2002 WINTER OLYMPICS Last-minute trip

A year ago, it seemed highly unlikely that you could plan a trip to the 2002 Winter Olympics (Feb. 8-24) mere weeks before the Opening Ceremonies. Now, because of a rocky economy and travel concerns, it's still possible to be a part of the Games.
Salt Lake City and the outlying areas of Park City, Kearns, Soldier Hollow and Deer Valley, Utah.
There is a "robust" number of individual tickets available, according to Chris Woodburn, spokeswoman for Tickets.com, the Games' official ticket supplier. A seat to see Russia play Finland in men's ice hockey Feb. 18, for example, costs $125; tickets to the Opening or Closing ceremonies start at $320. For combination tickets to several events, book an Olympic Experience Package to save money. Info: (800) 842-5387, www.tickets.com.
The bad news: Tickets for the gold-medal-awarding finals for most events are sold out. If you'd pay anything to see the women's figure skating or ski jump finals, consider placing a bid on the Internet-only Olympic Ticket Auction (www.saltlake2002.com/auctions). Proceeds will benefit the Paralympic Games.
CoSport ([877] 222-2802, www.cosport.com) has deals that include accommodations and event tickets and sometimes meals and transportation from $2,510. You can watch the champions ski, then ski those same mountains with Target Sport Adventures ([800] 832-4242, www.targetsport.com). Packages include lodging, tickets to alpine skiing events, ski passes and a rental car; rates from $1,495.
Hotel rooms in and close to Salt Lake City have been sold out for months, though some rooms have since become available. Check with the Olympics reservations desk of the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau by calling (800) 847-5810 or visiting www.visitsaltlake.com/reservations. You can also rent an apartment, condo or house from Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage For more information, call (800) 606-0453, or visit www.utahhomes.com.
Spectators may ride on the Olympic Shuttle Bus System and the 450 buses and light-rail system operated by the Utah Transit Authority for free on the day of their ticketed event. Info: http://olympics.utahcommuterlink.com, which has an especially informative chart to help you determine travel times. Note that during the Games, visitors can dial 511 for up-to-date transportation details.
The Mountain Venue Express is a reservations-required shuttle that transports fans from Salt Lake City, Provo or Ogden to such venues as the Park City Mountain Resort, Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow for $20 round trip. Info and reservations: (866) 566-4428.
More than 60 performances, 10 exhibitions and 50 community programs make up the Olympic Arts Festival from Feb. 1 to March 16. Special events include a show by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Feb. 9-10), concerts by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (Feb. 9 and 23), an international ice sculpting contest (Feb. 15-16) and dinners with celebrity chefs (Feb. 13, 17-19, 21 and 23). Info: (888) 451-2787, www.saltlake2002.com.
The nation's best cowboy poets and country musicians will recite and sing at the Wild West Cowboy Show on Feb. 12-17 and 19-24 in nearby Heber City. Info: (801) 362-1165, www.wildwestshow.net.
Research your family lineage at the Family History Library, which houses the world's largest collection of genealogical data. Info: (801) 240-2331, www.familysearch.org.
Visitor Information Services Coalition of Utah, (877) 640-4636, www.saltlakeinfo.org.
Source: Elissa Leibowitz, Washington Post

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