Pope Benedict XVI has praised skiing, saying that it helps to surmount problems in life and makes one realise how small one is in respect to creation.
The Pope, who was an enthusiastic skier when he was young, told a group of Italian ski instructors that with sporting activities, one understands that the body is not an object but is a mode to express oneself and to build relations.
Speaking in the Vatican, he added: "Your engagement as 'ski masters' helps to boost certain capacities, for example steadfastness in pursing aims, respect for the rules, tenacity in confronting and surmounting difficulties.
"In all sporting activities, a person understands better that their body should not be considered an object ... but that it allows them to express themselves and establish relations with others. In this way, the balance between the physical and spiritual dimensions leads one not to idolise the body but to respect it."