Skiing events put Snowbasin on map

Feb 11 2012 - 6:16pm

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(Standard-Examiner staff) The stands were full at Snowbasin during the 2002 Winter Olympics.
(Standard-Examiner staff) The stands were full at Snowbasin during the 2002 Winter Olympics.

It has been 10 years since the Winter Olympics came to Snowbasin, but the impact of the 2002 games will be felt at the resort years into the future.

When Salt Lake City was awarded the Olympics in 1995, Snowbasin was chosen as the venue for the men's and women's downhill, super-G and combined races.

The resort, along with Northern Utah's ski industry, hasn't been the same since.

"The Olympics did things not only for Snowbasin but for Ogden, the Ogden Valley and Weber County as a whole," said Jason Dyer, Snowbasin spokesman. "But for us, it just really put us on the map."

Dyer said since showcasing itself at the Olympics, Snowbasin's reputation has grown not only nationally but also globally.

"We've become a vacation spot for people from all over the world," he said. "And that's good for everyone in this area. When people come to Snowbasin, they spend money in Ogden and Weber County. They stay in the local hotels, they eat at the local restaurants. It's good for the entire region."

Steve Andrus, director of events and sales at Snowbasin, said the legacy left behind by the Olympics has paved the way for the Winter Dew Tour, the most prestigious competition in skiing and snowboarding outside of the Winter Olympics and X Games.

"(The Olympics) is one of the main reasons the Dew Tour looked at Snowbasin," he said. "The legacy of the games is something that will carry on for years to come."

Being held this past week and ending today, the Dew Tour brings many of the world's top names in snowboarding and free skiing to the area.

Gary Nate, a South Ogden resident who has skied at Snowbasin since the 1960s, said the resort has changed in many ways in those 50 years but the greatest changes came because of the Olympics.

"Things changed quite a bit when (Earl) Holding bought it," Nate said. "But when it was announced that the Olympics were coming, that's when the really big changes came. And those changes are still happening today."

Robert Earl Holding, a Salt Lake City-area businessman who also owns Sinclair Oil, several hotels and Sun Valley Ski Resort in Idaho, purchased Snowbasin in 1984.

"One of the biggest things that came because of the Olympics is the snowmaking machines," Nate said. "I don't think people realize how big that is. (Before the machines) we might not have had good skiing until mid- to late January."

Nate has spent much of his life as a cameraman for ski and snowboarding filmmaker Warren Miller, so he's skied all over the world. Snowbasin is quickly becoming one of the most prestigious winter spots anywhere.

"A lot of that is because of the Olympics."

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