White Pine ready to start striding
According to communications, events and social media director Scott House, White Pine Touring first opened in 1972 to introduce locals to the sport of Nordic skiing. Today, the Nordic Center, located at Hotel Park City, stays true to that heritage with avalanche education courses and cross-country skiing lessons.
This year, House said, will be the first time reservations for classes can be made on the official White Pine Touring website. Season passes are also available on the website and come in a variety of options.
An individual season pass can be purchased as well as a family pass, which means skiers can buy multiple season passes at a discounted rate that is cheaper than buying each family member an individual pass, according to House.
White Pine also offers a 10-punch pass that can be used as skiers see fit. House said customers can purchase a 10-punch pass and use every punch for themselves or give a punch to a friend or family member until all are used.
"We groom about 20 kilometers of track depending upon the season, and it is strictly for Nordic skiing," House said. "We don’t allow any snowshoers, hikers, dogs or bikes, and it is strictly dedicated to both the skate and classic disciplines of Nordic skiing."
House said there is a large local contingent of Nordic skiers, and the track tends to see more dedicated athletes who are serious about the sport and looking to train. For those skiers, private coaching sessions are available.
The ski season for White Pine has started early this year thanks to a new groomer, substantially lighter than the Piston Bully they have now, that allows them to groom the track in low snow conditions earlier and later in the season.
The Nordic Center also has a new director in Patrick Coffey, a former collegiate Nordic skiing coach. House said he will not only be managing the general operation of the center but also providing his expertise in both lessons and coaching.
The rest of the White Pine Touring staff this year is more knowledgeable and experienced than ever, House said. Voile-sponsored backcountry skier Cindy Lou Grant is working at the White Pine retail location on Bonanza Drive, and Tyler Falk, a well-known backcountry skier, will help with the avalanche education courses.
Other avalanche education course instructors include Matt Promomo, a Utah Avalanche Forecast Center staff member; Johnathan Spitzer, one of the youngest internationally-certified mountain guides in the world; Jim Harris, a photojournalist and avalanche educator; and Sean Raskin, a local professional telemark skier.
"We have been running Avalanche Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) courses for 10-plus years now, and we are considered one of the top avalanche course providers in the Western United States," House said. "We offer five public Level 1 courses, a Level 2 course and private avalanche courses throughout the Wasatch for local businesses."
The Level 1 avalanche course is what House said covers what is considered to be the minimum information needed to ski outside of a resort area. It provides students with a good base of skills in both terrain selection and route finding with a heavy focus on rescue and some snow pack analysis.
The Level 2 course expands on the Level 1 course and focuses on snow science and advanced rescue techniques. The private courses, House said, are for local businesses like Backcountry.com, Black Diamond and Westminster College. White Pine partners with the company to offer avalanche education for their employees and make sure they are staying safe.
"If we are selling the equipment that gives people the ability to get into the backcountry and leave the resort, it’s our duty to give them the knowledge, too," House said. "We need to provide them with the opportunity to take a course and learn the ins-and-outs of their new equipment and how to use it safely."
The store on Bonanza Drive and the Nordic Center sell ski and snowboard equipment from lines like Arc’teryx, Patagonia and Black Diamond, including their new line of clothing.
White Pine also has a full rental fleet, offering men’s, women’s and children’s snow shoes, classic and skate skis demo skis and standard rental in all sizes. According to House, White Pine is also one of the only shops in the state that rents telemark ski equipment.
The Nordic Center also offers wax clinics with the Toko ski wax company and other vendors so customers can learn how to take care of their equipment and get their money’s worth out of it.
"There is a misconception that in a ski town like Park City, everything is more expensive here, and sometimes it’s true," House said. "Everything we sell skis, poles, jackets is at the same price you’re going to find in the [Salt Lake] Valley or online."
Ski maintenance programs are also available at White Pine with Cory Wubbels, who works for the U.S. Ski team tuning skis. House said he has been working with White Pine to develop Nordic grinds, turning the Nordic ski tuning program into one of the best in Utah.
"We are here to support the community the Nordic skiing community, the backcountry community and the telemark community," House said. "That’s what we have done for years, and we want to continue to do so."
As of Friday, White Pine Touring reported that 2 1/2k of looped track has been set on the golf course for skate skiers. The classic ski track has not been groomed, but the Nordic center said skiers are welcome to use the skate ski track.
White Pine Touring
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