Eccles Foundation awards $5 million grant to Utah Olympic Park
The George S. and Delores Dore Eccles Foundation awarded $5 million to the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation last Thursday night to complete the second phase of Utah Olympic Park’s mountain expansion and fund youth scholarships.
The announcement was made during the annual Anti-Gala fundraiser at the UOP.
The two-phase project cost $22 million. According to Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation Director Colin Hilton, more than half of that was raised by private donations. The $5 million grant not only closes the funding gap but will allow more athletes to use the facilities.
“We're thrilled to death that this is both a finishing grant to help us complete phase two, but also funding for making our programs of alpine and freestyle more accessible to kids who traditionally couldn't afford these types of ski programs,” Hilton said.
The details of how athletes will apply for the scholarships has yet to be worked out, as does the naming of the facility.
“The beauty and incredible generosity of this gift is Spence has long believed in the cause that our Legacy Foundation has to not just running facilities, but promoting the actual programs that use the facilities,” Hilton said. “So, we have partners, obviously, with Park City, Ski and Snowboard, and other organizations that we will work out a strategy for how we can break down the traditional challenges and barriers of entry to alpine skiing and freestyle moguls.”
Money for the first phase of the ski training area as well as much of the second phase was raised by private contributions to Park City Ski and Snowboard, University of Utah, and Rowland Hall– three organizations whose team athletes will primarily use the facilities.
The second phase of construction, which is expected to be completed this winter, offers 25 acres of advance training and competition terrain for alpine and freestyle athletes. A new high-speed quad chairlift as well as two additional intermediate and advanced ski runs, a snow making system and lights for night training are being installed.
The first phase opened in 2019 and included a four-person chairlift, accessing an intermediate hill with six acres of alpine and freestyle competition terrain.
In a prepared statement, foundation chair and CEO Spence Eccles said the investment in the project is aimed at expanding opportunities for Utah’s youth to pursue interests in winter sports and build a strong future for winter sport training as Utah prepares to host another Olympic Winter games. Eccles was an All-American ski racer for the University of Utah.