Stein Eriksen is often called the “Father of Freestyle Skiing” and he is. He really was the first guy throwing flips on skis and it blew people’s minds. The guy would basically travel the world and throw flips for spectators. Not a bad life, huh?
Oh, and he was an Olympic Gold Medalist in Giant Slalom at the 1952 Oslo Olympics. Baller.
My father once met Stein Ericksen at Bear Valley ski resort in California when he was a kid. Stein said: “How nice it is for you to meet me,” in a thick accent and skied away.
Stein Eriksen Info:
Eriksen won the gold medal in the Giant Slalom event at the 1952 Winter Olympics, which were held in Oslo, Norway. He also won a silver medal in the slalom race. Eriksen was the first skier from outside the Alps to win an Olympic men’s alpine gold medal. He also won three gold medals at the 1954 World Championships in Åre, Sweden, and a bronze medal at the 1950 World Championships in Aspen, Colorado.
Some of his other accomplishments include the fact that he is credited with devising “aerials”, a freestyle skiing event, and he helped revolutionize the world of alpine skiing, especially in America, where he has served as a ski instructor at many different ski schools. At Sugarbush, each Sunday afternoon, combining his gymnast background and his skiing, Stein would demonstrate a flip on skis. For his Olympic medals, Eriksen earned the Holmenkollen medal in 1952 (Shared with Torbjørn Falkanger, Heikki Hasu, and Nils Karlsson).
It is said that Eriksen was skiing’s “first superstar” since he was handsome, stylish, and charismatic. Despite his fame, he maintained a very down-to-earth personality. For example, he is quoted as saying, “Be tough, be confident. But you will never be a whole and happy person if you aren’t humble”.
Life in the US
Shortly after his success in the 1952 Olympics, Eriksen moved to America where he continues to live. He worked as a ski instructor and ski school-director at various ski schools such as Sugarbush in Vermont, and Aspen in Colorado and ended his career as director of skiing at the Deer Valley Resort in Utah. He was also host of the Stein Eriksen Lodge, a ski lodge in Deer Valley, Utah (the Lodge was named in honor of Eriksen, but is not owned by him). Stein was married to Francoise with five children, Ava, Stein Jr. (who recently passed), Julianna, Anja, and Bjørn. He currently calls both Utah and Montana home.
In 1997, Eriksen was honored by the King of Norway. He was knighted with the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit for his contribution to Norway, the highest honor that the Norwegian government can give to people living outside Norway.
He died on 27 December 2015, sixteen days after his 88th birthday, in his Park City, Utah home. – wikipedia