The center of the UOP takes center stage
PARK CITY, Utah. — Last year’s expansion of the middle of the Utah Olympic Park (UOP) is already paying dividends. Trees came down and a chairlift and lights went up, making space for new ski terrain to be utilized for training and competitions. After hosting multiple local and regional competitions, the area is preparing to play host in a national-level debut of the mogul course in the Jr. Moguls National Championships March 10-13.
Due to COVID, spectators are not allowed, which might mean something to the athletes on the course but won’t make a difference to the real star of this show, the course itself.
“At about 220 meters long and a 23 degree pitch, it looks like it will beat all expectations.” Said Christie Hind, executive director of Park City Ski and Snowboard (PCSS). “PCSS and the UOP worked very closely with US Ski and Snowboard to put together an event that can be held safely in Summit County when it became difficult for other clubs/venues to host it. We are especially grateful to the UOP for the on-hill assistance in getting the venue ready.”
Flanked by the bobsled/luge/skeleton track and the large ski jumping hills, the mogul course is nestled above the summer aerials pool and the small ski jumping hills. Alpine gates are visible most days too, next to the big air jumps. The chairlift, an upcycled hand-me-down from Deer Valley’s Homestake lift, now accesses the area called Hyeway. The name stems from one of the expansion’s donors, Kristi Cumming, “as an affectionate nod to her Armenian roots,” Hind said.
Athletes are traveling here from Vermont, Colorado, Idaho, California and Montana, to name a few. “To keep the competition as safe as possible, all athletes and coaches are required to submit a negative COVID-19 test before the event and complete daily health checks in order to compete,” Hind said.
PCSS has more than 900 athletes actively training and competing this season across nine sport disciplines (Aerials, Alpine, Big Mountain, Park + Pipe, Moguls, Cross Country, Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined, Ski Mountaineering and Snowboard).
“The moguls team has experienced the most explosive growth in the club, up 135% from last year, under the awesome leadership of our new head coach Mikaela Wilson and the interim Freestyle Director Katie Koemans,” Hind said. “The two of them have worked hard to reinvigorate the program and the enthusiasm for mogul skiing in our community.”
Up next, PCSS’ Freestyle Devo Program hosts a mogul event this weekend for ages 9-12 at the Park. March 5th is slopestyle and March 6th is moguls.
Not unlike this video of driver Alan Alborn putting to rest the UOP snow cat the UOP is putting to rest the expansion phase and smoothly transitioning into hosting-the-nation phase, like a well-oiled machine.
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