Nordic Combined Continental Cup at UOP, Gorgoza
Several familiar names will take to the jumps at the Utah Olympic Park and the cross-country track at Gorgoza Park this weekend for a Nordic Combined Continental Cup event.
The cross-country portion of the competition was supposed to take place at Soldier Hollow, but a lack of snow forced the event to be moved to Gorgoza Park, located two miles east of Parley’s Summit off of I-80.
"Anyone would struggle to host this year based on a snow shortage around the world," five-time Olympian Billy Demong said. "To have Gorgoza Park say yes and be excited to help, it’s huge."
Due to scheduling conflicts at Gorgoza, however, the two Continental Cup events this weekend have been shifted a bit. The jumping portion of each competition will take place the day before the cross-country race.
Thursday will see the jumpers take flight at the UOP at 3:30 p.m. On Friday morning, the first Continental Cup contest will conclude with a 10-kilometer Nordic race at Gorgoza at 9 a.m.
On Friday afternoon, at 3 p.m., the second competition will begin at the UOP with the jumping contest. The second competition will conclude on Saturday at 8 a.m. at Gorgoza Park with another 10K cross-country race.
"We did have to shorten the series by one event because of a private event Gorgoza is hosting," Demong said. "But two is better than none, for sure."
Demong credits everyone involved with the events — the UOP, Gorgoza and Soldier Hollow — for working to find a viable solution. After all, he said, these competitions are important to all involved.
"It’s really important because the Continental Cup is the second tier of competitions to the World Cup," he said. "It’s a great way to see more of our athletes get experience. And it’s cost-effective, as opposed to sending a team on the road to Europe to compete. It gives us a chance to go compete on home turf and we usually walk away with at least one World Cup spot."
Eight U.S. athletes will suit up for the competitions, led by Demong and Taylor Fletcher. Bryan Fletcher, the other member of the U.S. World Cup Team, will sit out this weekend after a strong finish in Europe last week to allow more young athletes to compete.
"If we fill it up too much with National Team members, it doesn’t give our Development Team enough chances," Demong said. "This is a good chance for Bryan to take a break and get ready for an upcoming World Cup in Europe."
The UOP is always a great place to watch a competition, Demong said, but so is Gorgoza Park. Demong thinks spectators will enjoy viewing the cross-country portions of the weekend’s events.
"It’s going to be a great place to watch a race, better than most people will expect," he said. "Soldier Hollow is obviously a world-class venue, too, and the Soldier Hollow course would traditionally be longer, so there would be a longer climb. In this case [at Gorgoza], there will be a couple shorter climbs. From the competition standpoint, it won’t make too big of a difference. It’s 10 shorter laps [on Gorgoza’s 1K course] instead of five longer laps [on Soldier Hollow’s course]."
Nordic Combined Continental Cup Schedule
Thursday, Dec. 11
9-11 a.m. — Official XC training — Gorgoza
1:30 p.m. — Official training HS100 — UOP
2:30 p.m. — HS100 trial jump — UOP
3:30 p.m. — HS100 competition — UOP
Friday, Dec. 12
9 a.m. — 10K XC race — Gorgoza
2 p.m. — HS100 trial jump — UOP
3 p.m. — HS100 competition — UOP
Saturday, Dec. 13
8 a.m. — 10K XC race — Gorgoza
The Youth Sports Alliance will host a team scramble golf tournament on June 3 at Victory Ranch in hopes of raising funds for its scholarships and youth programs.