Last time we spoke I was all about snowboard cross ... that is soooooooo last week, dude. Now, it's all about ... ski cross – "OMG it's even better". I loved snowboard cross because it was a new sport that was actually great to watch. Ski cross however, takes it to another level. Four skiers line up in a small cabin under a big tree while members of their Olympic team shout random things at them. The Americans have a guy with a big moustache whose entire job seems to be just screaming stuff at any team member about to do something. He loves to use their full name – in case they've forgotten it when they get to the bottom and are asked by inquisitive media. On the Downhill he could be seen at his finest– "Go Bode Miller, time to shine."
"Go Marco Sullivan, time to believe."
I love him and want to hire him for my daily life.
"Go Dom Joly, time to write that column ... don't be distracted by Twitter, you don't need another coffee."
Back to ski cross – the four skiers escape their shouters and propel themselves out of the cabin and over two huge hills known as Wu-Tangs. I presume that these are, for some reason, named after the mountain range in Central China. The only other option would be the Wu-Tang Clan, who took their name from the mountains, having seen them in a Kung-Fu movie. If you're not familiar with "the Clan", they were voted "fifth-best hip-hop group of all time" by MTV to the delight of some of their members – Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa' and the late Ol' Dirty Bastard. Check them out. They are well wicked.
The Wu-Tangs are killers – we're back on the ski cross now. In almost every race, one of the four contestants does not make it over and tumbles backwards in abject humiliation. The ones who do conquer the Wu-Tangs are now thrust into a bar fight of a race with at least one guaranteed spectacular aerial crash as they chase each other around corners and over hills. At times, it looks like several people have done the ski jump at the same time and are keen to battle in mid-air.
To add to the excitement, there's a very complicated system of coloured bibs that the contestants wear to indicate what position they had come in the time trials. This could only have been devised by a supremely stoned mind. It's difficult enough to work out who is who in winter sports, what with the helmets and the goggles. It's one of the few problems – it's much more difficult to establish a personal connection with an athlete when you never see their face. Each country has their own uniform, some, like Switzerland, quite surreal. You'd have thought this would have been enough? Commentating on all this craziness was the Ski Sunday team of Graham Bell and Ed Leigh. I love these two – they are a real find. Bell, being the skier, is the more sensible one. Leigh on the other hand, being the snowboarder, tends to be more emotional and not that up on his facts. He consistently gets the names of racers wrong before having to apologise as Bell laughs at him. He loves a good crash, as we all do, and gets over-excited about them. He then suddenly remembers that he is broadcasting and not back in the crib with his "homies" and switches down a couple of gears trying to sound all concerned and sensible.
Watching so much winter action has really allowed me to finally make an informed decision on the Ski v Snowboard Debate. I grew up on skis and every time I go I just want to get on with it. I don't want to have to waste my holiday by starting again and learning to snowboard. I'm "old school" for life. If I were starting again, however, I'd definitely be a boarder. Everything about it oozes easiness – the boots, the clothes, the attitude. I'm not alone in this either. I was watching the men's downhill with my five-year-old son. In an attempt at being both matey and encouraging, I said, "What do you think Jackson, do you want to do that one day?"
He turned and fixed me with a withering look.
"Maybe dad, but not on skis – I'm going to be a snowboarder."
I suddenly felt so uncool.com – how can he be so trendy at five? He'll probably be in the "The Clan" by ten.
Bob's a hard job
God, I felt for the GB women's bobsleigh team when they crashed – I did the four-man run on the Calgary track last year. Nothing, but nothing, can prepare you for the speed and G-Force involved. To be flung out as well. Total respect.Reuse content