Eric Hayes Memorial races ready to roll |

Eric Hayes Memorial races ready to roll

When Park City Ski Team director Dave Galusha says "open," he means it.

This weekend, Dec 14-17, his organization will open up alpine ski racing competition with the United States Ski Association (USSA) Eric Hays Memorial Open Series. The series is four days of competition on Park City Mountain Resort’s Payday Run open to racers from 14 years and up. The "and up" ranges from the intermediate to the elite, which includes teen racers, collegiate racers and even World Cup skiers that are in the area over the weekend.

The Eric Hays Memorial race began in 1981 to honor the memory of Eric Hays, a Park City Ski Team member who was killed in a car accident. The race has evolved into one of the largest races of the season.

Thus far, Galusha reports 175 boys and 95 girls that have already signed up. The racers hail from all over Intermountain area, including clubs from Utah, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

Each day of competition will feature a truly open race with all ages and levels competing together on the hill. Results do not count toward Junior Olympic qualification, but will reward USSA points.

The event will start on Thursday, with two days of giant slalom, followed by slalom racing on Saturday and Sunday. Galusha says that spectators are welcome and that it’s a good chance to see how racers at all levels are looking for the impending season.

It’s also opportunity for some of the younger participants to see where they are at in relation to other racers their age and for older racers to warm up for the rest of the season.

"It’s a weekend full of cheers and tears," Galusha said. "That’s the nature of our cruel sport."

Competitions begin daily at 9:30 a.m. For more information, visit. http://www.parkcity

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