It’s hard to figure out exactly where the legend and the facts merge and diverge when it comes to Sondre Norheim. He is generally credited with innovations — like side-cut and willow heel straps for bindings — that helped propel the nascent recreational pursuit of skiing even further into the consciousness and culture of Norway.
I have no idea exactly what was involved in a ski competition or exhibition in 1868 but, as a 42 year-old tenant farmer from his own hinterland, he seems to have blown people’s minds in the big city with his grace and style. He is revered by many modern day freeheelers, but he should be celebrated by anyone who is thrilled by the feeling of skis turning on snow, as his creations in the shop and on the hill lead to further developments in design and technique that we enjoy today.
This video isn’t necessarily made for a skiing audience, making it all the more powerful, in my opinion. It speaks not only to his skiing passion, but to the powerful lure, and harsh reality of the American dream.