The whole nation went to work today with a collective groan, after enjoying a four-day-long Easter Bank Holiday weekend. Well, except for me. I'd been off on holiday for the whole of last week, so it was a 10 day stretch of non-work days for me.


And it was great. For most of it, I was skiing in the French Alps, in a resort called Flaine. You can see some of my photos over on Flickr, if you like. They're mostly white with a bit of blue.

Skiing holidays aren't all that unusual or noteworthy - many families get into an annual routine of hitting the slopes. For me though it's all fairly new. And it's not something I ever thought I'd hugely get into. I used to joke that skiing was the laziest sport ever - it's just sliding down a hill, and then get towed back up again. This holiday though, I really started to love it. It's was the third or forth time I've been skiing (all within the last five years), and somehow, I seem to have gotten confident enough to just relax and enjoy whizzing down the slopes.

I suppose, for someone who likes rollercoasters, skiing is a good match. The exhilaration of hurtling downhill, the wind in your face, is a pretty similar experience. The chairlifts can even be compared with the the chain lift at the start of a rollercoaster ride.

The only problem with the whole experience of a skiing holiday, is that once you've got skis and ski boots on, anything that doesn't involve skiing or being on a ski lift becomes a right pain in the arse. The ski boots are a bastard to walk in, as your leg is firmly angled forward in an unnatural walking position, and the skis and ski poles are heavy and awkward to carry. This means that skiers, and ski resorts, have to go to ever greater efforts to minimise the amount of ski-walking time. You soon find yourself taking a 20 minute long way round in order to avoid three minutes of slogging uphill. And ski resorts continue to invest in more and more infrastructure in order to try and reach the ultimate marketing goal of 'ski in, ski out' accommodation. It's a bit like the childhood game of seeing how far you can travel without touching the floor...

That aside, if you can get over the sheer artificialness of skiing as a sport (there's nothing natural looking about a drag lift cut through the trees), it is a great, if tiring, way to spend a winter holiday.