ISHPEMING - The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in Ishpeming can boast eight new members after inducting a wide range of ski and snowboard pioneers during a formal ceremony Friday evening.
Hans Geier, a leading manager and developer of ski areas across the country, was among the five inductees who were present during the event, which took place inside the hall.
"It is an incredible honor," Geier said. "I have never dreamt this would happen to me."
In photo at left, five of the eight newest inductees to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame watch a short film on the history of skiing during a ceremony at the hall of fame in Ishpeming Friday evening. Below, inductee Horst Abraham, left, receives a plaque from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame Executive Committee member Tom Anderson during the ceremony. (Journal photos by Jackie Stark)
Tom West, president and CEO of the hall of fame, said he was proud to be able to host the event in Ishpeming, where skiing holds its roots.
"The National Skiing Association was founded here in 1905. This is the birthplace of organized skiing and when that happened, skiing started to develop and grow," West said. "If it hadn't happened, it would still be out there as some kind of loosey-goosey little sport. I always say, Ishpeming is to skiing as Cooperstown is to baseball."
The following is more information on each inductee, provided by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.
Through the work of Horst Abraham, America's ski instructors emerged as world leaders in their field. Starting with the Aspen Ski School and later as the technical director for the Vail Ski School, Horst became the education vice president for the Professional Ski Instructors of America. He developed the American Teaching Method in 1980, focusing on the individual's ability, instead of the old "one size fits all technique." The U.S. quickly became a world leader in snow sports education. For many years he promoted skiing instruction by contributing articles to the major skiing magazines and was the author of the PSIA's official instructional guide.
Jeremy Bloom was a star of freestyle skiing who won two World Cup titles and a World Championship and was one of America's most prominent skiing stars during the first decade of the 21st century. In 2003 he won gold in the dual moguls event at the Word Championships and silver in the individual moguls. In 2005 he won his third World Championship medal and with a string of six straight wins earned the moguls and overall World Cup titles. His performance in World Cup competition set a record that stood for seven years.
Hans Geier was a leading manager and developer of ski areas across the United States for nearly 30 years. From the time he completed Pennsylvania's Ski Round Top in 1971 until his retirement in 1998, he had a large impact on the growth of the sport. Most notably he was the president and CEO of Steamboat Springs resort in Colorado from 1981 to 1990 when he led it through a $43 million expansion, increasing annual skier visits from 360,000 to more than 1 million and putting the resort's finances in the black. In 1988 the National Ski Area Association presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
Craig Kelly was snowboarding's first true professional. A winner of four world titles in the early days of the sport, Kelly was one of its most influential pioneers, working with Jake Burton Carpenter to open countless ski areas to snowboarders in the 1980s. He starred in numerous skiing and snowboarding films over 20 years. 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.
Kirsten Clark started racing at the age of 7, developing her skiing skills at Maine's Sugarloaf Mountain. During her 13-year career on the U.S. Ski Team, she won 12 U.S. titles and reached the World Cup podium eight times. In 2003 she won a World Championship silver medal in the super G. From 1998 to 2002 she strung together five straight U.S. downhill titles. A three time Olympian, Clark was respected for her quiet leadership and the high standards she set preparing for competition.
Wayne Wong was the leading and most popular skier of his day when hotdog or freestyle skiing was emerging on the scene. The inventor of freestyle maneuvers and the star of countless skiing movies, Wong packaged his fame and colorful personality into being a true ambassador for skiing and conveyed his passion and enjoyment for the benefit of ski sports across the country. Both SKI and Powder magazines named him among the most influential skiers of the 20th century.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.