A fourth-generation Steamboat native, Ray Heid's cousins include the Werners of ski racing fame: Buddy, Skeeter and Loris. In fact, they all skied together in those wild and wooley days when the mountain was just getting started and skiing was starting to take off as a sport in the US.
Ray made the 1960 Olympic ski jumping team as an alternate and served as a fore-jumper, (meaning he jumped before his team members and "broke track") flying farther than many of the competitors who followed him. Before the Olympics, Heid competed for the University of Wyoming as a four-way skier (downhill, slalom, jumping and cross country). After the Olympics, he stayed on as a Coach and helped other young people chase their skiing dreams.
Ray moved back to Steamboat in 1985, and began to run the family ranch, Del’s Triangle 3. For many years, the ranch was one of the few horse guide outfits to run during the winter. Today, Ray and his family still take riders out every day and keep the winter trail high above the ranch open. This is a real chore in a deep snow winter like we're having this year. With 6-18 inches of powder covering the trail some days, they often have to use a small Cat to make a trail for the horses. Year round, elk, deer, and bears share the same trail making for some interesting and rare scenery for visitors.
Guests come from all over the world and often say one of the highlights of their Steamboat vacation is getting to ride a horse and of course, meeting Ray. He wears a signature full-length coat made of animal hides, most likely from around the ranch, reminiscent of the movie Jeremiah Johnson. (see rider far right in photo)
Ray smiles all the time and will say to you, why not? Every day in Steamboat, in this winter wonderland, on the back of a horse, is a good day. Not only that, he can ski as much as he wants. In his 70's, Ray still loves to ski and he's not lazy about it. You can find Ray telemark skiing Mt. Werner nearly ever day where he logs nearly 10,000 vertical daily.
Even when the ski mountain is clear of snow in the spring, Ray is using horses or snowmobiles to get up to the high country where the white stuff is till abundant. Seven weeks after knee surgery last year, he was bucking to get up there. His doctor finally relented, impressed with Ray's quick recovery. Ray's son, Perk, just shook his head, "That's Dad. You just can't stop him when he wants to go."
This is how they make 'em in this valley. Tough, active and versatile.