Strumming chords and scoring points with Utah’s
newest alpine threat, Mark Engel BY C.J. FEEHAN SKI TUNES
When 22-year-old Mark Engel of Truckee,
Calif., found out he had not been renamed to the
U.S. Ski Team after scoring career-best results last
spring, he didn’t panic, experience disappointment,
or worry that his days as an athlete were numbered.
Instead, he continued to work out with conditioning
coaches at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s Center of Excellence (COE) in Park City. He
registered for classes at the University of Utah and
he played music. Lots of music.
“I can play guitar, banjo and the violin,” says Engel. “I don’t really play the piano; I just have a mini
keyboard and I use two hands even though you’re
supposed to play it with one.”
In between recording new songs this summer, Engel managed to squeeze in some training and racing in the Southern Hemisphere.
Competing as a member of the Treble Cone Race
Academy, Engel scored an eight-point giant slalom
result in the Winter Games New Zealand Continental Cup to cap off a hard push at becoming a sub
12-point technical skier.
In July 2011, Engel was diagnosed with two bulging discs and a stress fracture that sidelined him
through his inaugural season with the U.S. Ski
Team and all the way through this past November.
Although he did not undergo surgery, the damage
to his back took more than a year to heal. “I couldn’t
do anything at all for a while,” Engel says. “I had
to just lie down and not move too much. From that
July, it took all the way until the next August before
I could ski without it hurting.”
Mark Engel gets back to form racing
in Copper this past November.