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Gifts special: Skiing

Brits helped invent the alpine winter holiday. The love endures

By Jamie Strachan   December 2011

In 1864, Johannes Badrutt, a St Moritz hotelier, made an offer to four British summer guests. He asked them to come back, but in winter. If they did not enjoy themselves, he would pay their costs. He won his wager, and the British love affair with skiing began. From then on, the British appetite for alpine winter sports grew and small alpine villages have, over time, turned into large and highly profitable operations.

Off-piste runs allow skiers to float through deep, untracked snow. Japan, Canada and the American Rockies are famed for “powder” snow, as the low humidity makes it…

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