For most people, the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to Park City’s Utah Olympic Park is the reason it was built in the first place: the bobsled run and ski jumps that were a part of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Nowadays, while the park remains one of the top training facilities in the country for sliding and jumping winter sports, it’s also become a year-round destination for folks looking to experience an adrenaline rush of their own.
Visitors who are interested in experiencing the thrill of the bobsled themselves can take a ride on the Summer Comet, a wheeled bobsled that takes riders down the concrete track during summer months. A drive and up to three passengers hit speeds of up to 60 mph on the minute-long ride. But for parents with younger kids, this isn’t an option (riders must be at least 13 years old and weigh more than 100 pounds). But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do for the younger set. Far from it—families with younger kids will find plenty of exciting options at Utah Olympic Park. In addition to watching the Comet in action, kids will find plenty of offerings that offer them (and their parents) age-appropriate activities that are just as thrilling. Here are 7 options for parents with young kids to enjoy an adventurous day at Utah Olympic Park.
1. Alpine Slide
Utah Olympic Park’s Alpine Slide features a smooth ride down a metal track on a wheeled sled. You can manage the speed of the easily-controlled sleds, so the Alpine Slide is a good option for those who may not want as much of a hair-raising experience as on the bobsled (note: since you control the speed, you can let the sled run and go plenty fast if you want). The track includes 18 banked turns for an exciting trip down the mountain for kids. Parents can with children who are at least three years old.
Another sliding option is Extreme Tubing, which offers the chance to take a ride down the landing hill of the ski jumps on an inflated inner tube. The plastic surface allows you to slide just like snow. You have two choices, as tubing is available on hills of both the larger jumps and smaller jump. Riders must be at least 5 years old for the small hill; For the larger hill, they must be 13 years old of the big hill.
2. Ride the Chairlift
Hiking up to the top of the mountain probably isn’t very appealing for those with shorter legs. But the park features two chairlifts that 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. The Freestyle Chairlift is free to park guests and gains 150 feet in elevation, taking riders to the Welcome Center Trail.
3. Play at Discovery Zone
For older kids, the Mountain Challenge is an obstacle course that is tucked high above the park (think American Ninja Warrior). 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. But for younger kids, the Discovery Zone is a probably a better fit. The free playground has lots of climbing obstacles to conquer and explore.
4. Try a Zipline
The park is known for its Extreme Zipline, a big, steep, and long ride that descends from the edge of the K120 ski jump down the mountain, with riders reaching up to 50 mph. You must, however, be at least 100 pounds to ride it. A better option for younger kids is the Freestyle Zipline, a shorter (but still fast) ride that offers a more leisurely ride. Participants must weigh at least 50 pounds for this one, so it’s more appropriate for pre-teens.
5. Conquer the Rope Courses
Once again, the park has two challenging options for older kids. The advanced level Summit Adventure Course includes wire traverses and swinging elements, and users can climb up to 55 feet in the air. Participants must be at least 45 pounds, and those younger than 13 must complete the Canyon Course first. The intermediate-level Canyon Course features a log traverse and other balancing challenges up to 25 feet in the air. It’s recommended for those age 7 and older. But younger kids will enjoy getting started on the Discovery Course, which is designed for beginners and youngsters to give them a taste of exploration without getting too high off the ground.
6. Hiking Trails
Take to the free trails around the park to enjoy amazing views of Park City. While you might want to shy away from some of the more extreme trails with the little ones, the Legacy Loop hiking trail circles 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.
7. Take a Class
Do your kids want to fly like Winter Olympians? Utah Olympic Park offers several different classes for kids (and adults) to learn freestyle skiing. The Intro to Freestyle Clinics are two hours long and introduce newcomers to the Eccles Olympic Freestyle Pool, where freestyle skiers hone their skills in the summer months. Coaches will offer basic instructions on technique and give students the chance to jump off the mini ramp into the pool. The class is for ages 7 and up, and students should be able to ski and swim. Even if your children aren’t interested in freestyle skiing themselves, a trip to the Eccles Pool to watch the aerobics is always a lot of fun.
Originally written for Utah Office of Tourism.