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Warmth Helps Salt Lake Prepare for Olympics


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Salt Lake City, UT, Nov. 28 (AP)–The warm spell in recent weeks has been a boon for Olympic venue construction which is on schedule despite earlier delays.

“The longer construction obviously helped our progress,” said Jerry Anderson, Salt Lake Organizing Committee managing director of venue development. “We went through some of the normal construction ups and downs this year. In some phases of our projects we fell a week or two behind. But the better weather helped us maintain our schedules.”

Construction projects include development of ski jumps at the Utah Winter Sports Park and the beginning of major site work for an enclosed speed skating oval in Kearns and the Soldier Hollow cross-country and biathlon courses at Wasatch Mountain State Park in the Heber Valley.

Snowbasin and Deer Valley ski resorts made significant progress preparing for alpine-skiing events.

“It really made a difference for us to have that extra six weeks of not working in sloppy conditions on the mountain,” said Chuck English, Deer Valley mountain operations manager.

Here is a venue-by-venue update on what the construction season yielded:

Utah Winter Sports Park: Crews are molding the surface for the landing zone of the 90- and 120-meter jumps. Crews also have laid foundations and erected the steel superstructure for the “inrun” ramps that jumpers descend before taking flight. A chairlift that will move jumpers to the hilltop was installed, construction began on buildings at the top of the jump and a massive grading job was completed at the base, where temporary stadiums will be set up for an estimated 20,000 Olympic spectators.

Kearns speed skating oval: The foundation has been laid for the new facility and an adjacent administration building. The enclosed oval should start taking shape next spring when steel beams are erected for the cable-suspension structure that will hold up the 300-foot-by-650-foot building. Interior work will proceed through next summer.

Soldier Hollow: Grading was completed and snow-making lines installed for 18 miles of trails, bridges and underpasses. The base area, where a two-story administration building and a temporary stadium will be built, also were graded in anticipation of construction next summer. The biathlon shooting range is being set up. Trees also were planted and a wetlands-mitigation project was initiated.

Deer Valley: About 70,000 cubic yards of dirt were hauled in to create a level finish area for the slalom, moguls and freestyle aerials competitions, plus the temporary stadium where 14,000 to 18,000 spectators will sit.

Snowmaking systems for all three Olympic courses were completed just before last week’s first big snowfall. The moguls run and the aerials jump also were modified to meet International Ski Federation standards.

Snowbasin: The late arrival of snow allowed resort officials to fill in most of the miles of trenches excavated for snowmaking and electrical systems. Concrete underground water-storage reservoirs also were developed and grading was completed for a new $15 million access road. Construction started on maintenance and operations buildings. Plans were approved for a new day lodge and a skier-services building, but they cannot be erected until a land exchange with the U.S. Forest Service turns over the base lands to resort owner Earl Holding.

On other Olympic fronts, SLOC and Park City Mountain Resort are completing final designs for the giant slalom ski race and snowboarding events. Work will start next summer on developing a stadium area capable of seating up to 20,000 fans.

Groundwork also began in Salt Lake City on the Steiner ice sheet, a practice facility during the Games.

Copyright (c) 1999 The Associated Press