Norwegian-born Hal Nerdal, who has died aged 95, was the only Australian Nordic combined Olympian, having competed at the Squaw Valley 1960 Winter Games ©Snow Australia

Hal Nerdal, the first and only athlete to represent Australia in the Nordic combined event at the Winter Olympics - which he did at the Squaw Valley 1960 Games - has died aged 95.

Nerdal, who moved to Australia aged 24 after being brought up in Norway, was never formally coached, but finished 31st in an event where Germany's Georg Thoma won gold, Tormud Knutsen of Norway earned silver and bronze went to Nikolay Gusakov of the Soviet Union.

Born on September 22 1927 in Dalsgrenda, a village in Northern Norway, Nerdal was brought up in a rural area, as the youngest of ten children.

He moved to Australia in 1951 to work as a carpenter on the Guthega Dam, which was one of 16 in the Snowy Mountains Scheme, a project to dam the Snowy River to provide water for irrigation and hydro-electricity that began in 1949 and employed 100,000 men, two-thirds of whom came from 30 other countries.

Nerdal subsequently moved to Canberra, where he was part of the original YMCA Ski Club now known as the Brindabella Ski Club.

Having joined in 1958, he won four consecutive national Nordic combined titles between 1959 and 1962, when his opponents included numerous other expatriate Norwegians.

Hal Nerdal was presented with a Snow Australia medal on his 94th birthday in 2021 ©Snow Australia
Hal Nerdal was presented with a Snow Australia medal on his 94th birthday in 2021 ©Snow Australia

Nerdal had secured his qualification for the 1960 Winter Games through a competitive series of races in New South Wales and Victoria, securing his place in the last race.

The Brindabella Club gave him a big send-off and were instrumental in funding his travels.

When asked about his training routine, he identified running as one of the keys to his success.

Back in Norway, Nerdal had run in the summer and skied in the winter, a training combination he continued with much success once in Australia.

In 1955, he married Jean, with whom he had daughters Lynn and Judy.

Nerdal’s family presented him with his Snow Australia medal on his 94th birthday in 2021.

"The Snow Australia community extends their deepest sympathy to his daughters Lynn and Judy, his grandchildren and great grandchildren and extended family and friends," a Snow Australia statement read.