Utah Winter Games gives opportunities | ParkRecord.com

Utah Winter Games gives opportunities

Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

The Utah Winter Games (UWG) are back in town with opportunities for learning, competition and fun.

In the next two months, the games will offer the public introductory clinics as well as competitions in Park City and nearby areas. In January a number of clinics will be held. In February, a cross-country race is slated at Soldier Hollow on February 21 in conjunction with the Wasatch Citizens Series and an Alpine race will be held at Alta on Feb. 28.

The history of state games in Utah is long. The Utah Summer Games have been going strong for almost three decades and showcase some of the best talent in the state. The winter version takes a slightly different bent. Utah Winter Games project manager Tim Preston explains that, because many people have not been exposed too winter sports due to cost and accessibility, the Utah Winter Games has a dual purpose: not only to facilitate competition but also to teach people winter sports. This is good opportunity to learn the more unique sports like curling and luge.

"Entry level is what we’re focused on," said Preston.

That means that the clinics and the competitions are specifically geared for beginner and intermediate-level athletes. This, in turn, benefits the Utah Athletic Foundation and many of the local winter-sports venues. Preston said that he has found many people who weren’t aware that they or their kids could pursuer a winter-sports after work or school at a nearby facility.

A year ago, the Utah Athletic Foundation (UAF) took over the Utah Winter Games from a private company. The UAF runs the Utah Olympic Park and the Utah Olympic Oval and so was a logical choice to take over the winter sports program.

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Not much has changed this year. But

Preston said the overhaul will take place next year. Piggy-backing on the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, the UWG will feature more competitions. Organizers also hope to have opening and closing ceremonies as a way to connect with Utah’s Olympic legacy.

Preston will continue to add introductory clinics and competitions throughout the month to the Utah Winter Games website, http://www.uwg.org. People may also register for the Alta race at the site.