Spirit of Skiing 2001 opens with tribute to Steamboat’s Billy Kidd | AspenTimes.com

Spirit of Skiing 2001 opens with tribute to Steamboat’s Billy Kidd

Jennifer Davoren

A ceremony honoring “Steamboat’s skiing cowboy,” 1964 Olympic silver medalist Billy Kidd, kicked off a weekend of activities for the Oldsmobile/Bravada – Spirit of Skiing 2001 Thursday night.

Kidd’s fellow ski legends turned out to recognize the nine-year member of the U.S. Ski Team during a welcome reception for participants in the Spirit of Skiing, a charity event benefiting the Cancer Research Institute’s Prostate Cancer Initiative.

The Spirit of Skiing Award is presented each year to those who have dedicated their time to promoting the sport, event founder Kiki Cutter said. While a ceremony allowed locals to hear what Kidd’s peers had to say about his extensive career, the actual award will be presented at 3:30 p.m. today in Hyde Park.

Kidd said he was proud to join the ranks of the four previous award winners, such as World Cup champ Franz Klammer and local ski clothing manufacturer Klaus Obermeyer.

“I’m really excited to follow in the ski tracks of Klaus Obermeyer, Franz Klammer, Stein Erikson and Dick Durrance,” Kidd said. “Those are pretty impressive tracks to follow.”

Steve Mahre, silver medalist in the 1984 Olympics and nine-time World Cup title holder, said he has turned out for four years of Spirit of Skiing events. He said it gives him the chance to increase awareness about a life-threatening illness.

“Cancer is one of those things that hits close to the heart. My mom passed away in ’93,” he said.

This year, 300 participants will join Mahre as they donate to a good cause and earn the chance to take pointers from professionals.

The annual event is a big draw for ski champions – not only because of the charities it benefits, but because of the chance for the pros to have a reunion.

“The whole group of us are still really close,” Jim “Moose” Barrows said of the former Olympic ski squad. “We came out because Kiki asks us to.”

The weekend of activities will continue today (Friday) and Saturday with a benefit concert and silent auction – the two biggest moneymakers for the Cancer Initiative – as well as the Bill Lovett Cup, a ski race lead by the former ski champs and a few celebrity guests.

The race is meant for fun, Barrows said, but it can also cause a few rivalries.

“The only race that really matters is if I beat Billy,” he said.

Obermeyer said the weekend of events was also a way for participants to celebrate their favorite sport.

“We all love skiing, and it’s nice to share the wonderful, positive feelings,” he said.

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