The Great British Ski Instructor Debate

Some of you may be aware of the Simon Butler case that has been going through the French Courts for several months. Yesterday Mr Butler was sentenced to 200 days imprisonment, or he can pay a fine of 30,000€, for teaching skiing illegally in France. He is appealing this judgement.

For anyone not up to speed, Mr Butler operates ski school in Megeve, France, and has done so for some years. He maintains that he holds all of the correct qualifications and has the right to work in France under EU Law.

While he may have passed a number of the modules required to achieve the BASI ISTD qualification, he does not have his Eurotest qualification. The Eurotest is a Giant Slalom speed test required by the French authorities in order for instructors to be able to teach in France, and is often referred to as the hardest one to pass. The Eurotest is a requirement of all French, British, Irish, Italian, Australian, New Zealand, Swiss, Austrian, Turkish, Swedish, Norweigian, Argentinian, in fact every nationality of ski instructor, before they can teach skiing in France. There are other countries which will allow instructors to teach with a lesser qualification, including Switzerland, New Zealand, and Canada.

For a detailed explanation of the BASI Qualifications, Planet Ski published this handy little article a couple of days ago.

Today UKIP have pledged their support for Simon Butler, along with Boris Johnson and a number of seemingly ill-informed journalists. They all appear to hold the view that The French Authorities are trying to prevent anyone who is not French from teaching skiing on their territory, and how very dare they do this to a British National.

Given the recent European election debates and the many issues that people in the UK would appear to have with the EU having too much power over what happens in the UK, some of those people think it’s OK for the EU to overrule another government in favour of a one of ours working over there.

If a Frenchman moved to the UK with a licence to drive a regular car, and set up a transport business where he drives an HGV, everyone would be up in arms about it.

There are quite literally hundreds of British (plus a good number of other nationalities) Ski Instructors teaching perfectly legally in France, often in pleasant harmony with their French counterparts. They have all trained hard and worked hard over a number of years to get their Carte Professionelle. And they ALL have their Eurotest. It is a tough one but it is achievable for those who want it enough.

The French Authorities take their ski industry and mountain safety very seriously, and their laws reflect this. It is irrelevant whether anyone else thinks that the Eurotest should be a requirement or not.

In the UK we expect foreign nationals to abide by our laws; we should show the same respect elsewhere. If you don’t agree with the laws of a particular country, go somewhere else.