Best Spots to Get Olympic Spirit
Follow the path of past and future Olympic athletes
Head to Snowbasin Resort to get a taste for the thrill of Olympic-level downhill skiing. To follow the route that made up the women’s Wildflower Downhill course, take the John Paul Express Quad to the Allen Peak Tram. The course begins at Women’s Start, merges onto John Paul Trail, then Wildflower Downhill, Draba Drop, City Hill, and finally, Women’s Finish. Altogether, that’s 2,625 feet of vertical drop. There are no medals here, but you can pat yourself on the back for an excellent effort.
The men’s Grizzly Downhill was here, as well. It has fewer trail merges than the women’s course and 2,897 feet of vertical, so you won’t have to bring a map. Take the John Paul Express Quad to the Allen Peak Tram, which will let you off at the starting line. Hit Men’s Start, then merge onto John Paul Trail and then Grizzly Downhill. Don’t worry about timing yourself. If you can complete both of these advanced-territory accomplishments, you deserve a gold medal in the form of beer at the bar at the end of your ski day.
Tracks and Ice
At Park City’s Utah Olympic Park in Park City, rip through the 15 turns of the Olympic bobseld track on the Comet Bobsled ride to experience 5Gs of force, or give it a solo (a little slower, but face-first) go on the skeleton. If you’re lucky during your visit, you’ll spy athletes training on the sliding track, Nordic ski jumps, a freestyle aerials winter training and competition hill, and the 750,000-gallon training pool. While you’re at the Utah Olympic Park, for more immersion in ski and Olympic history, don’t miss the Alf Engen Ski Museum and George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum.
In Salt Lake City, the Utah Olympic Oval is considered to have the fastest ice in the world. The Utah Olympic Oval is where eight out of 10 world speed skating records were shattered during the games. Today, anyone can lace up a pair of skates for a skate on the 400-meter track, take a class in figure skating or curling, and sit back to witness top athletes train to beat their personal bests. Give it a try during a public skate session, or drop in on a speed skating class. Maybe speed skating is too fast for you? No matter. Watch from the sidelines as the skaters become blurs across the ice. There should be medals for watching without getting whiplash.
In addition, the Peaks Ice Arena in Provo has two Olympic-size ice rinks providing fun, year-round activities for all ages such as ice skating, ice hockey, broom ball, floor hockey, figure skating and indoor soccer. And Ogden's Ice Sheet, site of Olympic Curling events, is a year-round community ice recreation center. Activities include hockey, skating lessons, and curling.
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