Stein Eriksen was born in Oslo, Norway. His skiing career began in his youth when his parents manufactured and sold Eriksen brand skis in Norway. This early start contributed to his love of the sport and affinity for racing.
Stein soon became the best slalom skier in Norway, winning the Norwegian Championships in 1949. He won a bronze medal in slalom at the 1950 World Championships held in Aspen, Colorado. At the 1952 Winter Olympics, held in Oslo, Stein won a gold medal in giant slalom and a silver medal in slalom. He followed that with three gold medals at the 1954 FIS Championships in Ǻre Sweden.
Other accomplishments include being credited with devising “aerials,” a freestyle skiing event that helped revolutionize the world of skiing. He is known as the “Father of Freestyle Skiing.” After the 1952 Olympics, Stein worked as a guest instructor at Sun Valley, where he astounded skiers and instructors with his unique reverse-shoulder skiing technique and his trademark full-layout forward somersault.
Stein moved to the United States in 1954 and began a career as ski instructor, ski school director and director of skiing at several ski areas throughout the country. He had a significant and lasting influence on ski instruction in the USA, as well as around the world, thanks in large part to his graceful, elegant style.
In 1972, Stein joined the new owners of Park City Ski Area to help develop and expand their resort. At Park City, Stein served as Director of Skiing and operated the ski school for two seasons. In 1978, Stein helped build and develop a brand-new ski area in Park City: Deer Valley. Deer Valley opened in 1981, and Stein promptly became Director of Skiing. He served in that role until his death in 2015.
Stein was inducted into the US National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 1982, and was awarded an honorary LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP in PSIA-I. His Majesty, the King of Norway awarded Stein the Knight First Class Honor in 1997. He also received the Ski Pioneers Award from the Intermountain Ski Areas Association in 1988. In 2001, Stein received the Quinney Award presented by the University of Utah Marriott Library Ski Archives and was inducted into the Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2007, he was presented the Spirit of Skiing Award by the New England Ski Museum, and in 2012, Stein became an honorary member of Ski Club Albert Austria, the largest ski club in Europe.