LOS ANGELES: Stein Eriksen, a Norwegian credited as the founder of modern skiing, died on Monday at his home in Utah, the ski resort he was long associated with said. He was 88.
Eriksen, a well-known figure in the skiing community, rose to fame winning gold and silver in the giant slalom and slalom at the 1952 Oslo Winter Olympics.
He then went on to win three gold medals at the 1954 World Championships in Sweden, “making him the first alpine skier to win the world championship ‘triple gold,’” the Deer Valley Resort said in a statement.
Eriksen’s status “was enhanced by his spectacular forward somersault . . . credited as the forerunner of the inverted aerials performed by freestyle skiers today,” Deer Valley said.
Eriksen had been living in the United States for the last six decades, including stints in ski-related ventures or as an instructor in Colorado, California, Michigan and Vermont.
He had been at the upscale Deer Valley ski resort since it opened in 1981.
“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, the current head of the resort located just outside Park City, Utah.
Eriksen’s awards and honors include Norway’s Knight First Class honor, the Pioneer Award from the Intermountain Ski Areas Association, and a place in the Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame and the Professional Ski Instructors of America Hall of Fame.
Eriksen is survived by his wife of 35 years, Francoise, a son, three daughters and five grandchildren, though was preceded in death by son Stein junior.