Oakvik, Norman Gunnar
February 23, 1920 – February 3, 2015
Age 94 of Robbinsdale, MN, passed away on Tues., Feb. 3, 2015. Preceded in death by mother Hilma, father Gunnar, sister Helen Anderson, and brother Ray. Survived by cousin Vivian Zagelow of Spokane, WA and niece Mary Frances Skufca (Robert) of Eagan, MN. Norm was well known and loved as one of the founding fathers of cross country skiing and ski jumping in the upper Midwest. Born in Minneapolis to Norwegian immigrant parents, at an early age Norm was given a pair of wood jumping skis crafted by his ski-jumper father. This would shape his life of involvement with cross-country skiing, ski jumping, and downhill skiing. Among other regional and national championships, he was the 1953 North American Cross-Country Champion, a 1952 US Olympic Nordic Combined Team member, a member of the of the 10th Mountain Division in WWII, and a nationally known coach and teacher. True to his Norwegian heritage of modesty, privacy, and yes, frugality, he is remembered for selflessly giving his time and talent to build the sport of cross-country skiing and ski jumping. Few others in the 1960s foresaw the potential growth of ski touring as Norm did. When he was couldn’t find the proper ski equipment locally, he and an associate began importing it from Norway, thus helping area ski shops meet their customers’ growing demands. Norm was a co-founder of the North Star Ski Touring Club in Minneapolis, which grew to become the most successful ski touring organization in America. It continues today, with year-round activities throughout North America and Europe. He also worked tirelessly with the Minneapolis Park Board developing land and designing trails, one of which is a trail system named for him in Theodore Wirth Park. Norm’s legacy is as a loved and respected coach and teacher to countless youth and adults, through the North Star Ski Touring Club, the Minneapolis Youth Ski League, the Minneapolis Ski Club, and the Minneapolis Park Board. Norm inspired many to become coaches and teachers themselves, so his passion lives on through them. Memorials preferred to North Star Ski Touring Club, Minneapolis Ski Club, Minnesota Youth Ski League or the American Cancer Society. Memorial gathering to be announced at a later date.