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Oliver Hart 1945-2022Oliver Hart 1945-2022

Oliver Hart 1945-2022

January 2023

Oliver Hart was one of the most influential figures in the UK snowsport boom of the 70’s and 80’s. He headed up Salomon in the UK, then worked at Salomon in France before returning to the UK operation. Then, after 36 years with Salomon he took over as SIGB Financial Controller until 2004.

His calm authority, personality and incredible knowledge of the snowsport world will be missed by everyone who knew him.

Oliver Hart – an appreciation by Eric Davies

Oliver Hart was an amazing man, a family man, who managed to combine his major interests of skiing and golf and make it his job, as he was chosen by Jean René Belliard, the European manager of Salomon Ski Equipment to establish the UK Subsidiary. Then, after some years working in France for the company, he came back as the manager of the UK operation which by then also incorporated the Taylor Made Golf brand.

I first met Oliver on the slopes of Cairngorm where I was a ski instructor, and I also practised the new style of Freestyle skiing. I was seeking sponsorship to compete and fortunately Oliver was open-minded enough to embrace this new sport. Over an après-ski drink in the Aviemore pub, The Winking Owl, he selected me for Salomon sponsorship. That moment changed the direction of my life. I had S 555 Equipe bindings, ski gloves that on a rainy day dyed my hands blue and an orange holdall bag, all bearing the Salomon logo. Oliver was indeed instrumental in setting me on the path of a 36-year career with Salomon which gave me the perfect lifestyle job. I couldn’t have achieved this without him as I was CSE Grade 4 maths and he was a fully qualified accountant. Thanks for all your patience, Oliver. He was known by ski instructors and racers alike as ‘the Salomon Guy’, easy to spot on the hill with his navy and orange suit. He was a very accomplished skier always putting in quality turns in all conditions and of course needed to keep up with his ski racer wife, Ginna. Oliver’s achievements included making Salomon the highly respected and technical ski company it became in the UK market and he passionately supported the British Alpine team. He introduced ground-breaking dealer contracts, bringing stability and structure to the ski business and ensured shop staff were fully trained to a high technical level. Oliver was a super technical guy once quizzing binding engineers if the angle of the screw thread was sufficient to retain a racer’s binding at high speed. Oliver as a family man needed to achieve work/life balance and one day we were reminded of this when he appeared in the office with a round, red mark on his forehead. Rosie had tested the sucker on her bow and arrow set on Oliver and the result was for all to see, he just smiled. Another highlight with the company was the annual golf tournament of Salomon versus Snow & Rock, which was always highly competitive with Oliver leading the charge. Even after Oliver had left Salomon, we kept in touch regularly and used to meet up over fish and chips and reminisce about all the good times we’d had. As we say farewell to our dear friend, Oliver, we can see he was the perfect fit for Salomon enjoying the many trips to the headquarters in Annecy and to truly savour the excellent French food and wine, another one of his passions. Shine on Oliver Hart!

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