Winter Olympic map could expand through Park City area
Games organizers would have options that were unavailable in 2002
October 17, 2017
If Utah mounts a bid for a Winter Olympics as early as the 2026 event, the organizers will undoubtedly quickly begin crafting the critically important map of venues.
The Utah Olympic Park in the Snyderville Basin would host the ski-jumping events and the sliding-sports competitions. The existing facility remains at a World Cup level, and there is no reason to build another set of ski jumps or bobsled track in the state.
But little else is certain about the Park City area's role in an Olympic program other than there would be a heavy concentration of Games activities, as there was during the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Fifteen years ago, Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort joined the Utah Olympic Park as competition venues. Both PCMR and Deer Valley Resort would be expected to be important to an Olympic bid for the 2026 event or a later one. PCMR in 2002 hosted ski racing and snowboarding competitions while Deer Valley Resort staged ski racing and freestyle skiing events.
It seems likely Deer Valley would again be tapped as the location of the freestyle skiing competitions. The moguls course and the aerials ramps are adjacent to each other and provide simple spectator access. The setup has received accolades as one of the best on the World Cup circuit.
Deer Valley in 2002 also staged some of the skiing competitions. The resort remains equipped to hold the skiing competitions as it did in 2002, but there would also be a possibility Deer Valley could have even a greater role. If an organizing committee wants to concentrate the venues more than they were in 2002, something that would be expected to be cost effective, it could discuss the possibility of holding the high-profile downhill skiing races at Deer Valley. The downhill racers in 2002 were at Snowbasin. Deer Valley, though, was the backup site for skiing's premiere race. The resort could unveil its own downhill course, which was designed in the 1990s but never used for competition.
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At PCMR, meanwhile, it seems the discussions about hosting competitions could be even more intriguing. The resort in 2002 was known for its ski-racing history, having regularly hosted World Cup competitions, more than its snowboarding events. In the time since, though, PCMR has focused heavily on snowboarding and other, newer disciplines and has not held World Cup-level slalom or giant slalom ski races in years.
The resort in the time since the Olympics has also greatly expanded through the merger of PCMR and Canyons Resort into a single property. Canyons Resort was not a competition venue in 2002, but the merger of the two could create possibilities in a future Olympic bid. Perhaps Olympic organizers could tap the Resort Center side of PCMR for ski racing and some snowboarding events and the Canyons Village side for other competitions.
There have also been disciplines added to the Winter Olympic program since 2002, such as ski cross and slopestyle, that would need to be put into an event grid. The Park City resorts would probably be closely studied as locations are selected for the newer events.
City Hall, meanwhile, would need to consider plans to celebrate the Olympics. Leaders in 2002 turned Main Street into a pedestrian-only celebration zone, partnering with Olympic organizers in Salt Lake City on the Main Street plans. It is likely Park City officials would again tap Main Street to anchor the local celebration, but logistical details may be altered to reflect the changes along the street since 2002.