Your guide to better skiing

Enjoy yourself
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The Independent Travel

As far as drinking is concerned, it's the Scandinavians who come top of the pile; for flashing money around (and behaving in an alarming manner in up-market chalets) it's the Russians. But ask any Alpine-resort tourist office which nationality stands out for taking its skiing seriously, and the finger will be pointed at us. The British have an unequalled reputation as dedicated, high-mileage skiers.

As far as drinking is concerned, it's the Scandinavians who come top of the pile; for flashing money around (and behaving in an alarming manner in up-market chalets) it's the Russians. But ask any Alpine-resort tourist office which nationality stands out for taking its skiing seriously, and the finger will be pointed at us. The British have an unequalled reputation as dedicated, high-mileage skiers.

Perhaps we take it too seriously. The single-minded application of some skiers to improving their skills is hard to reconcile with the idea of a skiing holiday. And the doctrinaire approach of experts towards a "correct" style based on the techniques of professional racers is at odds with the notion of recreational skiing.

The respected US ski writer John Fry once wrote an article entitled "It's okay to skid your turns", and he returned to the subject in a recent column in Ski magazine, complaining about the dogmatic way that "we're insistently told to carve every turn". While admitting that "carving is a fantastic sensation", he wanted permission to do other types of turn as well.

Personally, I like lazy, skidded turns just as much as an energetic carve. Others are happy to have their skis close together, although carving requires a wider stance. Some people still get pleasure out of wearing garish boiler-suits on the slopes. But that's the point of a holiday: to enjoy yourself, not necessarily to refine your skiing style.

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