Officials try skeleton track
When Utah Skeleton and Bobsled Association (USBA) vice president Bob Springmeyer decided to invite Utah lawmakers to the club’s annual Friends and Family End of the Season Party he did so with the intentions of showing off the Utah Olympic Park (UOP) track and giving the officials some good, cold fun.
But as "government-types" are often prone to do, things soon got political.
Park City Mayor Dana Williams and Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson tied for the fastest runs of the day and liberal dominance was soon declared.
"Its just proof that blue is powerful and strong in the state of Utah," Anderson said.
Although no formal wagers were placed on the event, when Utah Governor John M. Huntsman Jr. emerged from the icy chutes in third, things got intense.
"I took third. That’s terrible," said Huntsman Jr. "I was defeated by two Democrats. I think it will take a while to get over."
Huntsman says he will ask for a rematch to restore "order" in the state.
"Until I can come back and win, I will feel like a third-rate athlete," Huntsman Jr. said.
Also participating were Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon and wife, Amy, and Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott.
Amy said it took some prodding to join her husband on the track, but in the end, it was all worth it.
"It was great. I’m glad I went out and did it," she said. " What a thrill. That was a rush."
Elliott said it was the rush factor that got her on the track.
"I love speed," Elliott said.
She said she also feels tied to the UOP track, which was approved for building when she was on the Park City Council. Elliott also ran a destination management company, which often included trips to the Park.
Williams said that the experience allowed him to truly appreciate the talents of the sliders that train on the track
"I’m so appreciative of the ability we have and seeing people who are all of our neighbors," Williams said.
Many of the officials agreed that this was something everyone in their respective constituencies should try.
Also on hand was 2002 Gold medallist Jimmy Shea and 2005 World Cup Champion Noelle Pikus-Pace, as well as other elite sliders who helped the officials and other newcomers to the sport learn how to slide correctly.
After the officials wrapped up their runs, parents and athletes from the USBA were able to enjoy the rest of the day sliding at the UOP.
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Tourism revenue increased month over month this summer, the Park City Chamber/Bureau reported, but lodging numbers are still off 22% for December. Officials reported a recent uptick in bookings, though, pointing to a modicum of certainty after ski resorts announced their COVID-related opening policies.