Park City Ski and Snowboard along with Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, the University of Utah and Rowland Hall are working together to create a new alpine training facility near the Utah Olympic Park.
Park City Ski and Snowboard Executive Director John Kanarowski says the expansion will offer more training opportunities for winter athletes.
“It’s going to make a lot more terrain available at the UOP for alpine racers, freestyle skiers and snowboarders and Nordic jumpers as well," Kanarowski said. "So dramatically expanding what’s possible there for all of the local competitive teams.”
The two-stage project will cost $11 million to construct. Phase one will begin this April.
“The first phase is increasing and improving the terrain that’s available above the Alf Engen Ski Museum," Kanarowski explained. "So, on the eastern side of the UOP that’s the first phase. That’s about a $3 million project. The $8 million-dollar project is expanding on the west face. So that’s the peak that you see above the Utah Olympic Park.”
The expansion will include two chairlifts as well as lighting for the course to make early morning and late evening training possible. The completed course could even be used as a race venue for slalom and giant slalom races. Another key element will be snow making capabilities on site.
“In November and December our teams have to travel to Colorado, to Canada etc. to train," Kanarowski continued. "The snowmaking is really going to help us early on in the season to be able to have world class training facilities and treat that snow so that we have consistent hard surfaces that our athletes can train on and improve and then succeed in those early competitions which are then critical to having a successful season.”
Eagle racecourse at the base of Park City Mountain Resort has previously been used for alpine training but Kanarowski says that they need another option.
“Eagle is really a world class training and racing arena," Kanarowski said. "Our partner Park City Mountain, Vail, they are very good partners, but they are under a lot of different pressures. Because of that the priority on early season snow making has shifted onto different areas. As a result of that we haven’t been able to get early season access to Eagle, which used to be in November. Now that’s January, and in poor snow years like last year was even February access to that arena. That puts our athletes at a real disadvantage compared to all of their peers. What this is really doing, if you think of it in economic terms, there’s kind of a supply and demand imbalance right now. There’s too much demand for training space but there’s not enough supply at Park City Mountain and that’s causing a lot of issues. What this is really doing is solving this supply and demand imbalance.”
Park City Ski and Snowboard will share the space with the University of Utah and Rowland Hall. Park City Ski and Snowboard has committed $3 million to the project, with the University of Utah, Rowland Hall and The Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation covering the remaining amount needed. So far Park City Ski and Snowboard has raised $1.2 million.
“At this point we really need support from our membership from the club as well as from the community," Kanarowski explained. "The short-term goal is to raise $500,000 by the end of April. The reason we need to do that is that will enable the breaking of ground this summer to put in that chairlift. It’s an aggressive timeline but we’re confident that we’ll be able to achieve it.”
Those who donate a certain amount can even earn naming rights of the hills, lifts and training runs. You can find a link to fundraising project here.