Skiing Like A Belgian

“You ski like a Belgian” is a cheerily raffish Swiss insult to those, unlike themselves who had the misfortune to be born somewhere else and for whom sliding down precipitous slopes comes as naturally as breathing.

Surprisingly, a lifetime and a half ago, I used to teach people to ski. Before the days of parabolic skis which allow even an ill-balanced troglodye to turn, we learned on sleek, long, wood-core skis, legs glued together and carved compression parallels were achieved only after much effort and practice. Modern skis have taken a leaf from the skateboarders book, have a spectacular parabolic curve and turn on a sixpence with legs hip-width apart. All of which meant that with legs glued together and determined pressure, I found myself over-rotating hopelessly with shoulders facing the wrong way, amid gales of laughter. In my defence, the borrowed skis were a bit short, but I nonetheless felt briefly Belgian.

4 thoughts on “Skiing Like A Belgian

  1. Having recently met a Belgian, I confess myself at a loss in comprehending the depth of this particular insult. Not unlike the Senior Wrinkly, who, on hearing of the outrage and horror which greets a common insult here — “You are the son of a goat herder“– laughed with genuine amusement. He thought he could find an appropriate moment to use said insult in Canada, fully expecting a totally different response than one witnesses in 10 year old Arab boys.He'll let me know how it works out.

    P.S. Senior Wrinkly has only ever skiied on barrel staves, waxed to allow for frictionless sliding. He was pretty good if I do say so myself. He has eschewed the boarding craze in deference to his venerable years and fragile bones.


  2. Sitting on the terrass sipping a coffee and eating a Grand Marnier pancake, from half a mile ahead among hundred others skiers, my Swiss friend could immediatly spot “someone who learnt how to ski in the 60s”. I could feel the irony in her voice but also some envy… (the only person ever known to have fallen on a sharp 21st century ski-and cut her butt 2 inches deep-surely grows some kind of bitterness…)



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