Ski boots aren’t typically poolside fashion—except at Utah Olympic Park (UOP). Here, athletes carrying skis and snowboards stride alongside the 1.25 million-gallon splash pool, mount the stairs, click into their bindings, and then launch off massive jumps to soar, twist, and flip through the sky—sometimes as high as 40 feet above the pool’s surface. For more than two decades, the Flying Ace All-Stars Freestyle Shows, founded by Olympians Kris “Fuzz” Feddersen and Trace Worthington, have delivered gasp-inducing feats to weekend crowds. But (and here’s a little inside tip for the freebie-loving crowd) the weekdays are also chock-full of high-flying spectacles—granted with less choreography and more belly flops. All summer long, elite and developing athletes from around the country and globe train at the pool and the park-at-large, refining their skills and tricks before hitting the snow.
“Expanding training opportunities, so that athletes don’t have to chase snow,” as UOP spokesperson Kole Nordmann puts it, is a big part of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation’s role—along with engaging all ages and abilities in sport. Currently, the UOP is making notable strides in housing and training facilities. This summer marks the opening of the foundation’s 72-unit, $13.6 million athlete and workforce housing building, designed to provide affordable short- and long-term accommodations to employees and visiting sliders, gliders, and jumpers. And just as the first athletes bed down, construction is slated to begin on the first phase of an $11 million expansion to the UOP’s on-slope training facilities, adding six new acres and a fixed-grip, triple chairlift to existing Alpine, freestyle, and Nordic jumping acreage. As fundraising goals are met, the next phase of the project will involve transforming the West Peak into a 30-acre training area, featuring 10 runs, a giant slalom course, and a chairlift.
And while serious athletes splash and shush toward those “faster, higher, stronger” goals, regular folk soak in the Olympic spirit, too, strolling through UOP’s on-site museums; diving into the activities, from zip lines and bobsled rides to ropes courses, extreme tubing, drop tower, airbag jumps, and the alpine slide; and, of course, witnessing those aces fly.
Flying Ace All-Stars Freestyle Shows are held on Saturdays and Sundays, June 22 through September 1 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. With the exception of special events, admission to the Utah Olympic Park (utaholympiclegacy.org) and its museums is free; activities prices vary.