Lee Benson has this interesting column
in the Deseret News:
In the article he takes an intimate
look at Deer
Stein Eriksen Lodge, which was recently named the best
ski hotel in the world. Below are excerpts.
Last month, Russ
Olsen and his wife, Debi, found themselves in Kitzbuhel, Austria, at
the World Ski Awards, aka The Ski Oscars, so Russ could receive, on
behalf of Stein Eriksen Lodge, the hotel he manages in Park City, the
trophy for best ski hotel in the United States.
totally unexpected. The winners from each country had been tipped off
in advance. It was why Russ and Debi were there.
unexpected part came next, when they announced the world’s best ski
Ela Clark, the
British actress who was hosting the show, did the honors, ripping
open the envelope and reading … “Stein Eriksen Lodge, Park City,
Some 1 million
votes were cast to determine the world’s best ski hotel, they told
Russ. The ballots were sent worldwide to people involved in the ski,
travel and tourism industry, including international travelers,
booking agents, hoteliers, suppliers and other ski world
connoisseurs. SEL’s win was no fluke. A lot of people had to vote
for it to make it No. 1.
Russ knows the
history well. He came to Stein Eriksen Lodge in 1986, just two years
after it opened next door to the ski runs at Deer Valley resort,
which had also just barely opened, boasting the great Norwegian ski
champion Stein Eriksen as its director of skiing.
Stein wasn’t the
hotel’s owner, but he helped with the design, he brought in his
Olympic medals to display in the lobby, he sold the lodge the rights
to his name, and as hotel ambassador he was given free run of the
place in perpetuity. At 87, he still visits his lodge on a regular
“I was shocked
when they called our name,” he (Russ) says, “still am. Who
Well, other than
Stein Eriksen himself.
“He is our
biggest fan,” says Russ. “I remember a day in March a few years
ago. It was a beautiful sunny day and Stein came into the hotel after
an afternoon of skiing. We were sitting in lounge chairs on the deck,
staring at the sun as it was starting to set on the mountain. He said
to me, ‘Russ, if we died and went to heaven, it would be a
And that was
before getting to place the best hotel in the ski world trophy next
to Stein’s 1952 Olympic gold medal.