Bobsled World Cup relocated from Park City
The Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation announced last Friday that Park City will no longer host the BMW IBSF Bobsled & Skeleton World Cup this year due to mechanical issues at the Utah Olympic Park’s bobsled track.
The event has been relocated to Lake Placid, New York, and is set to run from Dec. 2 through 8.
“This has been a challenging period for the entire team at Utah Olympic Park,” said Colin Hilton, President & Chief Executive Officer of UOLF in a press release. “We are extremely proud of our tradition of hosting the best bobsled and skeleton athletes in the world and we are very disappointed not to be hosting this World Cup. However, the team is focused on getting our venue back online quickly with a long-term solution in order to have a successful season of training and competition.”
The decision to relocate the bobsledding event from Park City, due to problems with the pumps that keep the track frozen, comes as Salt Lake City prepares to make its case to the IOC to host the 2030 Winter Olympics.
But according to Jamie Kimball, Utah Olympic Park’s general manager, this relocation will not affect the USOC bid.
“One of our priorities is to make sure we fix this for the long term so there aren’t any lingering effects that could put that bid into jeopardy,” Kimball said.
Lake Placid, which hosted the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, maintains its Olympic bobsled track and regularly hosts competitions as well.
The pumps that push ammonia up to the top of the track that keep it frozen throughout the competition were working at too low of a pressure to reliably do its jobs, according to Kimball.
“We weren’t able to completely guarantee that everything would be up and running by the scheduled time of the event, so instead of canceling we thought it best to just have it relocated,” he said.
While fixing the pumps is a simple task, the parts needed to do so come from Europe, making a shipping timeline difficult to predict.
“Once we get all the parts, the installation part is relatively simple and can be done properly,” Kimball said. “But it’s like having to restart the whole season for us because not only does the ice have to be made and then frozen correctly, the track has to be brought up to proper standards. It takes several weeks to get the ice fixed, so that’s why it’s hard quote a date of when we will be open.”
According to Kimball, ammonia pump issues aren’t unique to Park City, saying “this isn’t the first time it’s happened at a location prior to an event, and it most certainly won’t be the last.”
Kimball says he and his staff will take a look at every piece of equipment once they’re repaired to make sure they’re better prepared in the future. While it’s difficult to gauge the life expectancy of the larger equipment used at the bobsled track, Kimball and his crew believe they are now better prepared in case something like this happens again in the future.
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