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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Breckenridge skier comes out apes 1963 ski flip by Stein Eriksen

Stein Eriksen ski flip demonstration in 1963

PHOTO: In 1963, I had the honor of watching in person a ski flip demonstration performed by the famous Stein Eriksen (born December 11, 1927) who is a former alpine ski racer and Olympic gold medalist from Norway and who is credited with devising "aerials," a freestyle skiing event. Stein Eriksen would often demonstrate a flip on skis, which in 1963 was considered an astounding feat, even though he would modestly tell the crowd that kids in his homeland would often do it over deep powder snow to catch themselves if they fell. Note that Eriksen is wearing a traditional knitted Norwegian sweater that was commonly sold in ski shops of that era. My father took the above photo in 1963 using a miniature Minox spy camera that had a very small film negative and low resolution -- it was the GoPro camera of its day. I was inspired to dig up this old photo after watching a Dec. 6, 2015 NBC TV preview show that mentioned how a 24-year-old Breckenridge, Colorado Olympic medalist freeskier Gus Kenworthy had come out gay. (See Alyssa Roenigk, ESPN The Magazine senior writer , "Olympic freeskier Gus Kenworthy's next bold move -- coming out," posted 10/22/15 and Chris French, "Why it's important that skier Gus Kenworthy came out as gay," posted Oct. 28, 2015)

VIDEO: Gus Kenworthy discusses coming out gay on ESPN (video accessed Dec. 10, 2015). Gus Kenworthy's story, which includes being a Breckenridge local, was featured in a Dec. 6 NBC TV preview of the Dew tour Breckenridge Dec. 10-13, 2015 that will be broadcast 10-12 noon by the NBC network in HDTV Dec. 12, 2015 as part of the NBC Sports coverage of winter Dew Tour in Breckenridge.

Gus Kenworthy mentions one of the issues he had with coming out was how "the word 'gay' was used all the time as as a replacement for 'lame.'" In my experience, this this is a good example of the type of things that feed internalized homophobia in many gay men, despite the fact that many young men have no issue with coming out publically. (See previous post OSU 'I am gay' writing class essay printed as paid advertisement in student newspaper (11/24/15))

Breckenridge ski area chair lift circa 1960s and Thomas Kraemer's new skis

PHOTO: Thomas Kraemer seen riding a double chairlift in the 1960's at the Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado (top) and also showing off his new state-of-the-art snow skis. Every year back then, he would combine visiting his grandmother, who lived nearby the Colorado ski areas, with a ski trip to Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, and Winter Park ski areas to enjoy the spring skiing. By the 1990's he was able to afford a a ski-in, ski-out condo that was adjacent to a main ski lift at Breckenridge, and thanks to a real estate recession, he was able to buy it, fix it up, rent it out and then sell it for enough of a profit that he could build his current home in cash. (See "History of Breckenridge" accessed Dec. 9, 2015)