STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — I grew up skiing in the hills of western Maryland, where hardpan was always the condition du jour and fluffy snow came only a few times a year. Powder was a rare commodity, but something for which I yearned, being taunted by airline ads showing Billy Kidd bouncing through pillows of fluff at Colorado’s Steamboat Springs Resort.
Kidd was the first man from the United States to win an Olympic medal in skiing, which he did at the 1964 Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria. He is now director of skiing at Steamboat, and his persona embodies the Wild West. One can almost imagine him, with his flashy belt buckle and Stetson hat adorned with a plumage of feathers, galloping on a horse down Lincoln Avenue, the main street here. That sight may not happen often, but during Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival you are guaranteed to see someone, maybe Kidd, clopping along towing a child on a shovel.