Located in Park City, Utah Olympic Park was built for the 2002 Winter Games. But while it may be best known for the bobsled, skeleton, luge, and ski jumping events that it hosted back then, the facility now has become a major resource for those interested in outdoor adventure year-round. Yes, the sliding events are still a big part of the park, including in the summer, and Olympic-caliber athletes still use the state-of-the-art facility for training. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all you can see and do at the park. Here are 10 reasons why it a must-stop destination for anyone looking to enjoy the outdoors in Utah.
1. Summer Comet Bobsled
The park’s signature ride draws in folks who want to see just what it’s like to ride in a real bobsled down an Olympic track. Spoiler alert: Really fast. During the summer the bobsleds are modified to roll down the concrete track, and a trained pilot takes up to three passengers on the ride of their lives. Expect to reach speeds of up to 60 mph during the minute-long ride. You won’t be disappointed.
2. Hiking and Biking Trails
Take to the free trails around the park to enjoy amazing views of Park City. The trail system within the park also connects to Park City’s trail system, allowing you to design a trip as long or short as you like. The trails in the park include:
Yeti and Moose Puddle: These two new mountain bike trails have been added for 2017, and both trailheads are located off of the parking lot near the bottom of the bobsled run. (See the trail map for more details.) Both trails feature plenty of climbing and switchbacks before connecting to the mid-mountain trail.
Legacy Loop: This hiking trail loops around the top of the park offering excellent views of the ski jump and bobsled track. It’s also via this trail that you can access the Mountain Challenge course (see below).
Nordic View Trail: Access this hiking trail from the welcome center and follow it up to the ski jump. You’ll be even more impressed with the athletes who are able to take the flying leap from the top of the tower.
3. Alpine Slide and Extreme Tubing
While not quite reaching the speeds of the bobsled run, these two other sliding options still offer quite a thrill and are much more accessible for the younger crowd. The Alpine Slide offers a smooth ride down the mountain with 18 banked turns. The sleds are easy to maneuver, and you can control the speed yourself. In extreme tubing, you can take a ride down the landing hill of the ski jump on an inflated inner tube. The plastic surface allows you to slide just like it was snow, and you can expect to reach speeds up to 50 mph.
Utah Olympic Park offers several zipline course to choose from, catering to a wide variety of experiences. The Extreme Zipline is big, steep, and long, taking riders from the edge of the K120 ski jump down the mountain at up to 50 mph. Two ziplines allow to you ride alongside a friend or family member. The Freestyle zipline is a shorter and features slower—but still fast—speeds. It’s a perfect start before moving up to the big one, and better for young children and those looking for a more leisurely ride. Whatever you choose, you’ll find unparalleled views of the area. For an additional thrill, consider taking on the Drop Tower, an advanced-level activity that starts with a 377-foot long zip line that ends at the 65-foot tall Drop Tower. From there, you’ll do a freefall rappel to the ground.
5. Rope Courses
You also have several options when it comes to exploring ropes courses. These manmade structures up to 55 feet in the air invite users to put on a harness, tie in, and test yourself on various obstacles. The advanced level Summit Adventure course includes wire traverses, swinging elements and elements of problem-solving. The intermediate level Canyon Course features a log traverse and other balancing challenges up to 25 feet in the air. The Discovery Course is designed for younger climbers and beginners to give them a taste of exploration without getting too high off the ground.
6. Mountain Challenge
Fans of American Ninja Warrior will enjoy this obstacle course that is tucked high above the park. No special gear is needed for this free activity, which invites users to test their strength and agility by completing the course without touching the ground. You’ll find a warped wall and all other manner of hanging and climbing obstacles to conquer.
7. Take a Chairlift Ride
Not interested in all that climbing and jumping? The park’s two chairlifts offer a comfortable way to enjoy the stunning views of Park City. The Nordic Chairlift gains 440 feet of elevation and accesses the trails and activities at the top of the mountain, like the Alpine Slide and the Mountain Challenge. The Freestyle Chairlift is free to park guests and gains 150 feet in elevation, taking riders to the Welcome Center Trail and Freestyle Zipline.
8. Guided Tours
To really get to know the park and its history, take a guided tour of the venue. You’ll learn all about the Olympic drama that happened at the park, as well as some of the more interesting behind-the-scenes stories that never made it to TV. The one-hour tour includes a shuttle bus ride to the top of the ski jump.
9. Climbing Wall
This isn’t your ordinary climbing wall. This is "deep water soloing," which means that the wall is angled to hang over a deep pool of water. The climbers ascend without being roped in, and one false move and it’s in the pool. Of course, that’s part of the fun as well. Climbing shoes are available for rent—and bring your swimsuit.
10. Flying Ace Freestyle Show
Finally, do you want to see someone really put on a show? Every weekend from July through August, you can watch skiers and snowboarders from the Olympic and national team pull show off their moves at the Flying Ace Freestyle Show. You’ll get an up-close look at their moves as they fly off the ramp, perform their tricks and end up in the Spence Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool. It may the wrong season, but you’ll get a good ideas of how these winter athletes train to be able to complete these amazing feats in the snow.
Originally written for Utah Office of Tourism.