Bill Nixon isn’t over the hill yet.
At 88, the Warwick Neck resident continues to compete in downhill ski races, setting national records in his age category and collecting a slew of medals. In this year alone, Nixon has competed in six races at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire and won gold and platinum medals in each event. Nixon skis about 30 to 40 times per year, often at Bretton Woods.
Nixon first took up the sport when he was 30 and he was 50 when he first began competitive skiing. He knew, however, from his first run down the slopes that he “always liked to ski fast.”
He joined the Rhode Island Ski Club, where he met Tom Payne, then the director of the organization, who encouraged him to take up racing. Finding success in his first races, Nixon began to take lessons and continues to look for ways to improve his form by watching instructional competitive skiing videos on YouTube.
Since he took up competitive skiing, he has come in first each year in his age group, and has worked his way up to become the top ranked skier in the country in his age division. For the past 15 years, nobody in the United States has out-skied Nixon, earning him top honors in NASTAR’s platinum division. NASTAR is a national organization that allows recreational skiers across the country to compare their scores with others. Scores are determined from a handicap system, which rates skiers against pacesetters and U.S. Ski Team members.
He has earned more than 300 NASTAR gold medals over the course of his racing career — so many, in fact, that he “doesn’t even pick them up anymore.”
People often ask Nixon: why do you go so fast? His answer: “You can’t win if you don’t go fast.”
Nixon certainly has a need for speed whether it’s on the slopes or on the road. He has owned 11 Corvettes, he said. For him, racing and speed is exhilarating.
His racing career has not been without a few injuries along the way. His list of injuries include a concussion, a broken knee, broken nose, and even an injured thumb. Nixon did not let these setbacks stop him – in fact, he had his thumb cast shaped specifically so that he could hold a ski pole.
Though he is nearing the next age bracket, 90-95, Nixon doesn’t plan to slow down any time soon.
“I intend on skiing as long as I can until I cross the final line,” he said.”
And what has he learned by watching the recent 2018 Winter Olympics?
“That I shouldn’t race.”