You'll no longer see Billy Kidd in his trademark cowboy hat on the slopes of Steamboat. The Olympic medalist is now wearing a helmet. Kidd has been giving ski tips at Steamboat for over 30 years. He meets visitors at the top of the gondola at 1 p.m. several days a week, and leads guests down Heavenly Daze run, with hints and tips and a little Olympic folklore thrown in for kicks. He's always worn his cowboy hat. Now, he is being safer.
Safety is a big deal at Steamboat, and Kidd is leading by example. Avalanche safety is also a big concern. New this year is Beacon Basin. This special area is an avalanche transceiver training area located on the mountain. It's a place where guests and employees can practice avalanche safety and successful beacon recovery. They're given access to buried transceivers. Signals are picked up by an individual's personal beacon. Four transceiver stations are buried right now, and four more will soon be added. Beacon Basin is at the top of the Pony Express Chairlift.
Chris Diamond, president and COO says, "Each year we look for new initiatives and ways to educate guests and employees to make the slopes as safe as possible."
Knowing the Skiers' Responsibility Code is also important at Steamboat. It's encouraged in every snow report. Guests received a free NASTAR run if they can name at least three parts of the code during National Safety Awareness Week.
Steamboat also has new signage across the mountain, promoting safe riding, jibing, and slow zones. Bright orange signs in slow zones around the mountain now say, "Whoa Partner."