By Tanya Taylor
On December 27th, 2015 Park City lost its “hometown” hero of skiing: Stein Eriksen
No other individual will ever be held in the hearts of Parkites with such love and esteem. Originally from Norway, Stein made Park City his home following his dazzling success in the 1952 Olympics. His celebrity status as an Olympic and World Champion helped make Deer Valley the incomparable success it is and elevated the tourism prosperity now enjoyed by the whole state. Despite his worldwide fame, Eriksen will be remembered for his impassioned character and friendly demeanor. When mentoring young skiers, he was known to say, “Be tough, and be confident. But you will never be a whole and happy person if you aren’t humble too.”
The name Stein Eriksen is synonymous with Deer Valley, and he was Director of Skiing at Deer Valley Resort for over 35 years. “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 this resort was infinite and his legacy will always be a fundamental aspect of Deer Valley. He was a true inspiration and we are honored to have had him as a part of the Deer Valley family.”
Stein had a particularly soft spot in his heart for young athletes. Th is was evidenced in 2015 when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Utah Sports Commission for revolutionizing the world of alpine skiing. Eriksen said, “It is an honor to help support the athletic dreams of youth. My life’s passion and work has been about the outdoors, sportsmanship, and perseverance. It is rewarding to be able to help make this lifestyle a reality for the young members of our community. I hope to encourage the benefits of teamwork and camaraderie and inspire our local youth to excel in the sports they love.”
Eriksen partnered with the local organization Youth Sports Alliance (YSA) to create his signature Opportunity Endowment that would provide financial support in the form of scholarships for young and aspiring athletes. Th e Endowment also provides grants for YSA’s Get Out & Play program, which enables children of economically challenged families to experience winter sports ranging from skating to luge to alpine skiing. All needed equipment, instruction, and transportation are included to ensure the family shoulders no monetary burden.
In true Park City fashion, local citizens stepped up to help fund Stein’s YSA Opportunity Endowment. Most notable were he partners of critically acclaimed Parallel Napa Valley Wines, who are all residents of PC. “Stein was our dear friend. Together, we helped Park City grow from a backwoods little mining town into a world-class destination. Th e partners of Parallel Wine and Eriksen shared a love of skiing, community, and fine wine,” said Mac MacQuoid, one of the partners. “In support of his Opportunity Endowment, we created a special edition Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and produced only twenty 3-liter bottles. Each bottle was etched with a white silhouette of Stein Eriksen in his magnificent skiing form, followed by his signature on back and a note that read: ‘Th is special bottle has been created by Parallel Napa Valley to honor Stein Eriksen and his more than 60 years of bringing the enjoyment of skiing to thousands of people throughout the world.’ ”
Stein Eriksen’s contributions to the world of winter sports will forever be celebrated, especially in Park City. As his friends and neighbors watch his fame transform into legend, they will think of the man whose smile melted hearts and crystal blue eyes fl ashed every time it snowed. To contribute to the Stein Eriksen YSA Opportunity Endowment, please log on to www.ywsa.org/stein-eriksen-endowment.