An email landed in my inbox this morning from Caroline Stuart-Taylor, announcing she is to leave her post as chief executive of the Ski Club of Great Britain on 31 March. “CST” has been a fixture at Ski Club HQ for 16 years and a Ski Club rep for much longer.
I first met Caroline at the Inferno downhill in Muerren in 2006, when she tapped me on the shoulder at the finish in Lauterbrunnen (it was a year when the race ran the full 15km course). Without introducing herself (I had no idea who she was), she demanded to know: “What was your time?” I don’t think I knew, although it turned out I had beaten her by less than half a second (she is 18 years older than me).
Since then I have come to know Caroline better, both at the Inferno and since I did the Ski Club of GB leaders’ course in December 2010. She is an excellent and highly competitive skier who loves going off-piste, very rarely falls over and is reguarly on the podium at the Inferno.
After learning to ski as a child and becoming a Ski Club rep aged 22, Caroline has spent her entire career in the ski industry, setting up a holiday company, Fresh Tracks (which now operates as Ski Club Freshtracks), then taking the Ski Club through changes such as its move from Eaton Square to Wimbledon and its rebrand of 2010, as chief executive of the club.
A statement released by the Ski Club this morning includes a woolly quote from the club chairman Neil Britten (“I’m sure members will join me in thanking … for efforts … wish all the best for the future…”), but no hint of what has prompted this parting. According to the statement, she intends to seek new challenges consistent with a career in the snowsports industry, and that she will continue as a Ski Club leader (but obviously not the leader).
Caroline’s own statement begins: “It is very sad to be saying goodbye to so many lovely people…” – you can read the middle bit here – … and it finishes “… leave the Club in a strong and healthy position as the UK’s largest snowsports club with its 31,000+ members.”
I asked Vicky Norman, PR manager, if there is a reason for the departure. She replies: “After almost 16 years in a role which she has very much enjoyed, Caroline says it’s time for a change. She will stay a Ski Club Member and Leader and fully expects to stay connected to the snowsports industry.”
Addendum: there’s a more comprehensive article on the excellent news website PlanetSKI – you can read it here.
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