Park City, Utah (November 4, 2015) – Broadening its winter sport program offerings, Utah Olympic Park has created the Park City Ski Mountaineering Team. The inaugural Park City ski mountaineering program begins December 3 and registration is available online.
A timed racing event, ski mountaineering, or “SkiMo,” follows an established trail where the skier negotiates diverse alpine terrain while passing a series of check points. Ski mountaineering is truly a multi-sport discipline, combining the endurance of a Nordic skier, mountain biker or runner with the skill and strength of an alpine skier.
Competitive ski mountaineering dates back to 1893 and was hosted in a variety of European alpine nations. The sport was a demonstration event in the first Winter Olympics in 1924. Today, competitive ski mountaineering is a vibrant and popular discipline and has seen explosive growth in North America, especially the Wasatch region. There are over 50 ski mountaineering races in the U.S. annually. The U.S. has fielded a national team at World Championships in Europe since 2005.
The Wasatch region hosted its first ski mountaineering races in 2003, and to date, is the only North American region that has hosted World Cup races sanctioned by the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF). Utah currently hosts more than 20 ski mountaineering races including venues in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Logan. Working closely with the IOC, leaders of the ISMF aim to have ski mountaineering included as an Olympic sport by 2022.
Founded by Nina Silitch, the Park City Ski Mountaineering Team provides an opportunity for skiers to practice ski mountaineering skills and compete in the Wasatch region, while fostering a passion for the sport. The curriculum includes skill-specific development including uphill, downhill and technical travel on snow; sport-specific fitness development and sport education that focuses on nutrition, mental training for competition and year-long training plans. The team is open to participants ages 14 and up with an intermediate to advanced ski background. There will be a strong focus on the development and recruitment of junior athletes from ages 14 to 21.
As head coach, Nina has been competing at the world cup level for more than eight years. She is the first North American to medal in the sport, winning two historic gold medals on the World Cup circuit as well as silver at the World Championships in 2012. Nina is one of the founders and former president of the Chamonix Ski Mountaineering Team in France. She coached and helped develop many athletes become members of the French national team, whom also won medals at both World Championship and World Cup races. She recently relocated to Park City to help grow the sport of ski mountaineering in the U.S., with a particular focus on youth development.
“I am very excited to be a part of the growth of this sport in the U.S. and in the Wasatch area. Park City is an ideal location to draw athletes for this sport, with it being the heart of skiing and endurance sports. I look forward to working with athletes of all ages to help empower and inspire them in a new sport that I have grown to know and love,” said head coach, Nina Silitch.
An informational session including a slide show and gear introduction will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 18 at the Utah Olympic Park. For more information about the Park City Ski Mountaineering Team, please visit UtahOlympicLegacy.org.
To learn more about the Utah Olympic Park Sport Clubs including FLY Freestyle, Park City Nordic Ski Club, and G-Force Bobsled + Skeleton, please visit UtahOlympicLegacy.org.
About Utah Olympic Park
Built for the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Utah Olympic Park is located 28 miles east of Salt Lake City in Park City, Utah. Today, Utah Olympic Park is a vibrant multi-use facility focused on developing and growing winter sport participation in the state of Utah. Designated an Official U.S. Olympic Training Site by the United States Olympic Committee, the venue provides year-round competition and training facilities for Olympic and development level athletes. For the public, the venue features a variety of adventure activities including bobsled rides, zip lines, alpine slide, ropes courses as well as Olympic-heritage exhibits in the Alf Engen Ski Museum and Eccles 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum. For more information about the venue, please visit UtahOlympicLegacy.org or call 435-658-4200.
About Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation
Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation is a Utah non-profit 501(c)(3) organization responsible for managing and maintaining world-class facilities and providing opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to participate and excel in winter sports. Inspired by the success and momentum of the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games, the Foundation has turned its focus toward embracing, engaging and involving Utah’s youth in winter sport. The Foundation supports national sport organizations and community recreational winter sport programs, as well as subsidizes the operation of two Olympic legacy venues – Utah Olympic Oval and Utah Olympic Park. For more information, please visit UtahOlympicLegacy.org or call 435-658-4200.