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Summit Old Timer

BRAD ODEKIRK
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Born on Senja, Norway's second biggest island, Peer Bjornstad still has a hint of a Norwegian accent, though he came to Colorado over five decades ago.
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Born on Senja, Norway’s second biggest island, Peer Bjornstad still has a hint of a Norwegian accent, though he came to Colorado more than five decades ago. His father was civil engineer on Senja, mining graphite before World War II. In 1935, he moved his family to Stabekk, on the outskirts of Oslo, where Bjornstad and his family hunkered down during the German occupation of Norway during World War II.

“Though my father was active in the underground during the resistance, us kids didn’t know a whole lot about what was going on,” said Bjornstad from his Gold Hill home. “You know, kids have a tendency to talk when maybe they shouldn’t be talking.” He remembers his father reinforcing the family’s basement to turn it into a bomb shelter and eventually moving all the beds into the basement because of all the British air raids – almost always coming just after midnight.In 1952, Bjornstad came to Colorado to study engineering at the Colorado School Mines and met his future wife, Nancy, who was living on a farm between Golden and Arvada at the time. Not having finished school, Bjornstad found employment at Climax Mine in the fall of 1955.

“I started out as a helper on the cleanup crew, repair crew, muck crew and mine crew, then went into management in 1965,” he said. He stayed on with Climax for another 18 years, and in 1983 retired from the mine. He and Nancy originally lived at Climax, then moved down to an apartment in Kokomo. In 1965, he bought his lot on Gold Hill, where he needed room for sled dogs. Bjornstad raced 10 dog teams for several years until he nearly lost his life in a car accident.

“After that,” he said. “We got rid of the dogs and I got into sailing.” Now he and Nancy own a Laser 28 they named Win Some, and also have a Catalina 30 they named Osprey in San Carlos, Mexico. The Bjornstads have three children – Lisa, Kari and Bjorn Erik.


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