As I write, having emerged from an indolent coma induced by the excesses of the festive season, the former F1 racing driver Michael Schumacher remains in intensive care in a Grenoble hospital following his dreadful skiing accident.
The circumstances of how he ended up there are still unclear, although one thing seems certain: had he not been wearing a helmet when his head collided with a rock he would have been dead.
I have followed the story with a sense of “there but for the grace of God go I”, because the week before Schumacher’s accident in Meribel, I was skiing with family and friends a few Alps away in Vaujany.
Let me be clear: when it comes to skiing, I am the equivalent of an elderly lady driving to the shops. I stick to the marked pistes, preferably blues, and my sole aim is to get to the bottom of the hill in one piece.
But I am increasingly in a minority. This year, as far as I could see, for every one of me there were at least 10 assholes equipped with headcams, whose sole aim was to record themselves flying down the mountain at 70mph before uploading the resulting footage onto YouTube.
Headcams are a modern menace. They encourage people to show off far beyond their limited abilities. And for what purpose? Trust me, headcam footage is only ever interesting if it involves the wearer slamming into a tree, plunging over the edge of cliff, or being swept away by an avalanche of their own stupid making.
Which is why I wouldn’t have minded so much if this lot had been off-piste. Here at least there was a chance of recording a video worth watching.
Instead the bastards were bombing down the same tranquil blues as me! It was me who was in imminent danger of being skewered by a ski or decapitated by a snowboard – and after 15 years’ reluctant but injury-free skiing that didn’t seem fair.
Still, it’s new year and my resolution is to be a nicer person. So here’s hoping Michael Schumacher makes a swift and full recovery. Meanwhile, here’s some headcam footage of an asshole skier falling off a mountain.