Facebook Twitter

Enthusiasm for Utah Winter Games snowballs

SHARE Enthusiasm for Utah Winter Games snowballs

The first full weekend of competition under the revamped Utah Winter Games was met with enthusiasm, crowds and wind.

Unfortunately, the high winds forced cancellation of two events.

Heidi Hughes, director of the Games, said enthusiasm has been high, however, "among sponsors, participants and resorts . . . and we still have more events on the schedule."

There are still some openings for recreational ski races, skeleton clinics and competition, slopestyle clinics and competition, figure skating and luge.

For information on the free clinics and events, call 435-513-0207 or visit www.utahwintergames.org.

The Utah Winter Games were in danger of being canceled this past fall.

Ski Utah, the marketing arm for Utah's 12 major ski areas, took over management of the winter events.

The Games were started in 1986. Free clinics have been offered since 1991.

Last year, more than 8,000 people were involved in the Utah Games. Hughes said the clinics and events were well-attended and that she expects the interest "to continue and grow" as more events are added and competition is expanded.

"We look forward to finishing strong this year and then ramping up for next year," she added.

"The Utah Winter Games have been a real benefit to Utah skiing. It's a program for locals, and we don't have a lot of programs for the locals, which is why this program is so important," said Kip Pitou, president of Ski Utah.

A few years back, more than 100 free instructional clinics were held involving 18 winter sports, followed by a range of competitions, including many Olympic sports such as hockey, skating, skiing, curling and sliding, which included the luge, bobsled and skeleton.

Under the reorganization plan, mainly ski events were held this year, but plans are to expand and include more events and clinics in the years to come.

Here is a calendar of remaining events:

Jan. 15 — Recreational ski race at Deer Valley Resort. Race course located on intermediate terrain. Competitors compete in fun giant slalom races. Register at Snow Park Lodge Basket Check area from 8 to 10 a.m. Race clinic from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Race from 11 a.m. to 2:30. Cost is $36 for kids and seniors, $51 for adults, $14 for those with seasons or locals coupon book. Price includes race, clinic and lift pass. Divisions from age 4 to 66 and over.

Jan. 15 — Recreational ski race at Solitude. Register at Last Chance Mining Camp from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Competitors compete in fun giant slalom races. Coached practice runs from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Race starts at 11:30 a.m. Cost for adults is $49 and includes race, practice run and all-day pass. Cost for 13 and under is $38 and for season pass holders its $12. Divisions from age 4 to 66 and over.

Jan. 15 and 21 — Skeleton clinics at Utah Winter Games. Skeleton Intro allows people to experience the thrill of sliding head-first down the Olympic track just 3 inches off the ice at speeds up to 60 mph. Participants learn how to enter a banked corner, what the centrifugal force of three G's feels like and how the track is meticulously shaped and maintained. Helmets, visors, shoulder pads, elbow pads and sleds are provided. Cost is $150. For information visit www.olyparks.com.

Jan. 22 — Skeleton competition at Utah Olympic Park. Runs 9 a.m. to noon. Cost is $20. Competitors must have attended one of the skeleton clinics prior to competition. Register at Utah Olympic Park Sport Services Desk — 435-658-4208. For information visit www.olyparks.com.

Jan. 19 and 26 — Intro to Slopestyle Clinic at Utah Olympic Park. Slopestyle Intro focuses on the proper use of the terrain park and the basic tricks needed to get through it. qualified instructors lead participants through the correct progression of techniques and tricks. Alpine equipment such as skis, boots and helmet are required. Clinics from 4 to 7 p.m. Cost is $65.

Jan. 30 — Slopeside competition at Utah Olympic Park. Competition from 1 to 5 p.m. Participants must have attended a slopestyle clinic/intro camp prior to competition. Cost is $55. Register at Park Sport Services Desk — 435-658-4208. For information visit www.olyparks.com.

Jan. 20, 21 and 22 — Figure skating. Competitors from across the state will compete in one of Utah's biggest figure skating competitions. Sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating and sponsored by The Peaks Figure Skating Club, this event is limited to pre-registered competitors only. Location is The Peaks Figure Skating Club in Provo. Pre-registration only. For information visit www.peaksfsc.org.

Jan. 15 — Luge competition. Must be certified to compete. Location is the Utah Olympic Park. Pre-registration only. For information call Jon Owen at 435-647-3800.

E-mail: grass@desnews.com