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Sverre Engen

Hall of Fame Class of 1971

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Sverre Engen gained stature as a jumping competitor, instructor, writer, resort operator and consultant, pioneer in the study of avalanche control and maker of ski movies. His versatile skiing background has never been equaled by anyone.

Sverre Engen was among the last of a colorful generation of Norwegian immigrants to the United States who were deeply enshrined in the romantic history of skiing of their adopted country. For over four decades they gained stature to be among the permanent members of the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame.

Sverre was born in Mjondalen, Norway and won his first ski trophy in 1917 (age of 6). At 14 years of age he developed a yen to come to America, as his brother, Alf, did. However, he had to wait until 1929 to get his visa, then was able to join his brother. He worked diligently to gain his final citizenship papers in 1936.

Although skiing had been Sverre’s way of life in Norway, he did not expect to continue this kind of career in America. Fate ruled otherwise. Responding to the irresistible call of the slopes and the companionship of his buddies, he entered the jumping competitions that were just getting under way in the United States, to the thrill and applause of thousands of enthusiastic fans of this new American sport.

During his first winter in this country Sverre won both the Class “B” Central Championship and the Tournament in Chicago and placed third in National jumping in Canton, North Dakota. As a member if the professional group, Sverre was without a doubt one of the top competitors in the years that followed, usually finishing at or near the top. His most cherished cup was the Norge Ski Club medal which he won in 1937 for taking first place in Class “A”.

In 1937, he also purchased and developed Snow Valley in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California. He operated this resort, the newest and most popular of the region, for three years. Snow Valley grew by leaps and bounds under his skillful direction. He then sold out to a large Hollywood developer and returned to Salt Lake City, Utah, his home since coming to America.

He served in the Norwegian Battalion of the 10th Mountain Division during World War II. Afterward, he was approved to teach professional ski instructors under the G.I. Bill. Among his students were some of the early top ski instructors.

Sverre Engen was elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1971.

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