Residences at Utah Olympic Park now open for athletes to live and train in Park City year-round
It started out as a pipe dream in 1994, long before Park City would host the Winter Olympic Games eight years later.
On Thursday, that pipe dream became a reality because the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation officially opened up the Residences at Utah Olympic Park. The Residences is a four-story, 72-unit living center with rooms for short-term and long-term stays, allowing full-time and visiting athletes to take part in all the training opportunities that Utah Olympic Park holds.
“This has been a long time coming to have this building completed,” said Colin Hilton, president and CEO of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation during a grand opening Thursday. “The process that we went through to make this building a reality is long. It started with a vision and a concept that goes back to 1994. The effort and idea was to have an entity that not only looked after the facilities but had a legacy in growing winters sports in the state of Utah.”
Hilton says the project has multiple purposes.
Primarily it provides short- and long-term housing options for athletes and employees of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation. It also serves as a highlight of Utah’s continued commitment to keeping the Olympic legacy alive and creating sustainable venues and housing options with the idea of making a run at the 2030 Winter Olympics.
The long-term residence area consists of studio apartments, two-bedroom/two-bathroom apartments (four-person occupancy) and two-bedroom/one-bathroom (two-person occupancy) options. All units come equipped with a full kitchen while the prices range from $400-$750 per person per month.
For short-term residents, a standard two-bedroom/one-bathroom hotel room and a two-bedroom/one-bathroom suite are available. All units come equipped with a TV, small refrigerator and high-speed internet access. The prices for these units range from $40 per night for the standard hotel room to $80 per night for the suite.
Apart from the rooms, all guests receive access to a fully equipped self-serve kitchen that features two massive refrigerators, three oven/stove combinations, a 36-guest indoor seating area and a separate cleaning facility with three dishwashers. There’s also an outdoor lounge area with a grill, lounges where athletes can review their training videos on every floor and an outdoor bike rack and washing station.
“There’s only two places in the country where you can do luge, and that’s in Lake Placid or Park City,” said Chris Mazdzer, three-time Olympian in luge. “Being close to the facilities and having housing makes such a big difference for athletes. This facility really opens up the doors for athletes to have a place to stay, to train. … This opens up the doors for athletes to come here and that’s what this legacy is all about, growing the next generation.”
With housing in Park City continuing to become more expensive, finding affordable housing is increasingly difficult. This has often forced athletes to group together in a hotel room or commute 30-plus minutes from Salt Lake City just to train at the facilities.
But the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation believes it’s solved the issue with the $13.6 million facility, providing the athletes with a sense of relief and peace of mind knowing that the ability to train at some of the top facilities in the world is now a mere 5-minute walk.
“Athletes need to be able to have down time, to be able to increase their rest and to be able to cook a meal that they know is nutritional instead of going down to McDonald’s and grabbing two cheeseburgers. … I did that, it was terrible,” said Shannon Bahrke, two-time Olympic medalist in moguls. “I think this facility really speaks to that vision and giving the athletes the things that they really need. Besides just the most unbelievable training in the country and the world, it is (amazing) to be able to have that time and that space.”
One of the more personal touches of the Residences is what visitors are greeted with prior to entrance into the facility.
Steven Holcomb, the former U.S. bobsledding star from Park City who drove to three Olympic medals, died in Lake Placid, New York, in May of 2017. He is honored at the facility as his runners from his bobsled are used as the door handles to enter the facility.
The Residences at Utah Olympic Park are now open with a few people having already moved in. Booking has begun and athletes are encouraged to apply right away if they want to secure a stay at either of the options.
“We moved in tenants to our apartments over the weekend, and we are spending the rest of this month getting folks moved into the long-term apartments,” Hilton said. “And we’ve got a ski and snowboard camp of 20 or 30 athletes coming in next weekend that are going to take full advantage of this.”
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