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West Peak expansion formally opens at the Utah Olympic Park

Spencer F. Eccles and family, joined by UOLF's Colin Hilton, at the West Peak grand opening

Former Olympic racers and ski enthusiasts turn out for grand opening of the Spencer F. Eccles Olympic Mountain Center.

After winter weather delays, Wednesday marked the grand opening of Summit County's newest world-class ski facility, the Spencer F. Eccles Olympic Mountain Center. Over a hundred winter sports enthusiasts gathered at the UOP for the ribbon cutting. On hand for the celebration were several members of the Eccles family, including former captain of the University of Utah ski team, Spence Eccles, for whom the facility is named.

“There’s really just one word for this new mountain center – fantastic, “said Eccles. “Incredible. First Class,” he continued to cheers from the crowd. Attendees included Salt Lake Olympic Bid Committee chair Fraser Bullock, Paralympic medalist Chris Waddell, Utah hall of famer and founder of the Youth Sports Alliance Jim Gaddis, along with numerous members of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation and representatives from local ski teams. There to celebrate and test the new slopes were former U.S Ski team members Picabo Street, Heidi Volker, and Kristi Cumming, who spearheaded phase one of the ski training facility, known as Hyeway, which opened at the UOP in 2019 and is used by more than 1,500 local youth annually.

First envisioned over two decades ago before the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games, the $23 million training and competition facility was spearheaded by the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation (UOLF), with significant funding from the state of Utah, the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, the University of Utah, Park City Ski & Snowboard, Rowmark Ski Academy, and numerous individual donors.

“The sense of collaboration is a hallmark for Utah and how we get things done,” said Colin Hilton, President and CEO of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation. “People call it the Utah way. This is another example of how a vision requiring various groups to come together, pool our resources, and shed away the critiques who said, ‘You can’t do it, it’s too costly, it’s too complex.’ We kept talking, we kept figuring out how to get the resources to do it, and today marks another example of how we do things differently.”

Wednesday’s dedication ceremony marked the completion of the second phase, known as West Peak, which includes advanced alpine and freestyle terrain, a new high-speed quad lift, and high efficiency snowmaking for early season training. The challenging pitch and length ensure that the new runs are officially FIS-homologated, or “course approved,” for future Giant Slalom and Slalom alpine races, as well as World Cup mogul competitions.

In true ski fashion, the ribbon cutting took place with the Eccles family riding through the ceremonial ribbon on the first chair of the new lift, named Game Changer.

“I truly believe that what we have here is a game changer for our community, for the sport, and for the program for generations to come,” said Calum Clark, UOLF Chief Operating Officer. “And this comes through the partnership with our resident clubs. At the end of the day, we have joy as we watch their programs thrive. And this is where we bring the next generation of that to this [new] hill.”

The Spencer F. Eccles Olympic Mountain Center will serve as the home base for local racers from the University of Utah ski team, Park City Ski and Snowboard, and Rowmark Ski Academy. U.S. Ski and Snowboard and National Ability Center (NAC) athletes will also have access to the facility, but the steep terrain will not be open to the general public — that is except for the attendees at Wednesday’s grand opening, who were invited to test out the West Peak slopes following the ribbon cutting.