Mack Miller - Two-time Nordic Olympian and collegiate star

Passing Date

Andrew Markley “Mack” Miller, the most prominent American cross-country skier of the 1950s, died February 16. He was 88.


Mack was a two-time Olympian who competed in the Winter Games in 1956 at Cortina D’Ampezzo (racing in the 15k and 4x10 relay events) and in 1960 at Squaw Valley (15k and 30k). He grew up in Idaho during the 1940s as a four-way skiing competitor and continued at Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado, where his skills were developed under legendary coach Sven Wíík.


Mack's talents improved rapidly between 1951 and 1953, when he earned 27 podium positions, mostly first place, in collegiate skiing. He placed first in cross country at the national collegiate championships in 1953 while also placing sixth in cross country and combined at the national championships that same year. Military service interrupted his education and ski competition from 1954 through part of 1956. He returned to Western State and placed first in cross country at the Olympic trials, guaranteeing him a place on the 1956 team.


In the 1957 season at Western, Mack won the NCAA individual title in cross country while helping his team win the NCAA team championship. In 1958 he took two firsts and a second at the FIS team trials and competed in Europe at the World Championships (50k). The Nordic coach for the 1960 Olympics was Wíík, and Mack, along with four other Western teammates, competed under his leadership at Squaw Valley. Teammate Dick Mize (biathlon) described Mack Miller as "extremely hard-working. He loved to train hard; the harder the better. He was serious and always helpful, beyond just himself."


Mack earned a master’s degree in education and was a teacher, coach and rancher in Idaho, where he lived along with his wife, Rita, and their two children. —Paul Hooge