Ted's tips

2nd February 2001 at 00:00
* Winter sports are a pleasure if well handled, a nightmare if you foul up. Austria, France and Northern Italy are popular, but don't forget Scotland, or places nearer home, if we have a cold winter.

* Only use properly trained instructors. Some may be posers, snooty and disgustingly suntanned (warn them off your girls), but at least they know what they are doing.

* Safety is paramount, unless you want to explain to angry parents why Jason and Samantha are in traction for the next six weeks, so NO off-piste skiing or sledging over rough ground, and definitely no messing about. If necessry, turn into Hitler for a week.

* Correct clothing is even more important in bitterly cold weather, so warm waterproofs, bright colours, a decent pair of gloves, proper socks and non-slip boots are all essential.

* Unlike summer outings, winter sports are characterised by long dark nights. Find things for children to do from 4pm onwards, otherwise they will discover gluehwein and schnapps and be sick.

* Skating can be fun, but our ponds are dangerous, except in very cold winters. Torvill and Dean have made it appear easy, but beginners skate more like Laurel and Hardy.

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