William Winston Kidd
Hall of Fame Class of 1976
William Winston Kidd began his racing career at age ten at Stowe, Vermont, going on to the University of Colorado, skiing for the school’s ski team. He became a member of the 1964 U.S. Olympic Team which skied so well at Innsbruck, Austria.
Mention the name of Billy Kidd and people the world over will understand you’re talking about ski sport. Most will recall that Billy came out of the Colorado Rockies via the state of Vermont to capture a Silver Medal during the 1964 Olympic Winter Games when the United States Ski Team produced its finest collective achievements. It will also be remembered that Billy’s medal-winning teammates also came out of the American West: Jimmie Heuga from the Sierras of California and Jean Saubert from Oregon.
Billy and Jimmie were second and third, respectively in slalom – split seconds behind Gold Medalist, Pepi Stiegler of Austria. Jean already had picked up a silver in giant slalom and a bronze in slalom. These performances inspired an unforgettable scene at the slalom finish line when Billy and Jimmie leaped into each other’s arms surrounded by cheering coaches and teammates. The Americans’ elation was captured in a memorable photo retained for posterity in the 1964 United States Olympic Book. While a gold medal again eluded Billy during the 1968 Winter Olympic at Grenoble, France, the Colorado skier twice since has been heralded a world champion – first as an amateur and then as a professional. Following years of ski sport in every capacity, Billy’s career continues to be a model for aspiring youngsters.
Billy grew up in Vermont. Born on April 23, 1943 in Burlington, his ski racing career began at 12 in Stowe. There he was sponsored by the Mt. Mansfield Ski Club and he raced around North America through high school. He then obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in economics in 1969 at the University of Colorado in Boulder. It was at the F.I.S. World Championships in Val Gardena, Italy that Billy netted his first World Championship title and the first United States Gold Medal with a first place in combined scoring. Only two weeks later, having turned professional, he went on to win the 1970 World Professional Championships in Verbier, Switzerland where he placed first in giant slalom and first in the combined.
As a Steamboat Springs resident, Kidd participated in the pro-racing circuit for two years, representing a ski manufacturer and the Steamboat Ski Area in promotional tours. Kidd did extensive world traveling, writing, being interviewed for ABC and NBC sports programs, commenting on the World Olympic competition and hosting his own syndicated television program, “The American Ski Scene.”
Billy’s on-the-way-up record:
• 1961 – Fell down in most races but won the Harriman Cup Slalom
• 1962 – Made the F.I.S. Team for the World Championships in Chamonix, France, placing eight in the slalom and twelfth in the giant slalom
• 1963 – Sprained ankle in early-season race at Lake Placid, New York which took him out for the season
• 1964 – Attained international acclaim with Olympic Silver Medal and F.I.S. Bronze Medal in combined
• 1965 – Won eight consecutive races in United States
• 1966 – Traded wins with Jean Claude Killy during January; had surgery for ankle injury in April; broke other leg during World Championships in Chile and was out for the 1967 season
• 1968 – Great expectations with good placings in the pre-Olympic races but fell and sprained both ankles last day of practice ahead of the Olympics at Grenoble, France
• 1969 – Won only one race , the World Cup Slalom at Squaw Valley
• 1970 – Finally, the F.I.S. Gold Medal, taking the alpine combined with third in slalom, fifth in downhill and fifteenth in giant slalom
Lastly, professional races came and the championship, being named Director of Skiing at the Steamboat Ski Area, Director of racing at Hart Ski Company and Racing Editor for SKI Magazine.
William Winston Kidd was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1976.
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