Season gets underway at Eric Hays race |

Season gets underway at Eric Hays race

Joe Lair, of the Record staff

For more than a quarter century, Park City Mountain Resort has hosted the Eric Hays Memorial ski race. "This is the first big USSA Intermountain Division event of the year. It is the first outing for the masses of up-and-coming young skiers," according to Park City Ski Team Program Director, Dave Galusha. "This year we have 250 skiers from Utah, Wyoming and Idaho."

This year, the races included the Men’s and Women’s Giant Slalom races on December 13th and 14th, and Slalom races on December 16th and 17th. "Racers from age 13 through adults participate in the event. This year we had good weather, and terrific snow conditions," said Galusha.

"Race Team graduates come back to race in the Eric Hays. The racers included several ski team alums who now race for schools like the University of Utah, University of Vermont, and Dartmouth College. We have several skiers who are now members of the U.S. Ski Team that came back to add to the race," Galusha commented.

Park City Mountain Resort volunteer Jim Vanderwest has been recording racer times for 12 years. "PCMR hosts about 35 races each year, and I get to see some great skiers. 2006 Olympic Champion Ted Ligety skied here in this race." Vanderwest said, "Friday was very cold, but the kids were having a great time. For me, after 12 years of keeping score, it’s neat to see how the kids grow."

Dartmouth college racer Charly Ligety, brother of Olympian Ted Ligety, raced in the slalom events. " I think the snow was a little soft and chunky, but racing was great." He said heenjoys skiing here on the good snow rather than skiing on the icy hills of Vermont and used the Eric Hays as a warm-up as he prepares for the college race season back at Dartmouth.

Park City Ski Team racer Eric Davis was pleased with his performance on the three days that he raced. He said the Park City Ski Team program is "awesome a world class facility, world-class training. I love it."

Racer Jaime Dupratt, a recent Winter School graduate who moved to Park City from Squaw Valley to take advantage of the program, raced all four days. "It was great. I raced in all four races. I could’ve done better, but it’s OK. I really like it here. The program is fantastic. I get lots of experience. In fact, I leave early tomorrow to race at Mammoth."

The Eric Hays Memorial event is named for former Park City Ski Team member Eric Hays. Eric skied with the Park City Ski Team in the late 1970’s until his death in 1981 at age 16 in an auto accident. "Eric was quite an athlete who was having lots of fun skiing with the team. He was well liked, and the ski team decided that holding a special race would be a way to commemorate his memory," said Mike Hays, Eric’s brother. Mike, who is also a team former member, now uses his artistic skills to design and make the awards given to the race winners. This year’s awards ceremony was held on Monday at the Resort Plaza.

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