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Animation of skier skiing downhill.

A sport which involves careening down a steep, slippery, snow-covered slope with no means of control - except with two long wooden boards, called skis, strapped tightly to your specialized boots, and a pair of long poles. You use the poles and skis to avoid trees and to stop yourself falling over.

As if the inherent dangers of the sport weren't enough of a deterrent, gaining the privilege to ski at a decent mountain resort requires a small mountain of money.

This money mainly goes towards maintaining the 50-year-old ski lifts which will either drag or carry you slowly up a hill1.

One of the most feared types of lifts is the T-bar. Under no circumstances should you attempt to use this unless you have a large backside, and a love of being dragged along on your face through the snow with your skis tangled up in the bar in front of you. The airborne lifts are not much better, unless you like the idea of being confined to a steel cage 200 feet above the surface of the slippery slopes.

Then there is ski equipment. To the untrained eye it looks like modern torture equipment, but in all the latest styles and colours. Many first time skiers are convinced that ski boots were designed by a masochist who enjoys having freezing cold toes and relishes the experience of having all circulation below the knee cut off.

For those who make it through these trials, there are rewards: defrosting yourself and your children and spending the day in sub zero temperatures avoiding snowboarders2.

But for all of these trials, everyone is recommended to try out this sport for it's adrenaline rush and the exhilaration it provides. If that is not enough of a reason, resorts are usually located in some of the more picturesque places on Earth. At a place like Heavenly in America the views are magnificent.

But watch out for the trees.

1At least, you hope it does.2Or you could go drinking at the bar with your wealthy friends.

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