Soldier Hollow is a cross-country ski resort located 53 miles southeast of Salt Lake City in Wasatch Mountain State Park, Utah, United States. The resort was created for the 2002 Winter Olympics, and during the games it hosted the biathlon, cross-country skiing and the cross country skiing portion of the Nordic combined events. Since hosting the Olympics, it has been developed as a cross-country skiing, tubing, and snowshoeing resort, while featuring mountain biking and golfing in the summer. On May 1, 2016, the venue operation contract transferred from the Soldier Hollow Legacy Foundation to the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, which owns and operates several Olympic and Paralympic legacy venues elsewhere in the state.(*)
Soldier Hollow is located in the southeastern-most part of Wasatch Mountain State Park, a 21,592 acres nature preserve created in 1961, which became a state park in 1968. Soldier Hollow’s location within the state park did not carry a name until Olympic organizers coined it Soldier Hollow. This name was chosen because of its proximity to Soldier Springs, which were thought to have been used by U.S. Troops originally sent to Utah to quell a supposed Mormon uprising, in an incident known as the Utah War. Prior to becoming a state park certain locations within the park were used for farming and grazing activities, while much of the remainder was used recreationally by locals. In the last quarter of the 20th century the state park service had been approached by private developers hoping to build luxury hotels, golf courses and other attractions within the park, but none of these plans ever came to fruition.
Guardsman Pass and Empire Pass are gorgeous overlook areas where you can look down on or drive down to Heber Valley or Park City, Utah. You can also drive west and come down into Brighton in Big Cottonwood Canyon and down into the Salt Lake Valley.
In 1899, the Rio Grande Western Railroad came to Heber and started grading for the Provo Canyon line. The railroad continued to operate for over seventy years. It was very active in transporting large numbers of sheep to distant markets as Heber Valley became known as the sheep shipping center of Western America. The line was abandoned in 1969 by the Denver and Rio Grande railroad. Tracks were mostly removed and only those between Bridal Veil Falls and Heber were kept in place. The Wasatch Mountain Railway Company took over these tracks in 1969 and began “Heber Creeper” excursions in 1971. The “Heber Creeper” currently runs from Heber City to Vivian Park.
Heber City is a city in Wasatch County. The population was 11,362 at the 2010 census. Heber City was founded by English emigrants who were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the late 1850s, and is named after the Mormon apostle Heber C. Kimball. It is the county seat of Wasatch County. The original Heber City town square is located on the west side of main street between Center street and 100 north and currently houses city offices as well as the historic Wasatch Stake Tabernacle and Heber Amusement Hall. The city was largely pastoral, focusing largely on dairy farms and cattle ranching, and has since become a bedroom community for Orem, Provo, Park City and Salt Lake City.
Heber City was first settled in 1859 by Robert Broadhead, James Davis and James Gurr. John W. Witt built the first house in the area. The area was under the direction of Bishop Silas Smith who was in Provo. In 1860 Joseph S. Murdock became the bishop over the Latter-day Saints in Heber City and vicinity.
When the Mormons arrived in the Great Basin in 1847, they welcomed the opportunity to shape a virgin land into the Kingdom of God, and they pursued an aggressive colonization pattern. Heber Valley in the Wasatch Mountains, forty miles southeast of Salt Lake City and twenty-eight miles northeast of Provo, could not be settled until there was a wagon road through either Parley’s or Provo canyons. The first attempt to build such a road, however, was delayed by the Utah War and the Move South. Once Johnston’s Army was settled at Camp Floyd near Utah Lake, Brigham Young responded to appeals by residents of Provo to build a road up the canyon. By 1859 a road linked Provo and Heber Valley and newcomers who were looking for land settled the little valley communities of Heber City, Midway, Charleston, Center Creek, Daniels, and Wallsburg.
According to John Crook, the first historian of the area, most of the initial settlers came from England and had been converted by Heber C. Kimball. To honor Kimball, they decided to name the valley and the first settlement after him. The residents harvested their first crops in 1859 but then returned to Utah Valley for the winter. The next year they returned to make permanent homes. They initially built a fort for protection from Indian raids. Once fear of raids ended, they started to build homes in the surveyed townsite. The settlers built using locally quarried red sandstone as well as adobe and brick. The sandstone was also shipped and used in buildings in other parts of the state.
When the area was settled, the northern part of what is now Wasatch County (including Heber City and Midway) was in Salt Lake County and the southern part (including Wallsburg in Round Valley) was in Utah County. In 1862 the Utah legislature created Wasatch County and made Heber City the county seat. At the time the county was created there were more than 1,000 people living in the area. Heber City was incorporated as a town in 1889 and as a city in 1901.