Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Claudine Longet and Spider Sabich

Highway 50 Boys

Billy Kidd, Bob Beattie & Jimmie Huega, Oympics
Billy Kidd, Bob Beattie & Jimmie Huega,

Their coach was Lutz Aynedter, a German downhill champion from the 1940s who emigrated to America after the war.

He taught the Sabich boys European-style ski racing, and Spider and Steve became junior stars among the fearless young racers of Kyburz, who became known as the 'Highway 50 Boys.'

As teenagers, Spider and Steve won one race after another against boys wearing better equipment who were racing for more ritzy California ski resorts, like Squaw Valley and Lake Tahoe.   

The Sabich boys caught the eye of Bob Beattie, ski coach at the University of Colorado, whose team served as a surrogate U.S. national team.

Billy Kidd skiing
Billy Kidd skiing

In 1964, two of Beattie's Colorado team members, Billy Kidd and Jimmie Huega, had stunned the ski world by winning the silver and bronze in the slalom at the Innsbruck Olympics in snooty, ski-crazed Austria.

The Sabiches won ski scholarships to Colorado. Steve's career was cut short by a knee injury, but Spider went on to earn a spot on the U.S. team for the 1968 Olympics in Grenoble, France.

He worked hard, sometimes doing 25 training runs a day. But like most great athletes, he left the impression that it all came naturally.

"There were two things interesting about Spider," Beattie once said. "He had a great sense of humor and a lot of flair. He was a great-looking guy, very spirited. But he also majored in engineering when he came to Colorado. His mind worked very thoroughly, as an engineer's would. He had these two opposite sides to him." 

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