Olympic Fever!

Did I ever tell you about the time I earned the nickname “Rocket Girl?” True story—but it wasn’t about my lightening-fast skiing (which, yes, is a skill I have in my quiver, now, thanks to some excellent coaching in my Women on Wednesdays Ski Clinic. But more on that, soon).

In the 2002 Winter Games, Jeff and I volunteered at Utah Olympic Park, in food and beverage services. (For those of you who were in the volunteer corps, we wore the blue coat.)  Jeff was mostly in the office trailer, managing the other volunteers. I, however, was driving those fun AWD buggies around, loaded with Pop-Tarts and Nature Valley bars. And, one fine evening, during the ski jumping competitions, I wore the Rocket Pack. This, friends, is a metal tank in an insulated backpack. It has a dispenser for plastic cups on the side, and a hose with a soda-gun type trigger-dispenser at one end. It was filled with hot chocolate. It weighed—well, a lot. It was, conservatively, about half as long as I am tall. Since I may be 5’1” in boots, this isn’t necessarily huge…until I put the thing on my back and went to my assigned post. I was to climb the stairs next to the jumps and serve cocoa to the judges. Hilarity ensued.

The fact is, that volunteer experience has had a lasting impact—we are, forever, “Olympics People.” I think most people in Park City, who were here, then, feel that way, too. So, as the Olympics kicked off, I got excited all over again. Truth be told, I started to feel Olympic Fever at The FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Competition at Deer Valley, last month.

World Cup 2014 Moguls 01092014 026

Just approaching the venue, my friend Miriam and I were reminding each other, and explaining to my friend Kathy, what Deer Valley Resort looked like during the 2002 games. Actual stadium bleachers at the base of the venue, plus, SRO areas. Jeff and I rang cowbells as we watched the freestyle skiers throw down amazing tricks.

Even at the decidedly smaller-scale World Cup event, it’s obvious that there is a ton of work that goes into creating it. I wanted to know more, so I caught up with a few of the folks who make World Cup happen. Here, some fun facts about World Cup from Jim Bragg, Mountain Venue Services Manager, and Chris Cowan, Mountain Venue Services Assistant Manager. Study up and impress your fellow viewers with these tidbits:

It takes a village to run a venue. While there are many volunteers that work on World Cup at Deer Valley, It took about 1,200 staff hours for “Field of Play” set-up, maintenance, operations and teardown. This doesn’t include the snowmaking crew, 151 volunteers and a bevy of other “unseen” heroes that make the event happen.

2014 World Cup Aerials Finals 096

Course specs are, well, quite specific. The moguls course, per FIS regulations, has a maximum length of 300 meters. Champion runs approximately 280m. “The course the athletes compete on is defined by 10 control gates on each sideline, and is about 10 meters wide,” notes Jim.

Athletes choose their own line. “There are four ‘zipper lines’ the athletes can choose from to do their run,” says Chris.”

Building a course requires art, science, machine and muscle. “The mogul course is brought to grade and the bumps and jumps are roughed in using a winch cat. Due to the steepness of Champion ski run, a snow cat with a winch is used. After the snow cat “cut” is done, moguls are shaped by about 20 volunteers (with shovels), under the supervision of a Chief of Course and a Chief Builder,” says Chris. “Once the bumps are shovel shaped, the Wasatch Freestyle Team runs the course to complete the bumps and better define the “zipper lines”. The jumps or “kickers” are created using wooden jump forms. Snow is shoveled into the forms and mixed with water from snowmaking hydrates alongside the venue to build the “kickers.”

Moguls Final Night 351

Course conditions are weather-dependent. Yes, I know, that’s a bold statement of the obvious. The weather for this year’s World Cup was a mixed bag of wind, rain, snow and more wind. “The first night of competition the course was very fast, with steady uphill winds throughout the night. This hampered visibility for the athletes as well as the judges. The athletes had trouble seeing the course and the judges had difficulty viewing the athletes (especially with sporadic winds gusts),” says Chris. “On Saturday, the second night of mogul competition, wind and a few inches of fresh snow and warmer temperatures changed the conditions of the course, especially the “kickers”. These condition changes had an obvious effect on the athletes; many had trouble staying on course and with the transitions after landing tricks off of the “kicker.”

The pine bough grindings at the base of the jumps aren’t debris—they are a safety measure. “The lighting was also very flat Saturday night, so guests may have seen more pine bough grindings on the course,” says Chris. “The pine bough grindings are used on the jump landings to improve depth perception for the athletes and help them get oriented while in the air before landing an aerial maneuver off one of the “kickers”. The practice of spreading pine bough grindings or chips is also used on the landing hill for the Aerial athletes. Pine boughs are chipped and collected from the Park City Christmas tree recycle lot. Typically, 50-60 bags of pine boughs are used between both venues.“

Leave your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Facebook Feed

Deer Valley Resort's Global Athlete Ambassador, Ted Ligety, is back on skis after 10 weeks of recovering from microdiscectomy surgery. Welcome back Ted! | #DeerValleyMoment ... See MoreSee Less

Besmir Ajeti, Chris Scarce and 23 others like this

View previous comments

Eric HandMore impressed by the steady camera work of whoever was following him

4 hours ago   ·  7
Avatar

Matthew LivingstonShredd!! You're the best. Same run I fractured my tibial plateau on last year. Glad to see you're back. Hope I can do the same next year.

2 hours ago
Avatar

Mitch MannWe wore the same color jacket and skied DV today as well, but our skiing form was a tad different.

5 hours ago
Avatar

Tess TeurlingsTyler Teurlings they finally got around to posting this video of me from spring break

3 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Stephen PohlmanWizard

4 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Ron ReillySmooth

59 minutes ago
Avatar

Kelly DetweilerLooks good to me ☺

5 hours ago
Avatar

Max ScottPaul Stu Herlan you guys just missed ripping some runs with Ted

2 hours ago   ·  1

1 Reply

Avatar

Larry WeiderThat's what I look like in my head when I ski. It's better I never know what I actually look like.

3 hours ago
Avatar

Dennis BressGreat run and great camera work. :-) Kerry Rutherford

4 hours ago
Avatar

Octavio BarreraEmilio Fernandez our next level of skiing for next winter 💪🏽

2 hours ago
Avatar

John TredentTrue carve turn, Ted is one of the best in the world.

3 hours ago
Avatar

Scott DillmanGo Ted. I am sure it feels really good to be carving some turns. Enjoy your regained freedom.

1 hour ago
Avatar

James EvansBoth Ted and the snow conditions look great . .

3 hours ago
Avatar

Dan LudwigDude is flyin...

4 hours ago
Avatar

Jon T FruendLegity split!

2 hours ago
Avatar

Mehrnaz ZuieYousef Zuie this is where I want to go!

2 hours ago

2 Replies

Avatar

Shanna RidnerLikes this picture

3 hours ago
Avatar

Effie BaramSo nice

2 hours ago
Avatar

Jon Blumbergbautiful skier

4 hours ago
Avatar

Wesley MillerDan Duncan Corey Baumgartner definitely gotta make it happen

5 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Tzachi AlmogNadavo Ha. מזכיר אותך

4 hours ago
Avatar

Matt ShawDamian Leopard those lines.

3 hours ago
Avatar

Lauren SaulAlana Saul

5 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Comment on Facebook

Sunday, March 26, 2017
Deer Valley Resort has recieved over 400 inches of snow this season and still has a 101" base. You can only #SkiTheDifference for three more weeks. | Skier: Jillian Vogtli Video: Chris Morgan / Two Sherpas LLC on Sunday, March 26, 2017.
... See MoreSee Less

Kirsten Curtis, Veronica Christensen and 23 others like this

View previous comments

Rose JutrasGo Jillian!! What an Ambassador!!

13 hours ago   ·  1

1 Reply

Avatar

Dennis WillisYep, only $1.28 per inch for that base. Or $15.52 per hour if you ski from opening to closing.

7 hours ago
Avatar

Adi DeOltManon Mbd she has the same color equipment like me. And I skied there. Could it be me? 😂😂😂

10 hours ago   ·  1
Avatar

Claine CowdrickWhy end the season if there is still enough snow to ski on? Extend the season maximize profits

8 hours ago
Avatar

Marcela MrugalaIt was a fantastic day of skiing yesterday!

13 hours ago
Avatar

Brandon BenallyCute but can she ski MOGULS as fast?

24 hours ago
Avatar

Steve ZebrowskiSure didn't look anywhere near 101 inch base Saturday

9 hours ago
Avatar

Nic ReneeAwesome skiing this year

20 hours ago
Avatar

Lou KaltensteinWatched her cut her teeth at Holiday Valley! Go girl!

4 hours ago
Avatar

Elaine Lawrencer u having a good time

17 hours ago
Avatar

Indy BaileyVery cool!!

16 hours ago
Avatar

Tai RobinsonYeah Jillian Vogtli!

21 hours ago   ·  1

1 Reply

Avatar

Comment on Facebook

Today's #DeerValleyMoment | Photo Credit: Emily Summers ... See MoreSee Less

Todays #DeerValleyMoment  | Photo Credit: Emily Summers

Alan Ford, Sungjin Joseph Yoon and 1165 others like this

View previous comments

Stephen HelmI thought that was Upper Stein, I have a shot real similar to that one

3 days ago   ·  1
Avatar

Joyce GriffinBeautiful photo, Emily Summers! It makes me want to be there making the first tracks down.

3 days ago   ·  1
Avatar

Brian ParkerIf I squint, I can just barely see my old house!

3 days ago   ·  1
Avatar

Randy CarterBeautiful and my acrophobia will dissipate as the thrill of downhill takes over.

2 days ago
Avatar

George LadnerI was there 2 weeks ago and loved it. Nearly as good as the Swiss alps/Zermatt¿¡¡

3 days ago
Avatar

Eric LongabardiNice shot Emily Summers! :) I can see Heber!

2 days ago
Avatar

Todd RameyTop of Steins, just past Sultan .

3 days ago   ·  1
Avatar

Alma WeldeLovely

2 days ago
Avatar

Francis GougeonWith this view you can pretend you are an astronaut.⛷

3 days ago
Avatar

Ariana B. AlvarezI want to be the first one down!

3 days ago
Avatar

Janis Bauer FullmerBeautiful!

3 days ago
Avatar

Rafael TorresWHAT A SHOT!

2 days ago
Avatar

Gerry FeherCorduroy....yea baby !!

2 days ago
Avatar

Will WilliamsDebbie Riley-Williams favorite place to ski in the USA 😎

2 days ago
Avatar

MaryEllen ProctorBarb and Karen, wish we were there.

2 days ago
Avatar

Drew DealIs this the run to the gondola?

3 days ago
Avatar

Linda Glore-SewardI must get my knees in shape so I can ski that again!

2 days ago

1 Reply

Avatar

Holly EtlinStein's Way, nice!

3 days ago
Avatar

Charlotte StrackBeautiful!

3 days ago
Avatar

Paul Stu HerlanRipped that yesterday...thanks Stein!

2 days ago
Avatar

Alan HorganI want to there now! Pity our £ is so cheap...

2 days ago
Avatar

Carolyn MacherBeautiful...

3 days ago
Avatar

Lisa AntellJordanelle run?

3 days ago

1 Reply

Avatar

Comment on Facebook

Twitter Feed @Deer_Valley