Winter activities start at the Utah Olympic Park | ParkRecord.com

Winter activities start at the Utah Olympic Park

The 2015-16 winter schedule is busy for the Utah Olympic Park. In addition to a pair of World Cup events and several lower-level contests, the park is preparing to open a large slate of activities for the public.

Comet Bobsled rides, which feature professional pilots taking passengers down the 2002 Olympic sliding track, will be the first activity to open, beginning on Nov. 27. Utah Olympic Park Marketing Manager Melanie Welch said there are a few minor changes to the rides this winter.

"It is a lower start, which we did last year for the first time," she said. "It doesn’t go from the very top. We’ve had nothing but good feedback after we did that last year, so we decided to continue it. You’re still getting that G force and feeling that pressure, but it’s just not to the extreme. It’s still that unbelievable, take-your-breath-away experience, but in my opinion, it’s a little more enjoyable because it’s not as difficult on your body."

Additionally, the UOP has tried to shorten the amount of time the ride takes.

"We’ve cut down a little bit on the wait times for participants so that, when they arrive and do their orientation in the museum and proceed up to the track, it should be a slightly shorter amount of time they’re waiting," Welch said. "We hope that improves rider experience as well."

Bobsled rides cost $150 per person through Dec. 20. After that, the cost goes up to $175 per ride. To participate in the bobsled rides, a guest must be 16 or older and weigh more than 100 pounds.

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On Dec. 26, the rest of the park’s winter activities will open. Those include Zip lining, rope courses, a drop tower and tubing. Welch said the extreme tubing is a new addition this winter.

"We introduced summer tubing at the end of the season in August this year and it was a very successful end-of-season activity," she said. "Everyone really enjoyed it, so we decided to add a winter one. The way the winter is going to work is we have the smaller Nordic jumps behind the museum and they’ll be tubing on the outruns of those. That’s accommodating the younger ages — 5 and up. On the big jumps, we’ll have the K64 open this winter. The 64 [meter hill] is pretty giant. Anyone who did the 64 and the 90 this summer can attest that the 64 definitely takes your breath away just like the 90 — it’s just slightly shorter.

"Participants will ride the lift up and they’ll have some safari tubing set up to get them to the start of the 64. They’ll get to tube down, so to speak, and then start at the top of the 64 and go down the outrun."

Passes for winter activities, including a holiday pass that runs from Dec. 26-Jan. 3 and weekend and weekday gold passes, are available to purchase.

The UOP opened the Nordic jumps last week and the aerials athletes were able to get on their jumps earlier this week, so Welch said it’s only a matter of time before the park is able to host competitions. She singled out the weekend of Dec. 11-13 as one of the first opportunities for guests to see elite athletes in action.

"We have the FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup Dec. 11, 12 and 13," she said. "That’s between here and Soldier Hollow. They’ll do the cross-country portions over there and the jumping here. That’s the same weekend as the 2015 Luge World Cup. It’s going to be busy with activities up here, but it’s fun for spectators because they can come see some of the Nordic ski jumping in the mornings and then come over to the track in the late afternoons to see some luge athletes in full action."

Additionally, Welch added, there will be a winter festival for guests to enjoy during the luge event.

"We’re going to have a holiday festival down in the lower loop of the track," she said. "We’ll have free pictures with Santa, live music, some food trucks and some holiday crafts and activities. That’ll be both Friday and Saturday with luge."

All in all, Welch said the Utah Olympic Park is ready for the winter season and hoping for a bigger snow total than last winter.

"Last year, we had a lot of activity on the adventure ropes courses because we had such sunny, warm winter days," she said. "A lot of visitors were looking for additional activities to do off the slopes. It was a nice added bonus for us, but we would still prefer the snow."

For more information on events at the Utah Olympic Park, or details on passes for winter activities, visit http://www.utaholympiclegacy.com .

Event Schedule at the UOP

Dec. 11-12 — Luge World Cup

Dec. 11-13 — FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup

Dec. 18-19 — U.S. Freestyle Aerials Selection

Jan. 15-16 — IBSF Bobsled and Skeleton World Cup

Feb. 22-March 5 — IBSF Bobsled and Skeleton North America’s Cup