Billy Kidd

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Billy Kidd
— Alpine skier —
World champion, February 1970
Born (1943-04-13) April 13, 1943 (age 76)
Burlington, Vermont, U.S.
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Teams 2 – (1964, 1968)
Medals 1 (0 gold)
World Championships
Teams 5 – (19621970)
includes two Olympics
Medals 4 (1 gold)
World Cup
Seasons 3 – (19681970)
Wins 2 – 2 (SL)
Podiums 4 – 4 (SL)
Overall titles 0 – (7th in 1968)
Discipline titles 0 – (8th in SL & GS, 1968)

William Winston "Billy" Kidd (born April 13, 1943) is a former World Cup alpine ski racer, a member of the U.S. Ski Team from 1962 to 1970.

At the 1964 Winter Olympics at Innsbruck, Kidd and teammate Jimmie Heuga became the first American men to win Olympic medals in alpine skiing, winning silver and bronze in the slalom. Six years later, Kidd won a gold medal in the combined and a bronze in the slalom at the 1970 World Championships in Val Gardena, Italy. He promptly switched circuits and enjoyed a successful pro ski racing career from 1970 to 1972. Since 1970, Kidd has enjoyed enduring "legend" status in the sport, and he has remained in the public eye in his job as Director of Skiing at Steamboat Ski Resort in Colorado.

Early life

Born in Burlington, Vermont, Kidd grew up in the 1950s in the ski town of Stowe,[1] where his family ran the Buccaneer Motel. With encouragement and coaching from his father, and with support from the town of Stowe, he became a top junior ski racer at Stowe with the Mount Mansfield Ski Team. Kidd was named to the U.S. Ski Team for the 1962 season.

Ski racing

Kidd made a name for himself that first season at age 18 with an eighth place in the slalom[2] and a 15th place in the giant slalom (GS) at the 1962 World Championships in Chamonix, France.[3] After enduring a season hampered by injuries, Kidd entered the 1964 season with high hopes and gritty determination. A silver medalist in the slalom at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Kidd was the first American man (along with Heuga, who took bronze in the same race) to earn an Olympic medal in alpine skiing.[4] Both Kidd and Heuga were just 20 years old at the time.[4][5] Kidd finished seventh in the giant slalom and 16th in the downhill. Finishing all three races kept him eligible for the combined, then a non-medal event in the Olympics (but a World Championship medal event), and he took third for the FIS bronze.[6]

In the final non-World Cup season of 1966, Kidd won three important races in Europe and was actually outracing Jean-Claude Killy. Kidd suffered the first of two major injuries that almost ended his career, an ankle sprain in late January, which resulted in a tendon operation.[7] Later the same year he broke his right tibia[8] in two places[9] during downhill training at the 1966 World Championships, held in August in Portillo, Chile.[10] The injury kept also him out of the first World Cup season of 1967. During this injury time he returned to college at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

The following year he took fifth in the giant slalom (GS) at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. He took 15th in the downhill, but did not finish the first run of the slalom, which was held in thick fog. Following those Olympics, he won a World Cup slalom in Aspen in March and finished 7th in the overall World Cup standings, the best from North America. For the 1968 World Cup season, Kidd finished in the top ten in all three events: 8th in giant slalom, 9th in downhill, and 10th in slalom. His first World Cup victory came a month later at the Roch Cup slalom in Aspen, Colorado.[11] His second win came a year later, also a slalom on U.S. snow at Squaw Valley, California.[12]

At the 1970 World Championships in Val Gardena, Italy, Kidd won the gold medal in the combined and the bronze in the slalom.[13] On winning the gold, he said, "I'd always promised my mom I'd bring home a gold medal." Following the conclusion of the World Championships in mid-February 1970, Kidd retired from the World Cup circuit, and immediately joined the new pro circuit,[14][15] started by former U.S. Ski Team coach (and Kidd's and Heuga's University of Colorado ski coach) Bob Beattie.[16] Kidd won the pro championship the same year, the only racer to hold world titles in the two circuits at once.[17][18] Nagging injuries led to few starts during the 1972 season and he retired from the pro circuit that fall.[19]

Kidd graduated from the University of Colorado in 1969 with a B.S. degree in economics.[20] Kidd's heritage is part Native American (Abenaki), and he is honorary captain of the Native American Olympic Ski Team.[21] In 2013, Kidd was inducted in to the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame.

Steamboat Springs

Kidd moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in 1970,[22] and ever since has been strongly identified with the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation, where he serves as its Director of Skiing. 2014 will mark his 44th year on the job at Steamboat Ski Resort. As ambassador not just for Steamboat, but for the American West and the sport of skiing, Kidd is instantly recognizable by his Stetson cowboy hat.[23][24] During ski season, skiers and snowboarders can join Kidd for a daily free, on-mountain clinic (when he is in town) at 1 PM at the top of the Steamboat gondola. When you "ski with Billy Kidd" down the Heavenly Daze intermediate run, you'll get ski tips, and learn about what it's like to ski in the Olympics.

Kidd has served on the board of directors of Special Olympics International, the President's Council on Physical Fitness, and The Jimmie Heuga Center for the Physically Challenged (Multiple Sclerosis) in Vail.[6]

He hosts corporate ski outings for companies including American Express, Rolex, UPS, American Airlines, TIME and Sports Illustrated magazines, and several others.

World Cup results

Season standings

Season Age Overall Slalom Giant
Super G Downhill Combined
1967 23 injured in August 1966, missed entire season
1968 24 7 8 8 not
9 not
1969 25 13 8 12
1970 26 15 10 19 12

Results from the 1968 Winter Olympics and 1970 Word Championships were included the World Cup standings.

Race victories

  • 2 wins 2 (SL)
  • 4 podiums, 19 top-ten finishes.
Season Date Location Discipline
1968 March 16, 1968 United States Aspen, CO Slalom
1969 February 28, 1969 United States Squaw Valley, CA Slalom

World Championship results

  Year    Age   Slalom  Giant
Super-G Downhill Combined
1962 18 8 15 not run
1964 20 2 7 16 3
1966 23
1968 24 DNF1 5 18
1970 26 3 15 5 1

From 1948 through 1980, the Winter Olympics were also the World Championships for alpine skiing.
At the World Championships from 1954 through 1980, the combined was a "paper race" using the results of the three events (DH, GS, SL).

  • The 1966 championships were held in August in Chile; Kidd broke his leg during a downhill training run.[8][9]

Olympic results Olympic rings with white rims.svg

  Year    Age   Slalom  Giant
Super-G Downhill Combined
1964 20 2 7 not run 16 not run
1968 24 DNF1 5 18


  1. Lay, Jennie (March 1, 2009). "Kidding around on the slopes". Coloradan (CU almuni). Retrieved January 9, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Swift French star wins World slalom". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. February 14, 1962. p. 14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Zimmerman leads Austrian ski sweep". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. February 16, 1962. p. 13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Yank skiers break the ice, take 2nd, 3rd in slalom". Daytona Beach Sunday News-Journal. Florida. Associated Press. February 9, 1964. p. 3-B.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Lauren Moran (February 6, 2010). "Olympic History: Billy Kidd triumphs at 1964 Olympic Games". Steamboat Pilot & Today. Colorado. Retrieved March 17, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Billy Kidd.
  7. "Ski champ Billy Kidd suffers ankle injury". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. January 24, 1966. p. 21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Kidd fractures leg in freak accident". Sarasota Herald. Florida. Associated Press. August 5, 1966. p. 20.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Women match slalom skills in World skiing". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. Associated Press. August 5, 1966. p. 14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Ottum, Bob (August 15, 1966). "Found: A Pretty Penny". Sports Illustrated. p. 12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Billy Kidd upsets Killy in Roch slalom". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. March 17, 1968. p. 3, sports.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Big comeback registered by Billy Kidd". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. Associated Press. March 1, 1969. p. 9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Jenkins, Dan (February 16, 1970). "Kidd Comes in From the Old Cold". Sports Illustrated: 42.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Billy Kidd plans races on pro tour". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. February 17, 1970. p. 13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Kidd sses pro skiing as big in the future". Bangor Daily News. Maine. Associated Press. October 13, 1970. p. 19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Kidd predicts pro skiing can't miss". Free-Lance Star. Fredericksburg, Virginia. Associate Press. March 4, 1970. p. 9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. U.S. Ski Team
  18. Brown, Gwilym S. (December 20, 1971). "The Spider Who Finally Came in From The Cold". Sports Illustrated: 98.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Billy Kidd retires from ski racing". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. December 1, 1972. p. 26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Billy Kidd – MSN Encarta". Archived from the original on October 31, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Famous Abenaki". Retrieved April 7, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Pauls, Terri (February 5, 1988). "Billy Kidd keeps hopping long after his glory days". Bend Bulletin. Oregon. p. D-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "Billy Kidd". SKI (magazine). September 1971. p. cover.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Williamson, Judy (October 24, 1982). "Billy Kidd and Steamboat". Victoria Advocate. Texas. (Dallas Morning News). p. 14, FUN, Sunday magazine.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links