Cross-country skiers to make final Olympic bids in Midway championships
A cross-country skiing race series with Olympic implications is coming to Midway this week.
About 350 athletes will descend on the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center, the site of cross-country and biathlon events in the 2002 Olympics, for the 2022 L.L. Bean U.S. Cross-Country Ski Championships and SuperTour. They’ll be there to compete from Friday, New Year’s Eve, through the following Friday, January 7.
Races from 1.5-kilometer sprints up to 30 kilometers are the final respective qualifying events for racers to make it to the Olympics. Juniors will also be gunning for spots on international teams to compete in Europe later in the winter.
Josh Korn, Soldier Hollow events manager, says it’s something the Wasatch County community won’t want to miss, and the public can spectate for free.
“I just really encourage people to come on out,” says Josh Korn, Soldier Hollow events manager. “The snow’s going to be great, Soldier Hollow’s a great venue, and it would really be great to see as many people come out and check out the championships as possible.”
Attendance is free. In the main viewing area, Korn suggests people bring chairs or ground covers to sit or stand on. The Zermatt Resort will have food for sale.
“It’s all really close to the center, which is the stadium, where the start and finish will be, and that’s where the announcer will be, and awards and all that kind of stuff,” Korn says. “So, it’ll be in a pretty tight, compact area right around that. We’ll have coffee and food and hot drinks, and we’ll have some music over the loudspeakers. It’ll be a nice, cool vibe, and it’s the best cross country skiers in the nation, so good entertainment.”
Athletes from Park City Ski and Snowboard will compete. Coach and three-time former Olympian Liz Stephen also encourages the community to show support.
“If you have never seen the sport and you’re just wondering what it’s all about,” Stephen says, “I would suggest checking out Sunday or Tuesday, Tuesday being a mass-start distance race, if that’s more your style. There’s a quarterfinal, a semifinal and a final, and those are really, really exciting races to watch.”
To get even closer to the action, the public can also ski at Soldier Hollow during the events.
“If people want to actually put skis on,” Korn says, “they should come on to the Nordic Center and buy a trail pass, and there will be access to all the race courses. People just have to remember to go with the flow of traffic and not into racers, obviously.”
The U.S. Cross-Country Ski Championships and SuperTour kicks off a busy year for Soldier Hollow: From late February into early March, the Nordic Center will host the International Youth and Junior World Championships Biathlon. During those two weeks, 600 athletes from over 60 countries will compete in Midway.
In the second week of March, it’ll host the NCAA cross-country national championships.
Nordic skiing is open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and the tubing hill runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more on Soldier Hollow and its calendar, visit utaholympiclegacy.org.