SCGB suspend their guiding service in Les Arcs.
Quote · 2149 days ago · 0 people like this ·

SnowVole has been sniffing around at grass roots level in Bourg St Maurice for the last few weeks trying to get the scoop on this story and finally we think we have found it.

Our undisclosed sources tell us that the SCGB suspended its guiding service in Les Arcs. This is following the resurrection of an age old dispute between the ESF in the village and SCGB regarding the ability and expertise of SCGB guides to lead skiers around the resort.

The suspension came just days after an English skier was critically injured off piste.  Whilst NO concrete evidence can at this time be levelled at SCGB guides, was the suspension  just a coincidence we ask ourselves?

And by further coincidence Caroline Stewart-Taylor resigned as Chief Executive of the SCGB,  effective last Sunday, leaving the club without a Chief Executive for the first time in over 20 years.

SnowVole will let you draw your own conclusions and DISCUSS!!

Quote · 2149 days ago · 0 people like this ·

"VinceTheSnowVole" - I've not the faintest idea who you are, but here are a couple of opening responses:


1. Don't put yourself forward for the Pulitzer Prizes - 'honouring excellence in journalism'. "They will call you".


2. "Stewart", as in -Taylor, is spelt "Stuart".


3. If you're "sniffing around at grass roots level" you're clearly at the wrong altitude. To quote a favourite SCGB snow report, much repeated for its classic wisdom, "Best snow on upper slopes". That was a bit facetious, since Bourg St Maurice may well be the place to undertake your investigations but ...


4. Whatever suspension may have taken place, the repping ('leading') service appears to be back in action. According to the Club's website Richard Reeve is working there until 14 April, and a full programme is advertised. It doesn't explicitly mention 'off piste', but there's a day called 'Steep, deep and bumpy', so maybe groups have been cleared to venture off the piste in Les Arcs this winter.


5. You say that an English skier was "critically injured", and that a suspension of services resulted from that. This is vague information, but implies something very serious. But that comes across as a very uncorroborated report ... little beyond a rumour. Where was the person treated? What were the injuries? What was the cause?


I'm not opposed to this subject being aired in the public domain, since my club (I joined the SCGB in 1962 and am a former Council member) offers trial days in the resort to non-members and is the self-styled "spokesbody of British skiers". It's therefore a valid issue for discussion. It is also a fact that 3 separate fatalities are known to have arisen in connection with SCGB repping since the 1980s, and therefore the training, liability, insurance and indemnity arrangements need to be kept under regular review. Considerable litigation arises, from time to time, from the provision of this service and injured skiers blaming the SCGB for their plight. It's also a fact that this service is cross-subsidised by the 85% (approx) members of the SCGB who do not ski with reps (there is no premium price of membership to enjoy the service). That said, the Club spells out the risks and expectations quite explicity. The 'small print', which I think is explained to everyone before they go skiing with a rep/leader, is pasted below.


As for Caroline Stuart-Taylor's departure, this was a shock since it has occurred during the thick of the ski season at quite short (5 weeks) notice. The timing did come as a considerable surprise to everyone I know. The position of chief executive is currently advertised, and it would obviously be great for top-class individuals to apply ...


Important Notice: Ski Club Leaders are not professional mountain guides, nor ski instructors. They are Club members who have attended a training course with us and who volunteer their services. If you wish to ski with a Ski Club Leader you do so in full knowledge that the Leader will not assess your skiing ability.You are responsible for your own safety, and we expect you to participate in the safety of the whole group. Skiing is an inherently risky sport and you must be physically fit and have sufficient skill and experience to enable you to participate without risk to yourself or the safety of others.You must ensure that your equipment is in good working order and that you are suitably clothed and equipped for a day of mountain activity on snow. When venturing off piste it is advisable to wear an avalanche transceiver. Unless you are accompanied by a professional mountain guide or ski instructor, you must use your own judgement when deciding which route to follow. When you are skiing under the guidance of a professional mountain guide or ski instructor organised through the Ski Club you should follow their reasonable instructions. In the event that you feel that any route is beyond your capability to ski safely, you must inform the Ski Club Leader, mountain guide or ski instructor immediately. You must accept that Ski Club Leaders, mountain guides and ski instructors have the right to prevent you from participating in any programme organised by the Ski Club if, in their reasonable opinion, you cannot participate safely because of your standard of skiing or fitness is inadequate, or your conduct may present a danger to others. Neither the Ski Club of Great Britain nor the Ski Club Winter Arrangements Limited have any liability to you in these circumstances. If you wish to ski with a Ski Club Leader, you must have insurance cover which is no less comprehensive than that provided by the policy of insurance currently arranged by the Ski Club of Great Britain.


Quote · 2148 days ago · 0 people like this ·

Hi David, Well I am very pleased this post gave you a good opportunity to get as much as possible off your chest lol, but feel I should respond.


1) Being a simple furry SnowVole with NO journalist skills "Pulsar" whoops sorry "Pulitzer" prizes are of no interest to me what so ever!!!


2) Yes sincere apologies to Ms Stuart-Taylor this was a silly error over the spelling of her name.


3) Why in Bourg? well as most of the locals of Les Arcs will tell you this is where most of the Administration of the resort is carried out. The skiing is indeed in Les Arcs.


4) I am sure that a compromise has been reached allowing the SCGB to continue their guiding service or perhaps the website hasn't been updated again without a comment from the Ski Club hard to say.


5) It was never stated in my originally comment that the suspension was a direct response to the incident but asked the question why shortly after.


Finally, I think this discussion actually opens a much bigger subject than just guiding by SCGB rep's but includes the tens of Brits injured every year in the mountains due to poorly organised trips and guiding with very little or no bonding and insurance - I sure you will agree?

Quote · 2148 days ago · 0 people like this ·

Well 'VinceTheSnowScribbler', let's keep things in perspective. Remember that back in 1994 five British doctors died in a Val d'Isere avalanche while being led by a professional guide (who also died).


However, unlike people who need to earn a living from it, the SCGB is not a professional/commercial guiding operation. There is no essential reason why this 'grey area' service has to be provided to members and non-members and I'm not aware of any other national ski club that offers off-piste leadership. It's all too risky for the 21st century, and there are far cheaper and more effective services to provide. To be frank, it's an open goal for liability, litigation and the huge expense that goes with it.


The club was founded in 1903 as a way in which skiers congregate, communicate and publish. Those are the core functions, as I see them, and they will always be the core functions.

Quote · 2148 days ago · 0 people like this ·

This is indeed all very true, but more and more Brits are now going away in loose groups (thanks in part to the advent of easyJet and the Eurostar) and hiring "Guides" once they are in resort and who may not be fully qualified to take them "Under the Rope"


I think the true crux of the discussion is that skiers need to understand the dangers more, respect the mountain range I live on more and check the qualification of the guide they are with alone with checking the insurance arrangements of both their guide and their organiser if not their own.


As for the Ski Clubs function again I am very much with you on this point, the Ski Club needs to decide what it is and what its function will be going forwards.

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