PARK CITY, Utah, Dec. 27, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah ski icon Stein Eriksen passed away Sunday at age 88.
News of Eriksen’s death was confirmed to Gephardt Daily by the Stein Eriksen Lodge, at Deer Valley, in Park City.
Eriksen, a Norwegian alpine skier who won four Olympic gold metals in the 1950s, was honored this spring with a Governor’s State of Sports Lifetime Achievement for his contribution to the ski industry in Utah.
“Eriksen is one of the skiing legends around Park City, and one of the city’s earliest, even though he never competed for the United States,” said a biography on the the awards website.
“He won the gold medal in the giant slalom in the 1952 Winter Olympics, held in his native country of Norway. He followed his Olympic victory with three gold medals — slalom, giant slalom and combined — in the World Ski Championships in Sweden two years later.”
Eriksen moved to Utah after his Olympic career.
“He recalls signing a one-page contract after his racing days with Edgar Stern, the owner of what was then known as the Park City Ski Area,” the biography continues. “Eriksen had already made several stops teaching skiing at other American resorts. Eriksen followed him when Stern later opened Deer Valley Resort as a ski mountain that would provide top-shelf service to the skiers.
“Eriksen has been associated with Deer Valley Resort since its opening day in 1981. He was the director of skiing and is often spotted on the slopes guiding other skiers across the mountains. He is also the namesake of the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley.”
Eriksen has been called skiing’s “first superstar,” due to his style, charisma and humility. The son of Olympic gymnast Marius Eriksen, Stein Eriksen has been credited with devising aerials, which helped revolutionize the world of alpine skiing. During his many years as a ski instructor, Eriksen was known for demonstrating flips on skis.
In 1997, the king of Norway honored Eriksen by knighting him with the Royal Norweigian Order of Merit for his contribution to Norway. It is the highest honor the Norwegian government can give to a person living outside of Norway.