Neighbors of Park City

Park City siblings turn a ski club legacy into professional careers

Team Macuga shares a bond beyond the slopes

By Jacquie Symes, Neighbors of Park City

The Radically Inclined Ski Club (R.I.S.C) at The University of California, San Diego, is more than a university-sanctioned activity; it’s the birthplace of the Macuga family legacy, with all four Macuga children having blossomed into world-class skiers. From this shared passion emerged “Team Macuga,” a testament to their familial talent and the unwavering support of their community. Yet, their story goes beyond the slopes; it’s a narrative of dedication, unity, and extraordinary achievement.

Dan and Amy each grew up skiing in different parts of the country. Dan moved a lot in his youth but learned how to ski in Lake Tahoe, Calif., a short trip from where he lived in Sacramento. Amy grew up on Lake Loveland, Colo., toggling between water and snow skiing. “UC San Diego is a wonderful place to go to college. We both loved skiing and if you’re at the beach, you have to chase the snow,” says Dan, who was a staff member of the club while Amy was an officer coordinating the yearly trips. “We planned a small trip over Thanksgiving each year,” says Amy, “This usually meant coming to Utah. Then the All-Cal meant coordinating over 1,000 students from all of the UC schools for one big ski trip to Colorado.”

After their college connection, the two married, and Dan’s career moved them around so frequently that each of their children was born in a different state just one to two years apart. Their oldest daughter, Sam, was born in Newport Beach, Calif., in 2001. Their second daughter, Lauren, was born in Troy, Mich., in 2002. Alli was born in Bellevue, Wash., in 2003, and their youngest (and only son), Daniel, was born in Plano, Texas in 2005. When the opportunity came to interview for a job in Utah, it didn’t take much convincing to bring the whole family to a ski town. The Macugas settled in Park City in 2007. 

“Both of our parents were examples of how a good marriage works, so we feel very fortunate,” says Amy. “We have been asked many times how our kids are so tight-knit. Because of our moving around so much, they were their best friends and they were born so close to each other – not intentional – but they were built-in best friends and have stayed that way.”

Photo: Edited by Dana Klein Creative // Dana Klein

Growing up amidst the majestic mountains of Park City, the Macuga siblings honed their skills through the Get Out and Play Program through the Youth Sports Alliance (YSA), exploring various disciplines to uncover their individual strengths. “We made sure the kids could try anything they had an interest in,” Amy and Dan say, both weighing in on how the kids each emerged with a favorite event. “They even tried soccer, lacrosse, luge, and Daniel played football. Skiing was just the sport they all decided to really pursue”

Sam, 23, competes in Nordic Ski Jumping on the U.S. Ski Team, making Norway a second home – thanks to the integration of the U.S. and Norwegian teams – allowing access to greater resources. Sam’s own training has improved significantly through the collaboration. Every spring, Sam takes a break from being a professional athlete and attends Dartmouth College. On this eight-year plan, she is expected to graduate with a degree in electrical engineering in 2027.

Middle sister, Lauren, competes for the U.S. Ski Team in Alpine events. She loves the speed and adrenaline of downhill racing, placing 5th in the Super G at the Audi FIS World Cup, and appreciates that her siblings each compete in separate events (though Daniel also races Downhill, Super G, and Slalom in the men’s races) making it so they never have to compete against each other. “I think that’s super special. We all chose different sports. We know the hardship of going out in the cold, putting in early mornings, all the time in the gym, but we will never compete against each other. I’m so happy for them every single time I watch any one of them dominate in their field.” 

As for Alli, a rising star on the U.S. Ski Team Freestyle Mogul Team, the last two years have been big for her. Last season, she won the NorAm tour and secured a start in all the World Cups for this season. In addition, she was named Rookie of the Year on the World Cup Tour.  This year, she was able to achieve two podium spots – 3rd in dual moguls in Alp d’Huez and 2nd in moguls in Almaty, Kazakhstan. But Alli’s passion for skiing extends beyond competition; she finds joy in the camaraderie shared with her teammates and competitors and is soaking up the experiences of world travel. 

Youngest sibling, Daniel, enjoys going fast (which is why Super G and Downhill are his favorite events). Maybe that’s innate, or maybe, like any little brother, he’s keeping up with his older sisters – whom he names his greatest influencers. “My sisters have pushed me to want to do as well in my sport as they have done in theirs. Being the youngest in the family, I got to see all their success before I competed. It fuels me to be able to accomplish more at a higher level.” 

Photo: Edited by Dana Klein Creative // Dana Klein

Four kids, four professional careers, just what powers this incredible family of athletes? “Someone’s got to pay for this circus!” Dan exclaimed, joking. “I don’t know how we do it!” His current post is as the Chief Communications and Marketing Officer for USANA Health Sciences, a job he really enjoys. Amy has a background in corporate event planning. “I really just majored in ski club!” She jokes, but something in her statement rings true. A master at coordinating all the schedules, Dan boasts over Amy’s impressive and well-crafted Google Doc that keeps everything straight, freeing her to be the supportive champion and mother she is. “I mean, the last trip she was on started in Japan watching Sam,” begins Dan. “Then she flew to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to visit an old college friend; met me in Cortina to watch Lauren; we both flew back [to Park City] to watch Alli in Deer Valley; she just watched Daniel race at Olympic Park; and is headed to Jackson this weekend. I think that’s pretty dang cool.”

Amy describes their kids’ success as overwhelming at times, “There are a lot of ‘pinch me’ moments,” she says. 

“People wanted to take pictures with Lauren and have her sign things. Alli was at Deer Valley and everybody was talking about her stats,” recalls Dan. “Just sitting back and listening to them talk to each other. They compare their sports; what’s happening, which one’s better – comparing flying in the air for seven seconds to zipping down a mountain for 10 minutes. They are professional athletes. It’s their full-time job. They train, get sponsorships, and have to compete to maintain this job. It’s not normal!” 

Reflecting on their journey, the Macugas acknowledge the extraordinary nature of their achievements and the profound impact of their familial unit. Their story is a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and the unbreakable bonds forged through shared experiences – on and off the slopes. They are siblings, they are athletes, they are Team Macuga.

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