Most skiers who flock to Utah to enjoy the state’s characteristic dry, light powder and world-class resorts know Deer Valley® as a premier ski destination with a reputation for perfectly groomed runs, posh service, and gourmet dining experiences. However, Deer Valley also has a long history with the competitive side of skiing and hosting international ski competitions. Thanks to the 2002 Winter Olympics, hosted nearby in Salt Lake City, the resort enjoys a legacy of ski competition, and today, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard teams are still based in Park City, Utah. The year 2017 marks the 20th year of international and world competitions hosted at Deer Valley Resort, including the aforementioned Olympics, two World Championships, and 16 World Cups.
“Deer Valley has been hosting successful international freestyle skiing competitions for over 15 years due to our long-standing relationship with both USSA and FIS (International Ski Federation),” says Bob Wheaton, president and chief operating officer of Deer Valley Resort. “We are committed to supporting these organizations, the athletes and the sport of skiing.”
When did it all begin? Deer Valley Resort hosted its first World Cup event in 2000, in preparation for hosting the XIX Olympic Winter Games in 2002. Before the resort could host an Olympic competition, it was required to do two ‘test’ World Cup events as dress rehearsals for February 2002. The Deer Valley stop on the World Cup circuit is now an athlete and fan favorite. The World Cup event attracts up to 8,000 spectators, and the Deer Valley team takes pride in providing a superb competition experience for the athletes, guests, community, and event workers.
Previewing the Competition Season
This January, Deer Valley will host the 2018 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup (January 10-12, 2018), during which the world’s best freestyle skiers will come together to twist, fly, and race their way to the podium on the same runs used during the 2002 Winter Olympics. Best of all, the events are free to the public.
Next year, Deer Valley will host the 2019 World Championships, a biannual event during which the best ski racers on the planet come together to compete in 25 different medal events. The snowboard, freestyle, and freeski competition categories will be held at Park City Mountain, Deer Valley, and Solitude. The moguls and aerials events in particular will take place at Deer Valley Resort.
All of Deer Valley’s World Cup events take place at night under the lights and are free to the public. You can park at Snow Park Lodge or use the free Park City Transit bus system which has a bus stop right outside the lodge for easy access. Guests can either take the conveyor lifts and then Snowflake chairlift up to the course, or the Burns chairlift up, and then walk the rest of the way to the large viewing area.
A World-Class Venue for All
Some of the ski runs and facilities skiers still enjoy today were originally created for the 2002 Winter Olympics. The “Champion” ski run was created in 1997 for completion in 2000, in time for Deer Valley’s first World Cup moguls event. The “White Owl” ski run’s aerial course has been in existence since 1998. The existing “Know You Don’t” ski run was naturally suited for the Olympic slalom course. Both the Champion and White Owl courses are still used today for Deer Valley’s annual World Cup events.
Because of the Olympic and competition legacy in Park City, many past Olympians live in the area. To take advantage of this resource, Deer Valley launched their Ski With A Champion program last winter (2016-17). With Ski with a Champion, visitors can ski with Deer Valley Resort’s Ambassador of Skiing, Heidi Voelker, or one of six other Olympic snowsport athletes. While not a lesson, a full- or half-day Ski with a Champion experience includes access to the ski school lane at all chairlifts, a big benefit on busy days. Instead of waiting in lift lines, your biggest challenge will simply be keeping up with your champion!
When you come to Deer Valley this winter, you can watch a championship competition as a spectator and take advantage of the world-class amenities (including ski runs and features built exclusively for world champions). You can explore the mountain with a ski champion of your own for a day, or learn even more about this ski destination’s Olympic past at the Utah Olympic Park. While there, tour the museum that chronicles the state’s Olympic history, watch current ski teams train (summer or winter) and observe (or try!) the Olympic luge track, all inspiration for your next trip up the lift.
Originally written by RootsRated Media for Deer Valley.