Project JUMP ready to stick its landing |

Project JUMP ready to stick its landing

New facility expected to open in the next two weeks

A new training facility, which will include an inclined airbag and an artificial snow run-in, for snowboarders and freeskiers is nearing completion at Utah Olympic Park. The process has been dubbed by U.S. Ski & Snowboard as Project JUMP.

People who visited Utah Olympic Park in the last year may have noticed construction going on behind the Spence Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool.

The Park, eager to add to its world-renowned facilities, has been working in conjunction with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard team on Project JUMP, a new training facility for snowboarders and freeskiers.

Though the original target date for completion was the end of June, the project is expected to be ready for use sometime in the next two weeks.

"Athletes will start jumping on the facility in July," U.S. Snowboarding and Freeskiing Director Jeremy Forster said. "No one has built a facility like this to this scale that we're building it at. We're just going through the learning process for the first time."

The idea behind the project is to offer year-round training for big air and slopestyle athletes in both snowboarding and skiing. Two jumps (one large and one medium) will be built with an artificial in-run and will launch athletes into an inclined airbag. The concept of the newly founded technology is to allow athletes to simulate the feeling of landing on snow without snow being present.

Future plans include two additional snow jumps — one large and one medium — for the winter. The facility, developed by Snow Park Technologies, will not only allow Olympic-level athletes to train during the summer months, but it will aid local youth programs, too.

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"This will allow both the development- and elite-level athletes to train in greater volume," Forster said. "There's so many athletes that train and live here. For all of them to be able to use the facility at [Utah Olympic Park] will be amazing."

Forster said this facility is the first of its kind in the United States, despite Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort currently boasting the same airbag technology.

The California resort used what little snow is left on the mountain to host interested athletes in recent weeks to test out the new equipment. However, it does not contain the artificial snow run-in like the jumps in Park City will have, therefore making it unusable when there's no snow available.

The run-in at Utah Olympic Park, though, will allow athletes to use the facility year-round, no matter the winter season's conditions.

"The excitement to use it here is great, because there was such success at Mammoth recently," Forster said.

Park City is a unique place for a variety of reasons. It's one of few communities in America that boasts Olympic venues operating today, bringing in people from all over the country — and sometimes the world — for winter sport competitions. Many athletes even move to the area on a full-time basis in order to obtain proper training.

Now, with the soon-to-be finished project at Utah Olympic Park, there's even more reason for athletes of all levels outside the area to come to Park City, Forster said.

"Not only will the athletes in the community be able to use it, but athletes from all over the U.S., within the U.S. Ski & SNowboard Club, will be able to use and come and train at the facility," Forster said. "It's really going to be an opportunity for all athletes in slopestyle and big air in both skiing and snowboarding to come and train on this facility during the summer."

Though the project has taken longer than expected, Forster and company are excited about potentially opening by the end of next week. Forster claims that those who have been waiting for the completion of these new jumps will not be disappointed.

"We want to make sure it's a permanent facility that can last a very long time from a training standpoint," Forster said. "We wanted to make sure we do it right."