A Bideford soldier has been honing his skiing skills in the breathtaking scenery of the French Alps. Air Trooper Tim Paul, 22, who has been practising Nordic (cross-country) skiing for only two months ,took part in Exercise Pipedown, the Championships for

A Bideford soldier has been honing his skiing skills in the breathtaking scenery of the French Alps.Air Trooper Tim Paul, 22, who has been practising Nordic (cross-country) skiing for only two months ,took part in Exercise Pipedown, the Championships for British soldiers based in Germany. It is held in the French ski resort of Les Contamines Montjoie near Mont Blanc. Nordic skiing, often coupled with shooting as a Biathlon event, is one of the popular disciplines for military people, and is widely regarded as one of the most arduous and physically demanding sports.Tim came 41st out of 73 in the 10 kilometre men's biathlon sprint helping his team to fifth place out of 14.He is a former pupil of Bideford College and grew up in and around the town.Tim serves as a ground-crew / refueller with 1 Regiment Army Air Corps, a helicopter unit, which is based at Gutersloh in North West, Germany. Since joining the Army in 2006 he has also visited Norway, Austria and Holland. Before joining he was a chef.Off duty Tim also enjoys surfing, sailing, running, kayaking and shooting. This is the 14th year that German-based troops have held their Championships at Les Contamines. This year there are 200 competitors providing 35 teams.