Utah resorts still capitalizing on Olympic success

By Lynn Debruin

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 15 2011 10:00 p.m. MST

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association is based in Park City and Olympic hopefuls now train at the 85,000-square-foot Center of Excellence, which opened in 2009 and offers programs in everything from cardio to sports physiology and nutrition.

Olympic bronze medalist Bryon Wilson has relocated there as have Shannon Bahrke (moguls silver and bronze) and Billy Demong (nordic combined gold and silver). Emily Cook (aerials), Heather McPhie (moguls), Jen Hudak (halfpipe skiing) and Liz Stephen (cross country) also moved to Utah for the convenience, with great snow just 35 minutes away from an international airport.

Malone calls the athletes a link to the Olympic legacy, past and future.

"We still have a real connection to that part of the business," he said.

Since the closing ceremonies ended, there have been dozens of international competitions in Utah. World Cup events have been held in bobsledding, skeleton, luge and speedskating and world championships in freestyle skiing. The U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix is set for Canyons Resort again in February, and the 2012 Freestyle World Cup is headed to Deer Valley.

"Everyone's training here, a lot of athletes live here," Malone said. "It wasn't like we had one shot, had the Games and never had competition again. It's kind of in our DNA."

Snowbasin for the second straight year will host the Winter Dew Tour Championships. In February, the event drew 44,000 people over a four-day period.

"The Olympics really showed we could handle a global-level event, with significant crowds," said Jason Dyer, marketing manager at Snowbasin. "We used it as a platform."

It's a big jump up from the old days at Snowbasin, which now has the capability to move 14,650 people up the mountain in an hour.

Many of them no doubt have checked out those ultra-lux bathrooms.

"Hosting the big party has its advantages," said Rafferty.

A look at what's new in Utah this season:

At Alta, skiers can skip the ticket window and head straight to the powder using the resort's new Smartphone application that allows them to reload their card. The popular Corkscrew Run also is being modified to ease the pitch and fulfill a promise to provide a true blue run from top to bottom.

Beaver Mountain has added a new triple chair to provide access to additional beginner terrain.

Brian Head in more accessible now that a new United Express nonstop flight has been added between Los Angeles International Airport and the new St. George Airport.

Brighton Resort is investing $500,000 in snowmaking upgrades and $20,000 in terrain park features.

Canyons Resort will offer heli-skiing from the resort in conjunction with Wasatch Powderbird Guides.

Deer Valley is redesigning its beginner/learning area on Wild West ski run and adding more Sunkid conveyor lifts.

Eagle Point has added 200 more skiable acres in its second season as well as tree skiing and spa services.

Park City Mountain Resort has two new conveyor lifts for beginners. Snowmamas — real moms from around the country — will be chosen to help create unforgettable winter family vacations now that it has been named top family destination in Ski Magazine. The resort also improved its terrain park and overhauled 3 Kings lift to double capacity.

Powder Mountain expanded its single-ride snowcat terrain by 50 percent and added more gladed terrain.

Snowbasin added two more snowcats for grooming and new outdoor gas fireplaces on Earl's Patio.

Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort remodeled its flagship hotel and is introducing three new programs, including an adult adventure camp and Expedition Team for expert young skiers/boarders.

Solitude unveiled free Wi-Fi throughout Solitude Village.

Sundance is expanding and moving its terrain park so it can remain open during night operations.

Wolf Mountain has better uphill transportation, added a handful of new runs and more pricing options.

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