Billy Kidd celebrates 80th birthday at Steamboat Resort (with photos and video)
The secret to skiing at 80?
“Be really, really good at 79 and 9/10 and then you just coast into 80,” Billy Kidd said.
If it weren’t for all this snow, Kidd would not have been able to celebrate his birthday on skis. The local legend turned 80 on Thursday, April 13, and took advantage of Steamboat Resort’s extended season, skiing down Heavenly Daze in the spring sun alongside a couple hundred people.
Kidd was one of the first American men to win an Olympic skiing medal, a silver in 1964, and a World Championships gold in 1970.
Shortly after collecting the title, Kidd moved to Steamboat from Stowe, Vermont.
“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,” Kidd told the Pilot & Today in 2018.
This year, Kidd said he and Barrows decided to ski only on sunny days since they were approaching 80.
“How many sunny days did we have this year?” he said. “We didn’t get that many days, but the days we got were glorious.”
While he isn’t considered one of Steamboat’s 100 Olympians, Kidd is still a beloved person in Steamboat. He’s been the Director of Skiing at Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. since 1970 and he said duties include controlling the snowstorms, of which there were plenty this year.
Thursday’s birthday ski included a half dozen stops on the slopes during which Kidd shared how the best in the world ski. He talked about foot placement, pole plants, swooping turns and more, but ultimately said, if you’re going down the mountain with a smile on your face, “you’re doing it right.”
Kidd charmed the crowd, which shrunk slightly throughout the trip down Heavenly Daze and concluded the run with cupcakes and champagne at the base area. He told stories of his days on the U.S. Ski Team, caught up with buddies including Rebel Ryan, who flew in from Vermont to see his old friend.
Despite not getting out enough this year, Kidd’s favorite part of Steamboat is the epic snow.
“It’s like skiing powder right up to your chin, and then going up to heaven and saying, ‘Now I’m going to get to the really good stuff,’ and then you find out you were just in it. There aren’t many Steamboat people in heaven, because they go up and find it’s better skiing here than it is in heaven.”
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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