Fundraiser to help athletes with Olympics in sight |

Fundraiser to help athletes with Olympics in sight

The annual event will be held at Mike Engel’s home

By Griffin Adams
The Park Record

Jaelin Kauf and Olivia Giaccio battle it out during dual moguls at the 2017 Visa Freestyle International World Cup at Deer Valley in February. Kauf is scheduled to speak at the U.S. Ski & Snowboards annual fundraiser on Aug. 10.

Parkite Mike Engel always wants to help out the U.S. Ski & Snowboard team, which is not funded by the government.

"I see New York has its Yankees," Engel said. "Washington, D.C., has its Redskins and Chicago [has] its Blackhawks. Park City has its U.S. Ski & Snowboard team."

Engel felt it his duty to help out, which is why he has housed many of the Nordic athletes for the last decade. It's also why he's an integral piece to organizing the annual U.S. Ski & Snowboard fundraiser — now in its seventh year — which is scheduled to take place on Aug. 10 at Engel's home.

"I started hosting this event at my home with the ultimate goal of having a huge celebration in Park City with food, music, former and current athletes, bouncy thingies for kids and great enthusiasm from the community for our home town team."

Originally, Engel started his mission of helping the team by housing Nordic athletes, such as Parkite Liz Stephen, in his home. Knowing the struggles some athletes go through to travel to the places necessary to qualify for the Olympics, Engel didn't mind offering up his extra rooms and space.

"The team has done so well over the last decade, even though they are financially disadvantaged relative to other countries that support athletes financially," Engel said. "So if I can help athletes and the organization by putting athletes up at my house, it takes pressure off the athletes and organization and they can focus on training."

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His home on 1700 Lucky John Drive serves multiple purposes, as it will again play host to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard team's annual fundraiser on Thursday. With the upcoming Winter Olympics being in PyeongChang, South Korea, the fundraiser will have a Korean theme, which will include The Angry Korean food truck.

The event will also serve as a silent auction, as it’s sponsored by many businesses in town, such as Hotel Park City, Stein Eriksen Lodge and St. Regis, to name a few. In addition to food, there will also be drinks, kids activities and a raffle to finish off the night. Some of the athletes that will be present, such as Jaelin Kauf, will also take time to speak to attendees.

"It started out specifically as a fundraiser for the cross-country team and has morphed into a fundraiser for all of our sports that we represent," said Jana Dalton, U.S. Ski & Snowboard's Major Gifts Officer. "[We usually get] about 100 attendees; just people within the community. We have a great committee, with people from all aspects of business in the community that that help us."

The event is typically held in September, Dalton said, but with the Olympics just around the corner, the hope is that by holding the fundraiser a month earlier, more people will be able to attend — and donate.

"We're hoping it'll be a great outdoor event with longer daylight," Dalton said. "We're going to be having a musician, which we haven’t done in the past. It's just going to be a fun all-around event."

The event will take place on Thursday, Aug. 10, and is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and go until roughly 10 p.m. Tickets for the fundraiser are $35 if one orders online beforehand and $40 per person at the door.