UT Closed for the Olympics?

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The Canyons-powder shot

Park City, UT, Feb. 21, 2001--The biggest misconception going around is that Utah will be over-crowded next year for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games - not so says Kip Pitou, president of Ski Utah. "The exposure the state will get from the 2002 Olympics will undoubtedly be a great asset for us in the long run," says Pitou. "But we are very concerned, however, about skiers and riders avoiding Utah next year."

At prior Olympics, both in Sydney, Nagano and Atlanta, many stayed away fearing excess Olympic crowds. "All you had to do was open the paper and see how cheap it was to go to Australia during their Olympics," said Dave Fields of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.

With one year to go before Utah's Games, Ski Utah is trying to get out the message that next year will be just as epic for snowriding as this season is turning out to be. "We have some of the best skiing in the world right here in Utah," Fields said. "A lot of people know that now, but a year from now, a lot more people are going to know that."

Only two percent of Utah's total resort terrain will be used during the Games and only three of our 14 resorts will be hosting Olympic events (Park City, Deer Valley, and Snowbasin). Meanwhile, for all resorts, it will be business as usual.

"Olympic venue or not, all of Utah1s resorts will have the shine on next year, to show ourselves off at our best," Fields said. "From Snowbird's perspective, we're just trying to let everybody know we1re open, we're here, and there's 500 inches of snow that needs to be skied."

Meanwhile at the Olympic venues, only about seven percent of the terrain at each area will be used for Olympic events. In fact, it will be possible to head up into McKonkey's Bowl in Park City, Empire Canyon at Deer Valley, or Strawberry Peak at Snowbasin and never even know that the Olympics are going on.

"We will continue to make efforts to let skiers know that we're business (and skiing) as usual during 2002. It really will be a great year for people to come and visit," says Deer Valley Resort Marketing Director Coleen Reardon.