Innovative trainer and physical therapist to U.S. Ski Team.

Passing Date: 
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Innovative U.S. Ski Team trainer and physical therapist Tage Pedersen, 90, died on April 26, 2016, in Ashland, Oregon. 

Born in Denmark in 1926, Pedersen studied physical therapy there and moved his young family to Aspen in 1956, to work as assistant director and later director of the Aspen Institute Health and Fitness Center, a position he held until 1983. He helped to train and rehabilitate members of the U.S. Ski Team beginning in 1958. In 1967 he assumed responsibility for a new Olympic skier training program in Aspen, based on an innovative circuit training concept he designed. Leading up to the 1968 Grenoble Olympics, he trained Jimmy Heuga, Spider Sabich and Billy Kidd, among others.

Pedersen served as trainer of the U.S. alpine teams until 1980, then worked with the nordic teams until 1985. He supervised U.S. team training for four Olympics and four World Championships. Along the way he tailored rehab programs for the team’s injured athletes, working closely with Dr. Richard Steadman to create groundbreaking rehab protocols for post-surgery movement. He also developed conditioning programs for the Aspen Ski Club, where he served as a board member twice. 

“Tage developed techniques in rehabilitation that resulted in titles and world championship medals,” said Steadman. “He provided a level of care that was unparalled.”

In 1983 Pedersen co-founded the Aspen Club Fitness and Sports Medicine Institute, where he worked with top athletes until 1997. He wrote more than 30 articles on physical fitness, ski conditioning and rehabilitation, published in Skiing Magazine and The Physician and Sportsmedicine.  He published two books, Physical Conditioning, a Handbook for the U.S. Ski Team (1968) and Getting in Shape to Ski (1970).

He was inducted into the Aspen Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame in 2004. Tage and his wife Pauline (Vigeant) moved to Ashland, Oregon in 2001. Pauline died in 2013; Pedersen is survived by his three daughters, Sonja Oss, Lorna Petersen-Pedersen, and Karin Pedersen; grandchildren Madison and Christian Oss; and many nieces and nephews. —Seth Masia

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