SKI CLUB GB TRIES TO CLARIFY ROLE OF REPS
21st July 2019
Last modified on January 16th, 2020
The Club has issued further explanation on the role of its Reps. The recent demise of its on-snow Leaders has provoked strong reaction from members.
The Ski Club of Great Britain is the oldest ski club in the UK and one of the first formed in the world.
It was founded in 1903 at the Cafe Royal in Central London.
It has 27,000 members though the average aged is now 53-years old and membership has shrunk 1% each year in recent times.
It has a long and distinguished history at the centre of the UK snowsports industry.
In recent decades one of its main attractions was the role of its leaders who led members round the mountains – on piste and off piste.
That has now ended due to an interpretation of the legal circumstances, as we reported on PlanetSKI earlier in July.
The article has been updated with reaction:
Some members have threatened to resign their membership as they can’t now ski with fellow members under the guidance of a qualified Ski Club leader.
Following a number of other recent changes, including the selling of the Club House in Wimbledon with its historic artefacts effectively going into storage, they believe the Club has changed beyond recognition.
Others though have welcomed the move.
They understand the changing legal landscape and believe the club’s ethos remains as strong as ever.
They see the future as an exciting one.
The clarification has been issued to all members in an e-mail and talks of going “back to our roots and remain a Ski Club: where members of the Club meet and practice their sport and passion together, much as we might with a running or cycling club.”
It adds “From a member’s perspective, there will not be much change.”
“The purpose of our Reps is to be present in resort, to act as the focal point for the Club’s activities off-snow, building and maintaining relationships with local businesses and communities.”
The Reps will be able to ski with members but will not take on any leadership roles.
“Any member of a social ski group may suggest plans for the day on the mountain. When on-snow, Reps are skiing as individual Ski Club members and are not responsible for any on-snow activity, including off-piste skiing.”
Here we re-publish the e-mail sent out to members in full:
Following our announcement on 2nd July regarding the change from Leading to providing reps in resort, we are now able to provide further details about how the new service will operate.
The reason for the change is to safeguard Leaders and the future of the Ski Club against the increasing risk of potential prosecution, and therefore we have no choice but to halt the service; both on- and off-piste.
We can however go back to our roots and remain a Ski Club: where members of the Club meet and practice their sport and passion together, much as we might with a running or cycling club.
From a member’s perspective, there will not be much change.
You can, as before, meet up with other Club members in resort and go skiing.
The difference is that there will be no single person taking responsibility for on-snow activities.
Ski Club Reps and other members will simply go skiing.
Social skiing refers to members gathering together to ski without either a professional or an individual promoted as being responsible for the group.
It may be as adventurous as the group wishes, without the constraints of a programme.
Reps may join other members skiing as they wish, but purely in a social capacity as an ordinary member, with no on-snow responsibility.
Any member is welcome to volunteer to become a rep.
The purpose of our Reps is to be present in resort, to act as the focal point for the Club’s activities off-snow, building and maintaining relationships with local businesses and communities.
We believe members will continue to receive considerable benefit and enjoyment skiing socially together, as already occurs to a significant extent in some resorts, notably Val d’Isere and Zell am See.
We see this change as a huge opportunity.
It is certainly not about stopping a service helping members get the most of their trip to the mountains: indeed, it is quite the opposite.
It allows for any member to be involved and for us to significantly expand the service to any resort around the world where Ski Club members are present.
We also hope to further promote the Instructor-led Guiding (ILG) service, providing opportunities for both social skiing and to learn and develop your skills with local instructors and mountain guides.
ILG will continue to support the rep service as we extend it across our French resorts.
We will continue to run what was the Ski Club Leaders’ course (indeed probably the best quality course available anywhere), for those wishing to obtain training in mountain craft, avalanche safety and developing off-piste skiing skills.
We will also be offering more mountain craft and avalanche training with Bruce Goodlad and Caroline Elliott to continue the Ski Club’s position at the forefront of on- and off-piste mountain safety and education.
Separately, we will define the process of training our new reps, to take place in the autumn, ready for this coming season.
We look forward to seeing how popular this iteration of the service becomes, reflecting the changes that this service has experienced on a regular basis over the last 50-60 years.
We welcome your input, feedback and ideas.
What is the role of the Rep?
The Ski Club Resort Rep is the face of the Ski Club in resort. The role is to ensure that Ski Club Members have the most enjoyable time possible, whilst promoting the principles of safe, responsible and enjoyable recreational skiing.
The Ski Club Rep offering will allow us go back to our roots of being a club, facilitating social events and member meetups, allowing us to be more inclusive.
The Rep role includes meeting members, making introductions, arranging a programme of social events, and encouraging the use of and helping to book mountain guides and instructors for Members, whilst building and supporting communities of Ski Club members in that resort.
Are Reps allowed to suggest itineraries, routes or give directions on the mountain?
Can I still ski off-piste with Ski Club members?
Any member of a social ski group may suggest plans for the day on the mountain. When on-snow, Reps are skiing as individual Ski Club members and are not responsible for any on-snow activity, including off-piste skiing.
If a Social Ski group decides they are adequately experienced and prepared, they may ski off-piste at their own risk, as would any other group of skiers choosing to ski together.
Will this affect my Freshtracks holiday?
Your Rep will continue to act as the focal point for your Freshtracks holiday, but they won’t lead on snow. Instead, they will ski with your group socially, as they would if they were a member on a trip.
Will Members still receive their Ski Profile?
Reps will give Ski Profiles to each Member at the end of a Freshtracks holiday.
This is to enable the Member to choose the most appropriate holiday the following winter.
One of the most important benefits of the Club is bringing people of a similar level to ski together.
In which resorts will Reps be based?
We hope to run the Reps offering in the 18 resorts where we previously had Ski Club Leaders:
Austria: Ischgl, Kitzbuhel, Mayrhofen, Obergurgl, Zell am See
Switzerland: Davos, Grindelwald, Klosters, Murren, Saas Fee, Verbier, Wengen, Zermatt
Italy: Cervinia, Sauze d’Oulx
Andorra: Soldeu – Grandvalira
USA: Jackson Hole
We will also be looking to see where we can expand the programme, in order to allow more of our members to take advantage of the service.
We will also continue, and hopefully expand, the Instructor-led Guiding service currently provided in eleven resorts across France.
Will current Leaders automatically become Reps?
All current Leaders will automatically become Reps, unless they choose otherwise.
The role of Rep is also open to any member who would like to experience being a rep on a Freshtracks holiday or in one of our resorts.
Any member is welcome to apply.
There has been some reaction to this update over on the PlanetSKI Facebok page: