Polmont centre welcomes a real slope star

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Olympic skiing sensation Alain Baxter knows better than anyone zooming down the slopes is a lot of fun and should be something we can all enjoy.

The man himself will be visiting Polmonthill Ski Centre on Monday, January 7, to help get that important message across to the people of Falkirk and mark the forthcoming launch of the centre’s associated winter sports club.

The Edinburgh-born slalom specialist won a place in Scottish hearts at Salt Lake City’s Winter Olympics back in 2002 when he became the first British skier to win a medal in an alpine skiing event.

Later stripped of his bronze medal after failing a drug test, he gained public sympathy when it was discovered the drug traces in his system came from nothing more than an everyday Vicks inhaler.

It was even reported the Austrian skier who subsequently received the bronze actually wanted to give it back to Alain because it was rightfully his.

The 39-year-old has left all that controversy behind now, but his love of skiing remains and he will be passing his enthusiasm for the sport onto the youngsters at Polmonthill early next year.

Martin Crombie, a committee member of the new Polmont Hill Snow Sports Club, said: “The head instructor at the centre knows Alain quite well and asked him if he would come along on the day to talk, and ski with, the young members of the racing team.

“It’s great to have a skier as talented as Alain to back what we are doing at the centre and the club.”

The aim of the new club is to encourage as many people as possible to start skiing and use the excellent facility which is on their doorsteps.

“Skiing used to be perceived as a middle or upper class sport,” said Martin, from Carron. “That’s not the case anymore. It’s not that expensive to get started now - both our boys were kitted out with equipment, much of it second hand, for under £100.

“The club is very much in its infancy at the moment, but we will be launching it officially on January 20 - World Snow Day. We will then work together hand in hand with the centre.

“Since the Community Trust took over the running of Polmonthill 18 months ago it is now pushing forward and encouraging things like our club. We have members from as young as four right up to elderly people who can still tear down the slopes.” Polmonthill Ski Centre and the club will be holding an open day on Sunday, January 20, to allow people to have a go on the slopes.

For more information about Polmont Hill Snow Sports Club call (01324) 503835.