Alf Engen Ski Museum honors Stein Eriksen with exhibit | ParkRecord.com

Alf Engen Ski Museum honors Stein Eriksen with exhibit

Although world-renowned Olympic medalist Stein Eriksen is already represented in the Alf Engen Ski Museum's Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame and its Professional Ski Instructors of America, Intermountain Division Hall of Fame, Executive Director Connie Nelson wanted to showcase the "father of freestyle skiing" with his own exhibit.

When Eriksen passed away last December at age 88, Connie's mission went into
overdrive.

"We have been wanting to honor him in some way larger than just these plaques for many years so we talked to the people at Stein Eriksen Lodge at Deer Valley and they got us in touch with Stein's son, Bjorn," Nelson told The Park Record. "He and Stein Eriksen Lodge loaned us the artifacts that are showcased in the exhibit."

On Wednesday, July 20, the Alf Engen Museum will unveil the Stein Eriksen exhibit during a ceremony and celebration from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.

"We're going to close off the museum to the public for a few hours for the ceremony," Nelson said.

The program will be emceed by Tom Kelly of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.

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At noon, guests will gather in the theatre for a welcome by David Yandehei, chairman and president of the Alf Engen Museum Foundation that will be followed by a presentation from a member of the Eriksen family.

"After that, we'll hear the musings of a great man, Bob Wheaton, who is the general manager of the Deer Valley Ski Resort and then more musings by Russ Olsen from the Stein Eriksen Lodge," Nelson said. "We'll also play a four-minute video about Stein that was produced by Deer Valley Resort."

Following that, the guests will have the opportunity to wander through the museum and enjoy some food and drinks.

Guests can RSVP by Monday, July 18, by emailing cnelson@uolf.org or by calling 435-658-4240.

The exhibit is highlighted by some of Eriksen's personal items — competition bibs, handmade wooden skis, his trademark pullover sweater, goggles and film that were all selected by Bjorn Eriksen.

Nelson recruited the help of Matt Meachan to put the exhibit together.

"The wooden race ski is really cool, because if it's not the one, it's similar to the one he wore when he won his gold medals," Meacham said. "And it was actually made by Stein's dad, Marius."

"The Stein Eriksen Lodge and Deer Valley provided us with some of the videos and the photos as well," Nelson said. "We had them reprinted."

Eriksen was born in Oslo, Norway, in 1927, to Birgit and Marius Eriksen.

"He won a gold medal in giant slalom and a silver in slalom in the 1952 Winter Olympics in his hometown," Nelson said. "In 1954, Stein won three gold medals for Norway during the World Championships in Sweden for slalom, giant slalom and alpine combined."

Eriksen relocated to the United States in 1972 and served as a ski instructor for Sun Valley.

"He moved to different places including Sugarbush in Vermont, Aspen in Colorado and Park City Mountain Resort before spending 34 years at Deer Valley," Nelson said.

Nelson is honored the museum features a Stein Eriksen exhibit, but she said he was more than just a great skier.

"When people up here say the name Stein Eriksen, they immediately think of someone who is an icon for freestyle skiing, a handsome and very friendly person who spoke to everyone," Nelson said. "He made everyone feel part of wherever he was. It didn't matter if he remembered your name. He would remember a face and would always ask how your day was.

"Stein touched so many people in so many ways," she said. "He is the face of freestyle and enjoyed life. So, to have him in our museum is an honor. We are planning to make this part of our permanent exhibit."

"A lot of people who don't ski visit the museum and Stein is one of those people who have transcended the sport," Meacham said. "He's not just known by skiers."

The Alf Engen Ski Museum at Utah Olympic Park, 3419 Olympic Pkwy. at Kimball Junction, will unveil the new Stein Eriksen exhibit during a ceremony and celebration on Wednesday, July 20, from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. To RSVP, email cnelson@uolf.org or call 435-658-4240.