Letter: Macho skiers need more grace and less speed

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The Independent Online
EUROPEAN ski resorts need a form of the mountain policing that the Americans carry out so well ('Blood on the snow', Inside Story, 24 January). A feeling of responsibility to all other skiers is apparent when skiing in the United States, but it will be a long time before that kind of organisation and commitment will transfer to the slopes of Europe. In many Alpine resorts it is hard enough to spot the ski patrol, let alone the ski police.

Ultimately what is needed is a radical change in the skiing public's perception of the nature of the sport. Doug Sager tells us 'the real thrill lies in speed and the challenge of a difficult descent'. This is the kind of machismo that lies behind many a bad accident on the ski slopes, and is the reason I see gangs of 'intermediate' British and French skiers terrorising law-abiding skiers with their uncontrolled and irrational manner of 'descent'.

Skiers who have taken the time to study the experts realise that the best high from skiing comes from a skilled, controlled run at a steady speed over any ski terrain, efficiently carving turns that portray skiing's true grace.

Until learning skiers are taught by their peers, instructors and even ski journalists to equate skiing with dancing and ice-skating rather than speedway or ice hockey, we cannot expect a decline in reckless behaviour or in the accidents it causes.

Rory Oatts

North Star Ski Company

London SW18