Park City and the Southern Wasatch Feature
2002 Winter Olympics Legacies
Though the 2002 Winter Olympics are a distant but pleasant memory, their legacy lives on. Thanks to the healthy profit the event produced and a concerted effort by organizers, every single venue remains open and plays host to international competitions while also providing recreation and training for future U.S. Olympians. The U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association built its Center of Excellence here in 2009, and virtually every U.S. Olympic skier and snowboarder will train here at some point.
The best place to enjoy the legacy of 2002 is at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, site of the bobsled, luge, skeleton, and ski-jumping competitions. In addition to touring the facility, you can ride the bobsled—wheeled in summer and on ice in winter—or try freestyle skiing. You can even attempt a headfirst skeleton run. If you’re not inclined to hurtle down the mountain at 80 mph, options include the interactive Alf Engen Ski Museum and summer offerings such as ropes courses, alpine slides, and more.
At the nearby Soldier Hollow facility in Midway, site of the cross-country skiing and biathlon events, you can ski on groomed expert or beginner trails, snowshoe, tube, or use the trail system to hike or mountain bike in summer.
A tent-shape structure made of steel and glass covers the speed-skating oval in Kearns (a suburb just west of Salt Lake City). It provides year-round ice for speed skating, figure skating, hockey, and curling. To get a feel for how fast Olympic speed skaters go, just try to skate the 400-meter track. A running track goes around the outside of the skating oval.
The Olympic torch still stands at Rice-Eccles Stadium on the University of Utah campus. A park—including the Hoberman Arch used during the medal ceremonies, a fountain, and historical information—surrounds the torch.
On hot days kids of all ages gather at the Olympic Legacy Snowflake Fountain at the Gateway Mall in downtown Salt Lake City, where they dodge shooting sprays of water, often set to music. An Olympic Hall of Fame is east of the fountain.
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