The National Ability Center’s Huntsman Cup returns to Park City from Feb. 4-6
The National Ability Center’s Huntsman Cup is returning to Park City for its annual three-day event from Feb. 4-6. The adaptive sports nonprofit’s series of races, which is sponsored by Park City Mountain Resort and Vail EpicPromise, will be held at Park City Mountain Resort and feature between 40-60 competitors.
“We were one of the first para world cup events back in the 1980s, and we are honored to keep this event going for everyone involved,” said Kevin Stickelman, the National Ability Center’s chief executive officer. “Park City mountain is a fantastic venue to host with a rich history of hosting great events, so it just makes sense to be one of the hosts for an event like this. Our intention is to host it as long as the Paralympic committee will sanction it.”
The three days of competition will consist of two days of slalom racing and one full day of two Super G races.
The Huntsman Cup’s primary focus is about providing competition for adaptive athletes from around the world who are hopefuls for the 2022 Paralympic winter games in Beijing. This Alpine ski racing event is geared toward athletes focused on building technical skills in racing and lowering their points to qualify for more upper level competition.
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However, this is a world cup sanctioned race, so competitors will be racing for world cup points and future Olympic berths. It’s considered one of a series of events that happen worldwide on the adaptive tour, but the only time it sops in Park City.
“Every year, we have the opportunity to host talented adaptive athletes from across the country and around the world join us to participate in this incredible competition,” said Stickelman. “Our sights are set on the upcoming 2022 Winter Paralympics, so we continue to refine and nurture our competition and development programs. … With the hopes of supporting adaptive athletes as they work towards their dreams of competing in the games.”
According to Stickelman, the Huntsman Cup is one of the NAC’s biggest events of the year, primarily because it is internationally sanctioned. Athletes from countries like Kenya, Australia, Chile, Great Britain and Japan are all confirmed to be participating.
There will be some local flair in the competition as the NAC’s High Performance Alpine team is scheduled to compete; most notably being Parkites Logan Knowles, Camron Gabler, Orlando Perez, Chris Biggins, Saylor O’Brien, Jeese Keefe and Mikey O’Hearn.
There is also another added benefit for Stickelman and the NAC when it comes to hosting the event. Having so many competitors from different countries really gives the NAC the ability to shine and show how much it supports adaptive athletes, something Stickelman says is vital to its success.
“I think it’s certainly important for the other adaptive athletes to come here and see what we offer, making sure they know of the opportunities we provide for adaptive athletes from more than just an athletic standpoint,” Stickelman said. “We’ve had athletes come out for this event, race and participate in it and become so impressed with what we do, they eventually move out here to train within the next few years and become part of our program.”
The event committee is still looking for volunteers to help out over the three-day competition. Please email the volunteer team at email@example.com.
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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.