It has been great to exchange the business pressures of surviving the credit crunch for the task of trying to stay upright whilst skiing an expanse of fresh powder. Although I must admit that there are some similarities to the two challenges, on the whole it has been a pleasant escape. However, it was impossible to avoid being constantly reminded of the world’s problems. Whether it was the ease of getting a table in the restaurants or the length of the queues for the lifts, there were signs everywhere of the downturn, even though this must have been one of the busiest weeks of the year. What has certainly not helped is the weakness of the pound: suddenly everything is 30% more expensive for us Brits, and Val d’Isère was far from cheap to start with. At least the shops were running sales, so Amanda and Laura got some rather nice new ski jackets with a 30% discount. That made me feel better, almost.