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Ski/snowboard hall names 6 inductees

November 12, 2012
By Journal Sports Staff , The Mining Journal

ISHPEMING - The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame has named a half-dozen inductees for its Class of 2012, led by freestyle skiing pioneer Wayne Wong and world champion freestyle moguls skier Jeremy Bloom.

The announcement was made Tuesday by Bernie Weichsel, chairman of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, which is located in Ishpeming.

Induction for this year's class will take place in Vail, Colo., on April 13 to conclude the Skiing Heritage Week that celebrates Vail's 50th anniversary.

Other Class of '12 inductees are world championship medalist Kirsten Clark, world champion and snowboarding pioneer Craig Kelly, acclaimed international ski instructor and leader Horst Abraham and ski resort developer Hans Geier.

The hall of fame recognizes athletes and builders of the sports who have achieved or contributed at the highest levels to American skiing and snowboarding.

The ski hall is appropriately located in Ishpeming, the birthplace of organized skiing in the U.S., and also is headquarters of the International Skiing History Association.

Here is a brief biography of each inductee:

Wayne Wong, regarded by many as a living legend, was the leading and most popular skier of his day when hotdog, or freestyle, skiing emerged.

The inventor of the famous "Wong Banger" and star of numerous skiing movies, Wong became a true ambassador for skiing and still conveys his passion and enjoyment for ski-related sports. SKI and Powder magazines list him as among the most influential skiers of the 20th century.

Jeremy Bloom was another freestyle skiing star who won two World Cup titles and a World Championship and was one of America's most visible skiing stars in the middle of the last decade.

In 2003, he won gold in dual moguls at the World Championships and a silver in individual moguls, and in 2005, won his third World Championship medal and moguls and overall World Cup titles. He also won six straight times in World Cup competition.

Bloom was also a football star at the University of Colorado and played for two years for the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers.

Kirsten Clark started racing at the age 7, developing skiing skills at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine.

During a 13-year career on the U.S. Ski Team, she won 12 American titles and made the World Cup podium eight times. She won five straight U.S. downhill titles starting in 1998, and in 2003 won a World Championship silver medal in super G.

This three-time Olympian was known for quiet leadership and high standards of preparation.

"Clarkie was always someone I looked up to," Lindsey Vonn said.

Craig Kelly is the third snowboarder elected to the hall of fame. An influential pioneer in the sport, he won four world titles in its early days and worked with Jake Burton Carpenter to open countless ski areas to snowboarding in the 1980s.

Playing a key role early on at Burton Snowboards, Kelly had an honors degree in chemical engineering and starred in numerous skiing and snowboarding films for 20 years. The first true pro snowboarder, he was awarded TransWorld Snowboarding's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.

He died a year later in an avalanche while seeking to become the first fully certified Canadian mountain guide as a snowboarder.

Horst Abraham is an Austrian native who rewrote American ski instruction and had a significant impact internationally. Because of him, America's ski instructors emerged as world leaders.

Starting with the Aspen Ski School and later technical director of the Vail Ski School, he became education vice president for the Professional Ski Instructors of America.

As developer of the American Teaching Method in 1980, he focused on teaching skiing skills instead of turns.

Hans Geier had a large impact on growing skiing, successfully managing and developing ski areas in the U.S. for nearly 30 years from completion of Pennsylvania's Ski Round Top in 1971 until his retirement in 1998.

He was general manager of the Steamboat Springs, Colo., resort from 1981-90, leading it through a $43 million expansion, tripling annual skier visits and putting its finances in the black.

He was president of Doppelmayr Corp. for North America and has served on numerous ski association boards, including the National Ski Areas Association and Colorado Ski Country. NSAA presented him its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1988.



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