UOP to celebrate the end of winter with Ski Meister | ParkRecord.com

UOP to celebrate the end of winter with Ski Meister

Youth athletes, family and friends will end the season

Participants dressed in costume get ready to race at the the Ski Meister competition, an annual celebration held by the Utah Olympic Park, in 2015. This years event will take place on Saturday.

The Utah Olympic Park will host its Ski Meister celebration on Saturday.

The event was created seven years ago as an end-of-the-season celebration for the athletes, and their families, involved in the Park's many youth winter sports. Each year, team members from programs such as the FLY freestyle and Park City Nordic Ski Club come to the event.

"It's kind of a way to say thank you to the parents and the kids and to bring everyone together and have a little cookout," Matt Terwillegar, a Sport Manager at Utah Olympic Park, said.

The original event was one where the true Ski Meister was determined among the youth. Athletes would be engaged in competition, where they would participate in a series of tasks that included ski jumping, cross-country skiing and Alpine skiing.

But Terwillegar and others at Utah Olympic Park have morphed the competition into a friendlier throughout the years. They created a course that contains some of the same Alpine and Nordic skiing elements, but includes silly activities, as well.

"We try to merge an aspect of [Alpine and Nordic] in where they have to skate a little bit to the lift and take the lift up," Terwillegar said. "Then they have to ski a few gates and hit a little jump. Then, we actually have a little pond skim. We dig out a little pond at the bottom of the hill, which is actually the best part."

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The pond at the bottom of the course provides some of the celebration's more comedic moments. In addition to the youth athletes competing in their respective age divisions, family members and friends are welcome to participate in a similar, open-division race.

Most in attendance are decked out in crazy costumes, parents included, making a crash in the pond, which happens often, that much more entertaining, Terwillegar said. The event also offers prizes for best crash in each age division to go along with the best costume contest.

"There's totally good crashes," Terwillegar said. "It's pretty fun. It's not a huge pond, but it's pretty amazing how many people can't quite get through it."

Also included in the festivities will be a barbecue at the bottom of the hill. Terwillegar estimates the event draws roughly 150 people; maybe 200 in a good year. For the last six Ski Meister events, the Park has luckily received great weather, which helps with attendance.

This week's bipolar weather that saw sun and blue skies toward the beginning and rain and snow toward the end, however, has Terwillegar guessing what Saturday will bring.

"[The weather] is the only issue," Terwillegar said. "We're fine with snow. We've got plenty. … It's more of if it's raining out or if it's snowing like [it was on Thursday], who knows what the participation rate will be."

While this event will be a celebration to end the winter sports season, it also marks the beginning of summer preparation. Terwillegar and company are already focused on and looking forward to the many programs the Utah Olympic Park offers.

"We've got full-sport programs. We've got our rides," Terwillegar said. "We're starting to get those open. We've got a couple of new things coming online for the summer.

Registration for the Ski Meister event on Saturday is from 10-11 a.m. The race is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. To learn more about the Utah Olympic Park's summer programs, visit http://utaholympiclegacy.org/park-sports.