You helped pay for them. Now it’s time
to take advantage of what these world-class Olympic venues have to offer.
While some cities have since wondered whether hosting the Olympic Games was worth the expense and effort, Salt Lake City looks back on the 2002 Olympic Winter Games with fondness. Perhaps those long-lasting feel-goods are due in part to the continued good condition and accessibility of Utah’s Olympic venues. It’s not uncommon for Olympic venues to fall into disrepair in the years following the games, and if not left to crumble, many become private property and exclude the public whose taxes funded their construction.
So what’s the scoop at Utah’s Olympic venues today? They’re alive and well, thanks in part to a $76-million endowment fund managed by the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation. The venues remain ever on the lookout for new ways to attract visitors and patrons. So go ahead, connect the dots between these venues and create your own championship itinerary:
Alpine Slalom at Deer Valley Resort
2250 Deer Valley Drive South, Park City
During the 2002 Games, Deer Valley Resort hosted the freestyle moguls, freestyle aerials and Alpine slalom events. This privately owned, skiers-only resort opened 20 years before the Olympics came to town, and during the games, 95 percent of the property remained open to the public. Deer Valley continues to offer 2,000-plus skiable acres, perfectly groomed slopes, fine dining and upscale lodging, as well as sleigh rides, guided snowmobile tours and lift-assisted summer mountain biking. Deer Valley has also hosted two World Championships and 14 World Cups, and will host the 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup from Feb. 1–4, 2017. This event is free and open to the public.
Ice Hockey at the E Center (now Maverik Center)
3200 S. Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City
Completed in 1997, E Center was one of the 2002 Games’ two ice hockey venues and the host of the 2002 Winter Paralympics’ ice sledge hockey events. The venue is owned by West Valley City, whose 2010 partnership with Maverik Inc. changed the arena’s name to its current moniker: Maverik Center. Presently, the Utah Grizzlies, our state’s ECHL ice-hockey team, are the Maverik Center’s primary tenants and, in addition to catching a fast-and-furious Grizzlies game, the public can attend major entertainment performances—The Cure, Amy Schumer and Carrie Underwood have all recently graced (or will grace) the Maverik Center stage.
Snowboarding at Park City Mountain Resort
1345 Lowell Ave., Park City
One of the most storied ski resorts in the country, Park City Mountain Resort was initially a silver mine—the resort’s first skiers rode a mine train into the depths of the mountain, then took a mine elevator to the top. During the 2002 Games, PCMR hosted the giant slalom, snowboarding parallel giant slalom and snowboarding halfpipe events. In 2014, PCMR became the property of Vail Resorts, absorbed its neighbor resort, The Canyons, and formed the largest ski resort in the country. Today, Park City Mountain Resort offers more than 7,300 skiable acres, 300 trails, 41 lifts and dozens of freestyle features, as well as sleigh rides, snowmobile tours and a year-round Alpine coaster and zip line.
Ice Hockey at The Peaks Ice Arena
100 N. Seven Peaks Blvd, Provo
Originally the property of Seven Peaks Water Park in Provo, The Peaks Ice Arena was the second of two Olympic venues to host ice hockey games and practices. Six years after the games, Provo City took ownership of the venue, which is now home to the Peaks Figure Skating Club, BYU’s hockey team and several high school hockey teams. It’s also open to the public for open skating and skate lessons.
Figure Skating at the Salt Lake Ice Center
(now Vivint Smart Home Arena)
301 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City
The Salt Lake Ice Center hosted all of the 2002 Olympic Games figure skating events, as well as the short-track speed skating event. At the time, locals knew the venue as The Delta Center, but the name was temporarily changed to accommodate the Olympic Games’ no-corporate-sponsorship policy. The venue has changed its name twice more since the games and now goes by Vivint Smart Home Arena. The arena is home to the Utah Jazz and hosts approximately 40 regular-season NBA games per year, as well as large stadium concerts and other big-ticket events.
Super-G at Snowbasin
3925 E. Snowbasin Road, Huntsville
Weber County’s Snowbasin is one of the longest-running ski areas in the country. Its first ski runs were cut in 1940, and last year, the resort celebrated its 75th season. Snowbasin hosted the 2002 Games’ downhill, combined and super-G events, as well as the 2002 Winter Paralympics Alpine skiing events, including downhill, slalom, giant slalom and super-G. Today this Wasatch Back resort offers 3,000 skiable acres and as many vertical feet, four terrain parks and several rustic-upscale lodges. Guests can also access 26 kilometers of groomed Nordic trails, perfect for cross-country skiing, skate skiing or snowshoeing.
Cross-country skiing at Soldier Hollow
2002 Olympic Drive, Midway
Soldier Hollow hosted the games’ biathlon, cross-country and Nordic combined cross-country events, as well as the Paralympics biathlon and cross-country events. The 134-acre venue, completed in 2000, was created specifically for the 2002 Olympics. Since the games, Soldier Hollow has hosted national and international ski racing and biathlon championships, the world’s largest sheepdog championship and the North American Unicycle Championships. Soldier Hollow is believed to be the only self-sustaining Olympic venue. Its Competition Center now houses the K-6 Soldier Hollow Charter School, and its 19 miles of groomed Nordic trails, lodge, biathlon range and tow-serviced tubing hill are available for public use.
Curling at the Ice Sheet at Ogden
4390 Harrison Blvd., Ogden
Also known as the Weber County Ice Sheet, the Ice Sheet at Ogden was the Olympic Games’ second-ever official curling venue, as curling events had only just been introduced to the games in 1998. Prior to the 2002 Winter Games, the Ice Sheet at Ogden hosted several World Curling Federation-sanctioned events, as well as regional curling, hockey and figure-skating events. Today, the venue, which is owned by Weber State University and leased by the Utah Sports Authority, is home to the junior league Ogden Mustangs and offers public skating, figure skating, speed skating and curling, as well as figure-skating lessons.
Speed Skating at the Utah Olympic Oval
5662 S. 4800 West, Kearns,
Like Soldier Hollow, the Utah Olympic Oval was built specifically for the 2002 Games. The venue hosted the long-track speed skating events, and thanks to its elevation-induced low air resistance, all 10 speed-skating events held here set Olympic records—hence the one-time tagline “Fastest Ice on Earth.” The venue is now managed by the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that strives to preserve Utah’s Olympic legacy and engage people in winter sport. The venue still hosts local, national and international competitions and has seen 10 world records shattered on its ice. In addition to hosting speed skating competitions, the Olympic Oval offers public skating, cosmic curling and figure-skating and hockey lessons.
Bobsledding and ski-jumping at Utah Olympic Park
3419 Olympic Parkway, Park City,
The Utah Olympic Park, the third of three venues built specifically for the 2002 Olympics, was under construction for nearly a decade. The 389-acre park hosted the bobsled, skeleton, luge and ski jumping events, and 14 years later, it’s still an active Official U.S. Olympic Training site, serving everyone from elite world-class athletes to local youth. Like the Olympic Oval, the park is now managed by the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation and is financially supported by ticket sales and donations—the latter contributed new ramps, a deeper aerials training pool, and a permanent free-solo climbing wall in 2015. The public can visit the UOP year-round for piloted bobsled rides and a range of exciting events, including national and international bobsled, skeleton, luge and ski jumping comps, the Red Bull 400 and the Psicobloc Masters Series. In the summer, the venue is a popular destination for zip lining, alpine sliding, free solo climbing and adventure courses.
What’s Become of the Other Venues?
Main Media Center
What was the press and broadcasting center during the games is now the Salt Palace Convention Center. As Salt Lake City’s flagship meeting and convention venue, it is the biannual site of both the Outdoor Retailer Convention and Salt Lake Comic Con.
Olympic Medals Plaza
The site of medal presentations and Olympic celebration concerts during the games has now been returned to its former glory as an LDS Church-owned parking lot. (The plaza’s centerpiece, the Hoberman Arch, was relocated to Rice-Eccles Stadium after the games, then moved to an impound lot where several pieces were stolen.)
Located at Historic Fort Douglas on the University of Utah campus, the village housed athletes, coaches and other officials during the games. The buildings are now used as University of Utah student housing.
Park City Main StreetThis pedestrian-only celebration and entertainment area during the games was reopened to traffic after the games. It soon returned to its status as a historic shopping and dining destination for tourists and locals.
Rice–Eccles Olympic Stadium
The University of Utah’s Rice stadium was massively renovated for use as the site of the opening and closing ceremonies, upping its seating capacity from 38,000 to 50,000. It’s now home to the University of Utah Utes Pac-12 football team and host to major events such as the Nitro World Games.
Salt Lake Olympic Square
The pedestrian-only, multi-block hub of downtown Salt Lake that encompassed the Olympic Medals Plaza, the Salt Lake Ice Center and the Olympic Superstore is now the site of Vivint Smart Home Arena, the Salt Palace Convention Center and Abravanel Hall.