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Monday August 26, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

UK ski companies remain unclear how they will operate in EU countries this winter. Will they even be able to send staff abroad? UPDATED

Catered chalet operators have already - or are in the process of - hiring seasonaires and other staff but whether they will be able to use them is in considerable doubt.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has said the UK will leave the European Union on 31st October, deal or no deal.

He is now asking the Queen to suspend parliament.

That will lessen parliamentary time for those MPs trying to stop the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal.

No deal is now looking increasingly likely.

The operator Ski Amis, that is now run by Time of Your Life Travel, is in a position reflected across the UK ski tour operators.

It specialises in catered chalets in the French Alps and is due to send its management teams to its resorts just six days later on 6th November.

Its chalet hosts are due to follow on 25th November to prepare for the company's first guests on 14th December.

"The most frustrating thing is that, even when I am speaking to our advisers - accountants and lawyers in France - and asking what our options are for a no-deal Brexit, nobody knows what a no-deal Brexit  looks like," Ski Amis' Managing Director, Danielle Fenton told PlanetSKI.

Ski Amis employs 50 seasonaires every winter.

No one has been able to tell Danielle whether to stop recruiting UK nationals.

"The worst case scenario is that we will not be able to use any UK staff," she said.

However, she insisted it would be business as usual for customers.

"We will be operating as normal because we have contingency plans in place, but it is difficult to know what route it will take," she added.

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France has more catered ski chalets than any other EU country so a no-deal Brexit is likely to hit hardest there.

The Travel Association ABTA is now on its 12th version of advice for members on how to manage the impact of leaving the EU.

"The two false starts of Brexit - 29 March and 12 April - mean that many travel companies will have advanced plans in place. If that's the case for your business, it's important that you keep your plans under review as there have been, and there will still likely be, further developments on particular matters," said ABTA's Chief Executive, Mark Tanzer.

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"Brexit will undoubtedly have some sort of impact - whether that's on your customers in terms of steps they may need to take if we leave without a deal, the implications for operating your holidays, how you recruit your workforce or the impact of currency fluctuations.

"Planning for these things now is essential in order to mitigate potential problems in the future."


And of course it is not just the UK tour operators and their staff.

There are thousands of UK nationals working in the mountain regions of the EU on a seasonal basis.

From bar and restaurant staff through to instructors.

There is significant uncertainty about whether British ski instructors will be able to work in EU countries in a post-Brexit world.

The British Association of Snowsports Instructors, BASI, has 6,300 British trained instructors working in 38 countries around the world.

The vast majority work in the European Union.

Speaking at the Interski congress in Pamporova, Bulgaria, last winter the Association said there are deep worries.

"The future European working rights of many of our members remains unclear at the moment and makes planning for the future difficult for both British instructors and the ski schools who employ them in the European Alps," said the BASI chairman Jim Lister.

"Brexit continues to create uncertainty for all British instructors who currently earn their livelihoods on the slopes of Europe."

"Britain is highly respected in the international world of snowsports.

"We punch well above our weight for a non-Alpine nation and BASI will continue to work bilaterally with EU countries to clarify and secure the future working rights for British instructors for the benefit of BASI members and the European ski seaon."

BASI at InterskiBASI at Interski














And there has been some reaction on Facebook.

Feel free to add your comments to the PlanetSKI Facebook page.

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As the deadline of October 31st approaches we will be updating this article with the latest information on preparations so do check back.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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