OGDEN -- Nearly 200 Special Olympic athletes will compete in the Winter Games this Saturday at Powder Mountain and North Fork park.
Athletes can compete in four events: alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Opening ceremonies begin at 9:30 a.m. at both locations.
Cameron Costley, winter director for the games from Weber State University, said volunteers are still needed for the event.
"We are down in numbers from last year so it would be great if more people can come," he said. He believes numbers may be down because last year Disney was offering a free pass to its parks if people gave a day of service, which was very helpful to the Special Olympics. Since that offer hasn't been repeated, there are fewer volunteers.
Those interested in volunteering can visit the Special Olympics website at www.sout.org or by calling 801-363-1111. Costley said volunteers can also come to the event, but to qualify for skiing discounts, registrations must be complete by midnight the day before the event.
Costley looks forward to the event each year because it's a lot of fun for all. Special Olympics Utah is divided into two groups - those in the Cedar City and St. George area and those along the Wasatch Front. The games on Saturday will include both groups competing against each other. Costley said there 25 to 30 competitors just from the Ogden area.
Although the Winter Games aren't quite as big as the summer games, they are still a great annual event that is usually held in the Ogden area. Costley said the Utah Special Olympics non-profit organization's base is in Salt Lake City. That group has been in charge of securing business partnerships and sponsors and the WSU group is in charge of volunteers and hospitality.
After the games and big dinner, parade, awards ceremony and dance will be held at WSU's union building. Costly said WSU dignitaries will be there as well as members of the WSU team and coaches.
"It's basically a big party," Costley said. Although dinner is just for the athletes, the awards ceremony and dance is open for everyone and will get underway about 7 p.m. Costley and his volunteers have been working since January to prepare for the event.
"We're getting the team together and making sure we have everything lined up for the big day," he said.
For more information about the day or about being involved in Special Olympics Utah visit the website at www.sout.org. Parking for North Fork Park will be at the LDS church at 4279 N. 3300 East, Liberty, and a shuttle bus will pick up every 20 minutes.