Park City driver steers Jeep onto cross-country track, becomes stuck
Someone drove a Jeep onto the cross-country skiing track in Round Valley on Friday evening and abandoned the vehicle when it became stuck, the Mountain Trails Foundation said, an unusual episode that left the Jeep tilted into the snow on the side of the track.
Charlie Sturgis, the executive director of the not-for-profit Mountain Trails Foundation, said the vehicle was discovered the next morning. It was left approximately three-quarters of a mile into Round Valley from the Quinn’s Junction trailhead, which is located close to the Park City Ice Arena.
Motorized vehicles, including snowmobiles, are prohibited in Round Valley. The land, stretching from the edge of Park Meadows toward Quinn’s Junction, is protected open space under the ownership of City Hall. Round Valley is popular with cross-country skiers and snowshoers in the winter and hikers and bicyclists in the summer.
Sturgis said a similar incident occurred approximately one week before the case on Friday. There are occasional sightings of motorcycles and snowmobiles in Round Valley as well, he said. The only vehicles authorized to drive in Round Valley are those from Mountain Trails Foundation or City Hall itself.
Large rocks designed to block vehicles are placed at the entries to Round Valley. Sturgis said the Jeep moved around the rocks to gain access to the cross-country track.
Sturgis said vehicles driving on the track can cause deep ruts in the snow that make it difficult for cross-country skiers. He described the potential damage as “big car tire ruts” that are “super-dangerous” to skiers.
“They’re ruining the recreational experience,” Sturgis said.
Sturgis said his organization used a snowcat to tow the vehicle off the track on Saturday morning. Mountain Trails Foundation opted for a snowcat instead of a tow truck based on the damage that a tow truck may have caused to the track, Sturgis said.
Sturgis said Mountain Trails Foundation decided against pressing charges against the driver after consulting with the Park City Police Department. He said the driver is a Park City-area teen, describing the incident as “a youngster doing stupid things.”
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