Guest Editorial: Hatch lauds Utah ski industry
Ryan Summerlin December 18, 2013
With record breaking snowfall over the past few weeks, it’s no wonder Utah is said to have "The Greatest Snow on Earth." The Utah ski season is here and along with the holidays, comes the famous powder snow that brings so much joy while providing attractions for Utahns and visitors throughout the state. Although many winter events are available, the popular legacy of downhill skiing always seems to be a Utah favorite.
Before skiing became a sport for Utah, it acted as a means of travel across Utah’s mountains. In the early 1870’s, miners and trappers would navigate their way across the snow covered canyons. This rich heritage brought over by Norwegian immigrants quickly transformed into a recreational activity for those seeking the thrill of speed or even the beautiful landscape views of the valleys below.
Utah is especially lucky to have 14 world-class ski and snowboard resorts. Most of these resorts are within close proximity of each other, allowing skiers to visit several throughout the season. For 2013-2014, Forbes Magazine named four Utah ski resorts among the top 10 in the nation while Ski Magazine named eight Utah ski resorts among the top in the west. Along with these awards, we are also grateful for the boost skiing gives to Utah’s economy through tourism and the need for equipment to help carry out the ski season.
Although skiing is the most popular winter activity, there is much more to snow sports for Utah. Cross-country skiing, ice skating, downhill tubing and snowmobiling are some other winter sports available.
Over a decade ago, Salt Lake City, Utah was proud to host the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Being chosen for the ability to hold games with the conditions needed, Utah became the center of the sports world and since then, the legacy venues used are still available.
The Utah Olympic Park, located near Park City, was the home of the training site for many Olympic athletes. Still acting as an official US Olympic Committee facility, visitors can watch aspiring Olympians train, participate in a sports camp and even take a 70 mph ride on a bobsled. The park also houses two museums, highlighting the 2002 games as well as ski history.
The Utah Olympic Oval, located in Kearns, is where the world speed skating took place during the games. Today, the 400-meter track is open to anyone who would like to take a class in figure skating, curling, or take a lap around the rink.
Soldier’s Hollow located in Heber Valley, was another location for the games and still contains cross-country ski trails as well as long tubing lanes. This Nordic skiing venue is enjoyed by many year-round.
The Peaks Ice Arena in Provo, has two Olympic-size ice sheets where visitors can participate in ice skating, ice hockey, floor hockey, figure skating and broom ball. The Ogden Ice Sheet was the site of the Olympic Curling events. This year-round community ice recreational center is especially fun during the winter time.
I am proud to represent such an incredible state with vast history during this season. I support the winter sports industry and all it does for Utah’s economy. Whether you are a participator of these sports or would rather watch these events from the inside, I hope we all remember the great place we live that holds "The Greatest Snow on Earth."