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

Senior Pensions Administrator

£23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

KS2 Teacher

£21000 - £34000 per annum + Excellent rates of pay, CPD, Support : Randstad Ed...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: I am currently recruiting level 3 n...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Photo issued by Flinders University of an artist's impression of a Microbrachius dicki mating scene  

One look at us Scots is enough to show how it was our fishy ancestors who invented sex

Donald MacInnes
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp  

Oscar Pistorius sentence: Judge Masipa might have shown mercy, but she has delivered perfect justice

Chris Maume
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album