PARLEYS SUMMIT — Utah is most known for hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics, but the state’s popular Olympic Park was shut down Tuesday for snow.
Yes, snow. In June.
Residents around the state made last-minute adjustments as weather forecasts turned from clear skies and warm weather to ominous clouds that included valley rain and mountain snow. The freeze is temporary, with KSL meteorologists predicting temperatures as high as 92 degrees on Saturday.
At Olympic Park, six groups that included ski jumpers and bobsledders were turned away from training sessions after the park shut down.
“This is absolutely not what we’re used to this time of year,” park employee Genevieve Sincerbeaux said. “We love our winter athletes, but they like training during our summer months in our sunny conditions.”
Park officials hope the weather is just a brief anomaly, and "the greatest snow on earth" will soon take a summer vacation.
“It is absolutely not looking like June,” Sincerbeaux said. “But I think by the end of the week, we’ll be back to 78 and back for our Olympic day this weekend.”
Jan Frazier of Kamas wasn’t thinking about snow chains when he left for work this morning. He intended to ride his motorcycle in the warm, summer weather.
Instead he, like the athletes at Olympic Park, had to stop.
We love our winter athletes, but they like training during our summer months in our sunny conditions.
–Genevieve Sincerbeaux, Olympic Park
“Seeing this in June is crazy,” Frazier said. “I’ve never seen it. You wouldn’t expect thunderclouds like this turning into snow in June, you know?”
There were a lot of snowplows out in Parleys Canyon, keeping the roads as clear as possible as drivers made their way home in the afternoon. Some big rigs had to pull over to the side of the road, hoping the snow would pass.
The late flurry of snowfall had the Utah Department of Transportation put chain restrictions on vehicles in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. It’s the latest UDOT has had restrictions since 1988, when Alta received 22 inches of snow.
Many residents, like Frazier, even had to make alternative plans to get home in the storm. He ended up calling a friend to pick him up.
“I’m not going to ride home in this,” he said. “Heck no. You want to get home. You don’t want to get stranded somewhere, so you have to get as far as you can.”
Contributing: Sean Walker