I have been skiing more times than you could shake a ski pole at. So how come I am still the world's worst skier? Every year I dazzle family, friends, instructors and random strangers by demonstrating an incredible inability to improve my skills on skis by even one teeny tiny smidge of a snowflake.
No amount of private lessons, kind words, gentle cajoling or outright swearing at me makes the blindest bit of difference. Show me a piste and I transform into a doddery old tortoise. Or a baby rhino on drugs. Or, at best, a complete liability. I have been called all three at various points (and occasionally all at once).
To help you avoid making the mistakes I make - over and over again - here's my list of what not to do on the piste, compiled from years and years of painful experience.
1. Grind to a standstill and start to weep uncontrollably on a green/blue/red/black run because it looks too steep. Tears and snot and shaking limbs on the piste are undignified and can attract unwelcome comments. No matter what your instincts tell you, stopping, I have discovered, is the last thing you should ever do.
2. Crash into your ski instructor. I'm good at this one - but this year I was beaten to it by an out-of-control snowboarder (is there any other kind?), who managed to career into the back of my guide, doing a clever kind of somersault in the process. The boarder ended up being beaten to a pulp by my instructor, who was so enraged that he laid into him with his ski poles. This caused other people to pile in. Cue mass punch-up in the Courchevel badlands.
3. Hold hands with your ski instructor. Even if it's supposedly to help you turn without crashing off the side of a mountain, this can have disastrous consequences. It can also make your boyfriend/girlfriend well jel and cause bitter remarks for years afterwards. Trust me on this.
4. Believe you've got "the nack" of getting on a ski lift. There is a very high probability that you will be next to someone who lacks any coordination whatsoever (you know who you are) which means you will end up collapsed under the chair with your derriere in the air while the buffoon glides away on the lift looking completely innocent.
5. Try to impress your kids. You may think you're rather good at skiing backwards while doing frisky little jumps, but I promise you: they won't agree.
6. Sit down on the middle of the piste. Yes, your legs may feel like they're permanently stuck in a torture rack, but resting on your laurels on the go is a no-no. It's schuss or die.
7. Feel for just one tiny moment that you finally know how to ski. You may think you look like Victoria Beckham gliding effortlessly down the piste. In reality, friends/family/kids/random strangers will always be on hand to snigger and ask you if you have been drinking.
8. Try to do clever zig-zags on narrow paths. This creates furious traffic jams and, on occasions, triggers the necessity for stretchers and expensive helicopter rescues.
So there you have it. Obviously it was tricky narrowing down my list; I could go on but I don't want to wear you out. If you're a rubbish skier too, please feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below. In the meantime, here's a video of a few rather majestic ski failures, just to make you feel better.