Local Athletes Compete In Olympic Qualifier At Deer Valley Resort

Feb 2, 2021, 7:18 PM | Updated: 8:19 pm

PARK CITY, Utah – The Beijing Winter Olympics are only a year away, and a lot of the athletes who will be there are in Park City this week for the important International Freestyle World Cup.

Going off a jump on skis and then flipping around a bunch of times before landing sure looks like fun, and Ashley Caldwell makes it look easy.

She has done this in Park City for years.

“I’ve been here for about 10 years, so I do feel like a local now,” she said with a laugh.

Caldwell has competed in aerials in three Winter Olympics — 2010 in Vancouver, 2014 in Sochi and 2018 in PyeongChang.

She said living and training in Park City keeps her focused on going for her fourth Games in 2022.

“Yeah, you’re definitely not by yourself,” she said. “You can go to a grocery store and be like, well, that’s a gold medalist, they competed in a couple of Olympics, that’s a world champion. So it’s definitely humbling.”

With one year to go until the Beijing Games, Caldwell wants to do well at this week’s International Freestyle World Cup event at Deer Valley, which is an Olympic qualifying event.

“It’s the best event, by far, not even close to comparison on the World Cup tour. So for our team to be back here on home soil is really exciting,” said Caldwell.

This World Cup event is the only one planned in the United States this year.

A lot of competitions have been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Coming into this season, I wasn’t expecting to compete,” said moguls skier Brad Wilson. “For these people to come together and get it going and put the event on so we can continue our passion, I’m just so thankful and happy about it.”

Wilson, who is from Butte, Montana, but lives and trains in Park City, has competed in two Olympics.

He wants to experience that feeling again.

“As soon as you walk in(to the) opening ceremonies, that’s when it’s like, ‘Oh my God.’ It definitely hits you,” said Wilson.

Up-and-coming U.S. Ski Team members like Nick Page would love to experience what competing in an Olympics is like.

Page was born and raised in Park City and hopes Deer Valley will eventually launch him to making the U.S. Team for the 2022 Olympics.

“It would be unbelievable. It’s definitely what’s on my mind right now and what we’re going towards,” said Page. “I think I have set myself up good this season to keep building and building and by February of next year, hopefully, I’ll be flying over to Beijing.”

This week’s event at Deer Valley begins Thursday and goes through Sunday.

Even though no spectators will be allowed to watch the event in person, it will be broadcast on the Olympic Channel and the NBC Sports Network.

“We’re definitely missing the crowd this year,” said Page. “But we’re so thankful just to be back here.”

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Local Athletes Compete In Olympic Qualifier At Deer Valley Resort