PARK CITY, Utah (June 25) - The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Monday announced the most important project in its more than 100-year history, to build a national training and education center in Park City. USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt said the Center of Excellence represents the strongest commitment to USSA's athletes, as well as its stakeholders, and embodies the spirit of the sport.
"The Center of Excellence will have a dramatic effect not only on our USSA athletic programs, but also on our sports nationwide," said Marolt, a former Olympian. "It will embody the common belief that USSA and its stakeholders share – the will and the drive to be best in the world!"
USSA's Center of Excellence will be a state-of-the-art structure designed to serve today’s athletes with world-class facilities and strengthen the development of tomorrow’s Olympic skiers and snowboarders. Construction on the $22.5 million Center of Excellence will begin this summer, with groundbreaking July 18, and will be completed prior to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. It will be located at Quinn’s Junction, east of Park City near the intersection of State Route 248 and U.S. Highway 40.
"I'm very proud that our organization is able to build this national center to impact all areas of our sports,” said Marolt. “This center has been a vision for over a decade and will have the best sport science and training facilities for our diverse athletic needs. It also will provide educational opportunities that will benefit athletes in their specific sport and after their competitive careers end.
“The Center represents our heart and soul," added Marolt. "It is our commitment to the hundreds of young athletes striving for their Olympic dream and will bring together all of us, across all sports, as one great American ski and snowboard team. Furthermore, it will reignite the Olympic spirit from 2002 here in Utah."
The 85,000-square foot Center will be on a five-acre parcel leaving most of the land in its natural state as open space. It will blend the best of high-performance athletic facilities including strength-training areas, a gymnasium, a climbing wall, ski and snowboard ramps, trampolines, a nutrition center and rehabilitation facilities. Plus, it will feature educational areas for athletes, coaches and clubs such as a computer lab, multimedia rooms for performance analysis and equipment workshops. And all of the educational resources will be shared with USSA's 400 clubs around the country.
"This is exactly what we need – it will be a huge asset for us," said World Championships nordic combined silver medalist Bill Demong who like many USSA athletes – Shannon Bahrke, Lindsey Kildow, Graham Watanabe, to name a few – moved to Utah to work more closely with Team coaches, to utilize sport science and to take advantage of the 2002 Olympic legacy facilities.
"In the last five or six years, we’ve seen our temporary training facility grow. Having in-house sport science, in-house testing and our own physiologists will improve our opportunities to succeed,” added Demong. "This Center will set the standard for NGBs [national governing bodies], not only in this country but around the world."
Marolt praised city officials, including Park City Mayor Dana Williams and City Manager Tom Bakaly, for providing leadership in coordinating the project with private landowners and developers over the last few years to make the vision of a center a reality. The Burbidge brothers donated the land as a part of an overall site development plan.
The Center will serve as a magnet for the ski and snowboard sports community in a variety of ways. It also will enhance the value for USSA stakeholders at every level – from the athletes, coaches and staff to clubs, volunteers, corporate partners, donors and other supporters.
Marolt said funding for the Center of Excellence would be supported through the organization's Legacy Campaign endowment. The endowment, through the support of generous contributors, is already adding more than $1 million a year into athletic development.
USSA, which has had a presence in Park City since 1974, is one of the largest employers in the community with 150 employees, most of which are based in Utah. Many of its nearly 200 national team athletes live at least part-time in Park City. USSA manages year-round nationwide development and elite programs including the national teams in six Olympic sports – alpine, cross country, freestyle, nordic combined, ski jumping and snowboarding – as well as two Paralympic sports – disabled alpine and disabled cross country. It provides programs and education for more than 30,000 athletes, officials and coaches in clubs across the country.