The ups and downs of life on the piste

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The Independent Culture
Weather reports, always a sure-fire hit with the British public, form the backbone of Off Piste (9.05pm R5), the first skiing programme on British radio, to the relief of a British skiing public bored rigid by a Sunday afternoon diet of Tomba, Vine and Girardelli.

The show, presented by Sandy Warr, comprises a mix of snow reports, resort reports and tips on technique both on and off the slopes, but the one thing that is sadly lacking is a snowy Alpine backdrop to stir the salopettes. Instead, interspersed among the weather reports, World Cup round-up and competition goodies, there is an impressive line-up of skiing celebs accompanied by a less impressive line-up of mini-features: this week the skiing/snowboarding debate, a huge bone of contention, is "exploded" as Off Piste slaloms swiftly between the two warring factions without ever really reaching the finishing line. But by far the most useful feature of the show are the up-to-the-minute weather reports, perfectly timed in this Friday evening slot and infinitely more reliable than most of the national newspaper reports.

Unlike Channel 4's latest offering, Board Stupid (Sun 1.15pm C4), which devotes itself to the boarding generation, Off Piste has chosen instead to give the British skiing public what it really wants: a glorified and highly accurate snow report.

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