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Norway meetup connects skiers, alumni and the library

University of Utah pride is alive and thriving in Norway. On May 9, 2023, dozens of alumni gathered at a fjord-side restaurant in Oslo to celebrate the 75-year anniversary of the University of Utah Ski Team and the J. Willard Marriott Library’s Ski and Snow Sports Archives.

With more than 65 people, arriving almost 30 minutes early and staying for more than four hours, the group assembled to reminisce about their time at the U and to learn about the deep connections between the Marriott Library and the history of skiing in the Intermountain region. The event also celebrated the recent fourth consecutive NCAA National Championship win by the ski team.

“There is a fantastic group of alumni in Olso who love the U,” said Alberta Comer, Alice Sheets Marriott dean of libraries, who hosted the event. “It was wonderful to get to know them and hear about their amazing careers while at the U and the love they still have for this institution.”

Norway hosts one of the largest groups of U alumni in Europe, most of whom are former members of the ski team. In attendance were jumpers from the 1970s along with cross-country and alpine skiers from the 1970s to as recently as 2019. Bente Dahlum and Christl Hager—Crimson Club Hall of Famers—were in attendance as well as several NCAA champions and All-American athletes.

University of Utah Director of Skiing, Fredrik Landstedt, a native of nearby Sweden, was also able to connect with many former athletes to bolster his already talented roster with the next generation of Norwegian skiers.

“It was an honor and thrilling to meet so many great Utes. I knew some of the younger attendees but for the majority, I recognized their names from having watched them compete during my 34 years as a collegiate skiing athlete and coach, or from our All-American recognition boards in the ski building. I am already looking forward to the 80th ski team reunion here in Utah.”

The night also was a chance to remember Pat Miller, who led the U ski team to nine NCAA Championships, one men’s NCAA Championship, and one Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) National Championship during his tenure as coach from 1974 to 2000. Miller passed away in 2013 at the age of 65 and was honored with the S. J. Quinney Award in October 2022 at the Marriott Library’s Ski Affair event.

Similar to Utah, Norway has also had a great snow year. Many of the guests were still skiing two or three times each week at nearby Holmenkollen, which boasts more than 1,600 miles of Nordic trails.

As the evening wound down, guests shared their memories from their time at the U. “Those were the best years of my life,” shared Per Fossum who was a cross-country skier in 1968. Fossum came to the U without a scholarship but with his own skis. He and teammate Bjorn Malkomsen, who was an alpine skier at the U from 1969 to 1971, punctuated the evening by sharing their love for the program and the University of Utah.