SALT LAKE CITY (July 20) — With loads of Olympic excitment in the air ahead of the opening of the London Games this month, the Olympic spirit in Utah got a healthy boost today.
Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert and U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) CEO Bill Marolt met Friday at the Utah State Capitol to announce a partnership between the two entities to develop action sports events currently held in Utah and add several more leading up to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
The Utah Sports Commission will partner with the USSA to further establish the long-running annual freestyle (moguls and aerials) World Cup event at Deer Valley and the skicross and snowboardcross U.S. Gran Prix at the Canyons Resort. Two new events, planed over the next two competitive seasons, will also call Utah home. Park City Mountain Resort will host U.S. Grand Prix/World Cup halfpipe ski and snowboard events in December of 2012 and January of 2013. Park City will also be the home of the Freeskiing (halfpipe and slopestyle) U.S. Olympic Team announcement to introduce the athletes headed to their sport’s Olympic debut at the 2014 Sochi Games. A similar Olympic Team announcement for the skicross and snowboardcross teams is planned to take place at Canyons Resort.
“This action sports series will provide an estimated $15 million in economic impact and $5 million in media value to Utah, and is a welcome extension of Utah’s success in continuing its Olympic legacy,” said Herbert. “We have a unique state with unique venues. The multi-year nature of the partnership makes it more attractive. We want this to continue.”
The announcement comes just months after fans of Utah action sports learned that Alli Sport’s Dew Tour would not return to Utah, where it has held both summer and winter events for the past five years, instead adopting a trimmed down one-stop format for both city and mountain events. The loss of the Dew Tour events will cost the state an estimated $16-18 million per year.
Utah Sports Commission President Jeff Robbins hopes that the new action sports series will keep Utah at the top of the action sports world.
“Since 2002, Utah has established itself as a hub for both summer and winter action sports,” said Robbins. “This partnership with the USSA and our terrific world-class winter venues is another example of Utah leveraging its sports infrastructure and resources to bring top action sports events and athletes to our state.”
Organizers estimate that the events will attract hundreds of the world’s top Olympic competitors to Utah for a mix of International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup and Sprint U.S. Grand Prix events as the skiers and boarders fight to qualify for the Sochi Games. The events will have a mix of sanctions at the highest levels of the sport including FIS World Cup, Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) Platinum level and TTR World Snowboard Tour Five Star level.
Also on hand for the announcement were several star athletes. Aerials skier Emily Cook, snowboard cross racer and Utah native Faye Guulini and ski halfpipe ace Jen Hudak.
“Eight years ago I moved to Utah with the dream that I would one day be able to compete in the Olympics for my sport of halfpipe skiing – now that dream is becoming reality,” said Hudak, a 3-time X Games champion halfpipe skier . “The Olympic culture in Utah truly breeds success and serves as a constant inspiration for me to continue working hard. Winning a World Championship silver medal at Park City in 2011 was one step closer to fulfilling that dream. I look forward to having more events at home to prepare me for the big show in 2014.”
Global TV and digital broadcasts of the events will include NBC, NBC Sports, Universal Sports and others with a mix of live, taped and streaming coverage.- Eric Williams
UTAH WINTER ACTION SPORTS SERIES
Dec. 21-22 – Park City Mountain Resort, Sprint U.S. Grand Prix (halfpipe skiing and snowboarding)
Jan. 31-Feb. 2 – Deer Valley Resort, Visa Freestyle International (moguls, dual moguls and aerials)
Mar. 1-3 – Canyons Resort, Sprint U.S. Grand Prix (skicross and snowboardcross)
Jan. – Deer Valley Resort, Visa Freestyle International (freestyle moguls and aerials)
Jan. – Park City Mountain Resort, Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix (halfpipe and slopestyle skiing)
Jan. – Park City Mountain Resort (U.S. halfpipe skiing and slopestyle skiing Olympic Team Announcement)
TBD – Canyons Resort, (U.S. skicross and snowboardcross Olympic Team Announcement)