Ski Slopes Open, Even During Games

Student-skiers won’t have to skip class to hit the slopes?for part of the semester at the least.

During the Olympic Games, it is business as usual at Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resorts, venues of the Olympic, according to resort officials.

However, the resorts do anticipate a drop in visitors.

“We’re actually very concerned that the typical population will drop because so many people have the pre conceived notion that it will be closed or crowded,” said Michelle Palmer, Park City Mountain Resort’s Communications Manager.

The Eagle Race Arena, which encompasses about four percent of Park City Mountain Resort, will close during the month of February. Originally designed for the World Cup and frequently used by ski teams for competitions and training, this area is not normally accessible to the public.

“The Olympics are basically not ruining the recreational skier’s experience at the [Park City] ski resort,” Palmer said.

While Deer Valley Resort does not express major concern, its officials think they will have fewer skiers during Games time.

“A lot of focus will be on watching the Games. Skiing won’t be as popular as it was, so we are really encouraging people to ski because they will have the mountain to themselves,” said Christa Graff, Deer Valley Resort’s Communications Manager.

Nine of Deer Valley’s 88 runs will be closed for 24 days in February. During those days, the public will not be able to access “No You Don’t,” “Champion,” “Big Stick,” “Solid Muldoon,” “White Owl,” “Wide Owl,” “Wide West,” “Lucky Bill,” “Little Kate,” and “Rosebud.”

For Jill Merrill, a senior in pharmacy, the biggest change the Olympics bring is more time. Although Merrill hopes the resorts will not be too crowded, she thinks most of them can handle large crowds. She plans to teach snowboarding during the break and go on a trip to get away from the crowds.

Kristin Keeler, a senior in health promotion and education, plans to ski and teach snowboarding during the Winter Break.

“I’ll probably ski more during the Olympics because I have more time,” Keeler said.

Despite predictions that snowboard teachers will have fewer students this season, Keeler anticipates more, “because I think that a lot of people will be wanting to get out of the house. Especially students who go to school the rest of the year will want to go up there and take advantage of things,” Keeler said.

Rob Jones, U outdoor recreation director, encourages students to take advantage of a long break during ski season.

“I am hoping it will have a positive effect on the number of students we can serve. Instead of missing classes to ski, they can go during the break,” Jones said.

While the resorts will try to continue their usual services, they cannot entirely avoid disruptions while hosting crowds of athletes and spectators.

Competition days will fill the parking at the Park City Mountain Resort. Park and ride lots will be available.

Park City Mountain Resort encourages everyone in Park City to use the city’s free transit system which will increase service during the Olympics.

Games-time will also limit parking at Deer Valley. However, paid parking will be available at Silver Lake and some street parking will be allowed.

In return for the hassle, the resorts offer benefits to skiers. Through Ski Utah, those who book lodging for a minimum of three nights will receive a voucher for $20.02 off an adult lift ticket. Also, locals have parking privileges during Games-time at Deer Valley Resort.

“We are trying to get the word out to people that it’s the best time to come out and ski,” Palmer said.

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