6 ways to experience the Winter Games at Utah Olympic Park

chaffin.mitchell
AccuWeather

If you can't make the trip to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, experience the excitement of Olympic events closer to home at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.

A popular winter destination, Salt Lake City became internationally known when it hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. Located 28 miles east of the city near Park City, the Utah Olympic Park hosted five events during the Olympics.

"The Park is so special because it's a rarity in the entire world. The venue has been around since before the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, and we still operate our sliding track and ski jumps at a world-class level and host international events all the while offering unique activities that the general public can enjoy," said Kole Nordmann, marketing manager for Utah Olympic Park.

alpine_slide_2-X2.jpg
alpine_slide_2-X2.jpg

(Image via Utah Olympic Park)


The hills at the Utah Olympic Park recently determined some of the Americans who get to vie for medals in the upcoming games in PyeongChang.

"We aren't just a training facility for elite athletes. We offer myriad activities and experiences that the entire family can enjoy," Nordmann said.

Today, visitors can tour the Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center, which includes a ski museum, and you can watch professional skiers practice on the Nordic and aerial jumps. When the skiers are not practicing, the jumps are open to the public.

While some of these attractions are available by purchasing a day pass, the entire park is open to the public to roam and wander the grounds, reliving the Olympic experience. Some visitors might even see an Olympian.

Destination PyeongChang
Destination PyeongChang

"Some [Olympians] work for our foundation or work as coaches for bobsled, skeleton, luge, ski jumping, aerials and moguls. You really never know who you'll run into on any given day as they are around all the time," Nordmann said.

Here is a list of ways to experience the Winter Games at Utah Olympic Park:

Experience a bobsled ride

If you're into thrills, try the Utah Olympic Park bobsled ride. It is an exhilarating ride on the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games Sliding Track, where Olympians once competed.

It is one of the longest slides in the world, with over 3,000 feet of gliding and sliding.

Park City Olympic Bobsled - AP
Park City Olympic Bobsled - AP

Driver Jamie Greubel Poser, left, and Lauren Gibbs celebrate after winning the women's bobsled World Cup race Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Park City, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)


Professional pilots take three passengers on a thrilling 70+ mph ride down the the track. You can also experience the track in the summer when it is defrosted and the sleds are equipped with wheels.

Learn new skiing, snowboarding skills

Utah Olympic Park has a program called, UOP Explorers which is geared toward skiers with a strong intermediate to advanced skiing ability but may not ready to commit to a full competitive ski program.

The curriculum teaches the skier a variety of skiing disciplines in a fun dynamic environment. The goal of the UOP Explorers is to help children develop all-around skiing skills with a variety of terrain.

Explore a museum with 2002 Winter Olympic memorabilia

The free Alf Engen Ski Museum holds the history of winter sports in Park City.

A section of the museum pays homage specifically to the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games where sections of the massive floats and brilliant, iridescent costumes used in the Opening Ceremony still hang on the walls.

The museum is free to the public and is run as a non-profit organization.

Some visitors stop in the museum cafe to get a snack to munch on while they sit on the balcony and watch national ski teams from around the world practice.

Watch world class athletes practice

Sit on a balcony and watch national ski teams from around the world practice on the Nordic and aerial jumps. Olympic athletes spin 30 and 40 feet in the air and splash land into a pool as they train during the off-season for their events.

Bryan Fletcher, Adam Loomis, Ben Loomis
Bryan Fletcher, Adam Loomis, Ben Loomis

Bryan Fletcher (5) and Adam Loomis (2) and Ben Loomis (1) compete in cross-country ski portion of the Nordic Combined at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017, in Park City City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)


A recently added slope-style jump attracts talented athletes in both snowboarding and skiing where they launch into the air spinning and flipping and land into a massive inflatable pad, one of the largest of its kind.

Zipline over Nordic athletes

The ZipRider zipline runs directly above the 120-meter Nordic jump. It is not uncommon for riders to be in the air at the same time Nordic athletes are practicing the jump.

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Zipline-M.jpg

(Image via Hage Photo - Utah Olympic Park)


Experience the view of an Olympic Nordic jumper while tubing

With 1,200-foot sliding lanes and the new lift, tubing is the perfect way to take advantage of Utah's beautiful winters.

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 12.51.28 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 12.51.28 PM.png

(Image via Utah Olympic Park)


When the Nordic jump isn't being used for practice, dozens of tubers race down the massive, steep landing zone and skim to a stop on the grass.

Above them, four zip lines send visitors squealing down the mountainside two-by-two experiencing the same view as an Olympic Nordic jumper.

SEE ALSO:
Detailed AccuWeather forecast for Jeongseon Alpine Centre
Detailed AccuWeather forecast for Gangneung Olympic Park
Detailed AccuWeather forecast for the Olympic Sliding Centre

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