Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame
Alf Engen was possibly the finest all-around skier ever. Born in 1909 in Mjondalen, Norway, his accomplishments as a competitor in the sport of skiing are without equal in the United States and perhaps the world. He was 16 times a US ski champion in jumping, cross-country, downhill, and slalom events, and was also the Canadian/North American ski jumping champion in 1937. He was a world ski jumping record-setter, once breaking the world record twice in one day. In 1948, he served as coach for the US Olympic Team.
Other contributions made by Engen during his lifetime include furthering the sport of skiing by laying out over 30 ski areas in the 1930s and ’40s. In the Intermountain area, he helped establish Utah’s Alta and Snowbasin ski areas, Idaho’s Bogus Basin and Magic Mountain ski areas, and the Snow King Mountain ski area in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. In 1948, he founded the Deseret News Ski School, which has started thousands of people of all ages skiing and still runs today. Because of his mastery of skiing deep powder snow and teaching others how to ski it, he was given the honored title of “Father of the American Powder Technique.”
Among his many awards, Engen was named “Skier of the Century” in 1950, inducted into the National Ski Hall of Fame in 1956, and in December 1999, was selected as “Athlete of the Century” for the state of Utah.
Engen died in 1997, and the inscription on his gravesite marker perhaps best captures his life in a nutshell:
Born of Viking heritage; educated by the school of lift
Experiences; molded to world-class greatness through
Competitive achievement and tempered by a heart filled
With love and compassion for all people.