Got back from Courchevel today and had a great time! Apparently Roman "Chelski" Abramovich was there at the start of the week. Unfortunately a billionaire still can't control the weather though... it was dire. There were avalanche warnings every day and rain for the whole of another. Unheard of for Jan. I blame Bush for the global warming. But that really was the only bad thing about the week. Can't compliment Ski World enough really. Our stay at the Auberge Ensoleille was brilliant, great food, nice staff.

I'd like to share a revelation I had when trapped indoors during one particularly heavy spell of snowfall. I was trying to work out what would constitute a good week's skiing. Personally, forget feeling that your control's improving and all that sort of rubbish, I think it's all about the mileage. It's therefore also all about the raw straight-line velocity. If I ever set up my own ski school, the mission statement would be

"Why jinks, when you can schuss?" cos 'trop vite!' is praise, not abuse!"

Catchy. So with me being the founder and first pupil of the David Butler ski school, the week became sort of like, another day, another near death experience. Once, going into the thick stuff, my skiis quite annoyingly just stopped, thus launching me forwards as if I was on a bike and braked hard with the front wheel. I got up and thought, "oops, I'm blind" but it turned out that my goggles had been neatly packed full to the brim with snow. Don't know how that happened cos I was still wearing them over my eyes. Anyway, I think that's where the cut on my nose has come from.

Other highlights? Our rep crashing the minibus, tobogganing down a vertical distance of 200m in the dark, and working out the logistics of an El Gringo's drinking challenge are all up there, but watching Oxford University draw 3-3 at ice hockey with a Courchevel team composed of very angry young guys and witness the ref actually deck one of them was a real bonus. The photos are here.

Courchevel, skiing, ice hockey