The case for Utah to host another Winter Games


Utah is “favorably” positioned to host the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympics, a report released yesterday suggests.

Driving the news: The 12-page report from the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute outlines the environmental, social and demographic factors associated with Salt Lake City playing host to another Winter Games.

  • Of note: This is a supplemental report to a 2022 study that analyzed the economic impact of bringing the games to Utah.

Catch up quick: The IOC announced last December it would delay choosing a host — as Salt Lake City, Sapporo, Japan and Vancouver, Canada, vied for the honor — to consider how climate change will affect snow sports venues.

Yes, but: Salt Lake City is expected to see viable snowfall through 2080, according to the report that cited a Loughborough University study.

The latest: Since then, Vancouver dropped out and the Japanese Olympic Committee recently announced it may delay its bid from 2030 to 2034 due to the corruption scandal from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

  • Stockholm is now a 2030 frontrunner and the IOC is in discussions with other anonymous bidders, per Deseret News.

The intrigue: SLC hosted the Winter Games in 2002, and community members and athletes still use Olympic facilities built for the international sporting event.

  • The report indicates that negative environmental impacts associated with the games would be curbed by not requiring the construction of new facilities, per the report.

Details: The state’s culture of volunteerism and charitable giving could offer positive social impacts, researchers said in the report.

  • In 2002, thousands of volunteers at the Olympics contributed to an estimated $69 to $92 million in savings, playing “a significant role in the Games’ economic success and financial surplus,” according to the report.
  • Hosting another Olympics would attract between 6,000 to 7,000 first-time volunteers in Utah.

By the numbers: A Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll conducted in late January found 82% of respondents favored Utah hosting another Winter Games.

What’s next: During a presentation of the report’s findings, Fraser Bullock, president and CEO of the Salt Lake City-Utah Committee for the Games, said the IOC will meet in October and next summer, which could provide more clarity on SLC’s bid.

  • Although the committee’s bid is to host in 2030, 2034 is preferred to avoid overlap with the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
  • “2023 is going to be a very exciting year in terms of pushing our bid forward,” Bullock said.