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@SBrown, @SkiNurse, @Tricia, and I were in Park City, UT, with some time to kill, so we decided to visit the Utah Olympic Park. As we know, Salt Lake City was the home of the 2002 Olympics, and the Nordic Jumping event was held here in Park City. The Utah Olympic Park is not only a fantastic tourist destination with, among other things, ziplines, alpine slides, and rope courses, but it also has two museums: one is dedicated to the 2002 Olympics and the other, the Alf Engen Museum, pays homage to Utah-based skiers. Best of all, the Utah Olympic Park is still a training facility for freeride and freestyle aerials and has one of the most advanced training pools in the nation.

We didn’t get to experience the outdoor adventure rides and activities, but we did get to tour both museums and watch some of the skiers using the ramps into the pool. Starting with the museum, it was certainly a trip down memory lane in both gear and fashion. The first thing we saw as we walked in was a video loop of Barbara Alley, who we know from our coverage of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame ceremonies. Barbara was one of the influencers in 1970s skiwear design. Next was a great historical retrospective on 1970s ski wear that had Brown and Tricia plotting on how they could walk out with them and no one noticing. While they drooled over the clothing and how to obtain them, I was eyeing a pair of The Ski with Burt bindings.

In Alf’s museum, there was a homage to PSIA and all the Utah skiers that have achieved the organization's highest levels. Next was a who’s who of Utah skiers that earned their deserved place in this hall. As we kept going there was a great retrospective to all the different types of skiing, including a nordic jumping simulator and other fun interactive displays for young and old. The gear display was a bit lacking ... but I am biased. I think they could have had something for Utah-based companies such as Daleboot, Goode, DPS, and The Ski, wchi was based in Ogden for part of its existence. All and all, I still give the museum a 9.5 out of 10; it's a must-do when you are in Park City.

Our next stop was to watch the aerialists train in the pool. There are multiple in-runs to the pool depending on what a skier is working on. There was a wide freeride ramp where the skiers and riders work on off-axis tricks; single, double, and triple jumps that look like quarter pipes and where the skiers work on inverted aerials; a ramp designed specifically to match a jump in a mogul competition; and finally there was our favorite, the "mini," where kids who looked about 5 and 6 were learning how to jump.

After watching the groms barely make it off of the mini jump and the accomplished aerialists fly high into the sky with triple twisting triples, we headed back inside to the 2002 Olympic Museum. Here we saw all aspects of the 2002 Games with displays from events including but not limited to skiing. There were displays with different medals from various events, hockey uniforms, ice skates, costumes and props from the opening and closing ceremonies, and many other examples of gear used in the games. So, next time you are in Park City, or even nearby in Salt Lake, make your way to the Utah Olympic Park; it will be a great diversion from whatever you have going on..even a day of skiing.

Donate to the park HERE.
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I started skiing in the mid-70s in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania; from then on, I found myself entrenched in the industry. I have worked in various ski shops from suburban to ski town to resort, giving me a well-rounded perspective on what skiers want from their gear. That experience was parlayed into my time as a Gear Review Editor and also consulting with manufacturers as a product tester. Along with being a Masterfit-trained bootfitter I am a fully certified self proclaimed Gear Guru. Not only do I keep up with the cutting edge of ski gear technology, but I am an avid gear collector and have an extensive array of bindings as well as many vintage skis.


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