The Park City area has a long history of hosting international snow-sliding competition. Park City Mountain began hosting World Cup events back in 1987; Deer Valley Resort's first was in 1999. Of course, both resorts were venues as part of Utah's biggest-ever celebration of winter sport, the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. But, as of earlier today, it was made public that these two venerable resorts will get to share their next big international competition--the 2019 FIS Freestyle and Snowboard World Championships--with a resort on Utah's front range for the first time ever.
At a press conference held at Solitude's picturesque main base area, U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association (USSA) Vice President of Events Calum Clark announced that Big Cottonwood Canyon's Solitude Mountain Resort has been added as a host venue for snowboardcross and ski cross events as part of the 2019 FIS Freestyle and Snowboard World Championships. (The World Championships are hosted every two years and are second in importance only to the Olympics.) The Park City resorts officially landed the 2019 Worlds--as they are commonly referred to--in 2014; the aerials, moguls, and dual moguls competitions will be at Deer Valley; Park City Mountain will host halfpipe and slopestyle snowboarding and freeskiing events. The whole shebang is scheduled to begin on February 1, 2019, and, with the additional events at Solitude, is sure to be a 10-day freestyle, freeskiing, and snowboarding extravaganza.
But, as you might guess, you don't have to wait until 2019 to get in on the action, at least to a partial extent. In preparation for the World Championships, Solitude will host a test event, featuring a snowboardcross FIS World Cup and Grand Prix ski cross exhibition event, January 19 - 22, 2017. Deer Valley will, for the 18th year running, host the annual Freestyle International World Cup on February 2 - 4, 2017.
Deer Valley Resort's purchase of Solitude, located on the Wasatch Front and popular with Salt Lake City day skier, a year-and-a-half ago most certainly played a major role in the FIS's decision to approve USSA's request to host a World Championships event there. Deer Valley is well known throughout the ski industry for setting the bar high, both in terms of the guest experience and event execution. While Solitude will rely on its own staff to pull off both this winter's test event and the World Championship events in 2019, according to Solitude General Manager Kim Mayhew, the staff at Solitude is working closely with their colleagues in Park City to ensure each is presented with the same professionalism and festivity as events held at Deer Valley. "It will be our show but right now we're doing a lot of sharing with our friends at Deer Valley to help shorten our learning curve," Mayhew says.
Solitude's test and World Championships' events will be held on its Main Street run, with the start gate placed just below the top of the Apex lift, providing clear top-to-bottom views of the venue from Solitude's main base area. "World Cup events are held in plenty of places around the world where it really doesn't snow," says Faye Gulini, a U.S. Snowboarding athlete who grew up riding at both Solitude and nearby Brighton Resort. "I'm excited to have this event here not only because its right in my own backyard but because we get such great snow here it should be a really awesome event."
More information about the 2019 FIS Freestyle and Snowboard World Championships will appear in Park City Magazine's Winter/Spring 2017 print edition, on newsstands in mid-December 2016.