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Henry Percy Douglas

Hall of Fame Class of 1968

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Henry Percy Douglas was an American who took his love for skiing to Canada. He helped found the Canadian Amateur Ski Association in 1920 and served as its president for ten years. He encouraged a spirit of cooperation and the free exchange of athletes between the two countries.

Henry P. Douglas was born August 18, 1873 in Tarrytown, New York. He did not start to ski until he was a student at Cornell University at Ithaca, New York. Here, in 1893, he set out to master the sport of skiing on eight foot skis with a steel-tipped bamboo pole.

In 1891 Douglas moved to Canada as an employee of an elevator company and later was a Canadian insurance company executive. He aided the early day organization of sport at both the club and intercollegiate levels. He was a pioneer member of the Montreal Ski Club founded in 1904, and for many years, cooperated in the intercollegiate ski beginnings – at the same time staging its own Nordic event for club and collegiate competitors gathered from Eastern Canada and the United States.

In 1909, ski sport had begun to grip the imaginations at McGill University at Montreal and Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. These two schools were eventually fielding winter sports teams to engage each other in fierce but friendly competition in 1914. From this competition came the organization of the Intercollegiate Winter Sports Union in 1923-1924.

The need for a parent organization became apparent following World War I with the actual founding of the Canadian Amateur Ski Association and Championship Tournament in 1921. Voted into the presidency during the meeting, Douglas served for ten years as the leader of skiing in the Dominion of Canada. His tenure as president of the Canadian Amateur Ski Association was the era which saw the spread of ski sport all over North America and the exchange of ski athletes on many occasions from both sides of the border.

In addition to duties with the Canadian Amateur Ski Association, Douglas was the editor of various magazines. He published “My Skiing Years” in 1951. Most important, he took a keen interest in the young people who skied. Douglas organized the system of efficiency testng which did so much to improve the standard of the sport in North America.

Henry Percy Douglas died in 1956 and was elected posthumously to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1968.

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