With the passing of Hermod Bjørkestøl, the Cross-Country world lost a thoroughly passionate ski family member that was setting milestones and new standards for Cross-Country ski courses around the world.
Hermod started to leave footprints at FIS when he represented the Norwegian Ski Federation from 1988 as a member of the Sub-Committee for popular skiing. Already back then, his talent and passion to make the most out of terrain to create and re-create Cross-Country tracks was remarkable. His understanding of combining different types of tracks to create a modern ski course became the base for a vast majority of the most iconic ski trails nowadays.
From 1990 to 2002, Hermod was Chief of Competition for the Holmenkollen ski races and transitioned into taking steps abroad, constructing none less than the Olympics trails of Salt Lake City of 2002, Torino 2006, Vancouver 2010 and Sotchi 2014 as well as the World Championship in Oslo in 2011. All of the homologations (course designs) have been done under his lead and influence.
Within the FIS technical committees, Hermod moved to the FIS Sub-Committee for Rules and Control in 1997 and remained a valuable member for more than 15 years. Thanks to his influence and drive to modernize Cross-Country courses around the world, Hermod was named honorary member of the Cross-Country Sub Committe for Rules and Control.
Vegard Ulvang who was the chairman for Cross Country for over 20 years has written some words about Hermod Bjørkestøl:
“Dear ski friends
It is with great sadness I have to inform you that our good friend and college Hermod Bjørkestøl (2604- 1944) passed away 17/9 – 2023.
He was a Norwegian member of the CC FIS rules committee between 1988 and 2016 where he for many years was leading the homologation group. He even served as regional homologation inspector for Scandinavia until spring 2023.
He was Chief of race in Holmenkollen from 1990 – 2002 and head of CC in the Norwegian Ski Association from 2001- 2012, but his name will first and foremost be associated with the hundreds of CC courses he designed all around the world.
He was the leading force in including TV producers at an early stage in the planning of new CC courses taking the CC sport into modern times with his “Hermod hill” from the first Olympic mass start in Salt Lake City 2002.
Rest in peace Hermod and thank you for your great contribution to our sport.”