As well as an avid sailer, Simon Le Bon, the lead singer of Duran Duran, is also a keen skier. He talks to Graham Bell about ice sailing with Ski Sunday, the prospect of an alpine music video and skiing like Tom from Tom and Jerry.
By Graham Bell
12:40PM BST 10 Sep 2013
When did you first ski?
I started back in 1982. I was with a Canadian girlfriend at the time, and I learnt near Montreal. I didn’t have lessons just followed my brother John down the slopes, trying to copy the moves he was making.
Did you take to it?
I was so busy with Duran Duran I didn’t go again until 1985. I was working on the lyrics of a song and felt like I needed to go somewhere cold, so we went to Zermatt. In Zermatt the easy slopes are up at the top, but the weather was so bad that we had to use the steeper slopes into the town that meant we ended up on this extraordinarily steep hill with what felt like slippery banana skins on our feet. My wife Yasmin spent most of the time building snowmen – she called it quits very early on – and I ended up crashing and bruising my knee really badly. The kids fared much better and Amber is a very good skier now.
So has your technique improved over the years?
I’m not scared of the speed and I’m quite happy to point my skis straight down the hill and go as fast as I can – but I do fall over a lot. You know in Tom and Jerry when Tom gets thrown through a wall and there’s a Tom-shaped hole left behind? Well, if you see a man-shaped hole in a snow bank at the side of the piste, that’s probably where I stopped myself.
Where do you go skiing now?
I had a wonderful time in Telluride, Colorado. For my level of skiing it was beautiful, and I like the order in American skiing – it’s a little less anarchic than Europe. I’ve been hit by a skier and tripped up by a snowboarder in the Alps, but I do love the scenery.
Pop group The Feeling started as a ski resort band, have you ever thought about playing out in the Alps?
In January 2012 we played a show in Davos/Klosters as part of the Altitude festival – which included some ice polo among other things. I had an incredible day skiing there, but it was so cold and windy that when we got to the restaurant I had to break the ice out of my beard before having a cup of tea.
Have you been tempted to film a music video in the Alps?
The Beatles skied when they were filming Help!, I think it was to the song Ticket To Ride. The Monkees skied as well, and Wham! shot the Last Christmas video in the Alps. When that song came out we all thought what a load of crap that is, but now it’s a classic. I’ve been tempted but it’s the rest of the band that’s the problem. Actually it’s not, it’s just Nick Rhodes. John Taylor skis in Beaver Creek, Roger Taylor has done a fair bit of skiing, and I’m up for anything. Maybe Nick could do the stuff in the silly jumper by the fire.
You went ice sailing with the Ski Sunday team. Did you enjoy it?
Yes, sailing is much more my thing. I was sailing on the Norfolk Broads at the age of 11. I started in dinghies, then when I joined a rock group I was invited on much larger boats. I found I had a knack for steering. In fact, this year in Cannes I got to sail as guest helmsman on The Ivy. We filmed the Rio video on her back in 1982. Most people think it was Drum, but that was the boat that capsized during the Fastnet race in 1985. When I was offered an opportunity by Graham Bell and Ed Leigh to go ice sailing in Sweden I was very excited. I’ve never been that fast under sail before. We were hitting speeds of 70mph, which on a flat ice lake is just incredible.
Courtesy Telegraph UK