Skiers had warm and sunny conditions at Deer Valley Resort Thursday.
Can you call skiing work? Winter Olympic athletes obviously do, but so did Utah's local media during Ski Utah's annual Media Day event at Deer Valley Resort Thursday. The Olympics last all year round in Utah because of the quality and quantity of venues athletes and the public can enjoy.
In the morning, everyone hit the slopes for fun or for friendly competition. Deer Valley's NASTAR Race Course was up and running for attendees to test their own skills against Deer Valley's Ambassador of Skiing, Heidi Voelker. As a three time Olympian. Voelker definitely challenged racers who found they had their work cut out for them. Luckily, it didn't matter if you were fast or slow, stayed on your skis or had them slip out from under you.
At noon, skiers racked up their skis and enjoyed a delectable meal provided by Deer Valley.
Ski racks at Deer Valley are still full in the spring.
Attendees choose from a large lunch selection at Deer Valley's Media Day event.
The main program featured a special presentation and 2014 Winter Olympics preview by Tom Kelly, communication VP for the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA).
USSA VP of Communications Tom Kelly addresses the media at Ski Utah's Media Day.
Kelly lauded the Olympic facilites and mountain terrain around Park City that produces high caliber athletes. "There is no other Olympic winter site in the world that gets so much out of it's venues," he said. The constant use is apparent with world class competitions held frequently at Soldier Hollow, Utah Olympic Park and ski resorts around Park City.
Two Olympic gold medal hopefuls have local training roots at the Park City venues.
Skier Ted Ligety is on top of his game with three individual gold medals at the world championship this year. Young World Champion Ski Jumper Sarah Hendrickson grew up training in the shadows of Park City's ski jumping hills. Kelly stresses that both athletes capitalized on their opportunities because they live here.
The importance of venues was also apparent when Kelly talked about the 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi, Russia. He says Sochi will be a very different Olympics. Sochi's high latitude and low elevation make weather and soft conditions a factor, and there isn't a culture of tourism or sports in this city near the Black Sea. "If our athletes are going to have success in Sochi, we have to invest ourselves into learning how we can make that venue as friendly as possible, and allow them to compete at the best of their ability" he says. He has already made trips to Sochi with a spirit of advocacy and is positive about the future games.
The USSA's mission is to be the best in the world for Olympic skiing and snowboarding. Their investment in venues and facilities right here in Utah has produced a team mentality that equates to success on the slopes. Kelly says this comraderie sets the U.S. apart from other nations. "You can't train for this, you can't prepare for this. It has to happen organically," he says.
After initial hard work getting these facilities here in Utah, the results are happening quite naturally.