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.

84 Responses

  1. […] and X Games competitions. But long before the bright lights of ESPN and Good Morning America, Stein Eriksen was revolutionizing the sport on a pair of wooden sticks. Sadly, he passed away this weekend at the […]

  2. Javiera Schwab says:

    My condolences to the Eriksen Family.
    Farewell Mr. Eriksen, it was an honour to serve you.

    Javiera Schwab
    Deer Valley kitchen staff member 1999-2004.

  3. Peter Keelty says:

    Stein inspired me for my entire life, as he did countless others. We shall miss the “real-life Ullr.” Skiing has lost part of its soul.

  4. Chris Smith says:

    Thank you Stein for all of the “lunch pail and shovel” work you did back in the Midwest. I was one of those Flatlanders who decided to put on a pair of “sticks.” I’m still trying to figure out how you make those turns look soooooo easy.
    Living on the prairie, it is not so easy. But it is still fun. And for me, once in a while, the boots, skis, and poles all align. And it’s soooooo cooooool.
    Bless You Stein.

  5. […] Norwegian Olympic Alpine skiing champion, died at age 88 at his home in Park City, Utah, on Sunday, according to Deer Valley Resort, where he served as director of skiing for more than 35 […]

  6. Jacqueline says:

    God bless him and his family. He had a vision and we all get to enjoy it. He will not be forgotten.

  7. […] and X Games competitions. But long before the bright lights of ESPN and Good Morning America, Stein Eriksen was revolutionizing the sport on a pair of wooden sticks. Sadly, he passed away this weekend at the […]

  8. Tom says:

    Stein was my idol and the reason I started my alpine skiing career back in Norway. I’m glad I had the opprotunity to meet him several times at Deer Valley. So sad that he is gone, but what a great legacy he left us with.
    Thanks for everything Stein!


  9. Jim Anderson says:

    RIP Mr. Eriksen. You influenced so many…including me. Thank you for your contribution to such a great sport.

  10. Rich says:

    My son, who is 15 yrs old, will often grab his straight skis, put on a sweater & black pants, and hit the mountain to ‘ski like Stein Eriksen’ from years ago!

  11. Toni Naples says:

    We started the Stein fan club around 2007 He was so charming to us all! We would parade over to the deck in our outfits closing day and he loved it! I am quite sad to lose such a charming fellow. Peace Toni Naples

  12. Mark Bekken says:

    We all lost our legendary icon of modern skiing and especially at our beloved Deer Valley. I will always remember how warm and loving he was to my children during a Christmas Day brunch at His namesake beautiful lodge. Always friendly and ready for pictures with whomever requested it. He was our skiing ambassador and one class act!! He even helped me personally when I bought a new helmut in his Sport shop and gave me a hug. Remembering him in the Olympics parade a couple years ago in the 1967 GTO looking so classic Stein in the back seat of the convertible, even more meaningful after the serious accident he had incurred a few years before. May he make some classic Stein turns in the endless heavenly powder in Heaven !! Rest in Peace Stein – you will be so missed by all of Park City locals and the many lives you touched with your amazing life.

  13. Frank Covino says:

    Rest in peace, my mentor, my friend. May twelve feet of sweet powder keep you warm in your final place of rest. Our 1962 ski column, ” Ski Tips by Stein Eriksen ” launched the beautiful style of skiing that you popularized, as King Features Syndicate distributed it in 45 newspapers across the country, the year that you brought that elegance to Sugarbush Valley, Vermont. Your words and my sketches revealed the most elegant style that the sport of skiing has ever presented. I have preserved some of that information in my book, ” Skiers Digest “, recently purchased by echopointbooks.com for republication next year, since I believe that the Stein Eriksen skiing tyle will, one day, be recognized as the peak of athletic performance on parallel skis, and the current squat and twist style with open skiis , designed for the fat, non athletic consumer, will be crushed by an avalanche of ridicule. Frank Covino

  14. Terry Alford says:

    It was my pleasure to have known you even if it was a short time that I worked for Stein Eriksen Inc. From 2001-2003 we made it through the Olympics in Utah and I was proud to be part of your team. You are a legend here in Utah and I remember skiing in my youth and wanted to ski like you. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

  15. I/We have lost a friend who was a true icon of the ski industry! He will be deeply missed! I never did get that glass of wine your promised me after running into me at Deer Valley.

    Bill McGinty, Director of Skiing
    Ski Cooper

  16. Kirsten Lyn Stuart (McCann) says:

    Such an honor to have met you. You probably have no recollection of me, but your son, Stein Jr. and I went to school together as teenagers. You were very kind and will live in my memories forever. RIP

  17. mark says:

    Truly a great skier, and a wonderful man.
    I will always remember his warmth and hospitality
    I also remember the park city town races years ago, and seeing up close what a powerful skier he was.
    We have lost an icon of the sport

  18. George says:

    A hui ho~my friend&brother……Jeg elsker deg~ & plenty alohas to our ohana~ a lifetime of good memories that will never
    be forgotten~ and forever cherished ~~ the aloha we shared; was, is, and ever shall be!~

  19. marsha cain says:

    a great skiier,a great friend and a true gentleman. you will be missed every day.

  20. Steve Florio says:

    It was a privilege and the highlight of this young ski instructor’s career to have worked for Stein in the mid-70’s.
    He was my boyhood hero and I grew up watching him ski in the east. He also was an inspiration to me during a difficult time, it was questioned whether I would ski again. He knew I could do it and I did. And enjoyed many fun runs with Stein for years later. I was always proud to be “one of his boys”.
    Rest in peace, Stein. We will ski again.

  21. Cheryl Hoffman says:

    Stein was a joy to watch skiing at Deer Valley in the morning in his Bogner suits and no hat

  22. Pete Bansen says:

    It is hard to think of an individual who was more instrumental in the popularization of skiing and the development of the ski industry that Stein Eriksen. He was a giant in our industry and will never be forgotten when people talk about the greatest skiers of all time.

    Pete Bansen
    Squaw Valley, California

  23. Mac Oakley says:

    Stein will be dearly missed in all ways! He was a true visionary in his sport, and the Oakley family will always hold him in their hearts!

  24. Dan Kolb says:

    I’ve know of Stein ever since I learned to ski in central PA (~1960, when I was 13 yrs old). I finally got to meet him while skiing at Sugarbush, VT. He was larger than life then, and I practiced my turns to at least try to emulate Stein. No one could look like Stein ….but he gave us all something to shoot for as we dreamed. He will be missed by many dreamers! RIP Stein.

  25. Chris Connell says:

    Never met you but my girlfriends( Dianne Dalenberg) grandmother who lived in Oslo taught you in early school. We have skied Deer Valley and always thought about what it would be like to have met you,
    Deepest Sympathy to your family. You had a wonderful life doing what you loved.
    Chris Connell ….. Aiken, SC

  26. Jo Anne Rosen says:

    Stein has been a hero of mine since I was 10 years old. He taught me how to Bowl when I was staying at the Sun Valley Lodge. I loved speaking with him when I visited Deer Valley and always reminded him of our early adventure long ago. Currently I have surpassed 75+. He was always so kind and a true gentleman. Nobody I know kept the same appearance his whole life, he was always immaculate.

  27. Mark Rohde says:

    We always looked for Stein during our annual trips to Deer Valley and the highlight was meeting Stein and shaking his hand outside Empire lodge. Stein was a true pioneer who brought a style and grace to the sport of skiing that will not be forgotten. He leaves a great legacy.

  28. LANNY THACKER says:

    With a doubt Stien Eiksen was thhe most graceful beautiful skier ever. his style was unbleavable
    graceful but very fast. i tried to copy that wonderful style. He was a pleasure to watch and a super man.

  29. Hank Redding says:

    When I lived in Sacramento in northern California and learned to ski in the various resorts around Lake Tahoe I marveled at his technique in his majestic turns which I could never develop. It was always a pleasure to go to the once a year movie that Warren Miller brought to town and try and catch a glimpse of him.To me, he was like the champion of ballroom dancing in skiing—-may I suggest the waltz!

  30. Roger Grable says:

    Are there any copies of his earlier films available? I remember how I amazed I was when I saw them. Even today no one is his equal. Love to see some posted on YouTube.

  31. Tom Watts says:

    I was privileged to re-learn the sport of skiing in the 1980s when I got a chance to ski a number of times with Frank Covino at Sugarbush North. Frank, a terribly elegant skier himself, taught me as much as I could absorb of the Eriksen style which I’ve kept with me and held dearly ever since. I heard a lot of Stein Eriksen stories from Frank and became a great admirer of the man.
    Rest in peace Stein Eriksen; you had a gift that you graciously gave the world and I for one will always be grateful. May your legacy live on in a new generation of elegant skiers.
    Tom Watts

  32. Kim Verde says:

    I am a former Master ski racer. It was always a great and wonderful experience to race Deer Valley and stay at the Stein Erikson lodge . That is where I met Stein . He greeted us making sure we were comfortable . He said at his get – together you must go race my race course! Go meet my son at the top . I received a Gold Pin Stein Jr. Awarded me my pin. I loved Sunday brunch and I always invited my friend Sally Tauber. Stein, your star will shine forever , sincerly, Kim Cathleen Verde

  33. Jeffrey Cole says:

    After attending a Bob Beattie ski camp in 1976, I learned of, and saw pictures of Stein Eriksen. So for the past 40 years, just as Rich’s son says, “Ski like Stein”, has been my motto every time I have hit the slopes.
    My deepest sympathy goes out to the family of this great ambassador of Skiing.

  34. Chuck Pease says:

    First saw Stein when he was ski school director at Boyne Mountain, Michigan in the 1950’s. Fell in love with his graceful style of skiing and was eager to learn and adapt to the ‘reverse shoulder’ style of skiing. Witnessing his ‘foward somersault’ at Boyne was a sight to behold and remember. What an icon he has been to skiing over these past many years. You have certainly enhanced my love of skiing for 50 years for which I THANK YOU Stein, may you RIP,

  35. Dean R. says:

    The ski world has lost a truly great skier, you’ll be missed! Thank You for all you did for this sport!

  36. ihadthegreatprivlagetomeetmr.steineriksenatsunvalleyresor tinyera1956asyouknowaseveyoneelsesayssteinwassuchawonderfulpersonandoneofthegreatestcompetitorsyouoriwouldevermeet god bless him and his family we all love him and will not stopthinking about he and his family heibelivewasthefirstpersonintheworldtocompleteaforwardsumersaultonskis wasitgreat i guess anothertributeisthathehadsuchaflauslesbeautifullgracefullperfetparelltechnique that alotof trytoduplicate ?canwedo?? stei ericksen was the firstpersonintheworldtowin three gold medals in world competition plus winning so many awards we are proud of thankyou
    i was a usa class a downhill slalom racer that got into some world cup races doing as we say so so thanks for bode lindsey julia penny pitou mikila shriffin liggety i an
    i am 80yrs old and love all these people and view all their competitione regularly as i say bye just want to say i got int the us biathlon team in 1959 we won a tropy for thr best improved team at the word competitions at courmyer italt we finished 6th over all of the foreigh elite teams wewere in the u s army which was a privlage hope i did not bore you pleaes give stein some of your time and great thoughts good nite to all sonn paquette

  37. Jeff Seely says:

    I thought your write up on Steins life was great but I felt something was missing in the bio. I recalled that he had spent time at Sun Valley when he was young. I found a used copy of his book “Come Ski with Me” on Amazon and got it today. Sure enough, he spent a few seasons here in the early 50’s. And writes about teaching in 1953. His Stein Turn came from the SV bowls, Christmas, Easter, etc. There are great old photos in the book, may have to ski in a Nordic sweater tomorrow!

  38. Steve Belson says:

    I had the pleasure and privilege of skiing with Stein and Pepi Gramshammer at Deer Valley during the time of the 2002 Olympic games. As a former racer and skier of over 40 years it was one of the highlights of my skiing life. Mr. Eriksen will be greatly missed but not forgotten.

  39. Markinsac says:

    My father mimicked Steins skiing style and skied it until he was 88. I grew up watching his TV show where he would start with his forward flip. How cool and what a an icon.
    A legend gone but not forgotten.

  40. Marion says:

    My friend and I, both from Michigan, “ski-bummed” at Aspen the winter of 1960-61. we had the good fortune to meet Stein and his Norwegian instructors who came to instruct at Aspen Highlands. It was very small then and Aspen was a wonderful town then. At a party we attended, Stein introduced himself and, in European fashion, kissed our hand. What a thrill for 2 gals from Detroit.
    Now living in Colorado and skiing for years, I had hoped to meet that fine gentleman again but could never get to Deer valley. He, his style and grace will be truly missed on the slopes. What a legacy!

  41. Rand Olson says:

    One of my great thrills in skiing was in the late 1960s at Snowmass while a student in Boulder. I had just gotten off the
    chair at the top of the Big Burn. I looked to my side and there was the unmistakable presence
    of Stein Eriksen. He took off and I followed behind him to the bottom of the run, trying to
    imitate his every move. Since that time nearly 50 years ago, I have tried to pattern my technique
    after that great luminary in the world of skiing.

  42. Joseph C. Baillargeon says:

    Stein’s loss is a great sadness to all who have grown up in skiing.

    His influence in the sport went far beyond his actual presence.

    My own acquaintance with him began in 1950 shortly after he had distinguished himself in the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS) competition held in Aspen that March. Stein already had left Aspen when I arrived but his legend was well underway.

    Almost immediately I needed new skis and the Aspen ski shop fitted me with a pair of Marius Erickson 210 km which the salesman claimed had been worn by Stein in the competition. To prove it he pointed to a small red dot just forward of the boot toe irons that he said was Stein’s trademark.

    Whether or not that was the exact truth, I was happy to accept it and obtain bragging rights among my skiing friends.

    They were wonderful performing skis, limited only by their owner.

    Then in August 1953 the Navy ship on which I was serving called at Oslo. There at the boat landing was Stein cordially welcoming our fleet to his homeland.

    And yes, I had a chance to ask him about the red dots on my skis and he corroborated that that indeed they were his trademark. So be it.

    I enjoyed those skis for quite a few years but even Ericksons have a life expectancy of only so many moguls and I eventually had to retire them.

    However, it was a privilege to ski for a time in the shadow of greatness and with the memory of a most gracious gentleman.

  43. Monica Woolner says:

    Every mountain Stein ever skied will be forever graced with his elegant athleticism and grand enthusiasm.
    His love of the sport was inspiring and contagious.
    Eternal gratitude and appreciation for Norway’s son, Stein Eriksen.
    Lykke til evig Stein!

  44. Dr John Obudzinski says:

    I first met Mr Erickson when I was on a family vacation with my 4 children perhaps 20 years ago. We were staying at Park City and decided to ski Deer Vally. Late AM as I was standing half down a bump run taking videos of my children sling down the hill, I lost my balance and fell down hill fracturing my left wrist. Had to ski a few runs until I could work my way across the mountain to ski in. It was then on top of main chairlift that Stein Erikson skis off lift in one piece Bogner ski attire. I immediately recognized him, very handsome and svelte with full head of hair and sunglasses. I introduced myself and told him that I just broke my wrist. He commented “How can you ski with a broken wrist”? To that I responded that a few years ago I tore my Achilles’ tendon skiing. To that he responded that he to had torn his Achilles I have entire conversation on video. He politely skied away as I attempted to follow him down the mountain. I was in awe of the beautiful graceful style of his skiing. He softly glided down the mountain with the characteristic Stein reverse shoulder turns. His legs so closely together so relaxed. I will forever cherish that moment in time.

  45. Gary Allen says:

    My idol as a child and the architect of my skiing style today at 65 years old ! I was never privileged enough to meet Stein when he was Ski School Director at Sugarbush, VT, but attribute my undying lkve of the sport solely to him. Rest I peace and may all your days in Heaven be filled with untracked powder and clear blue skies. You will be greatly missed !

  46. As seasonal residents and skiers in Park City, we frequently skied Deer Valley and of course spent many days at Stein’s Lodge. We met him at the lodge and on two occasions had lunch at the table next to him. More than once we drove by his private home and prayed over Stein and his family, as prompted by God. Little did we know that he would be passing on shortly after our heart felt prayers. Stein will be greatly missed, but we know he is seriously enjoying Heaven right now and for ever, just as Heaven is blessed to have Stein as a new resident member of the Divine family.

  47. Michael Rich says:

    The sport has lost a truly great sportsman, one of the most beautiful, fluid skiers I have ever had the opportunity to follow down the mountain. I feel I was truly blessed to have had the opportunity to meet him several times and to get to ski with him twice in my lifetime. I have an autographed poster hanging on my office wall of Stein skiing, with the Deer Valley and Marker logos on it. Also I have the Deer Valley Marker jacket from one of my favorite ski days ever that I bought at Jan’s Sports in 1992 to remember the 18″ of fresh powder we skied on that day. Every time I look at the poster or wear my old marker powder jacket it reminds me of Stein and the Deer Valley resort, which is always my number 1 at heart. Bless the Erickson family and all of the friends that knew and loved the man. He will be missed, but never forgotten.

  48. DALE C RUSSELL says:

    We were just talking about Stein this week when sking. i never met the man but, i grew up like many watching him in the sixtys on a school night when he had a short caption with his ski tip of the day between the news. I received a great xmass gift about four years ago from my wife. much to my surprise was Steins book come ski with me. i loved his art form of sking which i still try to do. i just found out about his passing. what a great man. You should be very proud of him . He showed me a better way to ski and enjoy it more. dcccc To the Erickson family God bless and my deepest regret.

  49. Bill Jennings says:

    Skied with Stein at Snow Basin Utah 1977 when he and two of his young instructors competed in a race. Stein styled down the giant slalom course. Talking with him was a great inspiration in those early years of life ! His memory is always with us to remember.

  50. Dr. Harold MacMurren says:

    I had the great pleasure of meeting Stein on a trip to Deer Valley.He invited all the guests of The Lodge to a cocktail party. I had a change to talk to him and tell him that he had a lot to do with my love of skiing and he was my idol. He skied every day and the Lodge had a copy of todays outfit on display so people could spot him. What a thrill to ski with him.
    I was planning a return trip with the hope of meeting him again…..
    RIP, he will always be remembered….

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