Stein Eriksen, the skiing legend, passes at 88

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Courtesy Deer Vallery Resort

Heather Burke, Boston.com Correspondent, Deer Valley Resort News Release

Stein Eriksen, the legendary alpine skier whose revolutionary technique and distinctive style made him a founder of modern skiing, passed away peacefully at 88 on Sunday, December 27, 2015 at his home in Park City, Utah, surrounded by family.

Stein Eriksen is one of the most recognized names in the ski world, synonymous with skiing style and elegance. The first alpine skier to win triple Gold at a World Championship, and an Olympic gold medalist, Eriksen became an ambassador and father of freestyle skiing. His skiing career spanned almost six decades and changed the face of alpine skiing worldwide.

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Eriksen was the patriarch of elegant skiing, and the Director of Skiing for over 35 years at Deer Valley Resort, where he developed an internationally-renowned luxury hotel, The Stein Eriksen Lodge.

“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 Deer Valley Resort was infinite and his legacy will always be a fundamental aspect.”

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.”

Born December 11, 1927, Eriksen gained fame at the 1952 Oslo Olympic Winter Games, where he took the gold and silver medals in GS and Slalom. He won three gold medals at the World Championships in Åre, Sweden in 1954, making him the first alpine skier to win ‘Triple Gold.’ Eriksen’s skiing style and personality caught the attention of the media and Hollywood’s elite. He was famous for his spectacular forward somersault, an aerial maneuver that served as a forerunner of freestyle skiing.

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Eriksen was a native of Norway, but lived in the United States for six decades. He served four years as ski school director at Sugarbush, Vermont, Aspen Snowmass, Colorado, and Heavenly, California, before his involvement in the development of Park City Mountain and later Deer Valley.

Eriksen served as an Olympic Ambassador at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Utah, on the 50th anniversary of his Olympic medals. He was inducted to the Ski Hall of Fame in 2003, the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) Hall of Fame in 2013, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Utah Sports Commission and the Outstanding Contribution to Ski Tourism by World Ski Awards in 2015. The Stein Eriksen Lodge has received “The World’s Best Ski Hotel” award.

At 80, Stein was injured in a collision with another younger skier. He was hospitalized, but returned to the ski slopes. If you have skied Deer Valley in recent years, you may have seen Eriksen, at his lodge during après ski, or on the slopes where he would gladly stop for a visit and a photo. Eriksen will be missed by the ski community, but his legacy lives on with his family, the Stein Eriksen Lodge at Deer Valley, in freestyle skiing and in skiing history.

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Greg Burke for Boston.com

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