FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Returns to Deer Valley

WC Crowd_1756The world’s best aerial and mogul skiers return to Utah this winter to compete in Deer Valley’s 2014 FIS Visa Freestyle International World Cup. Held January 8 – 11, 2014, the World Cup features two disciplines: moguls and aerials. This marks the 15th year of international and elite competitions hosted at Deer Valley, including the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, two World Championships and 12 World Cups making the resort an esteemed venue for the freestyle community.


“We couldn’t be more excited to have the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup return to Deer Valley for another year,” said Bob Wheaton, president and general manager for Deer Valley Resort. “Champion and White Owl ski runs prove to be the perfect venue for these world-class skiers, as well as for the thousands of spectators that turn out for this favorite annual event.”

Expected to compete in the 2014 World Cup are two Deer Valley-sponsored athletes and ambassadors, Bryon and Brad Wilson. With longtime roots in Park City, this brotherly duo, both of whom are members of the US Freestyle Ski Team, have accomplished a lot in their short tenure as Ski Team athletes. Bryon won the bronze medal at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C. and Brad has climbed his way up the World Cup rankings. Together, the two are looking forward to furthering their success on the slopes of Deer Valley Resort.

Eric Schramm Photography 2013

“It’s an honor to support the Wilson brothers on their path to World Cup and Olympic gold,” said Wheaton. “Bryon and Brad are extremely talented athletes and great ambassadors for freestyle skiing. It means a great deal that they have chosen to represent Deer Valley and consider us their home training mountain.”

The World Cup celebration will kick off with a free concert featuring Big Head Todd and the Monsters on lower Main Street in historic Park City on Wednesday, January 8, 2014, from 7 – 9 p.m., with a fireworks show immediately following.

_MG_8727All competitions will be held at night under the lights at Deer Valley. Men’s and women’s mogul events are scheduled on the Champion ski run on Thursday, January 9, and Saturday, January 11. Men’s and women’s aerial events will be held on the White Owl ski run on Friday, January 10. Finals for all disciplines will take place in the evening, with a fireworks display concluding each night. Each discipline will also be filmed and televised on NBC and NBC Sports Network airing Saturday, January 25, 2014.


All events during the 2014 World Cup are spectator-friendly and free to the public. A complete schedule of events can be found on the Deer Valley Website here.


Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all of the Deer Valley social media platforms. Use the hashtag #DeerValleyWC to share your videos, pictures and comments with other fans. Get excited about this years event by checking out the recap from last year here.



World Cup with Kids

WC VenueFact: You don’t have to stay until the fireworks (read: way past bedtime) to get an awesome World Cup experience. Here’s why: opening night was, in fact, a school night. So, we high-tailed it from afternoon karate lessons to Deer Valley to watch some practice runs, a few competition runs, and soak up the atmosphere, knowing that we’d need to leave as the competition heated up. Still, I figured my kids would have enough atmosphere to soak up and that the gamble would pay off. Hey, once in a while, Mom gets it right…

My kids were as excited to ride the chairlift in street boots, at dusk, as they were to see the freestyle skiers hit bumps, jumps and tricks. As we approached Burns chairlift, an unexpected treat greeted us—in the form of the IHC LifeFlight helicopter landing at the top of Wide West ski run. (The chopper remains parked there, at the ready, in case an athlete needs quick transport to a hospital.)  “I want to touch the helicopter!” screamed Seth.

Soon, we were loading onto the chairlift, bringing him ever-closer to having his wish granted. On the ride up, he was filled with questions: “How will we get all the way to the race course? What kind of food will we eat for dinner? Do you think the pilot will let me fly the helicopter?” I like how he asked two no-brainers before sliding in the “request impossible.”

Chopper2No sooner had we run “like the wind” off the chairlift, the kids were racing over to check out the chopper—and to stage a gag shot that they wanted me to capture. (“Mom, does it look like we’re holding the helicopter in our hands, Mom?”) Soon enough, we were hiking up to the venue, with big brother, officially an expert VIP attendee after last year’s outing, authoritatively explaining the ins-and-outs to little brother.

The VIP tent didn’t disappoint—an inventive Mexican feast awaited us, and we dove in. The kids were mesmerized by the fact that they were rubbing elbows with athletes from all over the world (and by the unlimited supply of hot chocolate). Seth improvised a bean burrito from the Fajita station, Lance enjoyed the Fajita chicken, and Jeff got smart and hit the dessert table post-haste, so that the kids (ok, so that WE) could dig into the chocolate bread pudding with nary a delay.

Outside, I realized I was in trouble when Seth stood in slack-jawed awe, staring up at the moguls course. “I want to do that,” he said as one of the athletes landed an Iron Cross. Just as quickly, he identified the helicopter pilots, and went up to introduce himself. “I want to fly your chopper!” he announced. The pilots offered a friendly chuckle, and redirected the conversation to athletes competing. “Do you ski like that?” they asked. “Not yet,” was my little guy’s swift, decisive reply.

Snow CouchSoon, they were settling in to watch the skiers—on a sofa of their own making. “Mom, this is just like the one we saw on your birthday last year!” Seth announced. Lance, ever the innovator, was quick to create “cup holders” for their hot chocolate cups. Nice. They drank hot cocoa and screamed loud approvals for all of the athletes. They even complied when we said it was time to leave.

Then, we discovered the “bonus round.” The “walk” down from the bottom of Solid Muldoon to Snow Park Lodge became something of a boot-ski run.

VIDEO The kids thought they were getting away with something by skiing down to the bottom on their boot soles—and I knew they’d be extra-tired by the time we got home.

We’re counting the minutes until the 2014 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup in January!

Interview with Marilyn Stinson, Chief of World Cup Volunteers

Marilyn 2013 World CupMarilyn Stinson is Deer Valley’s Tour and Travel International Marketing Manager. Yet before, during and just after the annual FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup, she becomes the Chief of Volunteers for this acclaimed sporting event. Marilyn has been assigned to that event position since 1999. During that period of time, she has gone through one Olympic Games, two World Championships and every single World Cup event. Currently, she is responsible for around 220 volunteers without whom the event wouldn’t be possible.

What is your main role in this position?

My main role is signing up the volunteers and putting them in their appropriate area of expertise. This represents a lot of preparation before the event and some constant coordination as the competitions unfold. It carries on until the festivities are over, into the tear-down of the hill that is conducted jointly by our volunteers and Deer Valley’s staff.

How do go about recruiting volunteers?

They seem to come to me directly. I don’t need to do much recruiting. We built a great database of those interested in volunteering from the 2002 Olympic games. Volunteers seem to enjoy the Deer Valley experience. In fact, we have a wait-list of people who want to volunteer with us for next year’s World Cup.

So is there more than your nice smile and your pleasant personality to attract these volunteers?

I hope that’s part of it (chuckling…), but I think we want to make sure the volunteers are respected and know that their time is very important to us, in making that important event happen.

What makes a good volunteer?

Someone who’s timely, has a great personality, is always positive, has a flexible schedule and likes Deer Valley Resort.

So if I wanted to be a volunteer, what qualities would you be looking for?

Where I always seem to be short is for most on-hill positions, that includes our mogul and aerial events. I definitely look for someone who is a strong skier, capable of getting down the steep mogul course, or who doesn’t have a problem chopping the hill on the aerial course. But also important is somebody that is positive and happy!

So you need someone with strong legs and arms?

Good legs, good arms and a good smile!

Marilyn Hard at WorkBut, you’re not just doing the job of Chief of Volunteers all year round; what’s your regular position at Deer Valley?

My full-time title is Tour and Travel International Marketing Manager for Deer Valley Resort.

That’s a lot of hats to wear!

Yes, but we have a great team at the marketing department and we all step-up when it comes to World Cup!

Do you learn things during your World Cup job that you can apply to your normal position?

It’s a totally different activity for me; it’s essentially making sure that our volunteers are assigned, checked-in, in the right place, fed and are all happy!

Do you look at the World Cup as a break from your normal routine?

I wouldn’t call it a break.  It’s a change, because while doing the volunteer position, I’m also still doing my regular job.

So you’re doubling up?

I am doubling up!

Are there skills that you use in your regular job that you can transfer into the Chief of Volunteer position?

Yes. I think it’s mostly working together and enjoying the friendship that develops over the years with all the volunteers, many of whom have been with us since the beginning. It becomes an on-going relationship. Everyone knows what to do, when to be there and the whole process seems to flow easier and smoother, year after year.

2174_63757777058_1146_nWho are your volunteers, where do they come from?

Our volunteers come from all walks of life. Some are retired, some are military personnel from Hill Air Force Base. Others drive from as far as Ogden or Provo, year after year, day after day. Sometimes they show up at Snow Park Lodge at 6 a.m. to volunteer following over an hour of driving. Especially with the snowy weather we experienced just before this year’s events, it puts them through the test of being an unflinching volunteer!

Now, what do the athletes think about this World Cup event?

They really love to come to Deer Valley Resort. They’ve always told us that Deer Valley is the best stop on the Freestyle World Cup circuit and they’re so appreciative of our volunteers. With our team of volunteers, there’s no drama, and everyone makes the event happen in the Deer Valley way and the Deer Valley style.

Now that the Word Cup is over, how would you assess this year’s event?

The events this year went very smoothly. We, once again, had great volunteers who have been with us for many years and are all of them are greatly experienced. We had a volunteer thank-you dinner to recognize all of them.  We’re already thinking about next year!

Fast and Furious

We are hooked.  Saturday night my husband, Jay and I stood with the crowd at the base of the run for the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Dual Mogul finals at Deer Valley Resort.  After watching athlete after athlete “eat it” speeding down the course in attempt to grab a coveted top 16 semi-finals spot, we had great respect for the difficulty of the course and how steep the competition.

Nancy and Jay
The finals were insanely crazy – what a rush! These athletes flipped in the air doing the “truck driver”, “iron cross”, “heli 360”, or elegant front flip aerial moves. Then after landing, they immediately hit three – four foot tall moguls while racing a world class athlete skiing beside them. The competition was fast and furious.

Mogul Course

We watched Brad Wilson advance past #1 ranked Mikael Kingsbury ending the Canadian’s 19 event podium streak as the crowd went nuts.  We saw U.S. athlete Patrick Deneen lose the gold by a nose to Canadian Alex Bilodeau by five hundredths of a second!  Hannah Kearney has a few more raving fans after watching her absolutely kill it and win gold.

After the awards ceremony, the party kept going!


Even the volunteer clean- up crews had smiles on the faces as they picked up signs and took down the pedestrian walkways to ready the run for skiing the next day.


Our evening took an unexpected but delightful turn when we met semi-finalist freestyle skier Dylan Walczyk on the bus to the Main Street station.  He was fresh from a bronze medal at Lake Placid.  He mentioned he was headed to an Olympic test event Sochi, Russia in two weeks.

While this was our first moguls competition, it will certainly not be our last.

For more information click here.–

2011 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships

I can feel the excitement as the 2011 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships are about to start! I’ve been skiing most everyday and showing my groups the venue for the Ski Cross, Moguls and Aerials. Even though I’m not competing there’s always a bit of excitement anticipating the competitions.

The athletes from all over the world are arriving and training. I remember as an athlete arriving to the host resort. You see the hill and start to wonder is this going to be where I achieve my goal and win a word championship medal? Even though I competed in Alpine, the Freestyle World Championships athletes still share the same anxiety.

I’m sure (from my experience) that the athletes are excited and want to get the games going. They have been competing all season and now the big event of the season is upon them. The US athletes are for sure at an advantage because they are at their “home hill”. They have trained and competed here before. But they are also at a big disadvantage. Competing in the World Championships is pressure enough but competing in them in your home country in front of your friends and family adds so much extra pressure.

There is so much that goes along being in the World Championships. People may think it is just showing up on your competition day and hope to have the run of your life. Well not really. There are always responsibilities such as press conferences, fitting in training and the gym, sponsor dinners and family time. This is always the case as an elite athlete but it seems to be that much greater and packed together at World Championships or an Olympics. I keep referencing the “home” turf advantage/disadvantage because of all the things the athletes need to do. They also want to get to their favorite restaurant, shop or hang out to burn off some nerves and make them relax. Some much to do and such little time to fit it all in.

I attached a photo I thought would represent the feel of the World Championships. What’s missing from this picture? Whether it is a World Cup or World Championship being at home always brings out athletes from the past that participate in sponsor functions. We are there to cheer on our present athletes and maybe help them manage the pressure? But for sure it’s always fun to get together and share the stories of our past experiences of glory and not so much glory.

 Good Luck to all the Athletes! See you on the Slopes