The Park Record editorial, July 15, 2009
July 14, 2009
The sage-covered hills lining the back entrance to Park City along S.R. 248 could have looked a lot like S.R. 224, jam-packed with subdivisions, or even another commercial hub like Kimball Junction. Over the years, lots of ambitious developers have set their sights the area known informally as Round Valley. But thanks to careful planning and a firm commitment to recreation and open space, the land between Park City and U.S. 40 is becoming a sports and health mecca.
The hills are home to the National Ability Center, the Park City Ice Arena, a growing complex of sports fields, and now a hospital and a new training center for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.
The USSA’s Center of Excellence will be dedicated Friday and the Park City Medical Center is scheduled to open next month. The facilities share a quest to be world class and together they are a perfect complement to Park City’s reputation as an Olympic-caliber resort town.
The National Ability Center, the first to break ground in Round Valley, has achieved international recognition for its adaptive sports programs. In the winter the NAC runs a variety of skiing programs for people with disabilities and in the summer it offers equestrian therapy programs as well as cycling and water activities.
For a long time the only under-represented winter sport in Park City was ice skating. Various attempts were made to cobble together small community ice rinks, but when the city decided to adopt the project it turned into a professional facility, capable of offering Olympic and Paralympic athletes a place to train and compete. The Park City Ice Arena now runs year round for hockey, sled hockey and figure skating aficionados. Over the years, new softball and soccer fields have been added around the complex, making it a busy community amenity.
When the USSA moved its headquarters to Park City, snowboarding was still in its infancy. Now, 35 years and a bushel of Olympic medals later, snowboard athletes are an integral part of the team and of the new Center of Excellence. Behind the stunning façade, ski and snowboard athletes will be taking advantage of the latest sports training technologies and developing some new ones of their own.
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When the Park City Medical Center opens next month, the picture will be complete athletes, both professional and recreational will have some of the finest health and fitness facilities in the world. And the synergy is sure to be a powerful secret weapon for local athletes like Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety (who will be honored at the ribbon cutting) as they represent their hometown around the world.