbadger, their legal advisers have never been particularly forum-friendly Wink
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however, what counts as remuneration in the UK isn't necessarily the same as what counts for remuneration in France so forum keyboard warriors could just have easily been dead wrong 6 months ahead of the lawyers recommendations.
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feef, yes all that was noted at the time and bits of French law and tax codes even quoted. No one claimed to be right, it was a discussion about the possible interpretations. Astonishing the lawyers didn't seem to mention these possible interpretations before now given how obvious they were, that's all I'm saying.
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feef wrote:
forum keyboard warriors could just have easily been dead wrong 6 months ahead of the lawyers recommendations.


they could, but they weren't

anyone got a link to what the forum keyboard warriors said?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Quote:
We are currently in the process of setting up a more interactive Ski Club forum where you can arrange to meet up with other members, organise ski days together in resort and pre-register to meet the Ski Club Ambassador (SCAmbassador). Through this platform it will be easier than ever to arrange holidays, events, drinks, lifts out to the mountains or just to chat with fellow Ski Club members. We will bring you further updates about this later in the summer.
From the current SCGB website - this is slightly different from the version posted above by Admin.

Personally, having made an effort when they reopened the Forum to non-members more than a year ago, I will not be holding my breath for 'a more interactive Ski Club forum'.

Unless of course that turns out to be sHs? After all we know that Admin has had at least one meeting with a SCGB representative. But not what was discussed..... ?
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Dubaian,
Quote:

After all we know that Admin has had at least one meeting with a SCGB representative. But not what was discussed..... ?

Chocolate buttons, I bet wink Toofy Grin
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I can confirm that I've had 2 very pleasant meetings with Frank McThingy during which we discussed:
- snowHeads and SCGB cooperating more on events, particularly UK ones
- The long running public spat between 2 snowHeads about the SCGB, that mostly happens on this forum
- The SCGB 'outsourcing' their forum to snowHeads so it didn't look like a ghost-forum

No chocolate buttons changed hands.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
admin, oooh thanks - I didn't really expect that. Since it was the SCGB perhaps we should offer After Eight Mints rather than buttons. wink
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Dubaian, Surely you mean Ferrer Roche Toofy Grin
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
boredsurfin, Laughing
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
"Ski Club Ambassador (SCAmbassador) , you spoil us"
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x7 wrote:
"Ski Club Ambassador (SCAmbassador) (Scambassador?), you spoil us"


Laughing
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Because the ski club charge a membership does this not count as remuneration, even if not paid directly to the resort guide, and in fact there guides are not actually free???
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Conrad Bool wrote:
Because the ski club charge a membership does this not count as remuneration, even if not paid directly to the resort guide, and in fact SCGB guides are not actually free???
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Apologies for entering this twice - in haste put the wrong spelling of their and wanted to amend it
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
boredsurfin wrote:
x7 wrote:
"Ski Club Ambassador (SCAmbassador) (Scambassador?), you spoil us"


Laughing


+1 Laughing
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That's always been the contentious point Conrad Bool.

The SCGB holds that: when you go out with a rep, you, as a member of the Club, are skiing with a peer since the rep is also a member of the club - just one who has 'volunteered' to act as a rep. To emphasize this, the rep leads what's known as 'the morning prayer' where they give a little speech about no-one being the boss of anyone else and everyone being responsible for their own safety etc.
It's also fair to say that the reps do have to pay rather a lot to do the course to become reps in the first place, so in a sense are already 'in loss' in terms of profiting from their position when they begin.

The counter-view holds that: The club is taking payment for membership and offering this repping service for it and it's fair to say that the service is the sole reason for some maintaining their membership. The reps, while not technically being paid to be in resort, are provided with travel expenses, board and lodging, ski passes etc. so could be seen to be being remunerated in kind.
This is further complicated by the fact that one of the reps' roles is to sell memberships via taking 'guests' out for the day but requiring them to join the club if they wish to come out a second time. This gives rise to the awkward circumstance of a person handing money over to the very individual who is going to guide them around the mountain - so it kinda looks like payment for the service Confused

Of course some resort-reps are busier than others and as Seasonal-name Goldsmith has pointed out, some see very few clients in a week, leaving them to enjoy, in effect, a free ski-holiday - that's quite a 'gain'. The irony is that it's those who do the most guiding who are the ones arguably gaining the least, personally, by being there.

I'm sure though, these subtleties will be entirely lost on the French whose main concern appears to be finding any angle to prevent ze English taking the business that they have traditionally shrugged, pouted and said, "I don't sink so" to Wink


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Wed 2-07-14 14:54; edited 1 time in total
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admin wrote:
To emphasize this, the rep leads what's known as 'the morning prayer' where they give a little speech about no-one being the boss of anyone else and everyone being responsible for their own safety etc.


Except the 'participation statement' is now part of the Ts & Cs of membership and so is no longer read out each morning, although they ensure the members are aware of the key points.


admin wrote:
It's also fair to say that the reps do have to pay rather a lot to do the course to become reps in the first place, so in a sense are already 'in loss' in terms of profiting from their position when they begin.


At a rough guesstimate, you might break even after about 4 seasons (in terms of the number of annual ski holidays you could buy compared to the cost of the course, first aid certificate and jacket as well as travel to Wimbeldon for various courses and meetings, moreso if you're not local and require accom for the duration).....

...of course, you're due a refresher course by then.

admin wrote:
The counter-view holds that: The club is taking payment for membership and offering this repping service for it and it's fair to say that the service is the sole reason for some maintaining their membership.


'some' is the key word. What proportion of the membership use the leading service? With the exception of those on the 'beginner' membership package, all members pay the same membership fees whether they use the service or not.


admin wrote:
This is further complicated by the fact that one of the reps' roles is to sell memberships via taking 'guests' out for the day but requiring them to join the club if they wish to come out a second time. This gives rise to the awkward circumstance of a person handing money over to the very individual who is going to guide them around the mountain - so it kinda looks like payment for the service Confused


I've never seen money change hands like this. Normally, the leader will call the office on the mobile, the prospective member will deal directly with Wimbledon and pay by direct debit, the leader never sees nor touches any cash or bank information.

admin wrote:
Of course some resort-reps are busier than others and as Seasonal-name Goldsmith has pointed out, some see very few clients in a week, leaving them to enjoy, in effect, a free ski-holiday - that's quite a 'gain'. The irony is that it's those who do the most guiding who are the ones arguably gaining the least, personally, by being there.


There are other things they could/should be doing in those quiet times to help promote the club other than just skiing about.
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feef wrote:
admin wrote:
To emphasize this, the rep leads what's known as 'the morning prayer' where they give a little speech about no-one being the boss of anyone else and everyone being responsible for their own safety etc.


Except the 'participation statement' is now part of the Ts & Cs of membership and so is no longer read out each morning,
Ah, well if it's part of the Ts & Cs it's fairly safe to say it's no longer read at all Wink
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
admin wrote:
That's always been the conscientious point Conrad Bool.


I object! Toofy Grin

(Perhaps you meant contentious) wink Laughing
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Alastair Pink wrote:
admin wrote:
That's always been the conscientious point Conrad Bool.


I object! Toofy Grin

(Perhaps you meant contentious) wink Laughing
Laughing sorry - auto-correct!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
It's always seemed (to me anyway) that selling it as a "service" is what has created the problems. If it's a club member acting as a nexus to get people to ski together, I don't really see how that can be any more illegal than me offering to show a group of random snowheads around a resort I know well
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Arno wrote:
It's always seemed (to me anyway) that selling it as a "service" is what has created the problems. If it's a club member acting as a nexus to get people to ski together, I don't really see how that can be any more illegal than me offering to show a group of random snowheads around a resort I know well


Arno, as admin posted above and playing devil's advocate, it all hinges on the French court's interpretation of "Remuneration". In the hypothetical situation where I was part of the group of snowheads you were showing around the resort, and we decided to pay for your lunchtime meal in the mountain restaurant as a thank you, would that be remuneration?

P.S I said hypothetical as I probably wouldn't buy you a meal, but I might stretch to buying you a pint in the bar in the evening... wink
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Quote:

'some' is the key word. What proportion of the membership use the leading service?

I thought it would be hardly any, but from one of the other threads, apparently a very significant number do use the service, and do pay membership specifically for that (and other reasons too - eg discounts). And significantly more sH use that leading service than I imagined too. And if I hadn't gone in to exile and been one of those unceremoniously left to fend for myself in Feb 2004, I'd probably be one of them now.
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Alastair Pink, I hope pint wasn't the built in forum auto-correct there Wink
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
andy, and we've also had several Ski Club reps and former reps on snowHeads bashes recently
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Alastair Pink wrote:
Arno wrote:
It's always seemed (to me anyway) that selling it as a "service" is what has created the problems. If it's a club member acting as a nexus to get people to ski together, I don't really see how that can be any more illegal than me offering to show a group of random snowheads around a resort I know well


Arno, as admin posted above and playing devil's advocate, it all hinges on the French court's interpretation of "Remuneration". In the hypothetical situation where I was part of the group of snowheads you were showing around the resort, and we decided to pay for your lunchtime meal in the mountain restaurant as a thank you, would that be remuneration?

P.S I said hypothetical as I probably wouldn't buy you a meal, but I might stretch to buying you a pint in the bar in the evening... wink


I agree - the SCGB blurb now emphasises all the off slope services provided by the Ambassadors so the SCGB's argument is that even if you accept that Ambassadors are remunerated, their remuneration is for the off slope stuff. if they happen to find themselves skiing with members, that's just for fun. previously, they pushed the leading "service" so, if the French authorities took the view that the reps were being remunerated, it was hard to argue that the remuneration did not cover the leading
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andy wrote:
Alastair Pink, I hope pint wasn't the built in forum auto-correct there Wink


Laughing beautifully played, sir Laughing Laughing
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andy, Laughing
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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Just here to register a like for the new proper noun Scambassador.

Shirley it's the presence and day long bonhomie of the rep that provides the social glue to ski groups. Standing at the bottom of a gondy and saying " ' ere Trevor, why don' t you ski with Malcolm on these runs and we' ll meet you 'ere for a coffee at 11" isn' t quite the same so I suspect wind will end up being sailed close to.

Why don' t the SCGB turn themselves into a TO and be done with it?
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Arno wrote:

I agree - the SCGB blurb now emphasises all the off slope services provided by the Ambassadors so the SCGB's argument is that even if you accept that Ambassadors are remunerated, their remuneration is for the off slope stuff. if they happen to find themselves skiing with members, that's just for fun.


Yeah, I'm sure that's going to work. What a whizzo idea. Maybe the TOs can do that with their guides, erm leaders.
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davidof, you're certainly getting into a grey area but there must* be some point at which a local worker skiing with holiday-makers is OK

* ok, maybe not - this is the French legal system after all
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Case: Leading your family around when they've come out to stay in the chalet you're working in.
Probably OK - may need to prove the family connection if challenged.

Case: Leading your friends from home when they've come out to stay in the chalet you're working in.
OK in principle but it'll be harder to prove they're your friends esp if they scarper when the gendarmes turn up.

Case: Leading a group from your chalet around cos the daughter's fit and you reckon you're in.
That probably counts as guiding for personal gain and anyway, the daughters are meant to be the preserve of the ESF - they're trained U know.
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