Water ramps to open Saturday | ParkRecord.com

Water ramps to open Saturday

Since beginning construction in October, progress has been steady for Project Big Air, a revamping of the water ramps at the Utah Olympic Park.

On Saturday, June 27, the ramps will be open and on full display as the UOP hosts a Grand Opening ceremony beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The $3 million project increased the number of water ramps at the park from four to seven, including a slopestyle and big-air ramp to allow training in the popular new disciplines.

The old water ramps had been in use since 1993, but Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation President and CEO Colin Hilton said it was time to renovate that area of the park.

"This facility has been the most widely and most actively used component of the park since it opened in 1993," he said. "We actually have been so busy in use of our Olympic facilities that we’re having to expand and improve upon the training environment we provide."

Hilton added that the old jumps had served the park well and he hopes to be able to get another solid 21 years out of the new ramps.

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"Back in the ’90s, this was state-of-the-art," he said. "Over time, while it has increased its use, there was a need to modernize and match where the skiing and riding disciplines have gone to. This will be where athletes come to train from all around the world to refine their athletic abilities."

Saturday will be the first day for the public to see the new ramps in action. UOP Marketing Manager Melanie Welch said the grand opening event will be a festive occasion.

"The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the event will begin at 7:30," she said. "During that time, we’ll have a live band playing and we’ll have beer tents and food. People can get here early, eat and find a spot on the lawn."

Many of the people who helped make the project possible, including Spence Eccles, whose $1 million donation kick-started the fundraising for the project, will be in attendance and will offer a few words about the new facilities. The ramps and revamped pool will be called the Spence Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool.

Following the speeches and ribbon-cutting ceremony, the Flying Ace All-Stars will perform a show on the new ramps.

"It’ll be a special show that they’re putting together with all their usual pyrotechnics and stuff like that," Welch said. "It’ll be a bit longer than a regular show just because it’s the grand opening. Now that we’ve gone to seven ramps, I think it’s going to be pretty unbelievable."

Though Saturday is the grand opening of the ramps, Welch said the Flying Ace athletes will have some practice time before performing Saturday night.

"We’ll have our opening day event, but they’ll have about a week to practice on the new ramps to get everything ready for the show," she said. "This won’t be their first time going off of them, fortunately. It’s definitely a challenge for the athletes to try out the new ramps and put together a whole new show in time for the grand opening, but I think that’ll add to the excitement."

Hilton is excited for Saturday’s events and the opportunity to showcase Utah and Park City’s forward-thinking approach to winter sports. He said he can’t imagine a facility like the new water ramps being located anywhere but Park City.

"I think it’s the perfect reflection of this community," he said. "We are passionate about our freestyle skiing and supporting the Olympic winter sports. With this facility, we are creating once again a unique, state-of-the-art facility."

Tickets to Saturday’s grand opening event are $20 for attendees ages 13 and up, $10 for ages 3-12 and free for ages 2 and under. Tickets are available online at http://www.utaholympiclegacy.org and in person at the Utah Olympic Park.