Deer Valley seen as possible Paralympic venue in Olympic bid | ParkRecord.com

Deer Valley seen as possible Paralympic venue in Olympic bid

Deer Valley Resort is seen as a possible location for competitions during the Winter Paralympics should Utah host another Winter Olympics, something that would represent a significant change in the Paralympic program from the event in 2002.

The Utah Exploratory Committee as part of a report centered on the possibility of a bid for the Winter Olympics as early as the 2030 games included Deer Valley on a conceptual map of Paralympic venues. The map lists Deer Valley as a potential venue for para alpine skiing. The map does not list Park City Mountain Resort as a possible Paralympic venue.

There were no Paralympic competitions in Park City in 2002. The Paralympics follow in the month after the Olympics themselves. The Paralympics are not nearly as large an event as the Olympics, but a significant planning effort would be required even with only one venue in Park City. The organizers and City Hall would need to team up as they consider issues like transportation routes, locations for parking and the security plan.

The conceptual maps of the Paralympic venues as well as those for the Olympic are early outlines of the possibilities. There could be significant changes to the venues over the years of planning before the map is finalized. Snowbasin is listed as the other skiing venue for the Paralympics.

Coleen Reardon, the director of marketing at Deer Valley, said the resort has not discussed the Paralympics in any detail but indicated to the Utah Exploratory Committee it would be interested in serving as a venue. She said hosting Paralympic events "would be an amazing experience."

"We said absolutely," she said. "Just because it makes sense."

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The Utah Exploratory Committee also sees Deer Valley as a potential venue in a bid for the Olympics. The resort in 2002 hosted ski racing and freestyle skiing events. The conceptual map for a future Olympic bid includes the same event categories.

Park City has a long history of hosting adaptive skiers through the annual Huntsman Cup competitions. The National Ability Center, located in Park City, also plays an important role in advancing disabled athletes.

"There's been a lot of competitions here in Park City. It's a skiing community," said Chris Waddell, a four-time Winter Paralympian who has won 12 medals in para alpine skiing and a three-time Summer Paralympian in track.

Waddell, a Park City resident involved with the Utah Exploratory Committee, noted Park City's history with the Huntsman Cup and the National Ability Center. He said Park City residents would back a local Winter Paralympics. Waddell added that there would be a chance for Parkites to support Park City-linked Paralympic athletes as well.

"I think it would really feel like, in some way, we made it to the biggest stage," Waddell said.

The Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, opened on Friday. Organizers said as many as 670 athletes were scheduled to participate, up 24 percent from the Paralympics in 2014. There will be competitions in six sports.

The Utah Exploratory Committee report showed the Paralympics, as measured by sport disciplines and events, grew by 77 percent between 2002 and 2018.