Today’s freeskiers have almost become mainstream thanks to Olympic inclusion 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 age of 88 at his home in Park City, Utah.
Eriksen, an Olympic Gold medalist in Giant Slalom at the 1952 winter Olympics, was one of the first skiers to throw flips on skis (the radical, front layout variety, see below) and was an absolute style master. He was Deer Valley’s director of skiing for 35 years and one the sport’s first stars. He’d been with the resort since its inception in 1981.
Eriksen traveled the world skiing, hung with Hollywood A-listers, but always stayed true to his Norwegian roots. One of his most famous quotes? “Be tough, be confident. But you will never be a whole and happy person if you aren’t humble”.
Stein leaves behind his wife Francoise, four children and five grandchildren.