New virtual ski experience at Utah Olympic Park

PARK CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - Visitors to the Alf Engen Ski Museum are about to be taken for a virtual ride. The museum’s new four-person quad chairlift seat bobs, sways, lifts and dips in unison with winter sport scenes projected on a giant screen a few feet away. Reality is added to the two and one-half minute ride by a light breeze and snow-like flakes that fill the air.

This virtual indoor ski experience, made possible by a lead donation from Adobe Systems, will be unveiled on Friday, February 7, during a grand opening reception from 10:30 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. The event is open to the public. Museum admission is free.

Virtual Ski Experience rides will be free from 10:30 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. for the grand opening. Otherwise, the ride will have a one-ride pass fee of $5,” states David Vandehei, president of the volunteer Alf Engen Ski Museum Foundation that oversees the museum. 

Also to be unveiled during the festivities will be the “Ted Ligety Hometown Hero” exhibit that showcases racing gear and other items donated to the museum by Park City native Ted Ligety, reigning World Cup champion and one of America’s leading alpine competition entrants in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games that begin on February 7, in Sochi, Russia.

“These new exhibits and virtual rides are exceptional enhancements to the museum’s visitor experience,” says Vandehei. “Virtually—and realistically—these enhancements will ‘reboot’ the Alf Engen Ski Museum. This exhibit is the first of many phases to update our entire museum. Our next phase will be a virtual ski jump simulating our Utah Olympic Park Nordic K120 ski jump. Opportunities to sponsor this exciting ‘next phase’ are available.”

The first-of-its kind Virtual Ski Experience Ride is the product and brainchild of the design and engineering teams of JDH Group of Ogden, Utah. Riders sit in a quad chair, attached to a motion base platform that moves to mirror the movement of the images on the 16 x 19 foot screen. The spectacular ski scenes are the product of local ski enthusiast, Marshall Miller, whose helmet-mounted camera shots are synchronized with the motions of the chair. The bobsled scenes come from the Olympic sliding track located just behind the museum.

The Virtual Ski Experience Ride already has captured national attention, having won a silver award for the designers/builders in the “Best Museum Environment” section of the 2013 Event Designs Awards competition, sponsored by “Event Marketer” magazine that will appear in its February issue.

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