Winter Carnival celebrates its 100th year
Steamboat Springs If there’s a sleeper Winter Carnival event that should be on your top-five list, it’s the vintage ski race that took place near the base of Steamboat Ski Area on Friday afternoon.
How cool was it?
Heidi Bowes Nunnikhoven, the 1980 Winter Carnival queen and a longtime member of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team, took part on a pair of 207 centimeter 1990 Coupe du Monde Dynastar skis that she raced on in Europe. I know you already know this, but Coupe du Monde is French for World Cup.
“I can’t say for sure, but these skis might have won a Europa Cup,” Nunnikhoven said.
It’s safe to say there was a little magic left in her boards Friday.
However, Billy Kidd topped her with a pair of skis he thought he had misplaced but pulled out of a storage unit last week.
Kidd’s 1970 Dynamic race skis also were 207 centimeters long, and they were the very pair of skis he used to win bronze and gold medals at the World Championships that year in Val Gardena, Italy.
“I took a bronze in the slalom and gold in the combined” race, which pairs slalom and downhill results, Kidd said.
Unfortunately for Kidd on Friday afternoon, the wax on his Dynamics was 43 years old, and the skis didn’t exactly exhibit their championship pedigree.
It doesn’t matter who wins the vintage ski race, though Roger Perricone was recording each racer’s time for posterity. What matters most about the race are the stories each vintage piece of equipment and clothing has to tell.
Some people mixed and matched equipment from different eras. Stan Gonio was on a pair of boards called The Ski. Think back, way back to the 1970s and picture those skis: blue on the left and yellow on the right. (Or was it the other way around?) Stuck for a pair of vintage ski boots, Gonio picked up a pair of ancient Northland buckle boots from Annie’s Home Consignments this week. Gonio said they fit great.
Bucky Erickson showed up for the race on a pair of 1965 Head Standards that resembled black limousines. The skis were etched “Ski Haus Rental.” Erickson also scrounged up a pair of 1970s era ski instructor stretch pants previously owned by Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Executive Director Rick DeVos.
F.M. Smokey Vandergrift, known for his vintage ski documentary films, raced on a pair of wooden Japanese-manufactured novelty skis that didn’t come up to his waist. You have to like his sense of humor.
The unofficial award for most classic ensemble went to Nunnikhoven’s sister, Tammie Bowes Delaney, who is another former carnival queen (1983).
Delaney was wearing her late father Bill’s 1939 wool ski sweater, his 10th Mountain Division pin from World War II, a 1974 Winter Carnival pin and a set of her father’s skis, boots and poles that clearly predated his 10th Mountain days.
That’s what a vintage ski race is all about.
2013 Winter Carnival Guide
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com