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Ace Powder's Mountain Mayhem

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Alpine Skiing Sunday, 17 February, 2002, 19:18 GMT
On the slopes with Team GB
Alain Baxter prepares to push off for one of his runs
Alain Baxter prepares to push off for one of his runs
BBC Sport Online's Anna Thompson enjoys a training session with the GB men's Olympic ski team.

They turned up laughing and joking.

Alain Baxter, his younger half-brother Noel, Ross Green and Gareth Trayner enjoy a good bout of banter and it is what team manager Christian Schwaiger likes too.

He wants his skiers to remain calm rather than making themselves tense as their Olympic events get closer.

Gareth Trayner watches his team-mates on the run
Trayner looks on at training
Which is why training for the British team is a relaxed affair.

They undertake four timed runs, two on one course and two on another course set by the Team GB coaches.

On this occasion, they were concentrating on the giant slalom.

Interested day skiers on the Deer Valley slopes poke their noses over the cordoned off fences, taking pictures of the skiers and wishing the guys good luck. They appreciate the compliments.

One after another the British skiers push off from the start gate and soon disappear down the mountain.

The first run times are OK but the boys still rib each other about them.

When they jest with Noel about his slower time, he jokes back: "That's because I stopped on the way down to check my split time!"

After the first two runs, they head off for a spot of free skiing while the gates are re-set in different positions.

Ross Green, who finished a heroic 15th in the men's combined on Wednesday, invites me to join him. I'm flattered at the offer and take it up immediately.

Ross Green pososes for the camera
Green is the toast of the team
I can't keep up with his world class pace but enjoy gliding through the slalom gates they have been racing down minutes before. It was an exhilarating feeling.

He is first down the new course but the coaches are unhappy with the gate positions.

But before they change it again, Alain Baxter is on his way down and moments later he is involved in a spectacular crash.

Thankfully he is not seriously injured, although he decides to sit out the final run of the day.

Training finishes and the lads mingle around at the bottom of the slope, chatting away before heading back up the mountain to get some much-needed nourishment.

After two good results so far for the team, with Chemmy Alcott's 14th and Green's 15th in the combined, you can tell it has had a positive effect on the whole team.

They are thoroughly nice chaps and if they could win medals for being sound blokes, they would all be Olympic champions.

BBC Sport Online's Anna Thompson

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See also:

17 Feb 02 | Alpine Skiing
Baxter wipes out in training
16 Feb 02 | Features
Tall order for Team GB
14 Feb 02 | Features
Green's golden run
11 Feb 02 | Alpine Skiing
Austrian coach cheers Brits
09 Feb 02 | Features
Alcott's all-round altitude test
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