Olympian Billy Kidd offers tips for Opening Day at Steamboat Resort | SteamboatToday.com

Olympian Billy Kidd offers tips for Opening Day at Steamboat Resort

Billy Kidd leads a pack of skiers from his afternoon clinic down the edge of Heavenly Daze. (Photo by Joel Reichenberger/file)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The long-awaited ski season has arrived at Steamboat Resort, and as skiers and boarders head to the slopes, Alpine skiing Olympian Billy Kidd has some advice for a fun Opening Day and a successful season.

Stay on track

Steamboat Resort offers some of the best tree skiing around, and it’s tempting to go off the beaten path and shred uncharted territory, but Kidd advises to stay away. The snow is not yet thick enough to weave through.

“I always suggest, at the beginning of the year, that you do not go out into the trees,” said Kidd, who is the resort’s director of skiing. “In Steamboat, you have the best powder, but I know the rocks and stumps that are underneath the snow, so I do not go out there Opening Day.”

Check your equipment

Maybe you haven’t checked your bindings or had your skis tuned since last spring or winter. Maybe you told yourself after last season that you needed a new pair of boots and waited too long for a sale, or that one buckle was being too tricky.

Before heading out, make sure all of your equipment is in good condition but also make sure you have all of your equipment. No one wants to scramble through their closet looking for their left glove or ski pole.

“Bindings can bounce out of adjustment if they aren’t tuned,” Kidd said. “Check your binding, check your buckles on your boots, make sure you don’t have two left gloves. Everybody knows it, but they don’t always do it.”

Stretch and exercise

Kidd said Olympians like Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin are always stretching at the starting gate. Getting off the lift and taking off puts you at higher risk of injury, especially in the cold when muscles are already more susceptible to tears and pulls.

“You don’t want to just go out there and it be the day you think you’re going to ski yourself into shape,” Kidd said. “It’s a good idea to do regular exercising but especially, stretching for the winter.”

Take it easy

Silence your ego and listen to your body. It’s been months since you’ve last skied, so starting off on the most difficult terrain you can find is not a good idea. Like every workout, there’s a necessary warm up.

Kidd will also be offering his free clinic at the top of Heavenly Daze at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21. If you’re looking to brush up on your skills, Kidd says his clinic is guaranteed to get you one step closer to an Olympic berth or a NASTAR medal.

Nowadays, he skis in slow motion, stopping to provide pointers on what you can learn from Olympic skiers to incorporate into your ski season.

“If you ski blue ordinarily, start out on a green trail,” Kidd said. “Olympic skiers don’t go out the day of their event and start at 90 miles per hour the first run down. They take a run on the blue run, then the black run on the downhill.”

Enjoy some aprés skiing

Reward yourself and celebrate the season after a day of taking your first turns. Kidd will be at Timber & Torch on Opening Day to enjoy local brews and food.

“We’ll be in there celebrating Opening Day, and we’ll also be doing training for the Olympics when après skiing becomes an Olympic event,” Kidd added.

To reach Leah Vann, call 970-871-4253, email lvann@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @LVann_Sports.

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