LOCAL NEWS

Utahns travel hours to attend World Cup sport climbing event in Salt Lake City

May 4, 2024, 6:00 PM | Updated: 6:23 pm

SALT LAKE CITY Any sport featuring a DJ, an electric crowd, and plenty of emotion is sure to be popular.

And 9-year-old Ivan Phenis couldn’t get enough of it.

“I don’t know, it’s just really fun,” he said.

Even though they live nearly four hours away in Hurricane, Ivan convinced his mom and friends to bring him to Salt Lake City just to watch a World Cup climbing event on Saturday.

“He started climbing about three years ago and he is going to start competitive climbing,” said Jussi Phenis, Ivan’s mother.

The International Federation of Sport Climbing World Cup took place Saturday at the training center for USA Climbing. And it is a good place to begin those dreams while watching the best sport climbers in the world.

“It is amazing. It is incredible. The talent is like unreal,” said Jussi Phenis. “It is very cool.”

Many climbers in the event represent several countries. Those climbers will also be competing in the Paris Olympics this summer.

Only stop in the United States

Salt Lake City is the only stop for this World Cup in the United States this year.

Most of the events are in Europe and Asia. However, as the sport continues to grow in Utah, so does the crowd coming to watch, especially since USA Climbing is based in Salt Lake City.

“It is pretty exciting,” said Zach Curtner. “I would say it is a 10 out of 10 on the vibe. The excitement is just through the roof.”

Saturday was the first time Curtner has been to one of these events.

He lives in Hurricane, too, and his daughter Marlee just had to be here.

“She has been talking about it for months,” Curter said. “She is getting into competitive rock climbing and loves watching all this stuff on TV and is really excited to be here in person.”

There were fans from around the world watching the climbing competitions.

You never know who in the crowd will be inspired to be America’s next climbing Olympian.

Maybe it will be Ivan.

“He has said, he’s like, ‘I think I would like to do this one day.’ And I was like, hey, it would be awesome to come and watch you,” Jussie Phenis said. “We are having a great time here.”

The competition continues Sunday, then the Paraclimbing World Cup takes place May 6-7 in Salt Lake City.

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Utahns travel hours to attend World Cup sport climbing event in Salt Lake City