Jack Dalton


Youth sports and a global pandemic


In developing the idea for my story, I wanted to find a way to focus on sports one way or  another, which if you know me well is not a surprise by any means. At first I thought about trying to find a way to write about this past football season. Then I thought about trying to find a way to write about sports in Utah (the Utes, the Jazz, Real Salt Lake). Both ideas seemed both too complex to coordinate and too simple to actually write about.

Finally, I settled on trying to write about my biggest passion, skiing. I thought about trying to write about how the U.S. Ski Team, which is headquartered in Park City, Utah, navigated COVID-19 and the current World Cup Season over in Europe. The other idea that came to mind was sports-related nonprofits. Of course, at that point, the Youth Sports Alliance (YSA) seemed like an obvious choice. After all it’s an organization that means a lot to me personally.  

YSA is an organization I have had some sort of involvement with for a long time. My mom currently works for it, and certainly was part of my reasoning in writing about YSA. But YSA was also highly involved in my own ski career. 

That is how I connected with all of my sources, each of whom are key to YSA. I spoke with the executive director, board president, and a longtime donor/new board member within the organization. They were awesome sources. 

In terms of the actual writing process, I wanted to focus on the pandemic and the effect it had on youth sports in the Park City community. One of the main things I struggled with was simply the wording of questions, considering so many of them were about money or the pandemic one way or another (donations, funding, cancelations, etc.). 

Everyone I spoke with was incredibly generous with their time. Every interaction I had over Zoom was like catching up with an old friend. Oddly when it came time to write my story, I struggled to find quotes and ended up relying on my conversations for more general information and different perspectives. I certainly wish I had asked for more stories and had asked more follow-up questions. 

I learned to appreciate both the writing and interview process and had a ton of fun writing this piece.


Growing up in Park City, Utah, I was pretty much born on skis. I was literally skiing before I was walking. Both of my parents were ski instructors at the time and they put me on skis for the first time at 18 months old. That passion has stuck with me ever since. 

For as long as I can remember my dream as a young ski racer was to race on the FIS World Cup tour and be an Olympian. Eventually, reality set in but my desire to ski and to compete was still there. I raced competitively until I was 18 and starting college at the University of Utah, after dedicating my life to the sport for nearly a decade. To this day it is pretty much all I know. I skied for the University of Utah alpine club team for my first two years of school, before spending the last two seasons coaching for Park City Ski and Snowboard club, the ski team I grew up on. 

It has been so much fun to see the program through a different lens. I love being able to share my knowledge and passion for the sport with the next generation of little shredders. 

In terms of life beyond skiing and sports in general, I am currently a junior at the University of Utah pursuing a degree in Communication with an emphasis in strategic communication. My goal is to work in the world of sports one way or another and put that degree to work. I would love to get into broadcasting and commentary. For the time being, I am beyond happy to continue coaching and my education with plans to graduate in the spring of 2022.