Ski industry veteran Gary Wardrope is planning to race competitively again, with plans to take part in the British masters skiing championships in the French Alps.

He is currently managing director of Online Travel Group, which includes a ski specialist website at getskiing.co.uk, as well as hotholidays.co.uk and getcruising.co.uk.

With his 60th birthday approaching, he decided he is too young to retire and thought a return to his ski racing days would be the ideal challenge.

“I am not getting a pipe and slippers – I want to put pressure on myself to be fitter and go for it,” he said.

Growing up in Canada, he raced as a kid and student, then had six ski seasons in the Alps as a racer and instructor in the mid-80s.

At the World Speed Ski Championships in 1989, he clocked up 107 mph.

Wardrope helped Neilson to establish a training programme for UK travel agents to learn about ski holidays and then set up Airtours’ ski programme in the 1990s.

Family commitments meant his ski-racing days were behind him for 25 years – but now he is in training for events in his age group run by the British Masters Ski Club (BMSC).

“It’s a good feeling – I go to the gym twice a week and play tennis twice a week,” he said.

“I will go to a training camp in Austria in October, for a week at Molltaler Glacier.”

He hopes to compete in slalom, giant slalom and downhill events and needs to practise skiing with modern slalom poles instead of old-fashioned bamboo poles.

His first challenge is to pass a medical examination to qualify for his Federation International du Ski (FIS) licence and then he can enter the British championships in February in Chatel.

He hopes to race in other BMSC events too, in Innsbruck, Aspen and Chile.

There is no prize money on offer and he has to pay for his own travel and other expenses.

“It’s an adventure and I love it – it’s my passion,” he said.

“My favourite ski resort is St Anton in Austria, as the off-piste skiing is awesome and the nightlife is amazing. I also like Chamonix.

“But I am starting to feel it in my knees though. I have had two operations on my left knee and have almost no cartilage left in there now.”

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