Dom Joly: Catching a tube offers a route across the piste's grand divide

Weird World of Sport: Skiers, in the Nancy Mitford parlance, are U and snowboarders aremost definitely non-U

Related Topics

I am trying to decide whether I should take my kids skiing this year before the Alps melt permanently. In a couple of years, global warming will have ensured that all the ski resorts are turned into Sound Of Music camps where fans of the eternal musical can gambol and frolic in the warm Edelweiss to their hearts' content. My girl is eight and my boy is four and they should really experience a ski holiday before it's gone. The thing is – to ski or to snowboard?

My wife and I have always been skiers – somehow it is the right thing to do. Snowboarding is just a little ... common. It is an easy distinction to make on the slopes – skiers, in the Nancy Mitford parlance, are U and snowboarders are most definitely non-U. I would never knowingly invite a snowboarder into my chalet for a fondue party, they simply wouldn't know what to do and would end up smoking huge reefers and then eating all the cheese in a pique of munchies.

And yet ... the pain of ski boots is like the worst kind of torture. I am sure that some evil bastard in Guantanamo Bay makes the remaining bunch of innocents parade around for hours on end in ski boots. After a while they are pleading to be water-boarded, anything to get their aching feet off the dusty ground. I cannot believe that we can put a man on the moon, keep Jordan's breasts pert and allow Piers Morgan to remain alive and yet seem unable to design comfortable ski boots.

Snowboarders, on the other hand have the softest of soft footwear. Some say that the interior is moulded from the foreskins of penguins – reputedly the very fluffiest of all known materials. Snowboarders also favour the "baggy" look, with big comfy trousers and jackets replacing the dreaded salopettes or the eternally naff all- in-one day-glo ski/shellsuit.

If I am honest, were I to be starting afresh on the slopes today then I would probably be a snowboarder. It just looks much more comfy, stylish and fun. The problem is that I have reached a certain level of adequacy in my skiing that allows me to descend any mountain with a modicum of style until I reach my fifth gluvine.

I am simply not prepared to waste an entire ski holiday learning to snowboard. It will mean endless hours on my backside and having to be in classes with non-U youth who will try to sell me drugs and lure me away from the bosom of my skiing family to attend some keg party complete with hot tub and gnarly babes.

Not for me, no sir... I like a crisp glass of kirsch in the Elk Lounge after a hard day's skiing. I like to sit by a roaring fire with other like-minded salopette wearers and look out of the window, complaining about the young people enjoying themselves in the real world outside. That is why my children will be skiers. I will not have them enjoying themselves while I suffer.

In my travels I have found one alternative. It's called tubing and I stumbled across it on a family trip to the extraordinarily beautiful Quebec City in Canada. About an hour's drive from the centre is an old ski resort that has been turned into a tubing centre. On arrival everyone picks up big, black inflated inner tubes and drags them by a strap to the multitude of lifts where you simply sit on the inner tube and get dragged uphill to the top of the slopes. Then you just hurl yourself down the pistes while sitting on your tube. No skill is required and the whole family can do it.

All of us just held on to each other's tubes and we went flying down the mountain at huge speeds like some big inflatable flotilla. I have never seen tubing in Europe and, for the life of me, I can't understand why. It is totally family-friendly and dispenses completely with the whole snowboard/ski debate.

I should sell up and move to Zermatt to make my fortune in the world of tubing. I am actually of Swiss origins – Joly is a Swiss name, my ancestors hail from a small village above Lausanne. The thing is, most people move to Switzerland to die. Either you're Phil Collins and you buy a big house on the lake and wait for death or you cut out the middle man and go there for some legal euthanasia.

It's no use, I'm too stuck in my ways. It's skiing and Kirsch in the Elk Lounge for me. See you on the piste.

Save me from humiliation and I promise to buy you a ploughman's

I have been offered up for auction in the Indy. The highest bidder will accompany me to the annual cheese-rolling competition that is held in May near my house in the Cotswolds.

I've always wanted to take part in it, so this slightly nutty event will give me the incentive. I do, however, hate being put up for auction – it's a humiliating experience where the "winner" invariably bids five whole pounds for the pleasure of my company, while Tracey Emin is purchased for a cool £25,000.

In an attempt to up my worth I can confirm that I will be mildly pleasant to the winner and am prepared to fork out for a ploughman's lunch at a nearby hostelry if I don't break my leg in the event. Oh, and if you're a pillock then I'll deal with this mercilessly in my next column ... do I hear a tenner anybody?

Excuse me while I kiss this SkyCaddie

I have a fabulous new gadget to help me to cheat at golf – it's a range-finder called a SkyCaddie and if you have a relative who plays the game, this is definitely their dream Christmas present.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Sepp Blatter and Vladimir Putin. Was Russia awarded the 2018 World Cup unfairly?  

Fifa arrests: Is it the final whistle for corruption in world football?

Mary Dejevsky
Alternative futures build into a chronicle of chance  

Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2015: Winner Jenny Erpenbeck’s historical novel grips and dazzles

Boyd Tonkin
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith