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Alf Engen Ski Museum director to retire

20-year Director of the Alf Engen Ski Museum Connie Nelson is retiring March 31st.
Connie Nelson
20-year Director of the Alf Engen Ski Museum Connie Nelson is retiring March 31st.

Connie Nelson has served as the Executive Director of the Alf Engen Ski Museum for the last two decades. She plans to retire at the end of March.

The Alf Engen Ski Museum opened its doors shortly after the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Since then, the museum has offered interactive displays, skiing exhibits and also serves as the location for the Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame.

Connie Nelson stepped into the role of Assistant Director of the Museum when it first opened. Two years later, she was running it.

“I've seen it from when we were first moving the media out from the Olympics, to now where we have three full time staff and 12 part time staff,” Nelson said. “And we're free museums. We work hard to ensure that public can go there seven days a week, and just enjoy the history of skiing with new exhibits each year.”

The museum was named in honor of Alf Engen, a Norwegian who immigrated to the U.S. with his younger brother in 1929. Although primarily a ski jumper who set several world records in the 1930s, Engen is also credited for developing the technique of powder skiing which he honed at Alta where he served as ski school director.

Today, the museum collection contains more than 300 trophies and medals as well as skis and scrapbooks that span more than 70 years of the Engen family.

“He believed in children learning to ski and enjoying skiing,” she said. “And what a lot of people don't know is he founded 31 ski resorts. He worked for the Forest Service. And they'd say, ‘Well, what do you think about where the runs can go?’ So, he would go up there, and skin up and work out where the runs would go for Snowbasin, for Sun Valley, for Alta, for Snowbird. So, he was a true legend and a humble man and a great namesake for our museum.”

The museum is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s supported by a foundation that receives grants and individual donations.

The board of directors is accepting applications for Nelson’s replacement. She says the right applicant will have the personality for the position which means being involved in the community and mingling with the 475,000 people who visit the museum every year, as well as directing the staff and fundraising.

“So, the person who enjoys the outdoors, enjoys skiing, enjoys snow sports, and enjoys staff, and interacting with people. But yeah, we're looking for personality, first and foremost, but also the experience with maybe a nonprofit fundraising, docents looking at education programs, lots of different areas. We're looking for a really dynamic person.

More information about the position and how to apply is available here.