RIP Jim “Moose” Barrows

Skiing legend Jim “Moose” Barrows died at 80 years old Friday morning at around 4 a.m. according to a journal entry from Barrows’ sister, Nancy Gray.

A Steamboat native, Moose came up through the junior ranks starting with ski jumping at age five on Howelsen Hill. Coached by former inductee, Gordy Wren, he soon developed skills in all events.

In 1958, he was awarded the Rocky Mountain News Skiing Futurity Scholarship, which provided him with his first pair of new Alpine skis. From there, he qualified for the Rocky Mountain Division team to the Junior National Championships. During this time, he gained five victories in both Downhill and Slalom. During the 1961-62 season, he won every Downhill in the Rocky Mountain Division. He completed the season by winning the prestigious Western States Team Championships Downhill combined titles in Sun Valley.

He became the nation's premier four event skier, winning several NCAA skimeister titles, and was tagged "Moose" by his CU coach, Bob Beattie who helped him perfect his Alpine skills. In 1965, he qualified for the US ski team, and in 1966 competed in the World Championships in Portillo, Chile, his first international competition.

In 1967, he finished third in the First World Cup Downhill race ever held in the US in Franconia, NH and finished the season seventh in FIS World Downhill ranking - the highest American, qualifying for the 1968 Olympic Team.

His 1968 season ended abruptly during his bid for an Olympic Gold during the Downhill in Grenoble, France. His spectacular fall was well documented by ABC's Wide World of Sports, never to be forgotten. He recovered to win the 1969 North American Downhill Championships, but 1970 brought another physical setback, so he used the time to get a degree in business from the University of Denver.

He joined the Pro Tour in 1971, and finished third overall in 1972 and tenth in money earnings. He has since coached junior skiers and the US men's Downhill Team. Since retiring from coaching, he has devoted much of his time to promoting skiing, developing the concept of self-timing programs and has started a scholarship fund to provide junior skiers in the Yampa Valley with the means to train, amassing several hundred thousand dollars for his efforts.

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