Grooming of cross-country skiing trails in the Uinta Mountains has begun, but Heber-Kamas Forest Service District Ranger Jeff Schramm said more snow is needed before all of the trails can be groomed.
"As far as grooming, we need to have snow in order to groom. We're in this pattern of minimal snow," Schramm said.
Schramm added that the district's trail-grooming specialist went out after the most recent snowstorm on Dec. 8 and noted there was a base of snow from two to six inches with two inches of new snow on the trails. He said he was unsure if that snow has held since then.
Schramm said that a section of the Beaver Creek Trail has been groomed from Slate Creek to where it crosses Shingle Creek. He said the trail has not crossed Shingle Creek yet because there needs to be a sufficient ice stand in order to do so.
Once that trail is groomed from Pine Valley Oval to Lower Provo, it will be completed; however, none of that grooming has been done yet, Schramm said, as only the section from Shingle Creek down has been completed.
"Once we get into where we do get additional snow and the ice bridge across Shingle Creek, we can groom further up," Schramm said.
Snowmobiles are allowed further up the Mirror Lake Highway and trails start from the North Fork and Soapstone parking lots.
Crews have been out on trails throughout the Uintas removing trees that have fallen over trails. Schramm says this is a "never-ending process," especially since there have been strong winds recently.
Regarding the minimal snow levels, Schramm noted that it is early in the season and that levels should be up soon.
People recreating in the Uintas should be aware of other users, Schramm said, as many trails are used by both cross-country skiers and those snowshoeing. From the North Fork parking lot down the canyon are areas specifically set up for those users. However, many trails are open to both motorized and non-motorized users.
"Be cautious with what you're doing and be respectful," Schramm said. "If you get a track set for skiers and someone goes through with snowshoes and breaks that track, you're upsetting the other user."
Those snowmobiling should let other users be aware of where they are going, Schramm said, and if they are out on trails this early in the season they should be cognizant of potential obstacles they could hit, as there is not a lot of base to the snow.
For more information about cross-country skiing trails in the Uintas, visit the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest's website at fs.usda.gov/uwcnf or call the Heber-Kamas Ranger District at 435-783-4338.