In April 2009 we were in Salt Lake City to see their State Capitol Building and decided to drive up to Park City. While there we had a wonderful time exploring Park City Olympic Park. This is one of the cities that hosted the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. This area served as a venue for ski jumping, nordic combined, bobsled, skeleton and luge. It also features the Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center, which houses both the Alf Engen Ski Museum and George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum. Parking and admission to the museums and venue is free. It was a real thrill to be there and remember what happened. I felt like I was a small part of it. The area itself I beautiful and has a small-town feel even though it has grown in the last decade or so.
While there, you can also experience what they call the Comet Bobsled ride which is the Olympic Park’s defining activity. With a seasoned bobsled pilot, you can experience the official 2002 Olympic Winter Games Sliding Track including speeds over 60 mph, including the g-forces. They challenge you to count all the curves while on this amazing ride. The summer bobsled is built on wheels and runs on the concrete track. In the winter, the modified bobsled slides seamlessly down the ice resulting in an unmatched ride.
If you are an adventure enthusiast, Park City Olympic Park has activities that operate all summer long including two zip lines, featuring the Extreme Zip (one of the steepest ziplines in the world), the uniquely designed Alpine Slide, three adventure ropes courses, and a special challenge called the Drop Tower. There are also nature trails throughout the venue.
Sadly, we didn’t do any of these, as we got there later in the day, but did have an enlightening experience touring the Alf Engen Ski Museum. It was quite impressive. Dedicated on June 9, 2005, the museum houses numerous displays honoring the athletes, volunteers, and sports represented in the 2002 Olympic Games and Paralympic Winter Games. As we walked into the building I could still feel the excitement in the air even though it was so many years ago. It was like the Olympics we were almost alive again in this little city. It was such an incredible feeling.
There were a couple of things that really stuck out with me during our visit. The first thing was being able to see a real bobsled which was used by Gold Medal winner, Tristan Gale. In this exhibit, they also had the skeleton helmet worn by Gold medal winner, Jimmy Shea, and Luge silver medalist Brian Martin’s spiked gloves.
The other exciting exhibit contained a stunning collection of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games medals donated by O.C. Tanner (the company that made the medals). There was also a fascinating visual description of how the medals were produced. This section also features the participant Olympic Winter Games medals collected from Chamonix in 1924 through the 2002 Olympic Winter games.
We had an amazing time visiting Park City Olympic Park and reliving some of the glory of the 2002 Winter Olympics. If you are in the area, this is definitely something you should see and take the kids to see. It made me wish I was there to experience it live, but I was able to see and touch a part of it. Here is a link to their website with more information if you are planning your own trip to visit one day.
Park City Olympic Park Visitor Information
3419 Olympic Parkway, Park City, Utah 84098
Daily 9 AM – 6 PM except for Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day
The museum is FREE if you don’t do all the rides. Click on the website link above to find out the prices for which ride you are interested in.
Park City is about 30 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City. From Exit #145 off I80, turn south towards historic Park City. Take a right turn at the second light (Olympic Parkway / Newpark Blvd) and go through the round-about. Take the road up the hill towards the Nordic Jumps, the Quinney Welcome Center is about a mile up the road.
Free onsite parking
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