Guest column: Informed and insightful, Moose Barrows’ motivation was pure

Andy Wirth
Guest column
Olympian Jim "Moose" Barrows cuts a ribbon as fellow Olympians, from left, Loris Werner, Nelson Carmichael, Caroline Lalive, Billy Kidd, Todd Wilson and Scott Berry join him for the Walk of Olympians ribbon-cutting celebration at Fifth Street and Lincoln Avenue in downtown Steamboat Springs in 2012. Barrows passed away Friday, June 28, 2024. He was 80 years old.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

It’s not hard to find people that knew Moose Barrows and called him a friend. In fact, the opposite is true; it is far more difficult to find folks who knew him and didn’t call him a friend. 

I lived and worked in Steamboat Springs and Clark for 25 years and raised my three kids there. In my case, much of my friendship with Moose was shaped by my work with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. In fact, I served as the SSWSC board chairman for something like eight years and all of my kids were in the club. I was also good friends and worked with Winston Kidd, as Moose would call him, and heard many a great tale from Billy about the legend of Moose Barrows.

I spent a great deal of time with Moose talking about flying, skiing, Buddy Werner and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, particularly while I was serving as board chair. Long breakfasts at The Shack and extended lunches at Johnny B. Good’s with Moose were always welcomed.

He was a great resource for me as board chairman, as many including parents and those in the community had input on everything from their kids’ coach to the club’s strategic focus — but at times, it could be challenging, as their engagement was, at best, episodic and seemingly (just) associated with their kid’s interests as much as anything else.

Moose had opinions, but they were informed insights, and thankfully, he always had the disposition to engage and act, ultimately becoming one of the few who provided consistent and unwavering support. I would always seek to get as much from Moose as possible, based on his experience and perspective.

Throughout all of these conversations, of the many great things I learned about Moose, was that he always sought to do what he could with an emphasis on what was in the best interests of the SSWSC and the community. Over time, I came to understand that his motivations were pure.

Moose had a great deal of pride in the club, and he profoundly respected the long-standing legacy of the SSWSC. But ultimately, I came to understand that he so genuinely cared about the young people in the club. I also came to understand that when Moose was a young ski racer, Buddy Werner had mentored him, and he saw fit to make his life one of quietly paying Buddy’s gift forward to future ski racers. 

Honestly, I lost touch with Moose since moving to Montana, but the word of him passing hit me hard. Admittedly an irrational thought, but Moose was one of those enduring figures in one’s life that I just figured would always be there. With him gone, I now reflect on who he was and importantly what he quietly did for so many in what I still call my hometown.

Moose was a great pilot, incredible skier, but above all, he had a huge heart … he’ll be greatly missed. 

Andy Wirth began his career with Steamboat Resort in 1986 and served in several marketing and leadership positions at Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. and its parent companies.

Andy Wirth
Courtesy photo

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