Craig Kelly (deceased)
Year Nominated: 2012
Year Inducted: 2012
Born – April 1, 1966, Granite City, IL
Died- January 20, 2003 – Revelstoke, BC, Canada
Craig Kelly was the most significant snowboard athlete of his time. His 4X World Championships in the 1980's and 1990's were impressive, but most importantly, through his work with Burton and others, he managed to help open most of the ski areas in North America to snowboarding and was an emissary for the sport at a critical time. His intelligence (an honors Chemical Engineering student at the University of Washington), friendliness, and exceptional skill drove snowboarding to the international prominence it now enjoys.
Kelly was killed in an avalanche seeking to become the first fully certified snowboarder guide from the Canadian Avalanche Association. He helped found both Island Lake and Baldface Lodges in British Columbia. At the time, he achieved the highest level of certification by the CAA of any snowboarder. He was featured prominently in ski and snowboard films for over 20 years, including Warren Miller's "Journey" and Greg Stump's "Ptex, Lies & Duct Tape." He was the first professional snowboarder, and the most professional snowboarder to date.
Most of Kelly's competition winning took place prior to the FIS taking over the ISF snowboard world cup. During that time he won four World Championships from 1988-91 and three U.S. Open Championships 1987-89. He was honored with TransWorld Snowboarding's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.
It is hard to quantify Kelly’s contribution in terms of contest wins, movies, etc.—at the time, he was snowboarding's brightest star. He won everything and appeared in every significant movie, but his greatest contribution was simply elevating the culture to a respected winter sport.
Awards & Achievements:
-1988-’91: 4X World Snowboard Champion
-1987-’89: 3X U.S. Open Champion
-1993: founded Craig Kelly World Snowboard Camp, first of its kind at Blackcomb
-1983-’95: along with Jake Burton Carpenter and Paul Alden, helped open nearly every North American resort to snowboarding
-1997: founder & board member of Island Lake Lodge; selected as judge for World Extreme Snowboard Championships in Valdez, Alaska
-2002: Transworld Snowboarding’s Lifetime Achievement Award
-1987-’03: critical design and testing on all products for Burton