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Sverre Engen dies at age 90

Published: Friday, April 6 2001 10:33 a.m. MDT

Sverre Engen, early ski pioneer and one of the legendary Engen brothers, died on Wednesday at the age of 90.

Engen came to the United States from his home in Norway with his brother, Alf, in 1929. Younger brother Cory followed a few years later. Together, the three would play monumental roles in the development of skiing in the U.S. West and in particular here in Utah.

Sverre and Alf joined the Professional Ski Jumping Tour shortly after arriving in the United States and went on to set several national jumping titles, many of those here in Utah. Sverre was the oldest surviving member of the old pro tour.

He would become recognized as the nation's first snow ranger and is credited with many of the avalanche safety procedures that are still being used. He left the ranger position in 1945 to become the first director of the Alta ski school, a position he would later turn over to his brother, Alf.

He was also the first to receive a certificate of approval for ski instruction. Later he became chief examiner for certifying ski instructors in this country and is a lifetime honorary member of the Intermountain Ski Instructors Association.

Next to skiing, his passion turned to filmmaking and writing. In 1977, he wrote a book, "Skiing a Way of Life," which highlighted the Engens' successes in skiing.

In 1971, he was inducted into the National Ski Hall of Fame.

Graveside services will be held at Larkin Sunset Gardens, 10600 S. 1700 East, in Sandy at 11 a.m. Saturday. Friends may call one hour prior to services.

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