Sundance, FIS Worlds overlap dates in Park City in 2019
As the Sundance Film Festival in 2019 reaches the final reels in Park City, the FIS World Championships in freestyle disciplines will be in the starting gate.
The two events, expected to be among the largest held in Park City next year, overlap on three days in early February, meaning that festival-goers and freestyle skiing fans will crowd into the city at the same time. They could compete for hotel rooms, restaurant tables, taxi or shuttle rides and other services that are required when major events are held during the winter.
The various figures involved in the planning are aware of the overlapping days, and they say steps have been taken to ensure the operations are smooth. City Hall, Sundance and the organizing committee for the FIS World Championships will eventually craft finalized plans that will be expected to address the various aspects of the overlap.
But the three days in early February could also spur questions as the month approaches about the impact of Park City’s busy event calendar on the community, something that has already proven to be a difficult discussion as leaders weigh the business that events generate against the peacefulness wishes of Parkites.
The film festival in 2019 runs from Jan. 24 until Feb. 3 at various locations in the Park City area. The dates are pushed back by a week from what would be typical to avoid a conflict with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, which is usually a busy three-day stretch at the mountain resorts. The FIS World Championships, meanwhile, run from Feb. 1 until Feb. 10 at Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort.
The final days of the film festival do not buzz like the opening ones, but Park City remains busy throughout the event. There are usually heavy weekend crowds, and crews spend at least several days dismantling the numerous temporary Sundance setups and installations. The preparations for the FIS World Championships will be expected to be occurring alongside the hubbub of Sundance.
City Hall plans to provide detailed information about the logistical aspects of the overlap later. Jenny Diersen, who is the special events and economic development program manager for the municipal government, said officials are working with the Sundance organizers and the FIS World Championships event team as plans are considered. She said information could be provided publicly by late in the spring. Diersen said City Hall, though, is excited Park City will host two events of international renown at the same time.
A Sundance spokesperson said it is too early to discuss details about the planning for the 2019 event and the overlap with the FIS World Championships. Sundance organizers typically engage City Hall in ongoing discussions throughout the year as they plan for the annual January festival. It seems almost certain some of the upcoming talks between Sundance and City Hall will center on the overlap.
The chair of the organizing committee for the FIS World Championships said the event planning has taken into account the overlapping days. Calum Clark, who is also the chief of systems and operations for the United States Ski and Snowboard Association, said the International Ski Federation must still approve the schedule.
Clark said the organizers were aware of the overlap shortly after the event was awarded. He also noted that a major United States Ski and Snowboard Association event was held during Sundance in 2014. The team that competed in the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the next month was named at the 2014 event.
“We just try to be as neighborly as possible,” Clark said. “And make it as good as we can.”
Clark said there are plans to hold a nighttime competition at PCMR in an unspecified discipline on Feb. 2, the Saturday of the closing weekend of Sundance. Training is planned at PCMR and Deer Valley starting on Feb. 1. The venues must also be set up, including the requirements for broadcasting crews. On the overlapping days, he said, most of the events of the FIS World Championships will be staged at Solitude Mountain Resort.
“It’s going to be exciting. It showcases the best of this town,” Clark said about the overlapping dates of Sundance and the FIS World Championships.
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Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin once landed in Deer Valley Resort for the Merrill Lynch Celebrity Ski Classic races. He spoke to The Park Record during the visit in 2004 about topics like America eventually embarking on a mission much more ambitious than the moon landings – a trip to Mars.