Park City hopes to make an impression with World Cups ahead of Olympic pick
Events will take place in Park City with a 2030 and, potentially, a 2034 Winter Olympics choice looming
PARK CITY, Utah — With a decision on the host city for the 2030 Winter Olympics, and potentially the 2034 Games, being made in the next year, Park City will have plenty of opportunities in the coming months to remind the international winter sports community of its importance.
World Cup events for all three sliding sports — bobsled, skeleton and luge — are slated to make their return to the Park City area toward the end of 2022 for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The freestyle skiing World Cup will also make its usual stop at Deer Valley Resort next February. The events will be taking place with a decision on the host city for the 2030 Winter Olympics, and potentially the 2034 Games as well, expected to come next year.
“This is pretty routine for us, in general, to be hosting all levels of events,” said Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation President and CEO Colin Hilton, who is also a member of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games that is seeking another Olympics. “We’re excited to have the bobsled, skeleton and luge World Cups coming to Park City. It’s been a little while because of the pandemic. So, we’re excited and certainly know that this is very helpful for our positioning efforts of trying to get a Games back.”
Park City will have the opportunity to host World Cup events at venues that would be expected to host events in a future Winter Olympics. It’s also an opportunity to show how well the venues have been maintained since the 2002 Winter Olympics. Hilton, who also was a high-ranking staffer in the organizing committee that put on the Games 20 years ago, noted that the bobsled, skeleton and luge World Cups will be the first time a World Cup event has been held at the Utah Olympic Park’s track since the installation of a new refrigeration system that cost more than $5 million.
“What that does is allow us to refine the temperatures and how the quality of the ice is,” he said. “We’re excited to showcase that and showcase the fact that we’ve had a lot of support for those upgrades and funding that came from the state of Utah to help us with that and have us capable of having a new generation of refrigeration system to showcase at the highest level events.”
USA Bobsled/Skeleton CEO Aron McGuire said he is excited about the possibility of the Games returning to Utah. Competing at home is an advantage for any sport, but it’s especially true in the sliding disciplines, with medals being won or lost by fractions of a second.
“It’s always nice to have that home-track advantage when it comes to the Olympic Games,” he said. “So, when we have the opportunity to showcase the track and the community to other countries and other athletes, that helps build momentum and the support for the opportunity to host the Olympic Games.
“It’s certainly a chance for us, collectively, to open the doors and show the world what kind of events we can host in the United States and in Park City.”
Hilton also said it was important to have elite athletes in the sliding sports return to Park City.
“There’s always a turnover of athletes at that top level,” he said. “Having the next generation of international athletes getting familiar with Park City is very important and very exciting for the community because we tend to always have a good crowd and good energy around the event.”
Hilton went on to say this upcoming season of events in Park City is just a continuation of Utah’s efforts to regularly host World Cup stops. It just so happens the events are returning with decisions on Olympic host cities looming.
“We had an interruption with the pandemic and haven’t had stops here because of that,” Hilton said. “I think it’s only fitting, but I wouldn’t say it’s anything new. We’re excited to get back on a more regular schedule with the international federations.”
In a titanic battle of 35-year-old local superstars, John Gaston outdueled Simi Hamilton on Saturday to win the fourth iteration of the Snowmass 50 mountain bike race.
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