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Tributes paid to one of the Cairngorms' last true ski pioneers


By Gavin Musgrove

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Chick Baxter pictured at his 90th birthday.
Chick Baxter pictured at his 90th birthday.

Friends are being urged to raise a glass when one of the last true pioneers of Cairngorm skiing and the grandfather of three winter Olympians is laid to rest.

Chic Baxter passed away aged 96 years at Grandview House in Grantown on Sunday (December 27), and his private family funeral is taking place today.

His grand-daughter Lesley McKenna, former World Cup half-piper and three-times Winter Olympian, said: “There have been so many lovely comments on social media about how Chic helped people over the years. He really was a huge support to everyone who knew him.”

Chic was also grandfather to Alain Baxter and his half-brother Noel Baxter, who both competed in the slalom in the Winter Olympics.

Chic and May Baxter, who passed away in 2011, used to hike up to the high tops of the Cairngorms so that they could ski before uplift was installed.
Chic and May Baxter, who passed away in 2011, used to hike up to the high tops of the Cairngorms so that they could ski before uplift was installed.

He was born in Dundee and grew up as a butcher’s delivery boy.

Chic went on to become an apprentice engineer at Timex International in his home city.

He moved up through the company ranks until he was travelling the world in his senior roles.

Lesley said: “Anyone who worked with Chic tells stories of his canny aptitude and great skill as well as his sense of fairness and equality.

“He was a great teacher and mentor at work, and he took this approach into his hobbies as well, especially with ice hockey and skiing.

“He was a passionate ice hockey player when he lived in Dundee, and also coached Aviemore Black Hawks and Aviemore Blue, and refereed. He was a well-known face at Aviemore Ice Rink when it came to ice hockey, but also for his very graceful ice dancing with May.

“Their gracefulness and sense of fun could be seen in all they did from skating to skiing and general adventuring.”

A young Chic Baxter in his ice hockey playing days.
A young Chic Baxter in his ice hockey playing days.

Lesley added: “Chic was someone who always saw the best in people and in any situation.

“He could always see a way to solve a problem or move in a better direction. He was a true gentleman in every sense, and will be sorely missed.

“The family would like to say a huge thank you to all the staff at Grandview House in Grantown where Chic spent the last few years of his life. He was very happy there, and we know they’ll also miss him.”

Chic was also a grandfather to Lucie and Nancy and had eight great grandchildren. His funeral is taking place at Insh Cemetery at Kincraig.

Alain Baxter famously claimed the bronze medal in the slalom at the Salt Lake City Games in 2002 only to later be stripped of it after he tested positive for a non-performance enhancing methamphetamine which had been contained in a US version of a Vicks nasal inhaler.

Read more on Chic's pioneering ski days in the latest Strathy now on sale.


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