Park City’s Pack is back in the Games
With one Olympic appearance and matching a silver "accessory" to go with it from 2002, one would think that another ticket to the Games would straight to go the head of Park City’s Joe Pack.
But Pack is more of an "Average Joe" than that. He still remembers where he came from, and plans to take his family friends and community with him to Turin this February, at least in his mind and in his heart.
"It’s nice to be part of the community and represent them at the Games," Pack said.
Many Parkites still take the time to congratulate Pack when he performs well on the hill. He says he expects to hear from his high school teachers and football coaches before he heads to Italy.
"People have really latched onto freestyle," Pack said. "People follow my career."
Pack’s plans before the rest of the aerials team meets up to begin Olympic training camp at the Utah Olympic Park on Monday are rather average at well.
"I will be in the gym three or four days," Pack said.
The camp will help the team to prepare both mentally and physically and allow the athletes to bond together as a team. Pack is also happy to be training, literally, his backyard on the jumps and hills that the team trains on for most of the year.
"It is going to be nice and it will definitely be an advantage to go from there," Pack said.
He’s a family guy too. In Italy, Pe will have quite the local entourage with him. One of six kids, not only will his parents be attending the Games, but also his little sister and fellow U.S. Ski Team member, Rachael, sister Jaime, brother-in-law Richie, his grandma, an aunt and uncle and possibly brother Jeremy.
"I don’t know who’s made the cut," laughs Pack. "Dad rented a five-bedroom house, so it will be crowded."
Pack says knowing that he has a support team on the mountain makes a huge difference.
"I enjoy that to have someone to share the experience," Pack said. "Your family is your moral support team. It’s what I love."
Pack is also trying make it possible for those left behind to enjoy the aerials competition. He is part of a group that is trying to secure a room at the Hilton hotel in Salt Lake where locals can watch the competition on a big screen.
Above all, he has not forgotten how he made it to this point. From a preteen taking an interest in aerials in Lake Placid, to balancing his budding freestyle career with some time on the Miners football field, to his second Olympics it was all part of the process that got him here.
"I had no idea it would take me this far," Pack said. "It’s gone full circle. When I was 12, I didn’t think I’d still be jumping at 27 and in the Olympics."
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Bruce Erickson, the planning director at City Hall, has died, the municipal government said. Erickson was involved at some level in nearly all the major decisions regarding growth and development in Park City since the early 1990s.