Solitude announces big winter plans
On Thursday morning, the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) announced that the Big Cottonwood Canyon resort would host the skicross and snowboardcross contests in 2019.
Park City Mountain and Deer Valley resorts were awarded the 2019 World Championships of freeskiing, freestyle skiing and snowboarding in a 2014 decision by the International Ski Federation (FIS).
Now that Solitude Mountain Resort is owned by Deer Valley, it is available to host competitions for the event, too.
USSA Vice President, Events, Calum Clark said the USSA is excited to partner with Solitude, Deer Valley and Park City Mountain to host such a big event.
“It’s the second-largest event in the world of competitive winter sports, second to the Olympics,” he said. “It’s going to attract about 750 athletes, the world’s media and the fans of the sport. [Solitude is] going to be an incredible venue.”
As part of the preparations for the World Championships, Solitude will host a 2017 World Cup competition in the two disciplines as a test event for 2019.
The 2017 World Cup competition, scheduled for Jan. 19-22, 2017, will make history in the Big Cottonwood area, Clark said.
“We believe this is the first time ever we’ve hosted an FIS World Cup event in Big Cottonwood Canyon,” he said.
Faye Gulini, a 2014 Olympian in snowboardcross and a Salt Lake City native, said she’s thrilled to be able to compete so close to home.
“I’m more than excited to have an event of that caliber in Utah,” she said. “I’ve been snowboarding here since I was 8 and competing here since I was 12 and have never had an event of this caliber here.”
She added that she’s glad her closest friends and family members will be able to gather to watch her compete in person.
“The last time my entire family was able to see a big event together was the 2010 Olympics [in Vancouver],” she said. “They’ll be here this year to watch the event.”
Alex Deibold, the 2014 bronze medalist in snowboardcross, said he’s eager to show Utah fans what the sport is like in person.
“You have to come into a boardercross race with a lot of plans and a lot of strategies,” he said. “The reason it’s exciting for spectators and athletes is that anything can happen and every run is different. You have to adapt every race. That’s what keeps it fresh and exciting. I’ve been doing this for 12 years now and I’m still just as excited.”
The course will utilize Solitude’s Main Street run, General Manager Kim Mayhew said.
“About two-thirds of that slope will be involved in the course,” she said. “The start will be just below the top of the Apex lift.”
With so many World Cup ski and snowboard events in places that frequently don’t have as much snow as the Salt Lake/Park City ski areas, Gulini said it’s about time she and her fellow ski and snowboardcross athletes get to compete in a place with great winter conditions.
“I can’t fathom why they haven’t been putting events here all along,” she laughed. “The mountain is beautiful. We’re happy to be here and happy to be supported. That’s a great relationship to have and I’m sure it’s going to be some exciting racing.”
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Chase Campbell, a Park City High School sophomore, has a busy summer schedule, including the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships on July 22-23.