Two planks and a passion book
Night Performance at Two Planks and a Passion Theatre, Ross Creek, Nova Scotia
Two Planks and a Passion: The Dramatic History of Skiing
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When, in , Amundsen became the first man to raise a flag over the South Pole, one might have expected him to celebrate, or at least express quiet satisfaction at beating Scott's British team. Instead, his first reflections were that "the skiing has been partly good, partly bad". As Roland Huntford reminds us in a history of skiing full of intriguing surprises, his team saw themselves not as explorers, but as skiers. We are used to the commonplaces about why Amundsen beat Scott: that the Norwegians preferred huskies to ponies, took a better route, and were better led — this last an idea introduced by Huntford in his iconoclastic and influential biography of Scott. The idea that they got there first because they were better at skiing the British apparently had a "defective technique" is a further humiliation, particularly now that as a nation we quite fancy ourselves on the slopes. But Norway had been skiing for a few thousand more years than we had.