R.I.P.: Northfielder Bjorn Norgaard dies in accident on Chequamegon Bay

I got a phone call 5 minutes ago, alerting me to this sad news:

Ashland, Wisc. Current: Deceased Skier’s Name Released To Northland College Students

Northland College students learned that their friend and fellow classmate passed away this weekend as a result of being hit by a vehicle while skiing on frozen Chequamegon Bay.

In an email to the college community, Northland College President Michael Miller informed all faculty members, staff members, and students that Spring 2010 Northland College graduate Bjorn Norgaard will be remembered at a prayer service tonight at the college.

Cross-Country Skier Found Dead On Ice

The body of a young man was discovered by a snowmobiler early Sunday morning adjacent to an ice trail between Washburn and Ashland. The trail was designated for the “Book Across the Bay” ski race on Saturday evening. Bayfield County Sheriff’s Investigators believe the deceased left Washburn sometime after the race ended and was skiing to Ashland. There was substantial evidence collected near the body to indicate the man was struck by a vehicle traveling on the ice trail toward Ashland. The skier is believed to have traveled the Book Across the Bay route Saturday evening but did not actually take part in the race. The race begins in Ashland and ends in Washburn. He remained in Washburn until race festivities ended and planned to ski back to Ashland via the race route.

On Sunday afternoon an Ashland man reported in person with his father to the Bayfield County Sheriff’s Office identifying himself as the suspect vehicle driver. He has been cooperating with the investigation. There was also a passenger in the vehicle who witnessed the event. The vehicle involved in this incident is being processed for evidence.


  1. The Arnars said:

    Bjorn, you will be greatly missed. You are an inspiration to our family.

    February 21, 2011
  2. Sam Wold said:

    At a time of such great sorrow it reminds me to appreciate your friends and family and to tell them this whenever you have the chance. Do not take life for granted since it seems like some of the best people around leave us way too soon. To Ingrid, Sonja, and the Norgaard family my thoughts and love.

    February 21, 2011
  3. Rebecca Tofte said:

    This is such sad news, my dear friends Brett and Karin,our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Rebecca and Terry

    February 21, 2011
  4. Sue Boxrud said:

    Heartfelt prayers to all of you.
    Sue and Iselin

    February 21, 2011
  5. Kim McNelly said:

    My son Michael was friends with Bjorn at Northland. He said you couldn’t find a nicer more caring person than your son. He is mourning, as am I as a parent. Blessings to his parents and family. We are so sorry for your loss.

    February 22, 2011
  6. Griff Wigley said:

    Benson & Langehough Funeral Home has the obit posted for Bjorn Norgaard.

    Services will be 11:00 A.M. Friday, February 25, 2011, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield with Rev. Mark Johnson officiating. Music will be provided by Daniel Fenn. Honorary pall bearers will be Joe Amerman, Ben Cooper, Erik Huber and Jonathon Mahnke.

    Visitation will be 4-8PM Thursday, February 24, 2011, at St. John’s Lutheran Church and will continue on Friday one hour prior to the service.

    February 22, 2011
  7. Erik Neunhoffer said:

    On behalf of everyone that got to know you this summer up in AK, you will be missed. No one was more genuine and kind.

    February 22, 2011
  8. Mark Thune said:

    It is very difficult to come up with any words that express how sorry we feel for your family. My little Buddy Bjorn was a great person that loved life and I have many great memories of time spent with him. Brett, Karin and family we will keep you in our prayers as you try to make sense of this tragic accident. We will not be able to be supporting you in person, but we will support you in prayer and spirit to give you strength.

    February 22, 2011
  9. Griff Wigley said:

    Today’s Nfld News: Investigation continues in NHS graduate’s death

    While no charges have been filed against the vehicle’s driver, investigators and the district attorney now reviewing the case are considering what charges may be applicable. Wisconsin laws pertaining to rendering aid or reporting an accident deal with incidents which take place on a roadway, and not on an ice trail.

    Norgaard is survived by his parents, Karin and Brett, of Dundas, and his sisters, Sonja and Ingrid, of Minneapolis. Funeral services are set for 11 a.m. Friday at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield.

    February 23, 2011
  10. Brett and Family,
    I heard about the death of your son, and Jim Yanta confirmed my worst fears that he was your son in an email today. I just called Denise Martineau who shared a work place with Bjorn at WTM. We are considering driving down Thursday evening to be present at the visitation. I weep for your loss and pray you can get all the support you need to grieve in a good way.

    Tom Weaver
    Carleton 1969

    February 23, 2011
  11. Ethan Baca said:

    R.I.P friend

    you will be missed by all your brothers in AK.

    walk with god and fish the heavens!

    February 23, 2011
  12. Tammy Anderson said:

    Brett and Family,
    My heart is breaking for you in the tragic loss of your precious son. May God bless you all and comfort you in this difficult time.

    February 24, 2011
  13. Griff Wigley said:

    Nathaniel Allister has a column in today’s Nfld News: Fly, my lion-hearted brother

    I’m too far from home to visit your body, but here in my little cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I’ll honor you as best I can. I’m not grieving tonight. Tonight, I buy a bottle of whiskey and climb up to the top of Mount Pisgah, and I light a bonfire high and bright enough to warm you on your frost-tinged journey home. And under the stars of the old heroes that burn endlessly from every corner of heaven, I’ll howl my joyful prayer into the whipping winds.

    February 26, 2011
  14. Griff Wigley said:

    Wed. Nfld News: Bjorn’s final Birkie

    When Bjorn Norgaard was a senior at Northfield High School, just days before his first Birkebeiner cross-country ski race, he gave his senior sermon at St. John’s Lutheran Church.

    The adventurous senior told the entire parish that he and his friend Ben Cooper would be skiing in their first Birkebeiner.

    March 8, 2011

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