Skidoos and don'ts

Written by  Alex Allen

Skiing, to the unenthused, might conjure images of lycra-clad Italians in queue-jumping competitions, boots that have evolved little since the era of deep-sea diving, sliced cheese with holes in it, pine trees and snow, lots and lots of snow. Of course there are elements of truth in this, especially the snow part, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

For me skiing is the fastest, most fist-in-the-mouth-exciting way to get some fresh air and take in landscapes that would turn even the most knuckle-headed thug into a meadow-frolicking romantic. It is an excuse to grow a beard on which I can nurture baby icicles, go as quickly as gravity and my own knee cartilage will allow, lose bodily fluids through eye-watering exhilaration, and replace them later in front of a roaring fireplace with local beer wearing inch-thick jumpers with reindeers on.

I am not of the espresso-fuelled, neon swim-wear school of Euro winters, but prefer to spend my afternoons on the semi-deciduous American slopes of resorts like Stowe in Vermont. Here skiing is regarded as a casual weekend past-time, like taking the dog for a walk or going for a jog. Jeans and a t-shirt are preferred over the static conducting nylon get-ups encountered in places like Chamonix and Val D’Isere, and when the weather’s a few clouds less than perfect, there are no queues to jump- sorry Johnny Ferrari.

Of course there is some merit to the larger ski resorts; more runs, more jaw-dropping views, wider slopes, but with these benefits come the inevitable bus loads of holiday makers, unless you go off-season when you risk having either new wet snow, icy snow or no snow at all. So if it’s the autobahn style of skiing you’re after, the European Alps are a must, but if, like me you prefer to wind your way through country roads with the top down, sighing like a schoolgirl at passing vegetation, then a smaller resort might be more suitable.

Best skiing

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