Captiva resident to be inducted into Hall of Fame
A Captiva resident will be inducted into the US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in Aspen, Colorado on April 9.
“I’m very proud and I am very honored to be honored,” Harry Kaiser said of the recent news.
He will be among 410 honored lifetime members.
“Each member of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015, including Harry Kaiser, was a remarkable leader, athlete, or sport builder,” US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame Chairman Tom Kelly said in a prepared statement. “So much of what all of us enjoy in our sport today has emanated from the outstanding honored members of the Hall of Fame.”
His love of skiing stemmed from his wife’s parents introducing him to the sport, which continued on through college and later while he served in the United States Army. Every February, Kaiser travels to Utah where he skis easy slopes when the sun is shining.
“I have never been hurt in all the skiing I have done,” he said. “You have to have good equipment and try to keep in shape.”
After leaving the service, with a wife and new baby in tow, he began his second job as a trainee of a management training program for Ski Magazine.
“That was back in the late 50s. The management training program was very good. Not only did I learn sales and how to project my own self, you learned printing and what it takes to publish a magazine,” Kaiser said.
In 1969, Kaiser became the publisher of Ski Magazine before becoming the president in 1990 of the Skiing Company where he remained until 1996 when he retired. The company included such publications as Skiing Magazine, Ski Magazine, Skiing Trade News and TransWorld Snowboarding.
Kaiser was in charge of a very large staff, due to offices located all over the country in such places as New York City, Los Angeles, Colorado, Detroit and New England. The magazines covered the travel industry, fashion industry, automotive industry and skiing.
“The editorial was if you were a skier you have to have the right equipment, so that was our basic editorial. The majority of the editorial was what to wear. What to ski with and how to get there and where to stay,” he said of the magazines content.
Due to the content, Kaiser said he took many trips visiting ski resorts over a weekend.
“I would fly out to Denver on a Friday and meet with the owner of the ski area. On Saturday morning you would go out to dinner with him and probably his wife and my wife came along. The next morning you meet him at 8 and you would ski with him and (he would) show you the mountains,” he said. “You got to know them very personally. It was a good business.”
In addition to the magazines, he also spent a lot of time working with the U.S. Ski Team by finding them sponsors with such businesses as Chevrolet, Jeep and Subaru. Through those financial commitments, he helped advance the freestyle movement, as well as the growth of the sport during the four decades he worked with the various teams.
According to a press release, Kaiser and his wife, Carolyn, raised more than a million dollars for the U.S. Ski Team.
“It was very exciting. It kept me very active,” he said of his career.
Although Kaiser is retired, he still finds ways to give back by being a member of the Captiva Erosion Prevention District.
“When we first bought down on Captiva it didn’t have a beech down there,” he said in 1980. “I really believed in the beaches and that is how we got the start of the beach nourishment projects.”
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