When Stein Eriksen Ran Over My Skis


Editor’s Note: This is the adaptation of a true story, seen through the eyes of an 18-year-old female skier, as told by her 68-year-old male English professor.

Stein Eriksen:

  • Director of Skiing, Deer Valley, Utah Norwegian Order of Merit, Knight First Class
  • Gold Medal Winner, 1952 Olympics, Oslo, Norway

I stopped, I had to-he’s big, I panicked, but he’s heavy, and cute, and soon he schussed off my skis and I was in his arms being carried down the slopes, through a kind of chute, between some standard-looking trees, over a cornice that I would have had zippo chance of skiing at my level and in rental equipment, but maybe I’d better make that a couloir, which sounds more Old Worldy, which he is, and he’s telling me how lucky he is to have run over my skis, though it isn’t something he does everyday, and he’s saying what a good kisser I am and right away seeing that I wasn’t one of those Mormon virgins and asking me about my work as a manicurist and commenting on how pleased he is with professional nail care in this country and about my mom and whether she would worry about me if he took me to Norway with him on a whirlwind fact-finding trip through the fjords and yodeling with him down the glaciers, although truthfully, it might be better not to go with him to Norway until I learn the language and his divorce comes through and we’re through the wedding and have our house and I am entertaining the bigwigs from the Olympic Committee and taking messages from the Olympic athletes who want him to sign their skis and if he snores and doesn’t have all that much life insurance I wouldn’t mind a bit and say so just going along, little by little, to build a lasting relationship, not in the least like the one with Timmy who’s already balding and has a partial spread and plans to be a mortician like his father and who is so busy thinking about building a chain of full-service funeral homes at ski resorts that he doesn’t give enough thought to my biological clock ticking and he’d soon know what he’d lost in not being like Stein who’d be my birthing coach and get up in the wee hours to feed and hold the babies even when he ought to be fresh for a big skiing contest the next day and how he takes the car in for servicing and carries out all the garbage and hops right out of the car to pump the gas when we stop for some and it makes me nearly get tears in my eyes thinking about our kids and grandkids there on Christmas and New Year’s Eve before that big fireplace turning around to watch the snow falling outside that picture window and singing the hymns we’d all learned as kids and keeping healthy with lots of fiber and two different kinds of fruit a day and so what if Grandpa Stein doesn’t have all that much life insurance and can’t remember which toothbrush is his?