UPDATED: NCAA Skiing Championships begin Thursday
The 2022 NCAA National Skiing Championships kick off Thursday in Park City and Soldier Hollow.
The best collegiate alpine and cross-country skiers converge on Park City and the Heber Valley this week for the NCAA Skiing Championships.
After snow postponed Wednesday’s races, competition begins at 9am Thursday with the men’s and women’s giant slalom races at Park City Mountain Resort and 10am at Soldier Hollow for men’s and women’s classic. The racing ends Saturday with cross-country freestyle racing at Soldier Hollow. Utah last played host to the Championships in 2014.
Individual titles in men’s and women’s slalom, giant slalom, classic, and freestyle events are all up for grabs, as well as the coveted team title.
The team title will be awarded on Saturday to the school with the highest point total from the four days of competition.
The University of Utah enters the week as the heavy favorites, having won the team title 14 times – most recently in 2019 and 2021. The Utes also swept the regular season and brought home a slew of regional awards, with 19 different athletes being recognized.
Utah Head Alpine Coach JJ Johnson told fans on Tuesday that the team is ready to be on home snow and knows the race hill well. He said the excitement is “through the roof” for this week.
Cross-country action starts at 10am Thursday with the men's and women’s classic races. Soldier Hollow Events Manager Josh Korn said attendance to all events is free and there will be plenty of opportunities for the public to watch.
“We have bleachers actually set on the start line and the finish line, so if people want to just kind of hang out there and watch the starts and finishes, we’ll have a large jumbotron that will have the live feed," said Korn. "If you want to get out on course, we will have a couple of checkpoint areas where people can walk through and spectate. You just have to be, obviously, cognizant of the race and know that it’s happening and stay out of the way, but we’ll have some marshals to direct people in the right direction there as well.”
Spectators at the alpine events will be able to watch from the finish area at the bottom of the First Time chairlift at PCMR. Spectators can watch the alpine races from higher up on the mountain, but cannot access the race course for safety reasons.
The events will also be live streamed at NCAA.com.
Racing continues on Friday with men’s and women’s slalom before wrapping up with the mass-start freestyle on Saturday.
Collegiate racers qualify for NCAAs through their regular season results. 74 men and 74 women were selected to compete, representing schools from across the Mountain West, Colorado Rockies, Northeast, Midwest, and Alaska.
Other favorites for the championship include the University of Vermont, who also swept their regular season in the Eastern region. Vermont last won the national title in 2012.
Korn said this week will be a not-to-miss opportunity to watch some of the highest level ski racing of the year.
“We’d just love to see as many people come on out and cheer on these collegiate athletes," he said. "These are literally the best college athletes on skis in the country and they’re gonna put on quite a show. It would be fun to see some people come out.”