Basin planners approve two new runs at Utah Olympic Park
Two new ski runs at Utah Olympic Park will provide an easier way down and a training area for ski mountaineering, making its Olympic debut in 2026.
The Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation won a unanimous vote from the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission Sept. 26 to build two new ski runs at Utah Olympic Park.
Both runs will be serviced by the West Peak chairlift that opened earlier this year.
One run will serve as the “easiest way down” from West Peak, looping around the northwest slope. It will also be a way for snowcats to climb the mountain.
The other run has two parts. One half is for uphill skinning or hiking, climbing through the pine trees next to the chairlift, and the downhill-only half curves around the other side of the trees.
UOP General Manager Jamie Kimball said it will serve as a training area for the park’s growing ski mountaineering program. In ski mountaineering races, athletes climb uphill by foot or using mohair skins on the bottom of their skis before skiing back down.
“We identified some really good terrain at the park over the last couple of years that would help that backcountry experience,” Kimball told Basin planners.
The International Olympic Committee added ski mountaineering, also known as “skimo,” to the 2026 Winter Olympics back in 2021. And Sept. 25, the United States Ski Mountaineering Association announced a partnership with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee to train skimo athletes for the 2026 Games in Italy.
Planning Commissioner Tyann Mooney asked if the UOP’s skimo runs could serve as an Olympic venue in the future, but Kimball said it’s too early to tell because the IOC hasn’t finalized length and height requirements for skimo venues.
Kimball and Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation President and CEO Colin Hilton addressed local concerns from the nearby Sun Peak neighborhood too.
Residents asked about lighted runs and snowmaking, and the UOP and county staff assured them neither lights nor snowmaking are proposed for the new runs.
If the park would like to add lights or snowmaking to its new runs, it would need to come back to the planning commission for another public hearing.
The UOP may ask the planning commission to approve more ski runs in the future, because it has identified several other possible ways down West Peak.
One resident was concerned about runs facing the neighborhood, but Hilton said that won’t happen.
“South-facing—facing Sun Peak—we will never put runs there,” he said. “It's only over the ridge facing into the park, is where we're talking about here.”
Five of the seven members of the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission voted yes. Commissioner Chris Conabee recused himself because he helped develop the Residences at Utah Olympic Park, and Commissioner Makena Hawley was absent.
Kimball told KPCW construction could begin on the skimo run in the next few weeks. It will be handwork with chainsaws, thinning some of the trees, but no grading is required.
The other run does need grading, which requires an engineering permit from Summit County. Kimball hopes to be permitted and ready to cut that run at the end of October.
According to the UOP, construction vehicles will not use Bear Hollow Drive.