Bjorger Pettersson will be remembered as a pioneer for skiing in Canada. Cross Country Canada said Pettersen died on December 29 at his home in Okotoks, Alberta.

Pettersen was instrumental in the development of the sport in Canada and across the world. He was the first full time paid coach in Canada and a driving force behind the very successful Territorial Experimental Ski Training program that produced high-level athletes such as the Firth sisters.

As leader of the TEST program from 1967 to 1972 that was based in Inuvik, Pettersen was very heavily responsible for seven of the nine members of the 1972 Canadian Olympic cross-country ski team coming from Inuvik.

While he only coached in Inuvik for four years, he then went on to coach the Canadian national ski team for six years and served as an official for the sport at three other Olympic games.

He was Technical Director at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid and Chief of Race and Venue Coordinator/Manager that developed the Canmore Nordic Centre for cross-country skiing for the 1988 Calgary Olympics.

Pettersen received many accolades during his career such as being inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in 2007, being named Air Canada’s Sport Official of the Year in 1988 and being one of a handful of people that have been named as honorary life members of the FIS Cross-Country Committee.

Cross Country Canada said a celebration of life for Bjorger is to be held on Saturday, January 5 in Okotoks.