Weber County officials help attempt to bring Winter Olympics back to Utah | News, Sports, Jobs


BEN DORGER, Standard-Examiner archive photo

A Snowbasin Ski Resort gondola ascends the mountain on November 20, 2018. Snowbasin served as the site for the 2002 Winter Olympics, and Weber County officials are helping efforts to bring the Olympics back to Utah in 2030 or 2034.

OGDEN – Crafting a successful bid for Utah for the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympics is not just the task of Salt Lake City, which would be the host city.

And the time to start planning is not in 2029.

Efforts are well underway to bring the Olympics back and officials from Ogden, among many others, are helping. Getting an inventory of hotel rooms is only part of the process and Sara Toliver, director of Visit Ogden, has helped with that effort, along with her counterparts from other local tourist boards around the state.

The Salt Lake City bid organizing team “must demonstrate that northern Utah can provide 24,000 hotel rooms as part of the bid process,” she said.

It might sound trite, but teams, Olympic workers and visitors who would come would need housing, so demonstrating that there are enough rooms for them is essential. It is indeed one of the preparatory elements pointed out by Fraser Bullock, president of the Salt Lake City-Utah committee for the Games.

“We are intensely engaged. We’re actually making an offer, ”he told Sports Travel Magazine, a trade publication for sporting event organizers. This, Bullock continued, involves detailing a ‘vision’, securing accommodation and making agreements for the use of the event venues.

Toliver said she served as a liaison between organizers of Utah’s Olympic bid and hotel operators to secure a number of rooms. Beyond that, however, local tourism officials see great potential if the Winter Olympics return to Utah.

Visit Ogden has developed a 10-year plan to develop tourism infrastructure by 2030 in Weber County. The Olympics, or the potential for an Olympics comeback, are significant.

“With Utah heading for the 2030 Olympics, the opportunities to put Ogden on the world map are plentiful,” the plan says.

Local public buy-in, however, will be key.

“Organizing such an event and doing it well is more than a function of local attractions, venues, accommodation and transportation – it is a function of the community,” the plan continues. “Making sure Weber County as a community is ready and willing to host such an event is the first step in helping to ensure a world class experience and putting Weber County on the world map. “

Demonstrating that Weber County can host large-scale sporting and recreational events is also part of the local strategy. “Holding such events successfully will provide proof of concept of the county’s capacity and capacity to host larger events. This proof of concept should help increase the likelihood that Weber County will be chosen as the Olympic venue, ”the report said.

Weber County has a proven track record in this regard.

Snowbasin, the ski resort, and The Ice Sheet on the Weber State University campus served as the venues for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. And in a report by the Utah Athletic Commission last year, both are identified as possible venues for future Olympic and Paralympic events – Snowbasin for alpine skiing, para-alpine skiing and para snowboarding. and The Ice Sheet for curling and wheelchair curling.

Recognizing the possibilities, Weber County Commissioners allocated $ 150,000 last year to study the possibility of upgrading The Ice Sheet, a county-owned facility, for the possible return of the Winter Olympics.

Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell, involved in the 2002 Utah Olympic effort, is also involved in promoting Utah’s bid for the 2030 or 2034 Olympics. He serves on the board of administration of the Utah Athletic Commission; and the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games Board of Directors.

“We have a very strong and very competitive application package,” he said.

The sites used in 2002 are still standing, more and more used, which would significantly reduce preparation costs. The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, for example, cost Russia $ 50 billion, Caldwell said, and Utah “can do it for a fraction of that.”

In addition, Utah has a strong base of potential volunteers, also very important in organizing an Olympic effort, and the varied venues are in a relatively compact area radiating from Salt Lake City, he said. he declares.

Still, other places around the world, including Vancouver, Canada, are interested in hosting the Winter Olympics in 2030 or 2034. While local officials are impatient, Utah has by no means a lock on the Olympics.

Yes, many in the state are working hard to promote Utah’s candidacy. “But nothing is certain at this point,” Toliver said.

Bullock told Sports Travel Magazine that Utah’s efforts, while already underway, would likely become more intense after next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, 4-20. February.


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