October 18 editorial
October 17, 2008
Six-plus years since the 2002 Winter Olympics, Park City, we would argue, remains one of the continent’s top places to be a ski racer.
Karen Korfanta, who is Park City Mountain Resort’s race director, stands as one of the key figures that allows us to make that boast, even years after the America’s Opening World Cup races were scrapped.
The Utah Ski Archives honored Korfanta Thursday night with the much-deserved S. Joseph Quinney Award. She joins luminaries like Alf Engen, one of Utah skiing’s most important names, PCMR patriarch Nick Badami and Deer Valley founder Edgar Stern, all of whom received the award previously.
Korfanta, perhaps, does not have the same name recognition as some of the past honorees, but her behind-the-scenes work was crucial to Park City’s rise as a ski-racing city. After 22 years, she remains the race director at PCMR.
During her career, the resort became a regular stop on the World Cup skiing circuit, a rarity for an American city, before officials, in a business decision, relinquished what had been annual races.
The races solidified Park City as a ski-racing hotspot, and they were among the reasons why Winter Olympic organizers chose PCMR to host snowboarding and some skiing events in 2002. The competitions at the resort in 2002 were dazzling and included a medal sweep by the American men in the snowboarding halfpipe contest.
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PCMR set the standard in Utah for ski racing with Korfanta, a former ski racer who won a spot on the 1968 Olympic team, at the helm of her department.
Putting on successful World Cup-level ski races is exhausting, with international ski officials requiring adherence to detailed standards. Korfanta’s race department seamlessly met them.
Korfanta did not coach the athletes, but the courses where they trained were her doing. Our congratulations to her.