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FIS Crowd Doubled Sheriff's Office Expectations


The FIS National Championships opened at the Canyons Village on Saturday night. KPCW received reports from attendees that crowds were not well managed, there were no barriers set up to funnel people in and out of the venue and it had an overall feeling of a mosh pit with people densely packed into the plaza area. Carolyn Murray has this:

Summit County Sheriff’s Deputies reported no incidents during the Opening Ceremonies for the FIS National Championships. But the crowd that showed up was twice the size estimate given to law enforcement.  Sheriff’s Lieutenant Andrew Wright said he staffed enough officers to handle three to four thousand people.

“I’m not exactly sure where the disconnect was. Maybe no one truly knew what kind of numbers this would attract. We did get some complaints about the amount of people, the parking issues, you know lack of areas to park. It was a challenge for sure for us, but we did have, like I say, 14 or 15 deputies on scene for the event. Whether or not, six to eight thousand people estimated being there, we could have used more help at the time and that’s one of those things that you kind of go into the unknown and wonder exactly what kind of turnout you’re going to get.”

Wright said a lot of planning went into the event ahead of time, but he doesn’t know if there is any way to gauge how many people a world-wide event will attract.

“We feel comfortable having about two deputies per 500 people. We did have a good amount of deputies there. But, when a crowd grows, and we’re hitting 8000 or more people, in such a small area-could we have had more people had we known the numbers? Absolutely. We always err on the side of safety. If there had been a better estimate, not knowing what this was going to attract, we could have provided more presence there, but yet again, based off of how the event went, we didn’t have any major incidences.  We felt that based off of the circumstances and what the event was and the amount of deputies there present, that it did go smoothly.

Wright said Summit County is accustomed to holding large multi-day events and they rely on the venue hosts along with a variety of experts in the planning process. The heavy snowfall can add another complication.

US Ski and Snowboard Marketing Director, Tom Webb provided an official statement addressing the concerns over crowd management at the Opening Ceremonies.

“We very much appreciate the feedback from everyone who came out to Canyons Village on Saturday night.  And, we are going to look into the issues that were reported to KPCW. As with any event that we’re involved with anywhere around the world, we’re always working with our resort partners and our event partners, who, it’s worth bearing in mind, are extremely experienced at staging events of all sizes. And, together we review and update policies and procedures when necessary and we will continue to do so for the events still to come in the 2019 World Champs”

Webb said all the people involved in the events are vigilant and willing to adjust plans as needed.

“Yeah, I think it would be complacent to anybody involved in an event to say, they’re always comfortable with it. You know, we are extremely vigilant and want to make sure that every aspect of the is as well prepared for as possible. And again, we do take into account feedback from people at the event. It’s incredibly important to us to know that everybody has the best possible experience. It’s important to know there are an awful lot of people who are very carefully monitoring the event on site at all the resorts we are lucky enough to have as partners for the World Championships. We have such an experienced team of people at each of those venues who are very , very well used to dealing with events, both   large and small.”

Organizing Committee Chair, Calum Clark told KPCW they are taking the concerns about the crowd management and working with the Emergency Operations Team.

“We are working very closely with the Emergency Operations Team that’s placed in Park City. And, this is the most amazing thing about this community is that this place is really built for taking on large crowds. We had some feedback. That was a big crowd and that was exciting. And, we are taking that on board and we are going to action that. But, I don’t have anything further to say on that.”

Webb asked people to contact him with concerns or comments about the FIS World Championships. He can be reached at:


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