Former international cricket player and Yorkshire County Cricket Club Captain; 2005 winner of Strictly Come Dancing; contestant on Channel 4’s 2014 series The Jump and a Ski Solutions client. In our interview with ‘Goughie’, we find out more about the man behind the fast-arm and his preferences within the world of winter sports.
Skier or snowboarder?
Oh, I’m definitely a skier. Having had eight operations on my right knee and two on my left, I am one to try anything, so I tried a bit of snowboarding but I just got a bit sick of falling down. Although I prefer going down on the skeleton, that’s my favourite.
When did you first try skiing?
Not until later life. I only started skiing when I retired from cricket, so about seven years ago now. As a professional sportsman there are restrictions in your contract on what kind of activities you can and can’t do outside of cricket. So skiing as well as motor biking are two things I’ve picked up in later life.
Green, blue, red or black…
Anything without bumps – I like to go fast. As soon as I see moguls it’s just my worst nightmare.
Europe or North America?
Definitely Europe, I’ve not done North America yet. I went out to Colorado once for a knee operation during the ski season, but obviously I wasn’t skiing!
What’s your all-time favourite resort?
A village called Sainte Foy in France [down the valley from Val d’Isère] – it was beautiful. It was quiet with nice little runs. I like it when it’s quiet on the slopes, I don’t like it too busy.
Where did you ski last year, and who are your perfect companions on the slopes?
Last year I went to a friend’s chalet in Austria. I do like Austria. My youngest son, one of his friends and I went there for five days. So I could go off with the boys and my son could ski with his friend. When we went to Sainte Foy we had a huge chalet for 16 people. I went there with a load of the guys and we had a right laugh.
Will you ski this season? Where do you want to go?
Yes I will. We’re going through Ski Solutions too. Last time we went with Ski Solutions I went to Courmayeur in Italy and it was lovely. I think this year it will be France, but I’m undecided at the moment on the resort – I’m looking into Val d’Isère or Tignes. I’ve never been there so it would be fun.
Are you a fan of the après ski scene?
I do like the partying. I’m a skier where I probably like to ski for 4 hours and then have a long lunch. I do like a glass of wine on the mountain or a couple of cold beers.
Best meal on the mountains?
If I had to pick my favourite meal, I’d probably say pizza – I love it. Especially when I did the Italy trip – I’ll tell you, my son was obsessed by it. You can’t beat pizza in the mountains. I do like the old melted cheese fondue. You’ve got to have a fondue.
You took part in Channel 4’s The Jump in 2014. Was the ski jump more terrifying than facing Curtley Ambrose and Courtney Walsh in their prime?
A lot more terrifying! I loved all the events except the ski jump – I doubt I’ll ever do it again. I broke three ribs, I had ligament damage in my ankle and had to wear a brace for four or five weeks after the show, and I had wrist damage, so I won’t be trying that again any time soon. Every other event, except that, I loved.
Phil Tufnell followed you on to The Jump this year. Did you give him any tips while he was out there?
Well he was shocking! I mean he was embarrassingly bad. At least I had some good jumps! Even though I broke my ribs going off the mid-sized jump, at least I still jumped 12 or 13 metres off the smaller jump.
What would you say is your finest cricketing memory?
On a personal point it will be my hat trick against Australia in The Ashes in Sydney [in 1999]. As a team, there are quite a few – beating Australia in Melbourne I’ll always remember, and beating Pakistan and Sri Lanka in their own country, which was an amazing effort because it’s such a rare thing to do.
And do you still dance?
Ah, not really no. I do like it, I still watch Strictly but no, I don’t dance at all now. You learn a routine and people think you can just get up and get anyone doing it but you can’t. I don’t think it would take me long to get back into it if I wanted to.
Finally, what do you love most about skiing?
Ooh… I would say probably that first day, whenever you go, it’s just great to get back out there because you always think “I bet I’ve forgotten how to do this”, but as soon as you get on that first run, it’s just breathtaking every time – I absolutely love it.