Park City’s Mountain Trails Foundation provides groomed Nordic trails to the public at large.

Image: Ross Downard

When it comes to winter workouts, cross-country skiing is often overlooked in favor of the excitement and speed of downhill. But Park City has great spots for both classic (Nordic) and skate skiing, which are often less crowded than the downhill slopes. Here are a few places to try:

Osguthorpe Farm
The newly dedicated five-kilometer track opened in February 2021 on 160 acres in Snyderville Basin. Circling through what is still a working farm the rest of the year, the flat, ski-only track is a great spot for beginners. While managed by Mountain Trails, public access was secured by the Summit Land Conservancy through donations from the Osguthorpe family and a community fundraising campaign. Cheryl Fox, executive director of the Summit Land Conservancy, says it’s already proved very popular in its first year of public use. “Open spaces are better with trails, and trails are better with open space,” she says. Access is through the Willow Creek Park gate.

Round Valley
Mountain Trails also manages approximately 25 kilometers of free, groomed multi-use trails in Round Valley, which provide popular hiking and biking spots in summer. Classic tracks are not always set, so it’s a better spot for experienced skate skiers. Snowshoers, bikers, and dogs are allowed on the trail, so keep trail etiquette in mind when you go. Access is from the Quinn’s Junction and Highland trailheads. mountaintrails.org/trail/round-valley-winter

Basin Recreation
Basin Recreation grooms 18 miles of connected, mixed-use trails running from Kimball Junction to Park City through preserved open space like the Swaner Nature Preserve. The Basin Recreation 5K near the Utah Olympic Park is ski-only, while Willow Creek Park has flat, easy loops that are also dog, snowshoe, and bike-friendly. basinrecreation.org

White Pine
The golf course just behind Park City Hotel transforms into 3-, 5- and 10-kilometer groomed cross-country ski trails in winter, with the longest of them looping up and down the fields that surround the iconic McPolin barn—a beautiful setting for a good workout. White Pine also offers lessons and equipment rentals through their Nordic Center. Adult day passes are $24, with seasonal and family passes available. whitepinetouring.com

Mountain Dell
Though closer to Salt Lake than Park City, Mountain Dell is a convenient spot just off I-80 managed by the Utah Nordic Alliance (TUNA), which promotes cross-country skiing in northern Utah. Mountain Dell provides about 10 kilometers of ski-only trails groomed for skate and classic skiers, with a day-use fee of $10. utahnordic.org

Nordic skiing at Soldier Hollow

Soldier Hollow
The Olympic legacy park at Soldier Hollow in Midway was first built for the biathlon and cross-country events at the 2002 Olympics. Its Nordic Center offers 25 kilometers of groomed runs, with a roughly even split of green, blue, and black diamond trails, so there’s something for everyone. Seasonal trail passes start at $150 for adults. utaholympiclegacy.org/location/soldier-hollow/

 

A Few Notes on Nordic Skiing Etiquette

Mountain Trails’ Ian Hartley offers the following considerations for cross-country skiers:
-Kindness and courtesy are the golden rules when it comes to sharing the trails
-Unlike biking, Nordic skiers actually yield to downhill ski traffic
-Dogs (where permitted) must be under control at all times and skiers must pick up after their pets (no one likes brown klister wax!)

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