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Harry Kaiser

Hall of Fame Class of 2015

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In the growth years of the sport, Harry Kaiser’s tireless efforts over almost three decades as a publisher put Skiing magazine at the forefront in providing advice, information and inspiration.

From 1969 through 1996—an eternity in the media world—publisher Harry Kaiser deftly and diplomatically guided Skiing Magazine and the sport through their most colorful and vibrant growth years.

Back in that pre-Internet era, the monthly arrival of “the magazine for serious skiers” was eagerly anticipated by hundreds of thousands of ski enthusiasts across the country. The magazine the high-quality news, travel, instruction, and gear advice that was critical in educating and inspiring the growing skiing population. Through five different ownerships, Harry was a tireless networker and consensus builder who never wavered in pushing the Skiing franchise forward.

Harry supported first-rate editorial, increased Skiing’s readership, and drove a robust revenue stream from advertisers to produce ever-fatter magazines. Starting out with top editors like Doug Pfeiffer and Al Greenberg, and contributors ranging from Billy Kidd to Gordon Lipe, the magazine struck a balance between authority and irreverence, while also setting the early standard for gear testing and safety issues.

“I grew up with the ski industry,” Harry says. “I was there for the glamour years and the growth years.”

Henry A. Kaiser was born in 1930 on Long Island, and was introduced to skiing as a 14 year old through the family of his wife-to-be, Carolyn, who would play an influential role throughout his career. After graduating from Fordham University and completing a stint in the Army, he entered the publishing world as a management trainee, sweeping floors, writing stories, and answering the phone. He was fortunate to come under the wing of ski industry publishing veteran Nick Hock, and later to work with Bill Ziff and Brad Briggs, passionate skiers who pioneered the special-interest magazine market under the banner of the Ziff Davis Publishing Co., which owned Skiing from 1964 to 1985.

Harry’s relationships in corporate America helped spread skiing’s visibility and popularity through event marketing. With Pfeiffer driving the editorial coverage, Harry put Skiing at the forefront of the American-born, renegade sport of freestyle by recruiting sponsors like Chevrolet and Midas to back the professional freestyle tour, helping launch the careers of thousands of athletes to follow.

For those attending the annual SIA ski trade show in Las Vegas, receiving an invite to Skiing’s penthouse luncheons at the old Hilton hotel—events that were impeccably orchestrated by Harry and Carolyn–was a clear sign that you’d arrived in the ski business. Harry also helped connect the U.S. Ski Team with longtime sponsor Subaru, and raised $1 million through his chairmanship of the U.S. Ski Team Balls in New York City for 15 years.

After his retirement in 1996, Harry and Carolyn moved to Captiva, Florida, where Harry has served as a commissioner for the state of Florida in beach preservation, helping create environmentally pristine beaches that are a draw for residents and tourists alike. He still skis at age 85, mostly on blue-sky days in Park City, where his daughter, Cindy, lives. His family was sometimes referred to as the “First Family of Skiing” in his publishing days, and the Kaiser clan has grown to include five children, 10 grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

Career Highlights:

1953: Graduated Fordham University
1954-56: U.S. Military Service
1955: Married Carolyn Crowley
1956: Served as publisher-in-training for Sports Age and SKI
1969-1996: Served as publisher of Skiing, and as longest reigning publisher of any magazine in North America
1964-1996: Served as president of The Skiing Company, including SKI, Skiing, Skiing Trade News, and TransWorld Snowboarding

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