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People and Business: All snowed in

JOHN SANDS, chief executive of Pubmaster, is recovering from the shock of being "avalanched in" while skiing in Austria last week.

Or rather, not skiing. "We only got in half a day of skiing out of the whole week. We had to stay in our hotel for Tuesday and Wednesday because of the avalanches," says Mr Sands.

There had been an avalanche at the local railway station at St Anton on the Saturday before Mr Sands's party of "10 guys" arrived. The mayor of St Anton declared a curfew. The result, says the pub boss, was that "we played a lot of chess and drank a lot of beer.

"I now know what house arrest is," he says. "It's the first time I've been grounded since I was 13."

So will the frustrated skiers be seeking refunds? "I don't know. We had a lawyer with us who is looking into it," he says.

Mr Sands is not finished with St Anton, however. "I'm going back next year. I want to ski it. I'm not giving up that easily."