From the grandfather of style
“The dashing blonde Norwegian.”
It’s how Ski magazine described Stein Eriksen in 1990, when the impeccably groomed and intensely talented skier was 63 years old. By then his hair was a mix of light gray and fading straw, but no matter. The 1952 Olympic champion and face of several Warren Miller films was still as dashing as ever.
Earlier this week, Eriksen died at 88 years old in his longtime hometown of Deer Valley. He had spent the past three decades there after traveling the country to spread his love of skiing from resort to resort. On more than a few occasions, his travels brought him by Breckenridge to visit his old friend and Olympic teammate, Trygve Berge, one of Breck’s founders. The dashing Norwegian’s grace on skis has left its mark on the town and skiing as a whole. Watch anyone on the World Cup circuit these days for the modern version of his signature turning technique. But he also left a pair of skis here.
The story comes from Rick “Pup” Ascher, owner of The Glide Shop in Breckenridge. I was visiting Pup for a story on his massive vintage ski collection (look for it in Sunday’s paper) when he pointed to a pair of skis mounted next to the front door. On the topsheet, in blocky ‘70s print, is “Stein Eriksen” above the make and model, Northland L-21. The rare skis came from Pup’s friend, Jim Hamilton, who came across them somewhere, somehow over the years. The topsheet color has faded like Eriksen’s hair, but no matter. The rich permanent marker is the real treasure.
In 2000, Pup begged Berge to ask his old friend for a favor: Could Eriksen sign the skis when he was in town? He still skis on most of his vintage pairs, but those were different. Those were special.
“To Rick,” the signature reads, “these skis will still work!”
Pup hasn’t been on the skis since they were signed. They’re a piece of skiing heritage, signed by a true legend of the sport. For a full Eriksen memorial, turn to page 22.
Bucks are back
The Breckenridge Bucks junior hockey team is back in action this weekend after a brief holiday break. The team started its inaugural season strong and now enters the second half of the season in third place behind the Pikes Peak Miners (21-2) and the Aspen Leafs (19-5). Unfortunately, the Bucks dropped the first game against the Miners, a tight 5-4 match on New Year’s Eve, but they fought hard against the first-place squad. It sets them up nicely for an away series Jan. 8-9 before three weeks at home through the rest of the month. If you missed them this weekend, head down to Stephen C. West Ice Arena Jan. 15-16 for the next round of home games.
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