Excerpt of words shared today at Deer Valley, where a Celebration of Life honoring Stein Eriksen was held.
I believe you all know of Stein's impact on the world of skiing and his long standing relationship with this iconic resort, Deer Valley. What many of you may not know of is the amazingly unlikely circumstances that brought Stein to America to make it his new home.
That chapter of Stein's story started with a chance meeting between Stein and my father, Everett, in the early 1950s. Stein happened to come through Detroit on his way back from a ski race at Sun Valley in the spring of 53' and showed up at my father's Studebaker dealership to buy what was THE hot car at the time and have it shipped back to Norway. Dad was famous for seizing opportunities and his work to convince this Olympian - Stein Eriksen, to come to America and work as Director of Skiing at a small Michigan hill was a great example. Ironically, none of the arguably more famous ski mountains of the time were wooing Stein, but here Dad was going after him.
Stein wanted to continue competing and after he won three more golds at the World Championships in 54', Dad cabled Stein in Norway and reconfirmed his interest in having him come back to America and Boyne Mountain. His offer was a handsome sum of $5,000. Stein's response (which became a humorous topic between them for more than 40 years) was "double it to $10,000 and I will do it."
Dad's description of Stein's time at Boyne Mountain was typical of how most described him... "Stein was blonde, handsome and the most beautiful skier you'd ever seen, gliding over the snow like a bird sailing on the wind. He was like a Norse God."
Stein dazzled Boyne Mountain skiers with his unique skiing style, his charisma, that worldly accent and this new trick, the inverted aerial, which was first attempted and then perfected at Boyne Mountain. He always performed at lunch time....
It was a very special time for Boyne and the connection between my dad and Stein continued throughout their lives. One story I remember Dad telling later in life about another one of their chance meetings centered around another mutual passion - fly fishing. Dad was floating the Madison River in Montana, came around a bend and heard a familiar Norwegian accent coming from another boat. As he got closer, he called out "STEIN?" The response was "EVERETT?" They had not seen each other in many years but as it is for old friends who meet again, it was as if no time had passed and they picked up where they left off. They had a memorable reunion on the banks of the Madison.
Since neither of my parents had siblings, some of their long-time friends were like extended family to us... the connection with Stein had that air about it.
Just after the birth of my second son, I called Stein to tell him that I had named my son after him. It was an emotional moment for both of us. By looking at me, you wouldn't think with my dark hair that I could rear a son of blonde hair but my son Stein has the blondest of hair and bluest of eyes. We consider him very aptly named.
A couple short years ago, we had very special opportunity with Stein and Francoise when they hosted my wife, my 3 kids and myself for brunch at their beautiful lodge. My children were able to hear Stein talk about my father... their grandfather and his contemporaries. Stein was nostalgic about the old days and said that while he knew it was long ago, it seemed like just yesterday to him. Those stories and moments will forever be part of our family legacy.
Our family and our company are honored and humbled to be part of Stein's story - even just in a small way. We'll always be grateful for all he brought to the sport of skiing and the passion for the sport that continues in all of us today. Little did any of us know from this humble start, that Stein would become the most influential skier of the 20th century and loved by so many across this country and the world!
Thank you for allowing me to share this chapter of Stein's life...
~Stephen Kircher, Boyne Resorts Eastern Division President◂ Return to News & Updates