Park City Mountain Resort's most magnificent newly constructed building blends practicality and sophistication. The breathtaking mountain view, the floor-to-ceiling windows, and the ski-in-ski-out heated equipment storage area make the five-star hotels in the area a bit jealous. Yet, the McGrath Mountain Center, nestled between Crescent and First Time lifts, has a more noble purpose. It's the National Ability Center's (NAC) Park City Mountain Resort campus, a hub for adaptive snow sports and mountain biking.

Wide open and flexible space for adaptive athletes and coaches!

Out with the Old—In with the New

The new facility, which was a decade in planning,  is a massive upgrade from the previous campus, a doublewide trailer that served NAC instructors, professional athletes, and program participants. For decades, the NAC operated at Park City Mountain Resort out of the trailer, which had no running water, no restrooms, no locker rooms, and no break areas for instructors to take a breather during a busy day. Despite the confines of the previous hub, the NAC provided thousands of successful lessons. For seasoned instructors and athletes, the juxtaposition of the 9,400 square foot, fully ADA-accessible building that opened for operation in October 2023 and the doublewide is almost unbelievable.

"I had an athlete come to me this morning and say, 'I still feel like I'm in a dream. I can't believe this is real,'" Tracy Meier, the NAC's program director, says. "The McGrath Mountain Center increases the quality for our competition team, to be here and be closer to our lesson participants and see someone going through the same journey. It's like a family. When they come to any of our facilities, I want people to feel like they are part of a family. This home creates that environment for us."

Dedicated instructors and NAC staff are core family members, and the new facility supports them, creating higher-quality experiences for the participants. "Our program is nothing without its people… The people are what make it happen. Now we have a space where they can sit and talk about a lesson," Tracy says, describing how instructors debrief in the McGrath's breakroom, which includes a coffee bar, food storage and heating areas, plus a stellar mountain view. "It then becomes an even more supportive environment for us to continue providing high-quality programming, which is most important to us."

A huge equipment room provides lots of flexible space for managing gear!

Opportunity for All

Tracy estimates the NAC will run over 4,000 lessons each season out of the McGrath Mountain Center and is quick to acknowledge partner organizations that make the year-round programming possible. "We're super thankful for our resort partnership," she says. "Thinking about summer, Mountain Trails Foundation has done this amazing job of working with the resort and expanding the trail system here at Park City." The trail-building collaboration between Park City Mountain Resort and Basin Recreation is an effort to expand trails and accessibility for adaptive athletes. "Everyone else has the opportunity to ride their bikes at different locations; people with disabilities should have the right to."

Creating opportunities for people is at the heart of the NAC. With 20 programs, from adaptive skiing and mountain biking to summer camps to equestrian experiences to river rafting, there is an activity to suit any interest. "Twenty programs seems like a lot. What it means is that there's a program for everyone." 

Huge windows let in lots of light and capture the magnificent mountains!

Scholarships for Adaptive Sports

For some people, the deterrent isn't choosing a program; it's funding. "One barrier for all people, even more so for people with disabilities, is the financial barrier to recreation. It's expensive for some of the things that we do. On the adaptive side of things, the equipment is really expensive." The NAC has a response to the fiscal challenges. "I want locals, out-of-town guests, anyone to know we have a scholarship program," the fulfillment Tracy finds in her job seeps through the phone connection. "It's a really easy process to go through, and it's one of the main reasons we raise money. We do not want the inability to pay to be why someone doesn't come here. We can remove that barrier; we have the equipment and the amazing team. We can't pick up the phone for you. That's the one step that we need people to take. And then we can help you through that process of getting signed up."

A beautiful mural can be found at the second floor work spaces!

A Space to Empower all Adaptive Athletes

The programs, the scholarships, and McGrath Mountain Center all tie back to the NAC's roots of empowerment through spending time outdoors and human connection. "This is a demographic we can all join. We can all acquire a disability," Tracy says. "When you think that, and about humans being treated with dignity and respect—we have a building that reflects that. It's accessible, beautiful, and a place you want to be. That's a part of connecting us as a group of people."

If you're an adaptive athlete are interested in visit Park City, check out everything the National Ability Center has to offer!

A bespoke shop allows staff to create opportunity for any athlete!