This is what I think of skiing. One, it is done to a jaunty tune on Sunday evenings and accompanied by lots of people in bobble hats ringing cow bells and shouting ‘hoi’.
Two, to be any good it’s preferable to sport blonde shoulder-length hair, wear brightly-coloured sunglasses, be called Hans or Tim and to have been placed on skis before you could walk.
Three, Eddie the Eagle tainted us all by making British people particularly self-conscious when on the slopes. And four, it involves lots and lots and lots of money.
When all these things are added together, it’s not worth participating. Oh, and it’s cold and dangerous. Need I go on?
You’d think at my age (41), and having lived in Canada, I would have given skiing a smidgeon of a go by now. But even though my husband and oodles of my friends ski, I have held firm in my opinions.
But this Christmas, when I forced my children to get out there and enjoy themselves on the slopes, it made me think a bit. While I’m so busy pushing them forward, when did I forget to keep pushing myself?
I could have ignored the inner voice – for once being quite rational – had it not been for my 10-year-old daughter telling my, quite sharply and correctly, that I shouldn’t comment on her wide turns as I had never done any myself. So that was it. I had to give it a go.
Of course my version of skiing was couched in old lady language that went something like this: I have bad knees, I am too overweight, I have never been able to balance, especially not in this coat etc etc etc.
It was all excuses really, to help me overcome what I am really scared of. And that is losing control. Especially at high speed on a downward slope. What could be the pleasure in that?
Hmm. Well, there was lots of pleasure for the massed crowd at the ski lift who watched me descend the nursery slopes, backwards, bent like a capital A and with my hands stuck deep into the snow desperately clutching at anything to stop me wiping out a group of five-year-olds who stood paralysed with fear at the sight of my ginormous behind hurtling towards them.