As Sundance Film Festival begins to wrap up, the FIS World Championships roll into town. More than 1,400 athletes from 40 nations will come into town to compete to be world champions.
Ahead of the start of the 10-day competition Calum Clark of the 2019 World Championships Committee spoke to the effort gone into preparing for the world championships.
“This event is 28 world championship competitions in just 10 days.” Clark said, “We are spread over three resorts, seven different competition venues and we have about 1,400 atheltes and coaches and officials attending this event from 40 different nations. It’s been a major undertaking and we won the rights to host this event in 2014 in Barcelona at FIS meetings and its been three years of solid planning to come to this moment.”
The World Championships opening weekend are mainly focused at Solitude Mountain Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon. The exception being Saturday’s opening ceremonies and Freeski Big Air Final at the Canyons Village in Park City. The next event to take place in Park City will be on Monday afternoon.
Scott Beck, President and CEO of Visit Salt Lake emphasized the role of the community of making the event a success.
“It is an incredible community and we do things like this and we do them regularly and we’re so proud of it.” Beck explained, “I travel around the country, I travel around the world and I’m always asked about our Olympic Legacy. It is events like this, it is a community ethos that is alive and well in our DNA. We do these events, events like what we’re seeing this weekend all year. It is part of who we are, we love to welcome the world. Like many of the athletes, once an Olympian always an Olympian, we are an Olympic city we will always be an Olympic city. We are America’s ski city for 2030 and are very excited about that opportunity.”
U.S. Ski and Snowboard announced the roster for the 2019 FIS world championships this week. Among the over 70 U.S. athletes chosen for the events include many Park City athletes including Abby Champagne, Brita Sigourney and McRae Williams. Williams will be defending his world champion title in Freeski Slopestyle. He said defending his title in his hometown will make for a special week. Orem resident and snowboardcross athlete Anna Miller spoke about how her childhood in Utah brought her to this point.
“I actually started snowboarding at Sundance which is a really small mountain down in Utah Valley.” Miller continued, “So, I rode there for a couple of years and then onto the Snowbird Snowboard team and have been riding here ever since. In and out of Snowbird and Park City and just love it. Love the mountains, love the canyons, pretty much call it home.”
Beck noted the success of the World Championships could potentially have an impact on the Salt Lake 2030 Olympic bid.
“What we heard directly form the USOC was that’s why we are America’s choice for the next bid.” Beck said, “We have the infrastructure we keep it alive. We program it, we produce events that are very high caliber and continuing to do that for the next foreseeable future is really important to the bid from the world’s perspective.”
Stay tuned to KPCW for coverage of the FIS World Championships.