New West Peak expansion at UOP set to open in February
While the season’s surprising snowfall has meant great snow riding conditions, it has also hampered the opening of the West Peak expansion at the Utah Olympic Park.
The second phase of the West Peak expansion was supposed to be open this winter. The good news is it will open before the season ends but the early snow in October prevented a number of construction items from getting completed.
Park City Ski and Snowboard Alpine Program Director Tommy Eckfeldt said they hope to have the new fixed-grip chairlift with an almost 1,200-foot vertical rise running by early February.
Ten lanes for skiers and snowboarders will be available when the new area opens. These 300 acres make up a competition-level training area with more challenging pitch and length than the current Hyeway area. That area also has a fixed-grip triple chairlift providing access to a beginner and intermediate hill with a 400-foot vertical rise.
“I was told last week by [UOP Chief Operating Officer] Callum Clark, they should be commissioning the new West Peak chairlift this week,” Eckfeldt said. “So, we should be seeing chairs flying on those lifts shortly. But the snow operations at the UOP with Alan Alborn have been amazing. They’ve been able to scrape it right down obviously using some other parts of the venue to create our mogul lanes and other development aspects for our other divisions.”
In addition to alpine training, the area will offer a World Cup length mogul course and a world-class terrain park.
Fundraising for the facility has been ongoing for years. Contributions have come from Park City Ski and Snowboard, Rowmark and the University of Utah and the Eccles Foundation, which provided a $5 million grant last August to complete the second phase.
“All of the resident stakeholders and our local clubs are just really more interested to see how the trail is going to be able to kind of work and come about for us,” Eckfeldt said. “We're really excited for its potential to hold races. Obviously, it was initially homologated this year by the international ski racing body, FIS, to be able to host FIS-level super G, GS and slalom, so it gives our community an even greater expanse to host higher level races here in the future for our athletes.”
Eckfeldt added that the annual Town Race Series starts Jan. 27. Details are available here.
The Town Race is a series of four competitions with one more mid-February and two in March. In addition to alpine racing, there will also be a Skimo, or Ski Mountaineering, competition. This entails hiking up the hill using skins and then skiing down the gates. All the races will be held at the UOP.