Soldier Hollow

Soldier Hollow is a cross-country ski resort located 53 miles (85 km) southeast of Salt Lake City in Wasatch Mountain State Park, Utah, United States. The resort was created for the 2002 Winter Olympics, and during the games it hosted the biathlon, cross-country skiing and the cross country skiing portion of the nordic combined events. Since hosting the Olympics, it has been developed as a cross-country skiing, tubing, and snowshoeing resort, while featuring mountain biking and golfing in the summer.

History
Pre-Olympics

Soldier Hollow is located in the southeastern-most part of Wasatch Mountain State Park, a 21,592 acres (8,738 ha) nature preserve created in 1961, which became a state park in 1968. Soldier Hollow's location within the state park did not carry a name until Olympic organizers coined it Soldier Hollow. This name was chosen because of its proximity to Soldier Springs, which were thought to have been used by U.S. Troops originally sent to Utah to quell a supposed Mormon uprising, in an incident known as the Utah War. Prior to becoming a state park certain locations within the park were used for farming and grazing activities, while much of the remainder was used recreationally by locals. In the last quarter of the 20th century the state park service had been approached by private developers hoping to build luxury hotels, golf courses and other attractions within the park, but none of these plans ever came to fruition.

Resort development

The Soldier Hollow venue was one of only three which was built and designed by the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) specifically for the 2002 Winter Olympics; with the others being the Utah Olympic Park and Utah Olympic Oval. The Soldier Hollow location was chosen by SLOC as an Olympic venue in October 1997, over several other possible locations including Sherwood Hills near Logan, Utah. Preliminary work began soon after the venue site was chosen, but major construction didn't start until 1999. Work at the venue had been completed enough (80% complete) to host its first major event, U.S. Cross Country Championships, on January 8, 2000. Construction on the venue's day lodge began with a groundbreaking ceremony on July 5, 2000. The lodge was completed in December 2000 and dedicated on January 5, 2001. The venue cost SLOC $22 million USD to construct.

2002 Winter Olympics & Paralympics

During the 2002 games Soldier Hollow hosted the biathlon, cross-country skiing, and nordic combined events. The venue itself hosted 64,160 biathlon spectators, 99,320 cross-country spectators, and 1,794 nordic combined spectators during these events. During the 2002 Winter Paralympics the venue hosted the biathlon and cross-country events.

Soldier Hollow was the furthest venue from Salt Lake City with an estimated drive time of 2-2.5 hours from downtown during the games. Because of this distance from any large population centers, a special Western Experience was created at the venue's spectator plaza to give visitors activities to do between competitions. The Western Experience included music and entertainment, a mountain rendezvous, pioneer reenactments, cowboy camps, wild mustang exhibit and American Indian displays, along with concession stands.

In order to help cut down on vehicle traffic in the local canyons during the games, and to give spectators a unique experience, SLOC reached an agreement with the historic Heber Valley Railroad to transport spectators to the Soldier Hollow venue. A special station was constructed along the railroad tracks near the venue which would allow for two to four trains, carrying 200 passengers each, per day. The Heber Valley Railroad's numbers 618 and 75 steam-engines, were joined by the Nevada Northern Railway Museum's number 93 steam-engine, in pulling eight-car trains full of passengers, to the Soldier Hollow depot where they disembarked and continued to the venue entrance on a horse-drawn sleigh.

The resort today

The resort has been developed as a cross-country skiing, tubing, and snowshoeing resort during the winter months, while featuring mountain biking and golfing in the summer. It is owned by the State of Utah and managed by the Division of Utah State Parks and Recreation, who also manages the surrounding state park. It also home to Soldier Hollow Charter School.

Reference

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via Annotator
  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference and added a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com