Olympic Hill Climb enters local scene | ParkRecord.com

Olympic Hill Climb enters local scene

Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

The typical fundraising 5K just got a little bit more exciting.

The National Sports Foundation (NSF) is holding it’s first-ever Olympic Hill Climb on Saturday, May 26, and has taken a relatively short, easy race and made it very interesting. Rather than he typical flat course, participants will be challenged to race from the Visitor’s Center at the Utah Olympic Park (UOP) to the top of the Olympic ski jumps.

According to NSF director Greg Poirier, the race is something that he and his staff have been tossing around for awhile. Each day as they drive into work at the UOP, they see runners, mothers with strollers, cyclists and hikers making the trek up the windy road to enjoy the view and add a bit of challenge to their workout. The more they thought about it, it only made sense to make it into a race and fundraiser.

"It just seems like the popular thing to do, Poirier said.

He has also lived in other resort towns that sponsor annual hill climb races and decided that a mountain town like Park City needed one of its own.

"We just thought it would be unique to do," Poirier said.

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Thus far, sign-ups have been a bit slow, and Poirier suspects it is because of the daunting nature of a hill climb, be he assures that it is still a race that is accessible to most people. There is a walking option and even a shorter 2.5K option for those who are not quite ready for the full climb.

The NSF is hoping to build loyalty and a kind of niche in the race market in Park City with the hill climb. Due to its unique course, he hopes to see it slowly grow and raise more money. Eventually, they also want to add a cycling component to the race.

"We realize it’s a daunting challenge, but with all of the runners here, we figure it’s a challenge people will want to take," Poirier said.

The total elevation gain during the climb is 860 feet. It also offers a spectacular view of the Snyderville Basin and runs along a path nestled in mountain trees and foliage.

Another interesting feature is how the NSF plans to transport people from the finish line back down to the awards ceremony at the base of the ski jumps. All race participants will be treated to a complimentary ride on the UOP Zipline or Quicksilver alpine slide ride.

If that’s not enough excitement, there will also be a number of Nordic athletes of all levels who either train or coach with the NSF. Olympic ski jumpers and NSF coaches Alan Alborn and Clint Jones will both be present at the race and Olympic Nordic combiner Bill DeMong should also make an appearance.

Hydration stations will be scattered along the climb as well as some refreshments at the finish lines of both the 2.5 and 5K courses. Sponsors include the Park City Chamber of Commerce, US Bank, Rossignol, Visa, the Youth WinterSports Alliance, Summit Systems Timing and Utah Olympic Park. The Park City Nordic Ski Club hopes to generate money to support the programs offered by the National Sports Foundation. Participants will receive a water bottle, T-shirt, shuttle and the choice of a UOP Zipline or Quicksilver alpine slide ride. The rides will bring participants to the base of the ski jumps for the awards ceremony. Entry fees are $25 for adults, $20 for youth 17 and younger prior to May 26. Day-of-race fees are $30 for adults, $25 for youth. Race-day registration and start number pick up is at the Visitor’s Center from 6:45- 7:45 a.m. The 2.5 K course will begin at the same time and place as the 5 K race but will exit the main park road at the 2.3 K mark for a downhill finish onto the grass of the ski jump stopping area. The race begins at 8 a.m. For more information or to register, contact the Park City Nordic Ski Club at 435 645 7660 ext. 101 or visit http://www.nsfparkcity.org to download an entry form.