Since hosting the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Games, in many ways the Olympic spirit and world-class athletes that seized Utah have never left.
The memory-ridden venues — like the Utah Olympic Oval where an Australian speed skater unexpectedly took gold for the country’s first time in any Winter Olympics competition, or the Park City Mountain halfpipe where the United States snowboarding team swept the medals, or the Utah Olympic Park where women participated in an Olympic bobsleigh event for the first time — still host competitions and visitors year round. And access is key. Every venue is within 50 miles of downtown Salt Lake City and the international airport.
"I wanted a place...with a mountain community and a college. I had this image of Park City as the mecca of snowboarding. — Brolin Mawejje, Olympic hopeful"
Since 2002, Utah has hosted 150 international winter sports events and 550 additional elite-level events.
From Uganda to Salt Lake City, Olympic hopeful and snowboarder Brolin Mawejje’s (pronounced Muh-way-juh) journey to the Wasatch Mountains isn’t as uncommon as you’d think.
On average, more than 30 countries and 1,100 international athletes train for the Olympics in Utah each year. And more than 30 percent of the United States athletes competing in the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games have ties to Utah.
A handful of these athletes, like Mawejje, came to attend Salt Lake City’s Westminster College, the official education partner of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard teams, which offers tuition grants and unparalleled access to the ten ski resorts within an hour of Salt Lake City.
“If you look at all other areas, you do not get a 20-minute drive to the airport … a 20 minute drive to mountains,” says Mawejje. In Utah, he shares the slopes with “the people who were molding the sport as it went along.”
Park City: Utah Olympic Park Bobsleigh, Skeleton, Luge, Ski Jumping, Nordic
Park City Mountain Snowboard, Freestyle Skiing
Deer Valley Resort Freestyle Skiing, Alpine Skiing
Soldier Hollow Nordic Center Cross-country skiing
Salt Lake City: Rice-Eccles Stadium Site of the Olympic Cauldron, where opening and closing ceremonies were held
Utah Olympic Oval Speed Skating
Ogden: Snowbasin Resort Downhill skiing
The Ice Sheet Curling
About the Author – Rosie Serago
Rosie engages in creative bricolage at the Utah Office of Tourism. A Utah native, she split the last decade smelling creosote in the Sonoran Desert, comparing lobster rolls across New England and savoring thunderstorms outside of southern Appalachia. Now back in Salt Lake City, she is ready to explore the expanse (in between Real Salt Lake and Utah Jazz games).