Since 1989, the Alf Engen Ski Museum Foundation in Park City, Utah has preserved and celebrated the rich heritage of skiing and snowboarding in the Intermountain West. This former Winter Olympic venue site is now a world-class facility and free museum for skiing and snowboarding fans. With recently updated exhibits and close proximity to the exciting activities and action at the Utah Olympic Park, this free museum in Park City is awesome for those with a passion for snow sports.
If you haven't been or recently visited the Alf Engen Ski Museum, it's time to pay a visit as the facility underwent a big remodel in 2021 with updated exhibits and plenty to explore. Skiing in Utah stretches back well over a century and in fact, Alta Ski Area and Brighton were some of the earliest ski hills to install chairlifts in North America. Skiing in Utah is an enormous part of our state's identity and history. When the world's eyes fell on Utah in 2002 for the XIX Olympic Winter Games, our place in the annuls of ski and snow sports heritage was forever cemented. You couldn't expect much less from a place with "The Greatest Snow on Earth®".
The Alf Engen Ski Museum is located in Park City, Utah on the campus of the Utah Olympic Park. The area served as a crucial venue for many events in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. We are lucky in that the Olympic venues across Utah continue to be some of the best operational Olympic venues in the world. Our incredible legacy and the state's desire to continue maintaining and operating the venues may well secure a second visit from the Winter Olympic Games. While we wait on the news, I highly recommend a visit to both facilities to better understand and appreciate the legacy of snow sports in Utah.
The Alf Engen Ski Museum and the Eccles 2002 Olympic Winter Games exhibit are both housed in the 30,000-square-foot Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center. Both are named after important pioneers who forged ahead to create the ski industry in Utah. The Ski Museum is housed on the first floor and covers a huge range of subjects and topics relevant to skiing and snowboarding in Utah and the Intermountain West. Head upstairs to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games exhibit to relive the legacy of our unforgettable Winter Games. The museum opened its doors shortly after the 2002 games and for 20 years the museum has brought interactive displays, knowledge, and good times to the community.
In the spring of 2018, plans for a major remodel took shape and the updates were unveiled in December of 2021. This $1 million dollar investment brought nine new exhibits and a host of interactive, kinesthetic zones that are sure to delight children and adults alike. With further upgrades in the works, the museum beckons over 500,000 guests per year to admire, learn, and appreciate the legacy of snow sports in Utah.
First up, you'll enjoy a colorful collection of ski wear through the decades. This tribute to the wild and sometimes wacky aspects of ski "fashion" is the personal collection of Barbara Alley Simon and it's fun to witness the evolution of gear and accessories over the decades.
Next, you'll stroll through the Intermountain Ski Hall of Fame. Do you recognize any names? Nearby, there's a theatre playing a selection of short films about skiing in Utah.
My personal favorite is the Perfect Powder zone. This interactive display, sponsored by Ski Utah, helps guests better visualize the quantity and top quality of the snowfall that blankets Utah each winter. After winter 2022–23's record-breaking season, it's fun to visualize how much snow actually stacked up on Utah's mighty mountains!
Adventure junkies and kids will love the Mountain Sports Simulator. Admission to ride helps fund the museum and you can clamor aboard the chairlift to experience a perfect powder day at Alta, hitting huge jumps by mountain bike on the Deer Valley flow trails or navigating a mind-bending bobsled course.
Think you have what it takes to be an Olympic-level ski jumper? The Ski Jump Simulator places you atop a virtual ski jump ramp (identical to the real one just steps away outdoors). You're given a brief tutorial and the wind speed and then it's up to you to take the leap!
Keep winding through the museum to learn about the evolution of ski and snowboard technology. It's wild to see what was once cutting-edge and how the shapes and designs have changed over time. There's an interactive map with hundreds of archived stories, photos, characters, and tales. An interpretive display on ski patrol and avalanche mitigation is particularly interesting. You can learn about heroes in the annuls of Utah skiing and admire the athleticism and accomplishments of Alf Engen himself. I won't spoil it all, the museum awaits your discovery!
Head upstairs to revel in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games or step outside to the Utah Olympic Park to watch the Flying Aces leap off the ski jumps into the specialized practice pool, ride the zip lines, ride the real bobsled track, or even take a class to leap into the pool yourself!
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