Pope Benedict XVI has followed in the footsteps of his predecessor, keen skier Pope John Paul II, by praising the sport of skiing during a visit to the Vatican by Italian ski instructors.
"Skiing makes us feel small and returns us to our true dimension as creatures," said Pope Benedict.
Pope John Paul II was a keen skier and after his death one of his ski jackets was sent to a Catholic High school in the US where it was put on display this year and will be regarded as a Holy relic if John Paul II is made a saint.
Pope Benedict told the visiting ski instructors, who were dressed in full ski kit, that their teaching on the ski slopes encouraged good Christian values including steadfastness, respecting rules and determination in facing and over-coming difficulties.