Traversing the winter trails
Vacation time and lots of snow is a recipe for fun and adventure in Park City. With miles and miles of local trails abounding in the area, the holidays are the perfect time to discover new terrain.
Mountain Trails Foundation Director Carol Potter is keenly aware of the popularity of the trails at this time of year.
"It’s a great thing for tourists," Potter said. "It’s very fun to do and you can access trails from anywhere in town."
To that end, her organization has spent numerous hours preparing the trails. Crew leader Rich Fournier will be on his snowmobile bright and early Dec. 26 grooming the trails for tourists and locals alike. Mountain Trails maintains many trails around the city and county to provide a variety of terrain and vistas.
Perhaps the best part of the local trails is accessibility. Snow seekers can snowshoe, cross-country ski or hike along the paths at no cost. Potter admits the trails are not the well-buffed paths that local cross-county ski area White Pine boasts, but they are well-taken care of. Mountain Trails just purchased a new drag attachment for the snowmobile, which is designed to give a nice grade to the trails.
Potter recommends the stretch from the Rail Trail out to Wanship for newcomers.
"That’s a good place if they are just starting out," she said.
The trail goes under S.R. 248 out to the Park City Ice Arena and into the Round Valley area.
Once in Round Valley there a number of different rails. Potter says it’s easiest to start at the National Ability Center and head out from there. There is also an entrance from Park Meadows, but Potter says that trailhead may be difficult to find.
"Its kind of a mystery trail," Potter laughs.
Basin Recreation also prepares a number of trails in the area. Potter says crew leader Bob Rodke grooms all trails between the Redstone shopping area and the Park City Peaks Hotel. The two main trails are the East 224 Connector and the MacLeod Creek Trail. Potter says she loves the Connector trail because people can see it as they drive into Park City. She says with the Connector on one side of the road and the White Pine ski area on the other side further down the road, visitors quickly learn what the city is all about.
"It shows this is a vibrant town as you drive in," Potter said.
They also groom a loop at Millcreek Park. According to Potter, all together, Basin Recreation grooms 12 kilometers worth of trails. Mountain Trails grooms about 21 kilometers.
Enjoying the trails does come with some warnings. Potter says that it is paramount to stay off of the upper elevation trails, such as Mid Mountain, Iron Canyon and Rob’s Trail, due to significant avalanche danger.
"Be wise and stay in lower levels," she said.
She also cautions to stay on the groomed trail even at the lower elevations to ensure safety. Potter says the trail conditions are updated regularly and may be found at http://www.mountaintrails.org .
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In an intriguing sidebar to the overall Park City Planning Commission talks about a proposed project at Park City Mountain Resort, the developer recently mentioned a future Winter Olympics in the context of the project.