Legendary Skier Stein Eriksen Passes Away

Stein Eriksen, the legendary alpine skier whose revolutionary technique and distinctive style made him a founder of modern skiing, passed away peacefully on Sunday, December 27, 2015 at his home in Park City, Utah surrounded by family. He was 88 years old.

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As one of the most recognized names in the ski world, Stein Eriksen has been synonymous with skiing style and elegance for more than 60 years. The first alpine skier to win triple gold at a world championship, an Olympic Gold Medalist and ambassador and father of freestyle skiing, Stein Eriksen parlayed all that he knew and loved about the sport into an incredible career that spanned almost six decades and changed the face of alpine skiing worldwide.

The patriarch of elegant skiing, Eriksen successfully turned his passion for skiing into a lifetime career. His desire to develop an internationally-renowned luxury hotel, which now bears his name, is located mid-mountain at Deer Valley Resort, where he served as Director of Skiing for more than 35 years.

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“Stein has been an integral part of the Deer Valley family since the resort’s inception and his presence on the mountain will be profoundly missed,” said Bob Wheaton, Deer Valley president and general manager. “His influence in the ski industry and at this resort was infinite and his legacy will always be a fundamental aspect of Deer Valley. He was a true inspiration and we are honored to have had him as a part of the Deer Valley family.”

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Commenting on Eriksen’s legacy, Dennis Suskind, President of Stein Eriksen Lodge, noted, “Stein Eriksen was the vision behind the development of the Lodge that carries his name.  His celebrity charisma created a special ambiance whether within the Lodge, our restaurant or out on the mountain, that was warm and inviting.  He was a real friend and will be missed.”

Born December 11, 1927, Eriksen originally gained fame through competition at the 1952 Oslo Olympic Winter Games, where he took the gold and silver medals in the giant slalom and slalom events, respectively. Two years later he went on to win three gold medals at the World Championships in Åre, Sweden in 1954, making him the first alpine skier to win the world championship ‘triple gold.’ Shortly thereafter, Eriksen’s inimitable style and captivating personality garnered him the attention of the news media and friendship of the Hollywood elite. His status was enhanced by his spectacular forward somersault, an aerial maneuver credited as the forerunner of the inverted aerials performed by freestyle skiers today.

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A native of Norway, Eriksen lived in the United States for the last six decades. Prior to joining Deer Valley Resort, he was involved in the development of the then Park City Ski Area, now Park City Mountain. Before Park City, Stein spent four years as director of skiing and ski school director at Snowmass, Colorado, and four years as ski school director at Sugarbush, Vermont. He also served as ski school director and owned his own sport shop in Aspen, Colorado. From 1956 to 1958, he was ski school director for Heavenly Valley, California, having previously served in the same position at Boyne Mountain, Michigan from 1954 to 1956.

Among his numerous awards and honors, Eriksen was awarded the Knight First Class honor in 1997 by His Majesty the King of Norway as a reward for outstanding service in the interest of Norway, indicating his dedication to his home country. His contribution to the world of sports and his commitment to the people of his homeland also earned him the Royal Order of Merit. In recognition of his pioneering spirit and contribution to the early development of the ski industry, Stein received the Pioneer Award from the Intermountain Ski Areas Association (ISAA) in 1998. Eriksen served as an Olympic Ambassador at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, during which some events took place at his home mountain of Deer Valley Resort and coincided with the 50th anniversary of his Olympic medals. Eriksen was inducted into the Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) Hall of Fame in 2013. In April of 2015, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Utah Sports Commission. Eriksen was also awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Ski Tourism by World Ski Awards in 2015.

Stein was frequently sought out by the thousands of skiers to which he taught the sport and was always happy to stop for a visit and a photo. He took great pride and joy in his past students and guests and making them feel special. In addition to his numerous accomplishments and awards, Stein will be remembered for his charisma, kindness and approachable nature.

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Eriksen is survived by his wife of 35 years, Francoise, son Bjorn, three daughters, Julianna, Ava and Anja and five grandchildren. He was preceded in death by son Stein Jr.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to the Stein Eriksen Youth Sports Opportunity Endowment. A private memorial will be held for family followed by a celebration of Stein’s life, details of which will be forthcoming.

63 Responses

  1. I have known Stein for many years and have had the pleasure of dining with him on several occasions during the FIS World Cup at Deer Valley. He will be missed by all of us that had the pleasure of knowing him.

  2. David Finney says:

    I had the great pleasure of skiing with Stein for one run down at Boyne Mountain back in 1978 – a moment I will never forget! God Bless and thank you for your great contribution to the sport.

  3. Benjamin and Sharon Malvinni says:

    Dear Mrs. Eriksen, We only met your husband twice, but both times were memorable My wife and I were skiing in Deer Valley over 10 years ago and we asked a gentleman at the base of the Stein Lodge for some information . I asked him if he could point a good run for us, as we were new to to the area. In his pleasant voice he told us and pointed to one of the runs near the lift and then he mentioned that we could go up to the lodge on top of the hill for a nice lunch. I asked him ” are you Stein Eriksen” and he replied yes. Then I made the mistake in mentioning that his Swedish hockey team was doing great in the winter Olympics…….he just smiled at us. My wife later corrected me and said that Stein was Norwegian. The second time we met Mr Eriksen was in Peter Glen Sports store in Jupiter. I apologize for my error. He took out a beautiful poster of himself skiing in his famous style and he signed it for Ben and Sherry. What a gentleman. I found the information in the computer about his passing. Our condolences to you and your family.

  4. […] City with both world cup gold medals and gold and silver Olympic alpine ski medals to his name. The late and great founder of modern skiing was the Director of Skiing at Deer Valley for 35 years and passed away […]

  5. Cindy says:

    In 1980 I skied in his class at Deer Valley. His comment as I took my turn, Vunderful! I will never forget that moment.

  6. Ron Pitts says:

    I met Stein in 1962 at Aspen Highlands Ski area.He had a ski school and store.He also taught ski lessons.My father Charles Pitts was part owner at Aspen Highlands along with Whip Jones. Ron Pitts
    RIP Stein

  7. Mindy Hodel says:

    Stein was my skiing idol. I met him when I was with my family on a ski vacation at Sugarbush. I was ten. I wanted his autograph but all I had was a little bar napkin. He took the napkin, left the room, and came back with a poster of that famous photo we all know and he wrote a little note. Later on we had the rare treat of seeing him do his front flip (on those skis and those “bindings”!!!) While we were eating lunch. I was smitten.

  8. Tomi Rawls says:

    I grew up skiing at Boyne Mt Michigan. Everyone was totally stunned at the news that Stein was going to come to Boyne. He seemed destined for a more glamorous life. …and he did have it. While he was at Boyne he was friendly and down to earth…played ping pong with all the kids. He also was responsible for bringing some Austrian Instructors to Boyne….between the accents and the yodeling, we were all enchanted.

  9. Shilah and Ntokozo says:

    I heard many good things about the talented skiing legend. He made a good name for the city of Utah. May his soul rest in peace

  10. Detmar Loerick says:

    I met Stein at Streeter and Quarles at their Ski shop in Place Ville Marie in Montreal.
    I still have aphoto of him in his unique style……. knees together and leaning forward…….
    Thank you Stein for allowing me a brief moment of your time.
    Detmar Loerick
    Montreal Quebec Canada

  11. James Nabozny says:

    Trollhaugen Ski A
    rea, Dresser, Wi
    Winter 1962 .
    Skied with Stein, after he put on a visit skiing presentation with his famous ski flip.

  12. James Nabozny says:

    Stein was loved and admired by many skiers in the Minneapolis,MN skiing community. Dayton’s Dept. Store Ski Shop and Blizzard Ski Club, brought Stein to the Twin Cities, many times . He was loved by many here in MN. Such a beautiful skier and person. Stein off the bowl wall, was pure ,and style. JSN

  13. Lon Lundberg says:

    “Stein” was such an incredible and gracious man with his time for others. I have a photo with him that I treasure from the early 1980’s when I was still in the ski business. To me, he’s been a living legend that lived up to that status without faltering… a true hero and ‘good guy’! Over the years I’ve spoken fondly of him and others that have had the class he had in how he conducted himself and demonstrated life in a high standard.

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