Winter Adventure Guide: A gold-medal experience at the UOP
Park City is known for its embarrassment of skiing and snowboarding riches. Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort are world famous, and rightly so! But if you’re looking for some winter fun a little outside the norm, you really have come to a special place. Just a few minutes up the road from those resorts is the Utah Olympic Park, where you can relive the history of the 2002 Winter Games and engage in a few thrilling activities yourself.
Winter Bobsled Experience
UOP calls the Winter Bobsled Experience the “thrill of a lifetime,” and it’s hard to argue. After all, how many people in the world can say they’ve raced down an Olympic bobsled track? The Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games Sliding Track, to be exact.
And don’t worry — you don’t have to steer. One of the UOP’s professional pilots will take care of that. All you have to do is enjoy the thrills and try to keep your lunch down.
The cost is $195 per person, and riders must be 16 years of age or older
and weight 100 pounds or more. A full list of rider requirements can be viewed at utaholympiclegacy.org, and those interested in booking are encouraged to read it.
In addition to the usual safety guidelines that go along with rocketing down a tube of ice in a metal cylinder, this year the global coronavirus pandemic has necessitated some additional measures. They include:
• First, the obvious one: Participants are required to wear a mask at all times.
• Anyone experiencing symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, chills, headache, sore throat or loss of taste or smell will not be allowed to ride.
• Only two riders will be allowed at a time (meaning larger groups will have to split up).
• Friends and family there to cheer you on will not be allowed to ride the shuttle to the finish area due to capacity restrictions. There is, however, a live feed of the bobsled run.
The Winter Bobsled Experience is not for the faint of heart, but imagine — this anecdote will sustain you at cocktail parties for years!
Alf Engen Ski Museum
While you wait for your heart rate to come back down, why not take in a little history? Opened in 1989, the Alf Engen Ski Museum’s mission is to preserve and celebrate the rich history of skiing in the Intermountain region. Learn about all the innovations made in the region and get to know the innovators and pioneers who helped make ski sports what they are today.
While you’re there, be sure to check out the Eccles 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum. The museum is filled with exhibits from the Games, including equipment and uniforms and even medals. Walk through the museum and immerse yourself in the displays and you’ll almost feel like you’ve traveled back through time.
Bonus: Winter tubing at Soldier Hollow
Now, if you don’t mind a bit of a drive, make your way down to the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center, another venue from the 2002 Games, and do a little tubing, courtesy of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation.
Soldier Hollow is home to the longest tubing lanes in the state, and those 1,200-foot sliding lanes are accompanied by a magic carpet, so you don’t have to schlep a quarter mile back up the hill. No trudging, just sliding. You can’t beat it.
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