Cross-country venues and businesses up and running in Summit County
It’s ski season, and not just for the downhillers.
After dismal snowfall over the 2017-2018 cross-country season, this one is shaping up nicely, with nearly every venue online as of this weekend. From Soldier Hollow to Mountain Dell, cross-country venues are opening for the winter.
Jeremy Ranch offers 10 km. of classic and skate skiing groomed daily, with terrain ranging from beginner to intermediate difficulty. Jeremy Ranch is located on the north side of the Jeremy Ranch exit (141) on Interstate 80.
Though the golf course requires a membership in summer, skiers don’t need to be members of that club to access the ski course. They do need to purchase passes, though.
Jeremy Ranch offers everything from day passes to 10-punch passes and season passes, with rentals and instructional classes available. No dogs or snowshoeing allowed.
Day passes are $14 for adults, $10 for half a day starting after 2 p.m.
Skiers aged 12 and under pay $6 for a day pass, as do skiers aged 65 and older and members of the military.
Ten punch passes cost $99, family season passes are $200 and individual season passes are $150 regardless of age, or service. A rental package for skis, poles and boots is $30, and the equipment can be rented and used off the premises.
A group instruction lesson costs $35 for an hour. Semi-private lessons are $60 and a private lesson is $70. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The venue also hosts ski school sessions on Sundays, which is a social lesson followed by brunch for $45, with rental option for $16.
For track conditions and inquiries go to thejeremy.com.
Jeremy Ranch will host an FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup on Dec. 19-20, where spectators will be able to see Team USA and several other international teams compete. It will also be one of the first Continental Cups in America to feature women’s Nordic Combined, which is not yet an Olympic event, but is set to become one in the future, evening out the last Olympic event with a men’s division but not one for women. Tara Geraghty-Moats will be the athlete to watch on the U.S. team.
Soldier Hollow is hallowed ground for American cross-country and biathlon athletes. The Midway venue hosted those events in the 2002 Winter Olympics, and is scheduled to host a biathlon World Cup this season, but it also has plenty of options for the average skier.
Scheduled to open this Saturday, the venue has up to 30 km. of track that can be opened during the season – how much of that has been completed is unclear.
“We’re planning to do a soft opening on Saturday,” said Sarah Hall, one of the venue’s Nordic directors.
She said there likely won’t be any classic tracks set, and estimated there will be between 3 km. and 5 km. of track groomed for the weekend, but the venue will have more the next week.
Once it’s up and running, the area provides everything from beginner to expert runs.
A day pass to access those trails costs $10 for adults and $5 for youth skiers, aged 12 and under. Kids aged 5 and younger ski for free.
Ski rentals are $20 for adults and $10 for youth skiers.
Lessons are $45 for adults and $25 for youths for an hour, including rental equipment and a day pass.
The venue also offers a biathlon experience in which participants can ski and shoot targets with a specialized .22 caliber rifle – the standard for the sport.
Soldier Hollow will not hold any classes this weekend, but will the following weekend. To make reservations call 435-654-2002, or go to utaholympiclegacy.org for more details. Hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Soldier Hollow hosts many cross-country and biathlon events each season. This season, the centerpiece is the IBU Biathlon World Cup, which will draw many of the world’s best competitors to races on Feb 14-17. It is the first time the venue has hosted an event of that caliber since the 2002 Winter Olympics. General admission will be free.
White Pine Touring
White Pine Touring Nordic Center hosts cross-country skiing on the Park City Municipal Golf Course, including a learners’ area, a 2.5 km. loop, a 5 km. loop and a Farm Loop, which is a 12 km. track that winds through the McPolin Farm grounds north of the golf course.
A complete classic rental setup costs $20 for a day, and a skate setup is $22. Items can also be rented à la carte.
Private lessons are $80 for an hour, including rentals and a pass. A spot in a group lesson costs $50 with pass and rental. White Pine also offers a four-week women’s beginner skate class for $125 including rental and track passes, and a four-week intermediate/advanced skate course for the same price.
White Pine, which also has a rental location on Bonanza Drive, offers a selection of other programs, including snowshoe tours, local ski tours, backcountry tours in the Uinta Mountains, fatbike tours around Round Valley and other public trails, avalanche training courses and slide shows and moonlight cross-country tours.
Day passes for its trails are $18 for adults, which drops down to $10 after 2 p.m.
Kids ages 6 to 12 ski for $8 regardless of time. Skiers under the age of five and over 65 ski for free.
A 10-punch pass is $140, an individual season pass is $275 and a family season pass is $375.
Rob Lang, White Pine Touring Nordic Center manager, described the track layout in terms of its role as a golf course, when snow doesn’t cover its features.
“On the front nine; Our 3K, that’s our flattest trail,” he said. “The back nine, which is directly behind the hotel, that section is more intermediate.”
Dogs are not allowed on the farm loop. Hours of operation run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information and grooming conditions go to whitepinetouring.com.
White Pine will host Wasatch Citizens Series Race on Saturday (see the TUNA section below) and a Locals Appreciation Day this Sunday. The appreciation day is perhaps the steepest discount in the area when it comes to cross-country skiing, and it only comes around once or twice a season. For $15 a visitor can get a 45-minute classic or skate ski lesson, a day pass, lunch and access to demo gear from industry reps. The perks – including lunch – are free to pass holders. Classes are held throughout the day. For more information call 435-649-6249.
The Utah Nordic Alliance, a local competitive and recreational Nordic Club, grooms two venues – Mountain Dell Golf Course and Millcreek Road.
A day pass at Mountain Dell is costs $10 and a season pass for TUNA members is $70. Season passes for non-members is $110. Skiers under the age of 18 on the TUNA competitive team can ski for free and do not need a pass for Mountain Dell. University student passes are $40.
TUNA members aged 70 and up ski for free.
A family TUNA membership costs $60.
TUNA also hosts the Wasatch Citizens Series, which consists of five races at major cross-country venues over the season, including its opener at White Pine this Saturday. Two of the races are classic technique races and three are free technique races. There is often a broad competitive range on display, from youngsters and old timers to University of Utah racers. The series costs $125, or $85 for TUNA members.
For more information go to utahnordic.com.
Mountain Trails Foundation
The Mountain Trails Foundation grooms trails within Park City’s boundaries primarily in Round Valley, which is on the west side of Highway 248.
The area is tracked with trails, 20 km. of powder that is groomed and ready for schussing.
When asked which parts of the area are looking good, Charlie Sturgis, executive director of Mountain Trails, said “everything.”
“We really are in great shape,” he said. “We’ve already used a snowcat more this year than we used it last year. And it all has to do with snow depth.”
Mountain Trails has groomed a classic track into a loop around all of Round Valley connecting the following trails: Matt’s Flatt, Two Pines, Round Valley Express, Silver Quinn and Ability Way.
The Land of Oz – a skiing-only trail that switchbacks around the North East side of PC Hill – also has a classic track groomed, and is connected to Round Valley loop by two trails at the loop’s south end.
Sturgis said the Land of Oz has the trickiest terrain, while other trails departing from the Quinn’s Junction Area (eastern side of the loop), have some low-angle trails more suited to learners.
With the exception of the Land of Oz, all of Round Valley is dog-friendly, and most are multi-use trails.
“So expect bikes, dogs, snowshoes runners,” Sturgis said. “We all have to coexist. We do a lot of things to accommodate all individuals, but it’s up to the people out there (to get along).”
Mountain Trails also maintains a website for its Nordic trails and others in the area, which is regularly updated. Go to mountaintrails.org and select the winter map option for more. The trails are available for free 24 hours a day.
Basin Recreation manages a group of trails outside of Park City limits in the Snyderville Basin. Its system includes a section of the Millennium Trail along the west side of S.R. 224, a trail out of the RTS trailhead on Olympic Parkway, the McLeod Creek path along the east side of 224, a small loop behind Ecker Hill Middle School, a stretch running on the eastern edge of Redstone in Kimball Junction and The Woods loop off of the east side of Parley’s Lane.
All those areas are groomed, though the areas around Kimball Junction and along 224 are thinner than others, according to trail specialist Chris Mulder. With the exception of the Basin 5K, which leaves out of RTS trailhead, all those areas are dog friendly, and can be viewed on Mountain Trails’ website at mountaintrails.org.
Mulder recommended the Ecker Hill loop for a quick, quiet getaway.
“That’s actually a great track,” he said. “A lot of people don’t use it. It’s kind of unknown.”
Trails are available for free 24 hours a day.
A small patch of cross-country track in City Park that Park City Municipal grooms opened Saturday, and will be lit for approximately two hours after sunset (currently at about 5 p.m.) each day for the next month and a half.
The project was rolled out last year, but because it was such a paltry snow season the city is using this year as a second round for evaluating the pilot project.
“We didn’t feel like we got a good feel for it last season,” said Logan Jones, the city’s trails and open spaces coordinator. “The lights are on; lots of people hang out with their dogs there. It’s just something to brighten up the dark months.”
The circle is 1.25 km. around, and is open to all comers for free.
Clubs and competitive skiing
There are several clubs with competitive programs in the area. Soldier Hollow and Park City Ski and Snowboard Club both have competitive cross-country programs, as does TUNA. For skiers looking for a more recreational and social program, check with TUNA or the Nordic Betties (parkcitynordicbetties.com), a women’s ski club.
An ealier version of this story misstated that dogs were allowed on the White Pine farm loop trail. Dogs are not allowed.
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Returning to Park City’s Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church on Saturday is the annual Bike and Hike fundraiser in support of the Good News Jail and Prison Ministry.