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Free Ski Guiding - Freelancing in EU.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Latest hair-brained thought for getting some subsidised skiing in.....

You know how there are free walking tours around cities which you can book yourself on when you are having a city break? You get an enthusiastic (young) person to guide you around for a few hours, pointing out the main attractions and also the obscure little highlights which make you feel that you are really getting behind the scenes of the place you are in..... At the end of the tour you 'tip' the guide whatever you feel your experience was worth.

How would this work in a ski area?

I'm not talking off-piste here, to be clear, rather a nice day out with a couple of drinks stops and a lunch. Initially based on ability - ie. Blues Cruise, Challenging Reds etc. etc. - or destination - Sella Ronda, Ski Circus, Portes du Soleil. Route guidance and appropriate slope choice would be the minimum. The added value could be in the mountain huts, food choices, local history, downhill race pistes, what mountain is that?, hidden gems, etc.

Don't know how this would equate to work visas or self employment status. I was having a quick look at Italy for eg. and the rules for freelancing are reasonably easy to satisfy but it looks like the number of visas is heavily rationed and not easy to get hold of. I can't find anyone offering this service online but there is probably a good reason for that!

Minus points would be that the number of people in a guided group would not be massive (probably max 6) and therefore you might not get tipped much. Also, I suspect that if it looks like work it will be classed as work in terms of visa, regulation and tax in the country in which you are operating.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I would say this is not possible for Austria. The legal implications alone would prohibit it. The people who conduct city walking tours in Vienna and Salzburg are employed and registered to do so.
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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?
Certainly not going to work in France either, unless you either want to end up in jail or have your legs broken!
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
The offering sounds very similar to the SCGB reps service.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
*gets popcorn and beer*
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
A few years ago (ie last centuary) we were shown around Vail by a volunteer who knew the resort well and showed us some great spots. They were given a free pass for the day by the resort, and we got some local knowledge from someone who knew the pistes well. The service was provided free, the resort had a number of volunteer supporters who were very knowlegable and enthusiastic.
I dont think there is an edge for profit anywhere in it though Klamm.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
A few years ago (ie last centuary) we were shown around Vail by a volunteer who knew the resort well and showed us some great spots. They were given a free pass for the day by the resort, and we got some local knowledge from someone who knew the pistes well. The service was provided free, the resort had a number of volunteer supporters who were very knowlegable and enthusiastic.
I dont think there is an edge for profit anywhere in it though Klamm.
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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!
@Seahoob, Similar set up at Lake Louise with the option of "how quick do you want to go?"
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@sugarmoma666, SCGB do offer this sort of thing but it's €120pp for a day of ILG I'm wondering if a similar thing for €20-30 would be attractive....

The work permit thing might be more flexible if there is not a fixed rate involved. Similarly, insurance and liability issues where you are effectively just doing together.... Don't know, just guessing. SCGB are in a similar grey area, perhaps? Albeit a much bigger target!

I get the French protectionist attitude - I've heard the stories.

I wouldn't try this in Austria as the laws seem more strict although I know a couple of people who seem to operate as unofficial guides but seem to only ski with mature ladies, so I'm not sure how payment is made..... wink
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Klamm Franzer, ILG is run by instructors or guides fully qualified to work in the countries where it is offered.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@chocksaway, I was more meaning the reps but realise that this might be opening a can of worms!

I see that the Neilson et al 'Free Guiding' is by local ski schools, which would be similar.
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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.
Well, you did say it was hare-brained, @Klamm Franzer. And you were right.
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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
@Klamm Franzer, the Rep service is free to SCGB members (but doesn't operate in France). ILG is a different SCGB offering.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
pam w wrote:
Well, you did say it was hare-brained, @Klamm Franzer. And you were right.


Blue sky thinking Pam! I'm definitely a starter not a finisher Very Happy
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Seahoob, - Ambassadors - most large ski areas in North America have em - they get a free season pass, uniform and get to ski for free, showing folks around the mountain. They often double as 'police' in slow zones especially at the end of the day. No set hours and can pick and choose when they are on mountain.

A good idea, helps some folks get to know the ski area, and a way to meet people if you are skiing on your own.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Love Lake Louise’ free guide system. Brilliant when I did it, but also keeps my wife busy when the rest of us have lessons.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Klamm Franzer wrote:


You know how there are free walking tours around cities which you can book yourself on when you are having a city break? You get an enthusiastic (young) person to guide you around for a few hours, pointing out the main attractions and also the obscure little highlights which make you feel that you are really getting behind the scenes of the place you are in..... At the end of the tour you 'tip' the guide whatever you feel your experience was worth.


I know that exists in Paris, Lyon... and the people doing it get busted on a regular basis by the URSAAF, police etc. although this never stops the practice. It is counted as disguised employment if it is not declared.

In a French ski resort there are lots of eyes watching out for this kind of thing so you may get away with it for some time but eventually it will come on the radar. You'd need to be sure you were legal and I think you wouldn't be, and you wouldn't be insured if there were an accident.

Why not give it a try though? I once got 100 punts from an Irish lady for skiing with her one afternoon while her hubby was off with his mates. I tried to refuse but she said "ah my husbands feckin' loaded, he owns the biggest garage chain in Ireland, he can afford it, so he can". A swiss ski shop changed the money to francs for me.
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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?
You would be in a very very grey area. In France (and most other alpine countries) by law you need a licence to offer guiding and instructing in outdoor sports such as skiing and mountaineering. In France it's a carte professional, I hold a carte pro for rock climbing, white water kayaking and mountain walking. So I can teach and lead these activities legally, if you are caught teaching and leading these sports with out a cart pro (or a temporary permit) you can be arrested and charged and there is a good chance any insurance you have will be invalid.

Ski hosting used to be ok in France, not saying it was legal but they allowed it. So you could work for a chalet or big company and take their clients out around resort and show them the best runs and places to eat etc. A few years ago they had a clamp down on this and it was banned. They classed it as leading and guide therefore you needed a carte pro.

Thats all before you start to look at the visa situation.

Now that all covers people being paid to offer these services. You are looking to do it voluntary (well kind of), you can do what you like voluntary but you may need insurance and I am not sure you would get this. Also the French look at it not just in terms of payment but for reward and also the expectation of your clients e.g are they expecting to pay and are they expecting to be lead and looked after in a professional way. So if you are hinting that they can tip you at the end or pay for you meal and drinks etc you could fall foul.

As a few other have said, in a ski resort you will be seen and if doing it in the same resort for a season I am 99% sure you will be challenged. Also bare in mind if one of the skiers has an accident when out with you, you can forget any verbal agreement you have at the start of the day. How they see your role and what they tell others such as the rescue services and or police maybe different. Now I did say this was in France but I am sure it also applies in other alpine countries, maybe less so the further east you go, but worth checking locally.

Sorry to sound negative, but probably best you have some honest feedback.

Cheers
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
On the other hand, you could perfectly well start a company in a European country and import guides from elsewhere who were qualified, and spoke English…

You could probably even find some loophole to pay them with cheaper foreign contracts and export the profits Toofy Grin
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I did just this for three seasons, '88-91. Great fun for me, very appreciated by the clients.

There are very good legal reasons why +/- no companies offer this "free" service any more - it's (almost?) always done thru' the ski school.
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