Utah Olympic Park opens summer activities
On Monday afternoon, a crowd gathered around the Spence Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool at the Utah Olympic Park as a group of aerial skiers slid down the ramps and flipped their way into the water below.
With music playing, crowds gathering around the pool and athletes practicing their craft, summer is almost in full swing at the UOP.
"You can tell it’s summer when you can hear the skis going down the ramps," UOP Marketing Manager Melanie Welch said. "The jumpers started last week. It’s going into full swing, but we’ll really see it ramp up next week after Memorial Day. We’ll have all the different [skill] levels going off the ramps soon."
This weekend marks the official start of summer at the UOP, with most activities set to begin operating seven days a week.
"Memorial Day weekend is really our true kickoff," Welch said. "Beginning this Friday, all our activities will be open daily. Kicking off, we’ll have the usual suspects like the alpine slide, the extreme zip, the freestyle zip, the three levels of adventure courses and then the drop tower. Those are all activities visitors have seen the last couple of summers."
Comet Bobsled rides on the bobsled track will also kick off this weekend. Rides are available from 1-5 p.m. on weekdays and 1-6 p.m. on weekends.
Beginning in early June, the UOP will bring back extreme tubing, which Welch said drew a lot of visitors to the park last summer.
"We introduced extreme tubing at the end of last summer, which was a big hit," she said. "Right now, on the big Nordic jumps, they’re putting down a turf material and extending it out into the outrun. Once that’s complete, we’ll open that for extreme tubing.
"This year, we’re going to offer tubing on the small hills behind the museum as well. That’ll open it up to a little bit younger of an audience. Last year, it was ages 10 and up. On the small hills, we can have a younger audience give it a go."
To participate in unlimited activities for a particular day, the UOP offers a Gold Pass, which costs $65 for adults and $40 for youth until June 30. Those prices are also offered from Sept. 9 to Oct. 23. The peak season (July 1 to Sept. 5) prices are $70 for adults and $45 for youth on weekdays and $75 for adults and $50 for youth on weekends.
Welch said there’s extra value associated with the peak season weekend pricing, though.
"Something new for the Flying Ace All-Star shows is the price is now included in the Gold Pass," she said. "If you come up to do some of the activities on a Saturday or Sunday, the Gold Pass will include the freestyle show as well."
The Flying Ace All-Star shows, which feature USSA and other top athletes performing jumps into the pool, begin Sunday, June 26. They’ll be held every Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. until Sept. 4.
A final public activity — the Psicobloc climbing wall — will open later this summer, Welch added.
"It’s not up right now — they’re doing some work on it as we speak," she said. "The ETA we’ve been given is the end of June. We’ll open that to public climbing as soon as it’s up. This year, we’re going to include shoe rental as an option for out-of-town climbers who may not be travelling with their climbing shoes."
For those who want to hike or bike, the UOP is building new trails on both sides of the park, Welch said.
"We do have some new trails coming in, but they’re not all totally finished just yet," she said. "Over on the bobsled track side of the park, there will be four new trails. They’re finishing cutting those, so mid-summer they should be up and running. It’s hiking and biking over there.
"We’re also adding another trail over by the Nordic jumps. That’s a really great way to see the jumping in the summer and it’s a nice little switchback trail that takes you all the way to the top. It has several viewing points of the jumps and those are hike only."
For more information on activities and events at the Utah Olympic Park, visit http://www.utaholympiclegacy.com .
UOP Summer Events
June 3-5 — Kids Adventure Games
June 18 — Olympic Day
June 25 — Slip ‘n Soar Kickoff
June 28-July 2 — Aerial Skiing Tryout Camp
July 14 — Anti-Gala Party at the Park
July 25-31 — Springer Tournee
Aug. 3-5 — Psicobloc Master Series
Aug. 20 — Slip ‘n Soar Sendoff
Sept. 24 — Red Bull 400
The Youth Sports Alliance will host a team scramble golf tournament on June 3 at Victory Ranch in hopes of raising funds for its scholarships and youth programs.