Steamboat Springs The sight of Ray Heid strutting down Ninth Street on a horse Sunday afternoon harked back to Steamboat Springs' past. But in actuality, Heid's act was part of an effort aimed at the future, which took Steamboat global and live on an Australian morning show.
"We're trying to get a representation of what Steamboat's like back to Australia to get more people to come," said Mike Lane, a spokesman for the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp.
The live segment filmed Sunday afternoon in downtown Steamboat Springs was for Channel 9 Australia's morning news show, "Today." Weatherman Steve Jacobs - who described himself as Australia's Al Roker - reported Australian temperatures of more than 100 degrees while snow fell behind him in Steamboat.
"It is a bit of a shock to Steve," said Noel Masson, vice president of American operations for the network.
Like the American "Today" show, fans with signs filled the background for Jacobs' segment. Australians Ben Chester and Rachel Hodgson, who are working at the Steamboat Ski Area this season, held a sign that said "g'day" to their family on Australia's Gold Coast.
"To us, it would be like if we were in Australia and Al Roker showed up," Ski Corp. spokeswoman Heidi Thomsen said. "We'd all want to be there."
The segment ended with Heid riding up behind Jacobs, calling him a "city slicker" and ribbing him for his non-Western wardrobe.
"Every time they need the Western flair, they give us a holler," said Heid, of Del's Triangle 3 Ranch. "They call me a cowboy, but I've never owned a cow in my life. I live on a horse, though."
Producer Jerry Campbell said the Australian "Today" show often does remote weather reports with Jacobs from across Australia and the world. Campbell said it gives the reports "color and movement."
"It's good to see what's going on on the other side of the world," Campbell said.
While the show has visited Colorado before, this was its first appearance in Steamboat. Lane said he has been working with the show since this summer to get them to come. The show will stay in Colorado most of this week, broadcasting live from the Steamboat Ski Area today, from Copper Mountain on Tuesday, from Winter Park on Wednesday and back in Steamboat from Howelsen Hill on Thursday. Due to the time difference with Australia, the show is shot from 12 to 3 p.m. in Steamboat while it is airing live in Australia early the following morning.
"We get to have a little bit of fun," said Jacobs, who skied Mount Werner before the shoot Sunday. "It was incredible. The snow is so dry and soft. You can see why they call it 'champagne powder.'"