What’s the best athletics team in Utah? It’s not the ever-consistent Utah Jazz, the miracle-playoff-run Real Salt Lake or even our beloved Ducks-decimating, Rose Bowl-playing Utes football team. Nope. It’s the University of Utah ski team, and it’s not particularly close. The two-time defending NCAA National Champions call the Greatest Snow on Earth their home turf, and this year the U of U is hosting the 2022 National Championships at Park City Mountain and Soldier Hollow from March 9-12.
Head Coach Fredrik Landstedt enters his fourth year coaching the Utes with a pretty unimpeachable record. Teams he helmed won national titles in 2019 and 2021, and the Utes have won all but one meet they’ve participated in since Landstedt took over. Only the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Championships, derailed the Utes’ run of dominance during Landstedt’s tenure.
“Hosting the championships in Park City, we definitely feel we have a bit of home field advantage,” Landstedt says. “Most other teams compete here once or twice a year, but we feel very comfortable because we get to train here at Park City and the Utah Olympic Park.” If home cooking weren’t enough of an advantage, the Utes are returning every skier from the 2021 title team. A couple of skiers wouldn’t have been available in 2022, but in response to COVID, the NCAA provided an additional year of eligibility for student athletes.
The NCAA Ski Championships are a co-ed, combined event, with every school able to qualify three men and three women for two alpine events—giant slalom and slalom—and two Nordic events—individual classic and mass start freestyle. Because all three athletes’ scores count, scoring at the NCAA Championships is typically tighter than at regular meets where six skiers compete with only the three best scoring. “We have a very strong team, and we expect to be in the mix to win. But we’d love the community to come support us and give us an extra edge,” Landstedt says.
A number of the student athletes on the University of Utah Ski Team were vying for spots in the Olympics, and as of publishing several will have indeed competed for their countries in Beijing. Park City is a skiing-obsessed community, so help show the state’s best athletes we have their back as they compete for a third consecutive NCAA title. Don’t forget to bring your cowbell.
NCAA Championships Schedule
Wednesday, March 9: Giant Slalom at Park City Mountain
Thursday, March 10: Individual Classic Nordic at Soldier Hollow
Friday, March 11: Slalom at Park City Mountain
Saturday, March 12: Mass Start Freestyle Nordic at Soldier Hollow