From basketball to the slippery ski slopes and beyond, sportsmen aren’t alone in having to weigh up the odds.

There I was on top of a steep, bumpy ‘black’ (ski) run, scared to death and able to see, not only right down the slope, but all the way to central Vancouver, almost to the concert hall itself from high up on Cypress Mountain. “So what else you gonna do today, Freddy?”

I remember that moment very well. I recall suddenly thinking that I did in fact have to play Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto that evening, which did increase the anxiety I was already feeling and may have been part of the reason why I did notmanage to conquer that particular mountain on that particular day; and why I ended up falling over yet again…

I started learning to ski aged 29 and it has been the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life so far. Quite miraculously, earlier this year, I did manage to finally conquer my skis and have finally graduated to being what I’d dare to call (even on my local hill in Bavaria) an expert skier.

However I spent almost all of my childhood shying away from...