Parkites can ski, board and even participate in laser biathlon at Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation’s Anti-Gala
Event encourages healthy students
The Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation has placed its Anti-Gala fundraiser at the starting gate after putting last summer’s event on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The casual and family friendly event will now take place from 2-6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27, at Utah Olympic Park, and will include alpine and snowboard races, a laser biathlon experience, Nordic jump lessons, fire pits, food trucks, beverages and a silent auction, said director of development Ryan Baldwin.
Registration is open at utaholympiclegacy.org.
“Based on social distancing and following our local health guidelines, we made the difficult decision to postpone our fifth annual Anti-Gala last July,” Baldwin said. “In December, while, once again, looking at our local health guidelines, we feel very comfortable hosting an outdoor, contactless event.”
Adding to the safety requirements, the silent auction will be held online, according to Baldwin.
“We won’t have any physical items on display, and we aren’t going to hold a live auction,” he said. “We want to keep this as contactless as possible.”
The Anti-Gala fundraiser benefits the foundation and helps provide support to youth athletes through scholarships and Healthy Communities initiatives.
Healthy Communities initiatives give students opportunities to participate in winter sports at local Olympic venues, Baldwin said.
The initiative began as the Healthy Kearns program in 2018 to combat some of the state’s most alarming health statistics, he said.
“Students there are fighting obesity, diabetes, asthma and other ailments, and we wanted the community to get more involved in the Olympic Oval, which is located in Kearns,” Baldwin said. “The program was so successful we decided to do it at all three Olympic venue communities that include Summit and Wasatch counties.”
This past year, fifth- and sixth-graders in Kearns and West Valley City participated in the Healthy Communities’ learn-to-skate program.
“We provided transportation from and back to school, and we also provide instruction, equipment and ice time,” Baldwin said. “In Wasatch County, every single child who qualifies for free or reduced school lunches, which is about 2,000 students, and their families receive a free cross-country season pass and rental at Soldier Hollow Nordic Center.”
In Summit County, Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation partnered with McPolin Elementary School and got nearly 100 students to participate in its multi-sport class, he said.
“We’re pumped to have kids learn new sports, get into physical fitness and see if some of these sports will stick with them throughout their lives, because the power of sport is everything about healthy communities,” Baldwin said. “We’re also seeing these kids develop social skills, confidence, inclusion and an anti-bullying mentality.”
This year’s Anti-Gala is the first to be held in the winter at the Utah Olympic Park’s new Mountain Expansion, an athlete-focused project that is designed to expand training options for Utah’s ski and snowboard teams, Baldwin said.
“The expansion is a partnership with Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, Park City Ski and Snowboard, University of Utah Ski Team and Rowmark Ski Team,” he said. “Anti-Gala participants can come and get a feel for it.”
To do that, event-goers should bring their own skis and snowboards so they can participate in alpine skiing, Nordic jumping and snowboard races and full laser biathlon, Baldwin said.
“We will have coaches who will help people with their jumping, and we will have a full biathlon range ready with laser rifles,” he said. “We’ll have computers tracking everyone who will be shooting, and the targets will turn from red to green when they are hit.”
Baldwin is grateful the opportunity to host the Anti-Gala fundraiser in the winter came to fruition.
“We could not be more excited to provide this for Utah, Park City and friends of our foundation,” he said. “It will be a fun, entertaining and competitive gala.”
When: 2-6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27
Where: Utah Olympic Park’s Mountain Expansion, 3419 Olympic Parkway
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