Leif Odmark

Induction Year: 
Ski Sport Innovator
Leif Odmark (1920-2004)
Leif Odmark, known as “Mr. Sun Valley,” was born in Sweden in 1920 and was a Swedish National Ski Team Member in Cross-country Skiing/Ski Jumping. In 1948, he moved to Sun Valley, Idaho where he lived for 56 years. His passion for cross country skiing and lifelong efforts to share it reserve his place in the sport’s history. He coached the US Olympic Team in Nordic Combined in the 1952 Norway Olympic Games and in 1970 founded the Sun Valley Nordic Ski School/Touring Center, the first such full time Center in the United States. He was President of the Ski Touring Instructors Examination Board and Founding Member/President of the Northern Intermountain Ski Instructors Association. A prolific author, Odmark wrote three books on cross-country skiing as well as Sun Valley Memories by the Legendary Leif Odmark filled with stories and photos of Sun Valley, which was the “Meeting Place of the Ski World” for Hollywood stars and others at that time.
A positive and dynamic force in his sport, he sponsored and staged free cross country skiing clinics and races for handicapped athletes, seniors, and children. Odmark, inducted into the Sun Valley Ski Hall of Fame and Northwest Ski Hall of Fame, was also a world-class marathon runner, semi-pro soccer and ice hockey player, and won Masters Class gold medals in Alpine/Nordic Skiing. Leif, a true Renaissance man, was a father, entrepreneur, pioneer, visionary, philanthropist, coach, author, inventor, world-class athlete, and a charming European gentleman.