In Park City, Stein Eriksen means something. Whether you think first of the legendary Olympic gold medalist or the five-star lodge at Deer Valley named after him, Stein Eriksen made an indelible mark on skiing—and on this town. On Wednesday, a new exhibit honoring the world-class skier opened in the Alf Engen Ski Museum at the Utah Olympic Park.
The official unveiling was a packed event, drawing old friends, colleagues, admirers, and Stein's youngest son, Bjørn Eriksen, who flew in from Montana. He said the occasion was an "opportunity to reminisce and remind us of what Stein did for the sport, and how he was not only an ambassador for skiing, but also for life." In addition to his many accolades, which include winning Olympic gold and being the first alpine skier to win triple golds at a World Championship, Stein is also sometimes credited as the "father of freestyle" for devising aerials as part of freestyle ski competitions.
After a distinguished career as an athlete, Stein served as a ski director at various resorts, the final one being Deer Valley. Bob Wheaton, the president and manager of the resort, fondly recalled the time when Stein, in an attempt to liven the atmosphere at an event, dipped his hand in a bowl of whipped cream and put it on nose. For the remainder of the evening, he walked around greeting people with whipped cream on his nose and, out of respect for this illustrious figure, no one said a word. It was just one of many examples of how Stein always brought with him a "comfort, charisma, and sense of humor" and an unrivaled dedication to friends and family.
Stein passed away at the end of last year in his Park City home at the age of 88. Thanks to collaboration between Stein Eriksen Lodge and Deer Valley, visitors will have a chance to learn more and remember the legacy of this ski great. The museum hopes to eventually make the exhibit, which consists of artifacts on loan from Bjørn, a permanent fixture.