The FIS World Championships are in full swing here in Park City. World-class athletes from across the globe will be in town from now until the closing ceremonies on Sunday.
The championships opened on Friday with USA’s Mick Dierdorff, a former member of Park City Ski & Snowboard, winning gold in snowboard cross. On Saturday USA’s Julia Krass, also a former Park City Ski & Snowboard member, took home the silver in the Big Air competition Isabel Atkin representing Great Britain took home the bronze in big air. Atkin has participated in the Winter Sport School and Park City Ski & Snowboard as well as attending school in Park City School District. On Sunday, Dierdorff found his way on the top of the stand again, winning gold with teammate Lindsey Jacobellis in the snowboard cross team event.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert spoke ahead of the opening ceremonies at the Canyons Base on Saturday, he said Utah is excited to have the eyes of approximately 250 million people on the state.
“Utah is known as a great place to in fact have winter sports.” Governor Herbet said, “We’re known by many as having the greatest snow on earth and so it’s only fitting that we have the greatest athletes on snow here in Utah. Our resorts are very well known, we annually have our ski resorts listed as the top in North America. So this is a great venue, and a great place to have this competition.”
The Secretary General of the FIS Sarah Lewis was also on hand for the opening ceremonies, Lewis said the organization was ready to begin their series of world championships.
“Particularly to kick them off with the FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships.” Lewis said, “The U.S. is the heart of these two disciplines and in fact we’ve been running snowboard world championships since the mid-90’s and it’s the first time it takes place in the U.S. So, it’s an even more special moment.”
Park City Mountain Resort COO Bill Rock said the resort has been creating facilities for the games since the first day they made snow this season.
“It’s taken a huge effort.” Rock explained, “Not only here at Park City Mountain but all the venues that are hosting events, Deer Valley, Solitude. There’s just a tremendous amount of work that’s gone into these venues to make them as quality as they are. We’ve already gotten great feedback just about how fantastic the experience has been for the athletes. I’d say hats off to our staff, volunteers, our community which is just an incredible community. I can’t say enough about how supportive Utah is, Park City, Summit County, it just makes a world class event like this come together.”
Secretary Lewis said that selecting the Park City area for the FIS World Championships made a lot of sense.
“World Class resorts, outstanding conditions here,” Lewis continued, “welcoming the world, direct connections from everywhere, many many places into Salt Lake City, and easy access. It really ticks many, many, boxes. Also, when it comes to the Olympic Winter games being the choice of the United States Olympic Committee to move forward with that.”
Of course, all the preparation and work by the resorts and organizations have led to an opportunity for athletes to showcase their talents. Reigning World Champion in Slopestyle, and Park City’s own, McRae Williams says his focus is not so much on winning as it is performing the best he can.
“I’ve been trying to just work on—I’m 28 years old I’ve had a very successful career up to this point and coming off the win two years ago in Spain I feel a lot of pressure especially being here at the hometown.” Williams explained, “So, I’m trying to just block all that out and just go out there and have a good time and just be a part of it. Enjoy being here and not try to put too much pressure on winning necessarily. Obviously, like Chris said we all want to win but I just want to go out there, have a good time and hope the weather holds off and put on a show for the friends, family and fans that are here in Park City.”
Stay tuned to KPCW for daily updates during the 2019 FIS World Championshipss, including a daily call in at 4:45 with US Ski & Snowboard Director of Communicaitons Tom Webb.