Utah Olympic Park Bobsled Helmet Cam Footage

Check out this video taken from a helmet cam on the Comet Bobsled ride.

VIDEO: FLY Freestyle at UOP

Park City Television’s Jen Hardman teams up with the FLY Freestyle team to learn the basics of aerials at the Utah Olympic Park.

David Dinger, UOP Track Manager, Passes Away at 45

The Utah Olympic Park and the bobsled, skeleton and luge community have lost a valuable member of its family on August 25 when David Dinger, age 45, passed away at his home in Park City after battling renal cell carcinoma since last October.

Dinger, a devoted father to Jack, 13 and Joe, 10, always had an interest in international sports and was a great advocate of sport. He engaged to the fullest by participating as well as being a spectator. He became a fan of Indy Car Racing at age 12. The one word that is consistently used when it comes to Dinger is “passion.” His enthusiasm for life was inspiring and infectious. He loved to learn and loved to share.

His passion for skiing prompted him to move from California to Park City in 1992. He worked winters as Ski Patrol at Park City Mountain Resort and summers at Park Meadows Country Club. Attending “Greens-keeper School” to learn the science of irrigation would later prove to be instrumental in his knowledge of icing the track.

He became involved in sliding sports after receiving a Learn-to-Luge clinic for a birthday gift in December 2001. He immediately got hooked on the sport of luge which lead to his interest in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. He landed a job working on the track and was positioned at “curve 12” for the duration of sliding events. Soon after the Games, he applied for the Track Manager position and was accepted based on his experience that included his career in Public Relations while he lived in California. He dedicated himself to sliding sports, gaining a reputation worldwide of being an “Icemeister” and setting the bar for other tracks around the world.

“David has been our inspirational leader of the Olympic Park track. He had a special ability to bring out the best in his staff, the athletes, and a family of international officials who admired and respected his vision and leadership. It will be an honor and privilege for us to continue operating the track and developing athletes in a way that David worked so hard to see happen,” said Colin Hilton, President of Utah Athletic Foundation.

Respected by his team on the UOP track, athletes around the world and all those in the sport community, Dinger was recognized as a leader in the development of the bobsled, skeleton and luge sports. track. RJ Shannon of UOP said, “Dave was set apart by his passion for athletes. His legacy is yet to be fully realized as it lives on in the hopes and dreams of the athletes he touched.”

The camaraderie on the track, which Dinger considered his second home, was that of close family and friends. Carl Reopke, fellow luge slider and “voice of the track”, finally remembers David routinely saying “See you at the bottom”.

His remarkable journey to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games where he worked on the track, was inspiring and prompted international media interest. In an interview with CTV while in Vancouver, Dinger said he was concerned about being able to perform, but when he arrived at the track, he thought that maybe it was the excitement that made him feel his old self. After the Gold Medal victory of the USA 4-Man Bobsled Team, bobsled pilot, Steve Holcomb said, “David, this medal is as much yours as it is mine. Night Train would not be what it is today without you”.

David worked tirelessly, in health and during his battle with cancer, to promote the sliding track sports at Utah Olympic Park as a facility where sliding enthusiasts and serious competitors alike could feed their passion for these sports. He had requested before his death that donations be taken in his name to fulfill the purpose and mission stated above, and specifically to purchase much needed equipment so the track and the sliding sports could continue to grow.

The David Dinger Developmental Sliding Foundation, found at http://www.DavidDingerFoundation.org, was formed shortly after David’s death as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Foundation’s purpose is to encourage and promote the winter sliding sports of bobsled, skeleton and luge at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah though education, outreach and equipment. The Foundation will focus initially on purchasing equipment to support participation in the sports and training by Olympians. All donations are tax deductible.

His courage, strength and will was an example to all. His warm smile and friendship will be missed.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the David Dinger Developmental Sliding Foundation at http://www.DavidDingerFoundation.org.

Salt Lake Magazine UOP Coupon!

Our friends at Salt Lake Magazine have a great coupon for $5 off a summer ride package! Check this out:

It may still feel like summer, but it’s almost time to send the kiddos back to school.

Now’s the time to fit in all those last minute to-do’s and play dates and the Utah Olympic Park in PC wants to help out.

Print out the coupon (click here) and experience the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics for yourself.

Zoom down the Bobsled, Zipline, or Quicksilver to cure your need for speed.

The deets:

Bronze Package – 1 Ultra Zipline, 1 Quicksilver.

Silver Package – 1 Xtreme Zipline & 1 Ultra Zipline, 1 Quicksilver.

Gold Package – 1 Comet Bobsled Ride, 1 Xtreme Zipline & 1 Ultra Zipline, 1 Quicksilver.

Offer valid summer 2010 season only.

Age and weight restrictions apply. Please check olyparks.com for restrictions, hours and possible closures/weather holds. OFFER NOT VALID ON SATURDAYS. One coupon per person accepted. Package activities cannot be split up or used by more than one person. Activities are weather dependent, may sell out and are subject to delay or cancellation without notice. Check olyparks.com or call 435.658.4200.

Click here to print off the coupon!

Derek Parra, 2002 Gold and Silver Olympic Medalist, Joins the UAF Team

The Utah Athletic Foundation announced Wednesday, July 21, 2010 that Derek Parra, 2002 Gold and Silver Olympic Medalist in speed skating will be joining Utah’s Olympic Legacy Foundation as its new Outreach Director for Youth Sports Programs. Parra will play a vital community role in helping Utah’s youth connect with winter sports programs offered at Utah Olympic Oval and Utah Olympic Park. He will also oversee the Utah Olympic Oval’s speed skating programs, ensuring a dynamic series of age-appropriate athlete development programs on the “World’s Fastest Ice!”

Parra has assisted in the development of the organizations Olympic legacy efforts and goals while serving as a Board member of the Utah Athletic Foundation since 2007. And, as a member of the organization’s Sports Development Committee, he contributed his knowledge as an athlete and a coach. Parra said, “As a board member for the past three years, I have been fortunate to witness the Utah Athletic Foundation’s passion and commitment for youth sports in Utah. I am excited about this opportunity because it blends kids, sports and Utah, all of which I love. I am looking forward to working with kids and helping them in the process of not only being a champion in sport, but a champion in life”.

As one of the finest speed skating coaches in the world, Parra will bring a level of expertise to the beginner level programs never seen before in the United States. He will also use his unique expertise and community minded perspectives to further encourage Utah’s youth to engage in winter sport and physical activity.

Colin Hilton, Utah Athletic Foundation CEO, said, “Our Olympic legacy organization is very fortunate to have such a talented and respected individual lend his efforts towards the development of our young athletes. We look forward to growing our youth speed skating programs and expanding participation in all our unique winter sport program offerings. Derek is a perfect fit to help us spread the message about Utah’s Living Olympic Legacy and our efforts to promote winter sports in the State of Utah.”

Marc Norman, Utah Olympic Oval’s Director added that “Having one of the nations best coaches focus his efforts on our youth speed skating programs is very exciting. Derek will be involved in the day to day coaching and mentoring of beginner level participants bringing his skills to those he can impact most. This unique opportunity to work with a Gold Medal Olympian is not offered anywhere else in the United States. Parra will add a unique twist to coaching the youth of Utah, ensuring that their sport experiences are rewarding and fulfilling. His creative and innovative coaching techniques focus on kids having fun while promoting active and healthy lifestyles”.

Parra’s athletic successes include the 2002 Olympic Gold Medal in 1500 meters setting a new World Record and the 2002 Olympic Silver Medal in the 5000 meters setting a new American Record. His years of training and his coaching with the US Speed Skating team contribute to a wealth of experience and knowledge that he will bring to the Utah Athletic Foundation; not only in speed skating, but in overall sport and athlete development.

Canada’s ‘Own the Podium’ program takes next step with Olympic training complex in Calgary

The following is an excerpt from an article published at thechronicleherald.ca:

Clad in a hard hat and steel-toed boots, hockey player Carla MacLeod imagined what her life would be like at Canada’s first winter sport institute as she toured its construction site.

“From an athlete’s standpoint, it’s like a little taste of heaven,” the two-time Olympic gold medallist said as she ambled between concrete pillars.

The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler may be over, but rising from the ground on Calgary’s west side is a major step in Canada’s evolution into a winter sport power.

Construction on the $220-million Athlete and Ice Complex at Canada Olympic Park began long before the opening ceremonies of the 21st Winter Olympiad in February.

It was the momentum of an Olympics coming to Canada, however, that sparked the political will in government and sport stakeholders to build something the United States, Germany and Australia have, but Canada didn’t.

When the three phases of the 46,450-square-metre AIC are complete, it will exist in concert with the legacies of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary as a sports hub for both Olympians and the public.

It will resemble the U.S. States Olympic Training Centre in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.

“Once it’s finished it’s going to be leading edge,” says Alex Baumann, who oversees Canada’s Olympians as head of Own The Podium.

“If you take a look at some of the top countries in the world, they have gone the route of institutes.”

What an institute means is that athletes have access to everything they need under one roof. They could conceivably spend every waking hour there because all their training, eating, recovering, medical and sport science needs are all met at the facility.

Canada currently has seven sport centres across the country. The centres administer programs and services to athletes, but they don’t provide a single, physical place for them to ply their trade.

Skeleton coach Duff Gibson, an Olympic gold medallist in 2006, says the benefits of not having to drive from one end of the city to the other for medical treatment, massage therapy or video analysis can’t be underestimated.

“It’s a lot of running around and time that could be better spent or more effectively spent, even if it’s just recuperating,” he explains. “Sitting in a car driving from site to site is not recuperating.”

The federal and provincial governments and the City of Calgary are providing $130 million towards the project. A condition of that funding is for the public to have access to the institute.

WinSport Canada, which oversees the legacy and investments from the 1988 Olympics, is contributing more than $60 million.

WinSport is trying to raise the remaining $30 million from the corporate community. Now that there are bricks and mortar to see, WinSport is touring company executives through the site.

WinSport wants them to imagine their name and logo inside and outside the facility.

“We want to name absolutely everything,” WinSport president and CEO Guy Huntingford says. “The purists say you shouldn’t put your money on anything, it’s all wrong, and then you’ve got the other people who name every brick.

“The mandate is to become the No. 1 winter sport nation. That’s the vision and that costs a lot of money. Every athlete will tell you, ‘We have to have somewhere to train.’ So somebody has to pay for the facilities and somebody has to maintain them.

Click here to read the entire article.

SPRING TIME: What’s new at the Park?

Summer Freestyle Programs
Would you like to learn the sport of freestyle skiing? Check out the wide variety of programs offered by FLY, AXIS and others.

Xtreme Zipline opens weekends Sat. May 8
Enjoy one of the world’s steepest and most unique ziplines. The Xtreme zipline sends riders alongside the K120 nordic ski jump at speeds approaching 50 mph!

Family Guided Tours – $25 (5 ppl)
Go behind the scenes and save money on the popular and informative guided tour. With the $25 “Family Pass,” five people can tour the venue that hosted 14 medal events during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

Summer Comet Bobsled Rides begin Sat. May 22
Experience 4 G’s of force, reach speeds approaching 70 mph and finish the 2002 Olympic track in about a minute flat on the Summer Comet Bobsled ride!

The Winter Sports School: Not the Typical Experience

The following is an excerpt from an article published at www.parkrecord.com:

At 4:1, one Park City secondary school could well be renowned for its student/teacher ratio. But that’s overshadowed by another claim: its 38:1 student/Olympic medal ratio.

The Winter Sports School a year-round alternative for high school students who want to prepare for college while balancing the demands of their athletic schedules enjoyed a banner year at the 2010 Olympics. Graduate Steven Holcomb (Class of ’97) won gold in four-man bobsled, Julia Mancuso (’00) added two silvers to her 2006 giant slalom gold, and Andrew Weibrecht (’03) stunned the ski-racing world with super-G bronze.

“It’s been unbelievable,” said the school’s head, Rob Clayton. “The Olympics were huge for us.”

As if that wasn’t legacy enough, 2006 combined gold medalist Ted Ligety (’02) just wrapped up his second overall FIS World Cup GS title, and a roll call in one of the school’s current 20-person classes sounds like a “who’s who” of youth winter sports in the United States.

“It makes for a great work environment, because everybody’s carrying a passion,” said Clayton, who cautioned readers:

“Our name is kind of tricky. We educate athletes; we don’t train them.”

For parent J.D. Christensen, whose son Joss was named one of the 20 best skiers 18 and under by Powder Magazine along with ’09 classmate Alex Schlopy, enrolling was a no-brainer. Recently returned from competing in Europe and a photo shoot with Spyder in Aspen, Colo., Joss will attend the University of Utah after four years at the school.

“It worked out really well for us,” J.D. Christensen said. “Our local schools don’t really accommodate students taking off weeks at a time.”

At the Winter Sports School, they understand. Current senior Adam Callister owns national junior records in short-track speedskating at both 1,000 meters and 1,500 meters. Fellow senior J.J. Tomlinson is a snowboardcross standout who finished fifth at X Games in Aspen at the end of January. Sophomore Nicolas Veth was the overall J-III Junior Olympic alpine champion at Vail this month.

Clayton said the student body’s many accolades are fun to follow, but his primary focus is to facilitate a full course load for athletes when they return from competing. Of the 230 graduates the school has produced since opening in 1994 (it has a capacity of about 60 students), more than 90 percent have gone on to attend college, Clayton said.

Class begins April 12 on the campus at Utah Olympic Park, and the school year will end in mid-November. Clayton said the four-year school has a unique makeup with more seniors than juniors, juniors than sophomores, and sophomores than freshmen.

“Once they come here, they usually stay,” he explained.

Click here to read the entire article.

Something in the water in Utah breeds great Olympic athletes

The following is an excerpt from an article posted at TheSkiChannel.com:

It’s gotta be in the water. What else? Why is it that so many “Utahns” are such great Olympians? Keep in mind that the 2002 Winter Olympic Games were held in Salt Lake City, so clearly the Olympic Gods feel the vibes emanating from the state as well.

Off the top of our heads, here a few great Olympians who currently reside, grew up, or train in Utah: Lindsey Vonn, Ted Ligety, Shannon Bahrke, Billy Demong, Shauna Rohboch, Valerie Fleming, Zach Lund, Louie Vito…among several others. Bam. Those are 8 athletes who could all be on the cover of a Wheaties box.

Utah is home to the Center of Excellence in Park City—not open to the public it’s that cool—where athletes like Vonn and Vito prepare for their greatness in these Olympic Games. Aerial skier Emily Cook, from Utah, spent the whole summer training in the Utah Olympic Park splash pool, where she built fitness and focused on technique refinement. Before the Games started she was quoted as saying “My number one priority is taking one day at a time and loving the experience of the journey. That’s how I’ll be prepared when the big day comes”.

While the Center of Excellence may not be open to the public, the Utah Olympic Park is. That’s where the world’s best bobsledders, lugers, skeleton racers freestyle skiers and ski jumpers train. As a tourist, you can take a ride down the bobsled track. If that scares you, head to the Utah Olympic Oval, home to the best US speed skaters near Salt Lake City. Home to the “Fastest Ice on Earth”, 10 Olympic records and eight world records have been set there. Take a skate lesson taught by a U.S. registered Figure Skating coach!

Click here to read the entire article.

New UOP venue map alive and jumping!

If you’ve logged onto the UOP website lately you probably noticed something completely new and different: A fully animated and interactive two-season Park venue map. The map, created by a Connecticut-based company called North Pole Design was months in the making, and now that it’s finished, provides online users an opportunity to preview and explore the Park without leaving their homes.

With its activation, Utah Olympic Park is now the only resort/facility in Utah which offers online users this kind of interactive option. The map includes a detailed “call out” legend whereby users scroll their pointer over different headings to reveal short descriptions of the track, jumps, Daylodge, museum, and other Park features. There’s a “season” button, which when clicked, changes the map and the Park’s offerings from summer to winter. Also included is a series of buttons with appropriate icons which highlight the guided tour route, gift shop, and restroom locations (among others). Perhaps the most unique aspect of UOP’s new venue map is the audio component. By clicking on the microphone icon near the top left corner of the map, users activate a cartoon Host, who pops up with a friendly wave and offers a short list of topics about which users can hear more information.

According to UOP Public Programs Manager, Jon Green, the interactive map takes the Park’s website to a new level. “Curious browsers can now explore the Park and all its offerings from any computer with internet access; and instead of just reading about the splash pool, users can actually watch tiny freestyle skiers hurl themselves off water ramps into the bubbling training pool. It’s really cool.”

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE NEW MAP!