Kidd honored at Spirit of Skiing event
Skiing Aspen Mountain next weekend could mean crossing paths with a ski legend while contributing to a good cause.
The Oldsmobile/Bravada – Spirit of Skiing 2001 will bring championship athletes to town Feb. 22-25 to participate in a weekend of activities benefiting the Cancer Research Institute’s Prostate Cancer Initiative. In its five years of existence, Spirit of Skiing charity events have netted $500,000 for research conducted through the PCI, said event founder Kiki Cutter.
Participants flock to Aspen for the event, but Cutter said she would like to see locals turn out for the Spirit of Skiing Fun Race, a major moneymaker for the PCI.
“What we’re trying to do is put together a local team of Aspen people,” she said.
The race isn’t the only reason to attend Spirit of Skiing events, Cutter said. The weekend festivities kick off Thursday, Feb. 22, with a ceremony honoring championship skier Billy Kidd, a nine-year member of the U.S. Ski Team and former Director of Skiing at Steamboat Colorado. Kidd will be the recipient of the Bertolucci Spirit of Skiing Award, presented each year to one outstanding athlete participating in the charity event. Previous winners of the award include former Olympic gold medalists Franz Klammer and Stein Eriksen.
“Billy Kidd really does portray everything, the meaning of the Spirit of Skiing,” said Cutter, a five-time World Cup title holder herself. “He has such enthusiasm and such a love for the sport, which he gives off to other people.”
On Friday, Feb. 23, participants in a race clinic will have the chance to take pointers from Kidd, and other slopeside legends like Steve Mahre and Klaus Obermeyer.
Participation from world-renowned skiers is the driving force behind the Spirit of Skiing events, Cutter said.
“That’s what’s so moving to me, is the ski champions that come in and support it,” she said.
Ticket holders can enjoy acoustic entertainment provided by Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Guy Clark and Joe Ely at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in the St. Regis Ballroom. Lovett is a familiar face around Spirit of Skiing, Cutter said, performing for three past events and taking part in celebrity ski races.
The Spirit of Skiing Fun Race starts Saturday morning, Feb. 24, with teams of nine skiers headed by celebrity skiers. Professional skiers will aid racers down Aspen Mountain’s Little Nell run, as well as special guests, including Nicole Miller, Jane Seymour, Tom Skerritt and Robert Wagner.
An awards banquet will wrap up the Spirit of Skiing weekend Saturday night following the Fun Race.
Cutter said she hoped to see Aspen residents turn out for events.
“We’d love to have locals support it,” she said.
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