Steve Anderson steps up to the line, a quiver of arrows dangling and rustling at his hip. He aims at a target nearly the length of a football field away in the shining sun, draws back his bow and fires.
The arrow cuts through the air and pierces the target at a slight deviation from dead center, joining several others flung earlier by the professional archer.
The Easton Salt Lake Archery Center is at 575 N. John Glenn Road (6070 West). Open shooting will be offered, as well as leagues, specialty camps, clinics and one-on-one training and coaching.
This is the outdoor range at the new Easton Salt Lake Archery Center, a 60,000 square-foot facility a few miles west of the Salt Lake City International Airport, built to be a hub of local, national and international archery.
The center, which celebrated its grand opening Tuesday, provides both the outdoor range and a 70-meter indoor range, giving recreational and professional archers the opportunity to train year round in world-class conditions.
"This is like an archery mecca," Anderson says of both the facility and Salt Lake City. "This has everything you need to compete at the highest level. I think you’ll see a lot of people not only in the states, but also countries worldwide, come here to train."
Greg Easton, president of Easton Foundations, said constructing the $12 million facility was a reaction to a recent wave of surging archery popularity due to films like the "Hunger Games" and "Brave," pushing the sport into the mainstream. The Salt Lake facility joins other Easton centers in California, Florida, South Dakota and Michigan.
"We look forward to being able to take advantage of that interest, getting people here for introductory classes, training for competitions, all the way up to high-level training," Easton said.
Zak Kurtzhals, a former professional archer, highlighted advantageous features like the dimensions of the indoor range to keep archers sharp in the winter from long distances as well as high-speed camera technology that will help archers study and improve their technique.
"It’s unbelievable. I’ve been to a lot of venues around the world and the closest thing I can compare this to is a venue I saw in Korea for the World Championships," Kurtzhals said.
Denise Parker, a South Jordan native, a three-time Olympian, and CEO of USA Archery, said she grew up trying to convince her neighbors to let her shoot in their large backyard to improve at longer distances. Now, there’s an Olympic-sized training facility in her backyard.
"To have a facility, indoor and outdoor, Olympic lengths and distances with this sort of backdrop, people will come from all over the world, literally, to shoot at the Easton facility," Parker said.
The facility will house professional teams and competitions, but will also provide classes and public use for both recreational and hunting archers.
Anderson said the Easton Center, only 10 miles from the Utah Olympic Oval, is a natural stage for the world to come to Utah to host championships and world cups.
"The Salt Lake area is a great place to hold any sort of international event. I mean, the Olympics were here, so certainly we could do world archery championships," said Anderson, a Salt Lake City resident who works for Hoyt Archery.
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.