Another Olympics? there’s interest at PCMR, Deer Valley . . . and at Canyons | ParkRecord.com

Another Olympics? there’s interest at PCMR, Deer Valley . . . and at Canyons

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

During the 2002 Winter Olympics, two of the three Park City-area mountain resorts hosted competitions on their slopes.

Snowboarders and ski racers sought the gold at Park City Mountain Resort while freestyle skiers and more ski racers pushed themselves for medals at Deer Valley Resort.

As the state reaches the 10-year anniversary of the Olympics, officials at both of the resorts said they would be interested in being part of another bid for the Games if Utah mounts one someday. And, an official at Canyons, which was not an Olympic venue in 2002, said the Snyderville Basin resort could also have an interest in hosting competitions in a future Olympics.

If the state pursues another Olympics, the Park City area would almost certainly be a major player, as it was in the bidding years prior to Salt Lake City being selected as the host in 2002. The local resorts would be offered as venues and the Utah Olympic Park would again be seen as the location for the sliding sports and ski jumping events.

Overtures by Canyons could be the most intriguing new aspect of the Park City side of an Olympic bid. The resort has undergone a major expansion since the bid years prior to the Olympics in 2002, remaking Canyons in a fashion that would make it more attractive to organizers than it was before the Games a decade ago. The resort hosted the Today Show during the Olympics, but other Games-related activity there was scattered.

Mike Goar, the managing director of Canyons, said the resort would be interested in talking to organizers about hosting sporting events, but it would not compete with PCMR or Deer Valley for events that could be held at those locations.

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"We would have an interest in participating if there was a logical role for us to take," Goar said, adding that hosting Olympic events is an important milestone for a mountain resort. "There’s historical significance, a significance to your brand, your place."

Goar said Canyons, perhaps, could talk to organizers about hosting events that have been added or will be added to the competition schedule since the Games in 2002. Or, he said, Canyons could be the site of events that the host in 2002 would not want located at their place again.

"We would like to be part of the discussion," Goar said.

The Park City area hosted upward of half of the Olympic events in 2002. All of the snowboarding events as well as the giant slalom ski races were staged at PCMR. Deer Valley hosted freestyle events and the slalom races. The Utah Olympic Park was one of the busiest venues during the Games. The cross-country skiing track at Soldier Hollow, located outside Midway and closely tied to the Park City venues, was heavily used during the Olympics. Main Street, meanwhile, was one of the Olympic region’s most popular celebration spots.

Tourism boosters see the Olympics as having brought widespread publicity to Utah and the venues themselves. PCMR and Deer Valley each still tout themselves as having hosted competitions in 2002. There was a spike in tourism numbers in the years after the Olympics. The 2001-2002 ski season itself, though, was challenging as the two resorts readied for the Games, including being forced to close some terrain, in the months after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Officials at Deer Valley and PCMR say they would consider hosting events in another Olympics. They were two of the three mountain venues in 2002, with Snowbasin being the other.

Coleen Reardon, the marketing director at Deer Valley, said the resort would be especially interested in the freestyle events and would discuss the slalom races as well. The freestyle setup at Deer Valley has won accolades as being one of the best on the World Cup circuit. In the decade since the Olympics, Deer Valley has twice hosted the Freestyle World Championships.

"Sure, we’d love to talk to them about that. Absolutely," Reardon said about another Olympics.

PCMR’s marketing director, Krista Parry, said the resort would be involved in the discussions about venues. She noted the resort’s halfpipe and the Eagle Race Arena are highly regarded. Parry said it would perhaps be sensible to locate events at PCMR like the skiing and snowboarding halfpipe and the skiing and snowboarding slopestyle. The giant slalom could also be of interest, she said.

"It really helped to put us on the map not only nationally, but internationally," Parry said.