London’s part-time Mayor has just been on holiday again – this time to the ski resort of La Plagne in the French Alps. The regular skiing holiday taken by Boris Johnson and family which used to be paid for using the Child Benefit which he and his wife, as affluent owners of two homes, chose to claim from the State.

His latest chickenfeed column in the Daily Telegraph makes the following claims:

It is still the case that if you want to find someone to teach your kids to ski, that teacher will have most or all of the following characteristics. His face will be deeply tanned and handsomely creased; his eyes will twinkle roguishly at his female charges; he will say “HOP!” as he plants his pole to turn; he may or may not have a paunch, a hip-flask of cognac and a smell of cheroot.

But one thing is for sure: he will be dressed in an all-in-one red ski uniform emblazoned with the logo of the École du Ski Français – and he will be French, mes amis. And only French

All ski instructors in the French Alps are French, and only French?

In defiance of every basic principle of the Common Market – free establishment, free movement of services, you name it – the French continue to make it virtually impossible for a UK national to set up a ski school, in the French alps, to cater for the vast numbers of English speakers who flock there every winter – and who think dérapage is something to do with a woman’s cleavage.

There are no British ski schools in the French Alps, then?

Why on earth shouldn’t we have British ski instructors freely touting for hire, on the snows of the alps, and speaking English?

Yes, why on earth not? What is the reason?

What kind of a system is it that allows French buses on the streets of London, but forbids English ski instructors on the slopes of the French alps?

I’ll tell you what sort of system it is – one that the tiny, après-ski-addled brain of Boris Johnson has blatantly made-up – it is a lie.

There are several British skiing schools, with British instructors, in the French Alps.

British Alpine Ski And Snowboard School, whose instructors have obviously Gallic names such as Matt, Rod, Ollie, Hugh, Derek and Peter.

How about Supreme Ski School Courcheval, whose director goes by the typically-French name of Gareth Roberts?

In fact, if Boris Johnson had bothered to read his main employer’s own newspaper from four days ago, he would have gleaned:

The resort [Courchevel] is blessed with excellent ski schools. New Generation started in Moriond and now operates in 10 resorts in France and Switzerland. Supreme, BASS and Sweet are also British-run and highly rated. RTM is a British-run snowboard school.

Serre Chevalier, also in the French Alps:

New Generation ski school, run by top British instructor Gavin Crosby, offers proXplore days exploring the whole of Serre Chevalier’s slopes on piste, and two-day off-piste Trees and Powder groups (which include a day in the nearby cult off-piste resort of La Grave or in Montgenèvre, just minutes from the Italian border).

Outrageous and easily-disproved lies from the Mayor of London as he attempts to pave the way for his return to the Commons, blatantly pandering to UKIP supporters as he goes. Pathetic.

Boris Johnson’s pathological inability to tell the truth really has come back to bite him on the backside this time; a number of those apparently non-existent British ski school owners/instructors in France have decided to set him straight:

Dear Boris, I find it odd that you think that it is impossible for a UK national to set up a ski school in France seeing as I work for a British Ski School who has been established in France for the last 15 years and who has taught your sister and nephew!

I am British, an examiner in the BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors) system and I am director of a ski school in Val d’Isere, France. I have been working in France legally for over 20 years. Contrary to Boris’s assertions, there are plenty of British ski instructors in the French Alps and anyone is welcome to work in France – providing they have the correct qualifications.
As a BASI Level 4 you can work for a ski school, as an independent or set up your own ski school employing other Level 4 instructors in France. The pathway is very clear and those who take it have successful careers teaching skiing. For more information on the pathway to working in France, visit…
However Simon Butler who is at the centre of the current media storm employs people who are not legally qualified to work in France which is why he has been arrested. His flouting of the current legal situation and regulations and bleating to the Francophobic British media whenever he is pulled up on it brings down the reputation of all legally qualified instructors and makes the situation worse.
Whilst it may seem easy to say it goes against the grain of ‘the free market’ etc, there are very good reasons for wanting well qualified people to be taking your ski lesson, whether they are French or English, and the French expectation is that British Instructors should have the same level of qualification as their own instructors need to have. That seems fair enough and I am sure the British would scrutinise the qualifications of doctors from other EU member states before letting them loose in British hospitals.

Boris, I have always been a fan of yours, but I am afraid you are misinformed and it is disappointing to hear such forthright opinion on something you clearly know little about, which will always worry me when I hear you speak so authoritatively on subjects I know little about in the future.

I work as a ski instructor in France, for one of the many British run ski schools that apparently don’t exist, and get on fine with the French instructors. The French have a problem with this particular ski school, not with British instructors/schools in general. I would expect better than this misinformed French bashing from the mayor of a major cosmopolitan city. Please try and do a tiny bit of research next time Boris.

@MayorofLondon I’m a British ski instructor, legally teaching in France like hundreds of others (3 years in teh Espace Killy) #legalinfrance

Hi I am British ski instructor, legally teaching in France and never have any problems as after lots of training and hard work I hold the correct qualification. There are hundreds just like me. Its not a problem if you actually hold the correct qualification, pretty simple really.

I am a fully qualified British instructor who hasd been working in France legally for over 8 years and I have worked for both French run and British run ski schools. There is a clear pathway which allows British instructors to work legally in France which hundreds of British instructors have followed. There is a minority however who feel that they are a law unto themselves who choose not to follow this pathway and work without the proper qualifications and who basically make a mockery of the legal pathway that I have worked so hard to follow. Rather than supporting the illegal minority Boris, please do your research before writing such innacurate drivel and maybe back those who have chosen to work legally in France in harmony with the french. Oh and if you ever want a lesson Boris I would be more than happy to oblige ‘mon ami’!!

Boris Johnson…Have you mistakingly been dropped into another country other than France for your ski trips? I can assure you there are hundreds maybe even thousands of Brits working in France….and qualified. It is not just us as Brits that have to do these qualifications either. It is the same across the board no matter what nationality. I am a British Citizen working in France.

Boris Johnson…I have to say I am now extremely concerned as to what are doing as our mayor of London ranting about something you clearly have not got a clue about…Do you know anything about London?

This article starts off with a blatant lack of research or truth. there are numerous British run ski schools working legally in France. The current recognized pathway required before being LEGALLY able to teach Snow Sports in France is a tough pathway which plenty of British instructors have travelled and completed. I currently have the pleasure of working legally in the resort of Les Gets / Morzine, and I must admit that working within the recognised legal parameters has its benefits, as when the authorities come around to ensure people aren’t teaching illegally, I get to shake their hand, show them my License, watch them note down the number for reference, and then they simply wish me a good day as they continue on to ensure others were legal also!!

This inaccurate nonsense wouldn’t normally bother me, yet in this case I have felt the need to comment as it may affect my livelihood. I, along with hundreds of other Brits work totally LEGALLY right here in Morzine in the alps. We have a very simple qualification process from level 1 for gap year students up to 4 for snow sports professionals looking to work in France where instructors are highly regarded and are viewed as respected professionals. If you work hard and archive the highest level, you gain French equivalence and the right to work. Very straight forward if you ask me

Boris, I am a British instructor and director of a ski school in France. My colleagues are British, French and Italian. We are all fully qualified. We teach thousands of British clients every winter. Last year we even taught members of your own family.

I qualified in the British system before we had recognition in France. To teach in France at the time, I had to sit several additional exams in the French instructor system. Since then, and through an EU supported process, member nations have agreed common standards for ski instructors, Brits can now qualify in their own system and teach skiing in France.

Unlike the UK, ski instruction in France is governed by specific laws. The French have one level of certification. We have 4 levels. Our top level matches the French level. This is why the French arrest British qualified instructors who do not hold our top level. Equally, they will arrest a French or any other national without the relevant qualification.

Your uninformed article makes a mockery of more than 300 British instructors teaching in France and our hard work to qualify to EU agreed standards

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.