Memorial service planned for Nordic skier

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— Memorial services for Hakan Lindgren, a significant figure in nordic skiing both in the United Sates and in Sweden, will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at the Scandinavian Lodge on Burgess Creek Road.

Lindgren, 50, died July 5. He was the four-time chief of course for the Nordic Combined World Cup competition at Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs.

He would have also served in that capacity in the 2002 Winter Olympics at Soldier Hollow outside Park City, Utah.

"He was really, really excited about that," Lindgren's wife Birgitta said Wednesday. Together they operated the Steamboat Ski Touring Center.

Lindgren's role as chief of course was to ensure that the conditions at the competition venue came as close to perfection as possible and that all of the athletes in the international field enjoyed an equal opportunity to win.

He reported directly to the technical delegate overseeing the race on behalf of the International Ski Federation.

Nordic combined requires athletes to compete in both ski jumping and cross-country skiing, with the results of the two disciplines rolled into one.

At the Winter Olympics, Lindgren would also have served as assistant chief of race for special cross -.

Hakan (pronounced Ho-ken) and his twin brother Goran were born in Vingaker, Sweden, and adopted into another family. He was a natural athlete.

"Hockey and skiing were his things," Birgitta said. "He made it to the Swedish National B Team (in cross-country) but never quite made that next step."

Hakan reached the peak of his cross country skiing career in the 1970s, an era when Swedish skiers held the top five places on the World Cup.

After he gave up his international racing career, Hakan dedicated all of his time to coaching children at his local sports club.

In a country where cross-country is a national passion, he was certified as a Level II Swedish National Ski Association coach. The only higher level of coaching in Sweden is Level III, reserved only for national team coaches.

Hakan coached the Swedish Junior team and coached for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club after coming to Colorado. He also coached U.S. Nordic Combined juniors in cross-country.

In 1989, he served as chief of course grooming during the first-ever World Cup cross-country race held in the U.S., near Park City, Utah.

He continued citizen racing and competed in prestigious Worldloppet ski marathon events in Scandinavia as recently as 1996.

Memorials may be sent to the Hakan Lindgren Memorial Nordic Fund in care of Vectra Bank, attn. downtown branch, 2155 Resort Drive, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487.

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