KUSA - With the the start of the Sochi Olympics just a couple of days away, we thought it was time for a chat with a Winter Olympics legend, who makes Colorado his home.
Billy Kidd is often cited as America's first world-class male Alpine skier. He was the first American man to win an Olympic medal, takingsilver during the 1964 Olympics.
Born in Vermont, he moved to Steamboat Springs in 1970 and has been giving free ski clinicsthere ever since.If the sign at the top of the gondola says, "Billy Kidd Is Skiing Today," meet him there for the 1 o'clock run. He is a tireless promoter of Colorado skiing, and the world-famous power Steamboat is known for.
"In Steamboat, we're known for having lots of light, fluffy, powder snow," Kidd said."It's some of the best powder in the world--so light and fluffy we call it champagne powder. You can sink up to your chest...or your Stetson. You might want to think about bringing a snorkel!"
Kidd talked about the pride he felt while competing at Innsbruck in 1964, as well as the many changes in his sport, from ski gear technology to race timing to media coverage.
Kidd always takes time to give beginners advice. "You don't have to be skiing to improve your skiing," Kidd said. "I can usually tell beginners from advanced skiers if I see them in the lift line. The way you stand affects the way you ski. Stand with your feet apart, knees bent to absorb the bumps, your shins resting up against the tongues of your boots, and hands out like a tightrope walker to keep balance."
Vail Vertical Express For Can Do MS
Kidd is also dedicated to helpingthose living with multiple sclerosis (MS). On February 7 and 8, 2014, he's helping host the Vail Vertical Express for Can Do MS, an annual skiing extravaganza at Vail Mountain.
It will memorialize the athletic prowess and charity of Can Do MS founder, Jimmie Heuga,who co-medaled with his friend Kiddin Olympic ski racing. The event takes place on, and commemorates, the 50th anniversary of Heuga's bronze medal.
Heuga, who passed away in 2010,has been referred to by many of his contemporaries as a "game changer" who paved a new path for people living with MS, and who changed the face of the ski racing sport globally.
"Vertical Express is an event that ties together one of our founder's greatest loves, skiing, with his lifelong commitment to inspire and empower people with MS to enjoy a better quality of life, " said Heidi A. Heltzel, president and CEO of Can Do MS. "We invite anyone whose lives have been touched by MS, as well as those who simply love to enjoy winter sports, to join us for a two-day celebration that showcases what one can do while making a meaningful difference for those living with MS and their families."
Event registration is only $25, and benefits Can Do MS programs. The two-day event includes a variety of family friendly activities, listed below.
DAY ONE: Friday, February 7
What: Vail Vertical Express for Can Do MS Opening Ceremony Party
When: Friday, February 7, from 4 to 7 p.m.
Where: Vail Marriott Mountain Resort (715 West Lionshead Circle, Vail, Colorado)
Registration and packet pickup; mingle with fellow Vertical Express participants.
Presentation on adaptive skiing by Barbara Szwebel, adaptive product manager at Vail Resorts.
Screening of "CAN DO: The Legacy of Jimmie Heuga," celebrating the 50th anniversary of Heuga's bronze medal win, with introduction by former teammate, Billy Kidd.
DAY TWO: Saturday, February 8
What: Vail Vertical Express for Can Do MS On-Mountain Events
When: Saturday, February 8, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Vail Mountain
8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Registration and packet pickup: Registration areas will be located outside in Lionshead Base Area and Gondola One in Vail Village, and inside the lobby at Vail Marriott Mountain Resort in Lionshead.
10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Races on EpicMix Race Course (first come, first served).
Adaptive skiing: Can Do MS will select several people living with MS to demonstrate adaptive skiing equipment and techniques. Limited opportunities are available for people living with MS.
Jimmie Heuga Memorial Ski Down: Simba ski run will be renamed "Jimmie Heuga Express" for the day and former teammate, Billy Kidd, will lead the ski down.
Après and Awards Party in the Colorado Ballroom of the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort.
Join Can Do MS for hors d'oeuvres, live music and a cash bar. VIP event attendees will receive drink tickets.
For more information or to register for the event, visitwww.mscando.org/vail