Sten Fjeldheim began coaching at Northern Michigan University in 1986. He is currently the head coach of the men’s and women’s Nordic skiing teams. He served as the head coach of the cross country team from 1986 to 2007.
Under Fjeldheim's leadership, seven Wildcats — Peter Vordenberg (1993), Chris Cook (2003), Lindsey Weier (2007), Lindsay Williams (2007), Erik Soderman (2012), Fredrik Schwencke (2015), and Ian Torchia (2018) — were crowned national champions. Both teams have competed at the NCAA Skiing Championships every season since 1986.
The Northern Michigan ski teams have also produced 97 NCAA All-Americans, 11 Olympians and five U.S. National Champions. Alumni Cook (1999-03), Weier (2003-07), Williams (2003-07) and Abigail Larson (1997-00) made the 2006 United States Olympic Team. Numerous Wildcats have also represented the U.S. at the World Junior and U-23 Championships, most recently Ian Torchia, Zak Ketterson, and Nicole Schneider in 2018.
In 2016, Fjeldheim was named the USSA Domestic Coach of the Year after coaching the Wildcats to their third-straight College Cup, men's and women's CCSA titles and men's and women's NCAA Central Regional crowns. At the NCAA National Championships, the team of Martin, Torchia and Jake Brown finished first among Nordic men's squads with 150 points, also combining to earn five All-American honors. It was the third time in Fjeldheim's decorated career (awards list below) that he was tabbed as the USSA Domestic Coach of the Year, and he was also named the CCSA Men's and Women's Coach of the Year and NCAA Central Regional Coach of the Year.
Fjeldheim coached Northern Michigan's first ever Elite 90 award winner in Martin, who graduated in 2017 with a double major in mathematics and computer science as a four-time All-American. The Elite 90 award, which was established in 2009-10, is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA competing at the finals site for each NCAA championship.
The Wildcats made history at the 2007 NCAA Skiing Championships when Morgan Smyth, Weier and Williams swept the podium in both the 5K freestyle and 15K classic. No other team has swept both Nordic podiums at the NCAA Skiing Championships.
From 1994-97, Fjeldheim served as an assistant national team coach/junior development coordinator for the United States Ski Team. During Fjeldheim’s time with the U.S. Team, he coached at the 1994 Olympics, 1995 World Championships, 1997 World Championships and several junior world championships.
Fjeldheim first served as the Wildcat Nordic ski coach from 1986-94. The men’s team won the National Collegiate Ski Association team title twice (1986-87, 1987-88). The women’s team won the NCSA national title in 1990-91, and the U.S. Ski Association named Fjeldheim the NCSA Coach of the Year. Northern Michigan began NCAA competition in 1991-92.
As the women’s cross country coach, Fjeldheim led the Wildcats to six NCAA Division II National Championship appearances. From 2000 to 2004, the team finished eighth, sixth, fourth, seventh and seventh, respectively. Under Fjeldheim’s leadership, the Northern Michigan cross country program produced 10 NCAA All-Americans, won two GLIAC Championships and captured a Great Lakes Regional Championship. He was named the 1992 and 2000 GLIAC Coach of the Year and 2005 Great Lakes Regional Coach of the Year.
Fjeldheim skied three seasons for the Wildcats and was a member of the U.S. Ski team from 1980-86. He was a member of the World University team from 1983-85 and competed at five Olympic Trials and 18 U.S. National Skiing Championships. He also won a national relay championship in 1985.
A native of Haugesund, Norway, Fjeldheim came to the United States in 1961 and received his U.S. citizenship in 1975. He graduated from Northern Michigan in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and earned his master’s degree in education with an exercise science emphasis in 1992.
Fjeldheim resides in Marquette with his wife, Pamela. They have three children: Ingrid, Kirsten and Stig. Ingrid and Kirsten both skied and ran cross country for Northern Michigan. Kirsten married Chris Bowler in 2013.
- 1991 USSA Domestic Coach of the Year
- 1991 NCSA Women's Ski Coach of the Year
- 1992 GLIAC Cross Country Coach of the Year
- 2000 GLIAC Cross Country Coach of the Year
- 2000 USSA Domestic Coach of the Year
- 2000 USSA Development Coach of the Year
- 2005 USSA Domestic Coach of the Year
- 2005 USSA Development Coach of the Year
- 2005 Great Lakes Regional Cross Country Coach of the Year
- 2007-08 CCSA Women’s Coach of the Year
- 2008-09 CCSA Women’s Coach of the Year
- 2010-11 CCSA Women’s Coach of the Year
- 2011 Northern Michigan Outstanding Excellence in Service Award Recipient
- 2011-12 Central Regional Men’s Coach of the Year
- 2011-12 Central Regional Women’s Coach of the Year
- 2012-13 Central Regional Men’s Coach of the Year
- 2012-13 Central Regional Women’s Coach of the Year
- 2013 Michigan DNR Volunteer of the Year
- 2013-14 Northern Michigan Coach of the Year
- 2014-15 Central Collegiate Ski Association Men's Coach of the Year
- 2014-15 Northern Michigan Coach of the Year
- 2015-16 CCSA Men's Coach of the Year
- 2015-16 CCSA Women's Coach of the Year
- 2015-16 Central Regional Men's Coach of the Year
- 2016 USSA Domestic Coach of the Year
- 2016-17 CCSA Men's Coach of the Year
- 2016-17 CCSA Women's Coach of the Year
- 2017-18 CCSA Women's Coach of the Year