When the Spiess family took over the operation of Port Arthur's Mount Baldy Ski Area, thirteen year old Craig was not that interested in skiing. It did not take long, however, for all that to change, with Craig going on to dedicate his life to the sport as an instructor and coach. Craig completed his Level II Alliance Course at 17 and became a ski instructor in 1971 with the White Falcon Ski School.


Making his way to New Zealand, Craig served as a Ski Instructor and eventual Director of the Chateau Ski School. One of the largest international Ski Schools in the southern hemisphere Craig spent twelve seasons there. In 1980 Craig took over the role as Head Coach of the Lake Superior Ski Division Alpine Team, taking it from a small group of racers to one of the most prominent Divisions in Ontario. Craig was responsible for a great deal of programme development during that time including the Juvenile Programme and founding the Ski D Programme. Under his guidance skiers from northwestern Ontario, including Greg Zeleny, Lydia Kutra and Steve Cameron earned entry onto the Ontario Ski Team.


Not surprisingly, Craig's talents soon took him to the National Alpine Ski Team. In 1988 he was appointed assistant coach of the women's team and was responsible for the training of development athletes in slalom and giant slalom. From 1989 to 1991 Craig held the position of Head Coach of the women's technical program. During the 1991-92 season Craig worked fulltime with the women's World Cup downhill and technical athletes. Craig was part of the coaching staff which was instrumental in some of the greatest Canadian moments in women's skiing including Karen Percy's silver medal performance at the World Championships and Kerrin Lee-Gartner's gold medal victory at the at the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville. Following that season, Craig left the national team and returned to where it all began, serving as the Area Manager and Technical Director for Mount Baldy.


Throughout his career, Craig has taught a lot of young skiers to race. More importantly, however, he has also taught them the importance of good sportsmanship, respect and responsibility through his own example.


Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 28, 1996


Craig Spiess

Inducted: 
1996
Sport:
Skiing
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