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White Pine now open for Nordic faithful

Adia Waldburger of the Record staff

While the rest of the community is praying for fresh powder, White Pine Cross-Country Ski Area’s Charlie Sturgis is happy with what is already on the ground. Once a good base has fallen, then things are ready.

"It’s definitely in great shape," said Sturgis.

Not only is fresh powder not crucial for a good Nordic run, but new snow draws business away from White Pine and onto the alpine mountains. Sturgis says his best years are slow snow years.

With a decent amount of snow on the track, the touring center on the municipal golf course opened Nov. 30. So far, only the 5-kilometer track is open to skate and classic skiers, with the McPolin Farm loop soon to follow, once the area gets more snow. According to Sturgis, the track usually open in mid-December, so an early start was a nice surprise. He reports that a fair number of people have already tested out the conditions and expects bigger crowds to show up as the Christmas holiday approaches. White Pine has also set 3K and 10K loops.

White Pine has some incentives to bring people out. This year’s cross-country enthusiasts will be treated to brand new equipment that the ski area purchased to the tune of 30,000 dollars. Sturgis said that after a community meeting about the Nordic facility last year, he found that most people wanted upgraded equipment to rent. Some of the tracks have changed a bit as well. The track that crossed the condominiums at the Hotel Park City have been rerouted. The loop around The Farm was also mowed in the off-season to maintain better quality on the trail.

Some of the things that are staying the same in the area’s 18 km of terrain include the affordable prices and a plethora of cross-country skiing classes. A group lesson with equipment rental is $43. There are also private lessons available. Sturgis recommends signing up for a public lesson now, early in the season, because the classes often have only two or three students, making them feel more like a private lessons. Group lessons are offered throughout the day seven days a week. There are also month-long sessions for kids.

White Pine offers daily passes for $18 and season passes for locals. In addition, there are snowshoe tours, backcountry tours and avalanche training available at the ski area.

"We added more classes and clinics, so hopefully these will help and people will be excited," Sturgis said. White Pine will also be a host, along with Soldier Hollow, for the Timberland Utah Cross-Country Ski racing series. The races start Saturday, Dec. 10 at Soldier Hollow and then move to White Pine the following Saturday, Dec. 17.

For more information on the White Pine Ski area, log onto http://www.whitepinetouring.com.


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