H. William Kirschner (deceased)
Year Inducted: 2001
Born:May 16, 1918 Seattle, WA
Died: April 22, 2006 Vashon Island, WA
Bill Kirschner, founder of the K2 Ski Company, can be considered the father of the fiberglass ski in the United States. K2 named after the two Kirschner brothers and the famous Himalayan mountain, was started in 1964 on Vashon Island, Washington following two years of development and testing of a fiberglass ski.
His initial emphasis was on the recreational market with a model named the K2 Holiday. K2 entered into competitive ski racing in 1968 with its highly recognizable red, white and blue competitive skis. K2 became the first American built ski to win a World Cup medal with Marilyn Cochran’s 1969 gold medal in GS. Professional skiers Spider Sabich, Jean Claude Killy and others raced and won on K2. Phil and Steve Mahre competed on K2 skies throughout their entire ski racing careers capturing a total of 36 World Cup victories and five Olympic medals.
Bill directed K2 throughout the 1970s and retired in 1982. He is considered one of the great ski entrepreneurs of the 1960s, the golden years of the U.S. ski business.
He was elected to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2001