PARK CITY, Utah (January 29, 2019)—This week, while Park City’s streets bustle with movie buffs, film industry insiders and celebrity watchers in town for the Sundance Film Festival, nearby on the snow at Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain and Solitude Mountain Resort, the energy and excitement is just as palpable, but in a decidedly different way.
In just three short days, the eyes of the international winter sports community will focus on Utah for 10 action-packed days during the 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships, presented by Toyota. The finishing touches have been made at the venues and, with the conclusion of last week’s X Games and World Cup events, the athletes are now arriving in Utah enforce. “We have an average of 200 athletes, teams and event personnel arriving almost every day now,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard Event Manager Lindsay Arnold.
Among the first to arrive this week have been snowboardcross and skicross athletes, anxious to get on the snow at Solitude Mountain Resort where the 2019 World Champs competition will kick off with the snowboardcross finals on Friday, Feb. 1. “The feedback we’ve received so far from the athletes training at Solitude has been very positive,” says Eric “Web” Webster, U.S. Ski & Snowboard director of events. “The World Cup test event that Solitude hosted in 2017 received rave reviews from coaches and athletes and was voted Best Course on the World Cup tour in its debut event. The plan is to replicate the build from 2017 so teams are anticipating a great venue.”
Italian national snowboardcross team member, Michela Moioli—one of the best snowboardcross racers in the world—competed in the FIS World Cup snowboardcross test event at Solitude Mountain Resort in 2017 and is back in Utah for the 2019 World Champs. “I’m super excited to return to Solitude, this time for the World Championships,” Moioli said. “I took second place there two years ago and I can’t wait to see what will happen there this time.”
Having hosted more than 20 World Cup events—including two previous World Championships in 2003 and 2011—Deer Valley Resort is considered hallowed ground to many of the skiers who’ve competed there over the years, including defending World Champion Aerialist Jonathon Lillis (Rochester, NY). “I can think of nothing better than being able to return to Deer Valley and defend my title in the town that has opened its arms and been home to me for the past seven years,” Lillis says.
Anticipation for the 2019 World Champs is inspiring those off the snow as well. Glass artist from Park City’s Red Flower Studios, Daniel Bell, designed and painstakingly handmade 192 trophies to be awarded to the top three finishers of each 2019 World Champs event. The elegant, wing-like shape of the trophies, Bell explained, represents the culmination of the athletes’ hard work. “There’s a reason we throw our arms in the air after we win: it’s the universal expression of strength and mastery,” Bell said. “It’s embedded deep within our psychology: a natural reaction that occurs within milliseconds signifying all the dedication we put into getting here, the top of our metaphorical mountain. No matter how drained or depleted we are from putting everything into our sport, we’ll always have enough left over for that small, but mighty signal of victory.”
Another artistic celebration around the 2019 World Champs is an exclusive exhibition of original works of art by current and alumni U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes, titled “Art of Athlete.” This exhibition will be on display at High West’s USA House at Nelson Cottage in Park City (651 Park Ave) Feb. 8 – 10, 2019 and is open to the public. All pieces on display will be for sale and all proceeds directly benefit the artists.
About the 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle & Freeski World Championships
More than 1,400 athletes from 40 nations are competing in 25 World Championship medal events from February 1-10. Solitude Mountain Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon is hosting snowboardcross and skicross. Park City Mountain in Park City is the site of parallel events, halfpipe, slopestyle and big air. Deer Valley Resort is the site for moguls and aerials. Click here for spectator information.