U.S. Sprint Grand Prix coming to Park City | ParkRecord.com

U.S. Sprint Grand Prix coming to Park City

Christopher Kamrani, Of the Record staff

Canyons resort will have a chance to showcase its new mountain amenities to a worldwide audience this winter.

The U.S. Sprint Snowboarding Grand Prix, to be held in Park City on Feb. 11-12 at the Canyons’ new snowboardcross venue, host to some of the world’s best snowboard athletes.

Todd Burnette, vice president of marketing for Canyons, says this development is due to the hard work the resort has put in revamping parts of the mountain and giving it a world-class atmosphere.

"We’re incredibly excited to have the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix to be the first event we’re going to hold (at Canyons)," he said.

Andrew Judelson, chief revenue and marketing officer for USSA, said deal with Canyons and Sprint is officially for one year, but he anticipates a deal that could further the relationship and extend the partnership in the future.

"Talk about taking what is a great resort and making it into a world-class resort, I think you just need to look out the window and see what Todd (Burnette) and his team are doing here," Judelson said.

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Judelson, who worked with Sprint for three years, was one of the first to reach out to USSA in the mid-1990s to form a future joint venture.

"(We’re) confident this will be first of many major events we’ll bring to this property," he said.

The stop in Park City is the second of three on the Grand Prix tour. The snowboarding series starts Dec. 9-11 with the Visa U.S. Halfpipe Grand Prix in Copper Mountain, Colo., and will wrap up on Mammoth Mountain, Calif., with the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix halfpipe March 4-6.

The renovations that have taken place at Canyons will allow spectators to view the finish of the races at the "snow beach" area, which will be at the resort base.

Also added since last winter have been new trails, the repositioning of the gondola and a new specialized chairlift.

Burnette said Tuesday the newest lift, called the Orange Bubble Express, will feature a clear orange cover over the chair made out of the same material as ski goggles, and will also feature heated seats.

"We’re really doing what people have wanted to see happen at this resort for a long, long time," he said.

Some featured athletes will be Olympic silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis, Jonathan Cheever, Parkite JJ Tomlinson and snowboarding legend Shaun Palmer.

Cheever, a native of Saugus, Mass., who moved to Park City five years ago, is ready to show his talents on his hill.

"I’m just really excited to have the event at my home mountain," Cheever said. "This is just going to be a great event. It’s going to put boardercross in the spotlight."

Tomlinson, who is a graduate of the Winter Sports School in Park City and finished in the top 20 in his first snowboarding World Cup, is thrilled to be able to put on a show in his backyard.

"It’s definitely an advantage to sleep at home," he said. "I’m really excited to be able to race here. I live 15 minutes away from this mountain."

As for racing against a snowboarding pioneer like Palmer, Tomlinson is in awe.

"It’s crazy," he said. "I used to play Shaun Palmer’s pro snowboarding video game when I was like 10."

The two-day event will commence Feb. 11 with both men’s and women’s qualifying rounds taking place, with final races starting Feb. 12. The event will be broadcast on Feb. 19 at noon on NBC.