In a story in the ParkRecord.com, Howard Peterson announced his retirement from Soldier Hollow in Midway, UT, where he was the executive director of the Soldier Hollow Legacy Foundation and an original advocate for Salt Lake City hosting the 2002 Olympic & Paralympic Games.
Peterson pushed for the XC ski and biathlon venue that would become Soldier Hollow to be made a permanent one with a lasting legacy. The venue's operation was transferred to the legacy foundation as a community and recreational fixture in the Heber Valley as a training and competition destination for XC skiers.
A Maine native, Peterson retires after a long history in the snow sports community. He began in 1974 as ski director at Bretton Woods resort in NH and moved west to work for the US Ski Association in 1978. His 13-year tenure as USSA executive director saw the reuniting of the US Ski Team with USAA in Park City, UT. He helped elevate freestyle skiing to Olympic medals status and chaired the FIS Advertising Committee.
Along with a first class XC ski facility, Peterson established a full-service tubing hill at Soldier Hollow (with snowmaking) to build the venue's revenue and customer base serving more than 420,000 tubers in the last decade and a half. More than 91,000 Utah youth have tried skiing through the foundation's programming. Soldier Hollow is also the home of the world's foremost Sheepdog Championships and other significant Heber Valley events.
Soldier Hollow, which was the Utah site of all of the Nordic skiing events at the 2002 Olympics has an 11,000 square foot lodge built with recycled timbers as construction materials for building beams, columns, perlins, siding, interior roof, baseboard, and casing. Approximately 90 percent of the wood used in the lodge was salvaged from a 1902 railroad trestle that once crossed the Great Salt Lake. The bridge was no longer used in the 1950's and a wood reclamation project extracted the materials from under the water.
Tom Kelly, vice president of communications for the US ski & Snowboard Association gives Peterson credit for convincing the US Olympic Committee to choose American Olympic bid cities based in part on their ability to create "legacy" athletic venues. "He has impacted the entire region with a tourist attraction that is remarkable and when you look at the numbers of kids that he had introduced to XC skiing, it's huge."