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Sondre Norheim
- the
Skiing Pioneer of Telemark

Honoured by a Friend

At a ceremony June 10, 1925, 100 years after Sondres birth, a memorial stone was erected in the centre of Morgedal.

Aslak Bergland as a young student
Photo from the book "Ski og Sudpol"

Speeches were presented by Finn Qvale, chairman of the Ski Association and Morgedal resident, clergyman Aslak Bergland, a poet and 20-year friend of Sondre.

In his speech, Mr. Bergland said, “Sondre was a jack of all trades, but there was one area where he was truly an artist, yes, in fact virtuous – skiing. He was a skier all his life, and no one could ever compare to him.”

“I remember folk talked about a jump Sondre did when he was a child. He had placed a ladder on their house and covered it with spruce sprigs and snow. He set off and on the rooftop his jump was so high that he flew over the cowshed as well! He didn’t fall of course, and he continued all the way down to Bjaaland. There a cow was standing out in the yard. Sondre came dashing like greased lightning, and suddenly the cow tipped over! Sondre said it was because of the air pressure, but personally I think the cow was startled!”

The four meter tall stone was funded by the Morgedal Sports Club along with the Association for the Promotion of Skiing in Oslo. Its plaque was a gift from chamberlain Diderik Cappelen, owner of the Ulefos Jernværk (Ulefos Foundry), in Telemark.
Photo by Eivind Molde

“We would have been surprised if Sondre fell on the slopes. And I never saw it either. I sometimes saw him touch the ground with one hand or both, to keep his balance, but he never fell. Never.”

“He had this upright carriage, was very resilient and his body seemingly only consisted of muscles and tendons. Besides, he had this special charisma. His face was characteristic, a bit pale, with strong features and a very beautiful smile. His eyes had this special look, particularly when he was on the slopes with others. I was just a kid at that time, but I watched him so often, and I couldn’t quite figure out what that look was. When I think back, I will use the words “mastery” and “superiority”.”

“He really radiated a characteristic class of his own”, Mr. Bergland said in his speech.

In 1887 Aslak Bergland also had published a book of poems complimenting
Sondre. The book was called “Lauvduskar” (“Garland of Leaves”).

One of his poems reads:

Behold him on the highest peak
Adjusting skis and bindings
With cap in hand he stands erect
Then plunges boldly down

You saw him race from steep to steep
With snowdust in his wake
Now in the air, now on the ground
Headlong down the hill

He leapt aloft from off the roof
And floated o’er the barn
Far down the hill he landed then
And stopped at Bjaaland’s farm

It was his first great skiing feat
The run he made that day
And later there were none who dared
To follow in his tracks

Copyright © 2002-2012 by Anne-Gry Blikom and Eivind Molde email@sondrenorheim.com
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