Steamboat Springs was a ranch town before it was a ski town, and ranching is still a big part of Steamboat. The Cowboy Downhill is Steamboat’s blend of skiing, ranching and rodeo.
It is entirely fitting that the Cowboy Downhill was started by the man with the most famous cowboy hat in skiing, Billy Kidd. Kidd was the United State’s first Olympic medalist in skiing (slalom silver, Innsbruck 1964), and he’s been Steamboat’s director of skiing since 1970. Kidd started the Cowboy Downhill in 1973, and he was actively working the crowd during the 44th running on January 15, 2018.
The racers in the Cowboy Downhill are all professional rodeo riders. They brought their clown:
The first race is a dual slalom, including a jump:
Bad skiing is expected:
Near the end of the course, racers must show their roping skills on an apprehensive cowgirl...
then saddle a calm and well-behaved horse...
before charging across the finish line (on skis or not).
No fancy stuff in the second race. The entire field lines up and goes at once:
The blend of cowboy and skiing makes Steamboat Springs feel different than most ski towns. If you’d like some of that feeling for your wedding or special event, our beautiful ranch, La Joya Dulce, is available year round.