Cross-country track at City Park delayed due to lack of snow | ParkRecord.com

Cross-country track at City Park delayed due to lack of snow

The City Park field had little snow early in the week as the Park City area awaits the first significant storm of the season. City Hall says it intends to wait until there is 6 inches of snow on the ground before it opens a new cross-country skiing course at City Park.

Here's the skinny on the cross-country skiing track Park City plans to open at City Park: It is delayed until there is enough snow.

City Park, like the rest of the lower elevations in Park City, looked barren early in the week as the area continued to await the first significant snowfall of the season. The sunny start to the winter has forced City Hall to push back the debut of what will be the first-ever cross-country track at City Park.

It was not clear early in the week when the track would be prepared. Heinrich Deters, who is the trails and open space manager at City Hall, said staffers intend to wait until there is 6 inches of snow covering the entire course.

That would guard against the skiers damaging the grass underneath, he said. There was hardly any snow Monday morning covering the area where the track will be set. Grass could be seen through the snow.

"We have to wait for the snow. … We don't have snowmaking out there," Deters said, adding the course could be prepared in one day if enough snow falls.

The course will be set with a snowmobile dragging a grooming tool. The grooming tool recently received a new hydraulic part that was needed before it could be used, Deters said.

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Park City officials outlined the plans for a cross-country skiing track at City Park, seen as a pilot program, amid a relatively dry start to the winter. The track will be free and is designed for people who want a no-cost option in a convenient location after school or after work. The track will essentially circle the ball fields while a beginner area designed for someone learning the sport is slated for what is the softball diamond's infield. City Park is not heavily used in the winter, leaving space for a cross-country skiing track to operate. The track will be groomed until the end of the season, typically in late March or April.

The track will open at daylight. City Hall plans to use the City Park lights to keep the track open into the evening. The lights will be turned on at 4:30 p.m. and turned off at 7 p.m. Deters has said officials have received comments over the years about the lack of cross-country skiing options in the evening. The sport has grown quickly in Park City, he has said.

The lack of snowfall has impacted other options in the area as well. Deters said the cross-country skiing trails in Round Valley are not open yet, either. White Pine Touring, which operates the cross-country skiing operation at the Park City Golf Club and the McPolin Farm, said a practice track and the 3-kilometer course at the Golf Club are open. The 5-kilometer Golf Club track and the track at the McPolin Farm, though, were not open early in the week.

There are no lights at those locations as there are at City Park.

Officials hope the track at City Park disperses the crowds at other popular places for cross-country skiing in Park City.