The ESF has won a court case against a small UK tour operator to stop it carrying out ski hosting. All UK tour operators have now suspended hosting. Relations between the British and the French have reached an all-time low with the internet buzzing with criticism of the ESF.
Last Monday a court in Albertville in France found in favour of a case brought by the French authorities with the full support of the Ecole du Ski Français.
It centred on whether the small specialist company, Le Ski, could use ski hosts to show its guests round the slopes.
It is a practice offered by many of the other operators whereby they take clients round the intermediate slopes of the resort showing them the best runs, the mountain restaurants and offer an introduction to the resort.
They do not go off piste and do not teach.
Tens of thousands of British holiday skiers enjoy ski hosting each season.
Their reacton has been swift amd is summed up by avid skier, Richard Critchlow.
"As a parent of a, then 6 year old, child that an ESF instructor lost on a mountain I find it laughable that they now preach on Safety. Reading this, I may have assumed that Le Ski might be even more reckless. However as a former customer of theirs I know this not to be the case and would trust them with my children way ahead of ESF. I find ESF arrogant, protectionist poor instructors. While they may be excellent skiers, that does not make them good empathetic teachers," said Richard Critchlow
The reaction on Facebook, Twitter and chat forums has been strong however the court has made its judgement.
Under French law a person who leads others on the ski slopes for financial reward has to be a qualified ski instructor. The ski hosts are not.
The ESF argue that it brought the case on safety issues and was concerned about the health and welfare of the people who were being led on the slopes by an unqualified professional.
"This is not an ESF led court action, but the organisation has rightly shown its support for French law to be upheld and that for those organisations using hosting or other personnel to 'guide' such people must possess a valid qualifications to do so. ESF is committed to ensuring the safety of UK tourists using French resorts for wintersports," it said in a statement.
Opponents have argued that the ESF supported the case to protect the work of its instructors believing that ski hosting takes away business from the ski school.