Skiing With Billy Kidd, An Olympic Legend

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Northstar, California Skiing with Billy Kidd on the week that the Olympics started is a special experience. Billy is an enthusiastic former Olympian and he seems genuinely to believe that we are all potential Olympians ourselves. We just need the proper mind set and muscle memory. On Monday, February 10, Billy Kidd offered a free clinic to any guest of the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe. We met on the snow at the Ritz-Carlton Ski Valet. Before setting off, he made sure we could all handle Blue Square (Intermediate) runs. He hinted that his purpose in this clinic was to make us Olympic skiers so that at the next Winter Olympics, we wouldn’t have to pay our own way. We started at the top of Mt. Pluto where Billy suggested that how we stand at the beginning of the ski run programs our muscle memory. If we stand like a beginner, we will ski like a beginner. “If you ski like a beginner, you’re paying your own way to the Olympics.” He showed us how to stand like an advanced skier, with hands forward, knees bent, skis parallel, so that even in the lift line, we looked like we knew what we were doing. He asked us if we had one side where we turned stronger than the other. Everyone affirmed, and he said the way to correct this is, every time you come to a stop, use the weaker direction, thereby strengthening it. In the Olympics, you can’t have a strong side and a weak side. Both sides have to be strong. At one point in the day, he brought out his silver medal from the 1964 Olympics. This was truly a sight to behold, and we all understood his pride at having won it. Along with his teammate, Jimmy Huega, they were the first male Americans to medal in Alpine Skiing. Billy won silver, and Jimmy won bronze in the slalom race. He said it is important to focus on your technique when training for the Olympics, but when you are competing in the Olympics, you don’t have time to focus on technique. Technique must be automatic. When you are competing, you need to think about more important and immediate issues, like what to say to the media at the finish line. With these important priorities organized, Billy told us we were now ready for an all-expenses paid trip to the Olympics, and with the expectation of coming back not with just a free Team USA ski jacket, but with a gold medal.  Photo Gallery

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