Lars Erik Eriksen was first known as a long-distance cross-country skiing specialist, placing fourth in the 50 km race at the 1976 Norwegian Championship, aged 21. In 1978 he qualified for the Norwegian World Championships team, winning a bronze medal in the relay and placing fifth in the 50 km. In 1980 Eriksen won his first national championship title, winning the 50 km. He placed fourth at the distance at the Lake Placid Olympics and won an Olympic silver medal as a member of Norway’s relay team. Eriksen had a great season in 1982, winning gold in the relay, silver in the 30 km race and bronze in the 50 km race at the World Championships on home ground in Oslo. In 1983 he was national champion in both the 15 and 30 km. In 1984 Eriksen qualified for his second Olympics, placing sixth in the 30 km and fourth in the relay as his best results. That year he also won the 15 km both in Lahti (his only World Cup victory after a close battle with Thomas Wassberg) and Holmenkollen, and won his fourth and last national title by winning the 50 km. Eriksen continued to compete nationally until 1988, and was later one of the coaches for multiple cross-country skiing champion Bjørn Dæhlie.