Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame
Sondre Norheim was born in Morgedal in Telemark country, Norway, on June 10, 1825. He immigrated to the United States in 1884 with his wife and five of their six children. After a brief stay in Oslo, MN, he came to what is now McHenry County and filed on a homestead near Villard Post Office.
Norheim left Norway with a dream of finding a better living in America. Sondre was a modest man, so even his neighbors in North Dakota did not know that his name was legend in Norway.
Norheim, recognized as the Father of Modern Skiing, invented a new ski binding and introduced the Telemark and Christiania turns. In order to take full advantage of his skis, Norheim decided they had to be firmly attached to his feet, so he took thin shoots from birch roots, soaked them in hot water, and twisted them together so they would fit around his heel. Now he could twist and turn on his skis and fly through the air like a bird. Thus was the humble beginning of ski bindings.
Norheim died in 1897. He went to his grave a virtual unknown.