5 minutes with Olympian and Steamboat Resort Director of Skiing Billy Kidd
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Resort’s Director of Skiing Billy Kidd turned 75 last year, nearly 50 of those spent in Steamboat Springs. The first U.S. male to win an Olympic skiing medal (silver, 1964), and the gold medalist at the 1970 World Championships, Kidd can live — and ski — anywhere he wants. He chose Steamboat and hasn’t looked back since, except to see others trying to catch him on the slopes.
In his own words:
I moved here in 1970 from Stowe, Vermont, right after winning the World Championships. I’d heard about Steamboat from Buddy Werner and Moose Barrows, who were on the University of Colorado and U.S. ski teams with me. I got hooked on powder and sunshine, and with the town’s ranching background and a name like Billy Kidd, it was a perfect fit.
I never thought too far ahead back then, but when the opportunity arose to become Steamboat’s director of skiing, I stayed. And I’m still here nearly 50 years later. I tell people they should visit but to be careful because they might get hooked.
If it’s a powder day, I love Shadows. I’m a racer, and the trees are just like slalom gates. Plus, it faces west, so it always has good lighting and visibility. For cruisers, I like Buddy’s Run, which reminds me of skiing in the Olympics with Buddy Werner.
I don’t see any reason to quit skiing, but I like to stop every 100 yards or so to look at the views. Jack Rabbit Johannsen skied until he was 104. So, I still see a lot of good years left.
I talk about Steamboat all the time on my travels. The Western image here is real, not manufactured by Madison Avenue. Steamboat has an authentic ranching history. No matter where I am, when people see my hat, it says American West and Steamboat.
My hat is a Billy Kidd Stetson. They’ve had it in their line for 30 years. On cattle drives, if your hat fell off and the herd stampeded, you wouldn’t go back for it. So, they used stampede straps to keep them on. I use one for skiing. Of course, now I wear a helmet most of the time.
I like the days when Steamboat’s Champagne Powder comes up to the brim of my Stetson.
To reach Eugene Buchanan, call 970-871-4276 or email ebuchanan@SteamboatPilot.com.
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