Phase One on Utah Olympic Park’s mountain expansion project is officially complete and now open for use
Phase one of the Utah Olympic Park’s mountain expansion project is officially complete and now open.
The project, which broke ground last July, officially opened last Tuesday to “help further the athletic endeavors of the our kids in the area,” according to Calum Clark, Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation Chief Operating Officer.
“This is a really meaningful moment for us, especially after a lot of years of conception and planning to finally see it open and covered with kids training,” Clark said. “With the help of all of our partners who helped raise money to know see the hill open, active and full of people is huge for us. These are the things that Colin (Hilton, President/CEO of UOLF) talked about to us all of us. … About leaving a legacy at the UOP that will be beneficial to all of the future generations of athletes who will train and compete on these grounds.”
Phase one of the ‘Mountain Expansion’ devoted $3.5 million to the extension and improvement of the training ground, while also creating new facilities that will help foster the improvement of skiers and snowboarders.
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The new intermediate training hill now includes five alpine training lanes, one mogul lane, expanded terrain for freeski and snowboard athletes, 11 acres of lighted terrain for nighttime training and competition, improved snowmaking for earlier training seasons and a new fixed grip quad chairlift.
According to Clark, the new expansion project will help foster in a new wave of winter sport athletes who are expected to grow their respective sports even more. This is something that was vital to the project, making it based primarily around the futures of kids who have Olympic-level dreams.
“We like to see ourselves as more than just a training site for people, but rather a full training center — with the help of the new residences — to inspire young kids to get involved and not to only thrive, but to chase their dreams,” Clark said. “We are trying to provide a full service for both young kids and visiting national teams. Our commitment isn’t just about the Olympics. … We are focused on building kids up from the start that may one day be the future Olympic athletes of the next generations.”
The first phase of the improvements took place west of the Alf Engen Ski Museum and parking lot. The project also moved a portion of the road that goes up the mountain to a different location, thus providing a much better flow of traffic without interrupting training or competitions.
The new intermediate training hill at UOP has been named “Hyeway,” mostly in regard to Kristie Cumming, someone who’s heavily involved in the Park City skiing community and a major contributor on the project.
“I am in awe of what we have achieved,” Cumming said. “I am so proud of my winter sports community and the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundations’ support of the dreams of our young athletes on their journey to excellence. There is no other multi-disciplinary training venue like it in our state and we will quickly see our investments pay off.”
The name “Hyeway”, according to Clark, is twofold. Not only is it a nod to Cumming’s Armenian heritage, the play on words part is referencing the UOP’s goal of being a “highway” for athlete development.
At its core, the expansion is not just for world-class athletes looking to take the next step in their respective careers. It’s also for the novice and regular individuals just looking to enjoy some winter sports, giving them an opportunity to train at what will be some of the best facilities offered in the winter sports community.
With phase one complete, phase two is still in process of receiving funding according to Clark — approximately $6.8 million of the total $11 million has been raised to date.
If fundraising continues at its expected pace, the second phase of the expansion is expected to begin in a year or two, although the planning stages are already well underway and be completed by the winter of 2022. This new expansion will provide UOP with more ski runs along the west side of the bobsled track.
“Our partners are still seeking more donors, and we have a critical timeline where we need to be financially set by a certain date,” Clark set. “All stakeholders can now see that phase one is open and see the value of a new facility, which should help phase two get going more. But as an organization, we are fully committed to meeting the timelines we’ve set to open up on time.”
With the new and improved facilities giving way to the opportunity of hosting World Cup and International Ski Federation competitions in the future, everything being done at Utah Olympic Park is part of a larger goal: the 2030 or 2034 Olympic Winter Games, something Utah’s Olympic organizing committee is shooting for.
“As far as this being an Olympic venue in the future, this expansion is the part of us showing the U.S. and World Olympic committees that we are fully committed to winter sports,” Clark said.
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It’s going to be at least another month before Summit County’s high school athletes have any chance of getting onto the field again.