ThrowBack Thursday: Stein Eriksen Throwing the First Flips on Skis

Miles Clark |

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
Stein Eriksen

Stein Eriksen Info:

Eriksen won the gold medal in the Giant Slalom event at the 1952 Winter Olympics, which were held in OsloNorway. 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 ÅreSweden, 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 FalkangerHeikki Hasu, and Nils Karlsson).[3]

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”.

stein eriksen
Stein Eriksen

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

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2 thoughts on “ThrowBack Thursday: Stein Eriksen Throwing the First Flips on Skis

  1. Dear Friends,
    I knew Stein and skied with him at the New England resort, Sugarbush, Warren, Vermont.
    “Steins Run” (slope designed by himself) was just completed. A beautiful run that was known for its width.
    Stein wanted the slope to be much wider than 90% of NewEngland slopes and to remind him of the above the tree line skiing of his youth.
    Stein loved the slope which allowed him to use his beautiful reverse Ahlberg style to great effect.
    He would take the entire width at great and sweeping speed. From top to bottom he made very few turns but at a very high speeds with incredible grace and uncomparable style. He flu into each turn with a kind of centrifugal force propelling out of each turn at even greater speed.
    He was like a ghost, lightening speed, blink and he is gone.
    My neighbor Frank Covino was Asst. director of Skiing to Stein.
    Frank was a great guy from Westport, Ct. He had a baby blue MGA and was also a well known artist in a very beautiful artsy(Westport) town. He had a gorgeous studio high above the Saugatuck river. He taught me how to sculp in soft soapstone. He was a gifted natural teacher.
    It was Frank who invited me to ski with Stein Erickson. What pure Joy!
    Hence, I became a professional just a few years later teaching at Sugarbush, Vt. under DOS, Sigge G. and many others through out Vermont and then on to Zermatt Switerland as Avalanche piste explosives crew by invitation of my dearest neighbor Susie Perren,native of Zermatt and owner of hotel “Christinia” I could write a book of those amazing days and nights.
    With these memorable times….
    I have always tried to live up to the great man,skiing icon and legend. Steins credo, at the end of the day,no matter how much one has accomplished or how great one is,
    “to be humble in life.”
    Sincerely yours,
    John Norfleet

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