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      Home schooler Mark Engel has always been focused on skiing and it's showed in his rapid rise into the U.S. Ski Team fold. Most athletes enter the pipeline with the U.S. Development Team. Engel dove directly into the C Team ranks after winning back-to-back Western Region overall titles in 2010 and '11.

      A slew of FIS podiums in the 2011 winter also helped the progression, but it was a third place among juniors in a gnarly super G at the Putnam Investments U.S. Alpine Championships that got coaches attention.

      He was ready to rock again in 2012 when his back started seriously bothering him. After a CT scan, it was evident Engel needed to sit the season out. Good news, no surgery was needed, just a lot of rest. Now, he's back (no pun intended).

      It's always been about ski racing for me. A big reason for the home school route was so that I could travel to ski races. It's cool to see those decisions and the hard work pay off by making the U.S. Ski Team.

      Dad had Engel on skis at age 2and by 7 he was in the Alpine Meadows club program then directly into the Sugar Bowl Academy team by 11. Being one member of a family of skiers was helpful too. His older brother is a serious freeskier and older sister moved from racing into coaching with Sugar Bowl Academy.

      Christianity is a big part of Engel's life. "I was close to stopping skiing last year to go to a Christian school, but happy I kept skiing." Also a fan of surfing concrete with his skateboard and playing guitar - especially with his friends. "More than covering any band, I love to just play with friends and just make stuff up."



      3rd for juniors at U.S. Championships SG, 2011
      Western Region overall champ '10/11