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Tributes have been paid to Ian Baxter - one of Britain's finest ever skiers


By Gavin Musgrove

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Ian Baxter with his sons GB Olympic slalom ski stars Noel (left) and Alain.
Ian Baxter with his sons GB Olympic slalom ski stars Noel (left) and Alain.

Tributes have been paid to Ian Baxter – regarded as one of the Cairngorm ski greats and father to two GB Olympians.

Mr Baxter passed away aged 78 last Wednesday with his family by his side after a short illness.

He grew up in Dundee before making Aviemore his long-time home.

He was father to Great Britain World Cup ski stars and Olympians Alain Baxter and his younger half-brother Noel and accomplished horse woman, Lucie Hendry (Baxter).

A family spokeswoman said: "It is with a heavy heart that we give you the news that Ian Baxter, a true legend of Scottish and British skiing, passed away peacefully, with family by his side on Wednesday (January 3) after a short illness."

His family said Mr Baxter was part of the original Cairngorm ski community and 'stood out as one of the very best home grown skiers among a group of talented and pioneering individuals' of that era.

Ian Baxter was regarded as one of the finest skiers ever to be produced by Great Britain.
Ian Baxter was regarded as one of the finest skiers ever to be produced by Great Britain.

As well as a being a successful racer, he coached the Espoirs, the RAF race team and worked for various ski clubs over the years including locally Coylumbridge Hotel, Ski School D'Ecosse and Cairdsports.

Mr Baxter was a BASI trainer and his family said 'a consistent member of the ski community in the heydays of Scottish skiing'.

As well as being a highly accomplished skier, Ian was a gifted ice hockey player and played for both the Dundee Rockets and Aviemore Blackhawks teams.

In the summer months, Ian was passionate about road biking and ran a bike shop in Aviemore for many years. He was regularly seen road biking in and around the village until recently.

His niece Lesley McKenna, ex-GB snowboard star, said: "Ian was known for his kind nature and sense of humour, loved by many and cherished dearly. He will be sorely missed."

Ian was brother to Lorna McKenna (Baxter) and a doting grandfather to seven grandchildren."

Ian Baxter continued to keep fit in his later years and remained a keen road biker.
Ian Baxter continued to keep fit in his later years and remained a keen road biker.

Tributes have poured in on local social media to Mr Baxter.

Brian Bruce posted: "Another of the good ones gone. What a skier. Had great fun playing hockey with him many a time.

"Ian told how he decided to move to Aviemore to follow his love of skiing and on his last day of working in the Dundee Shipyard, he walked to the edge of the dock and dropped his tools in the water and said to himself 'I’ll never need these again'.

"What an absolute legend.

"It was guys like Ian who made Aviemore the incredible place that it was.

"Characters that were larger than life and embraced life with an enthusiasm, humour and carefree spirit that you don’t find in many places on this earth.

"Unfortunately, we are losing these adventurous spirits and they seem to be impossible to replace. Very sad. He will be missed."

Ian Baxter was the one of the very best skiers of his era and one of the last great ski pioneers of the Cairngorms. Here he is being presented with the Scottish ski championship trophy in 1969.
Ian Baxter was the one of the very best skiers of his era and one of the last great ski pioneers of the Cairngorms. Here he is being presented with the Scottish ski championship trophy in 1969.

Chris Barling posted: "So sorry and sad to hear this. Iain was one of the best skiers I’ve ever skied with and taught me a hell of a lot.

"He was the chief instructor at D’Ecosse when I first started and was just a really good fella.

"RIP mate – it will be some party up there."

Bruce Cranston stated: "Sad news – Ian was one of my skiing hero’s that I was lucky enough to ski with cycle and be friends with."

Paul Masson posted: "I shared a flat with Ian in Morgex when we worked for Interski. The Italian ski instructors reckoned Ian was the only ‘Brit’ that could ski properly!"


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