Nordic Ski Conditions in Park City

I’ve learned that winter sports enthusiasts are the WORST armchair meteorologists. I fully put myself into that category – yes, I’ve tried to learn how to interpret GFS models (more confusing than the rules of Settlers of Catan) and watch radars, but mostly I just obsessively check the NOAA.gov website and click refresh. again. and again. As a Nordic skier-turned-cyclist with an affinity for powder days, any day is good for me really. Clear skies on the radar map means clear bike lanes for road biking or hard pack snowy singletrack for mountain biking, while massive blue blobs means good ski touring is on the docket. For Nordic skiing, as long as there is a good base, really anything in the sky is bonus.

January’s high pressure system, while great for Vitamin D, goggle tan lines, and fast trail conditions, made Park City’s snowpack nail-bitingly thin. Fortunately, we’ve had some decent snow recently which has provided some much needed cover. While this storm came in wet and soft, it set up firmly and made a good base for the next round of flakes this weekend. Here’s the beta on Nordic ski conditions in Park City.
Round Valley Trails:
Just a heads up – the Round Valley Roundup, Park City’s annual Nordic race, with 5K, 20K, and 40K options, will be held on Saturday, February 15th. While the final course has yet to be determined, bet on most of the trails out of the Quinn’s Junction trailhead being included in the race. In other words, be aware that you may encounter large numbers of people in spandex skiing on the Round Valley trails on Saturday morning – or better yet, sign up! More info can be found here and registration is available online until Friday, February 14th.
Round Valley has plenty of coverage, although with the influx of wet, heavy snow, grooming has been difficult. The Mountain Trails Foundation grooms by snowmobile only, and since Round Valley is under their grooming purview, it is a bit spotty in places. However, with 20K of regularly groomed Nordic ski trails (skate and classic), it’s definitely worth exploring.
White Pine Nordic Center:
The track at the White Pine Nordic Center has set up firm, fast, and fun with the recent cold overnight lows and fresh snow. Both classic lanes and skate track are set virtually every day. If you’re looking for speed, ski early in the morning, but if you’re hoping to cruise on a more forgiving track, try midday or afternoon to let the sun soften things up. The 3K and 5K loops are groomed daily, and, while The Farm loop is currently icy, it’s skiable and will only get better with more snow moving in. When you stop by the Nordic Center, be sure to give a shout out to the new Nordic Director, Patrick Coffey, who personally shoveled the track to keep it open during the dry January days. Also give our diehard groomer, Lou, a thumbs-up if you see him out on the track.
Utah Olympic Park:
The Basin Rec 5K is THE trail to ski right now. Sure, it’s challenging, twisty, and hilly, but the grooming is impeccable, even after the heavy powder dump we just received. With the Olympics going on right now, there’s no better time to challenge yourself with a couple laps on a high caliber course. After all, this is the track where the Olympic Trials for the Nordic Combined were held, just a few short weeks ago. After sweating it out on the UOP trails, you’ll feel OK with yourself for sitting in front of the TV for four hours watching two-man sledding, glorified bowling on ice, and Coke commercials.
WIth the avy danger remaining considerable to high, and holiday weekend lift lines in the forecast, what better time to explore Park City’s extensive Nordic trail system? If you need some tips, swing by the White Pine Nordic Center, and check out the classic or skate lessons taught by Jans experts.

— Evelyn Dong, Content Writer

 

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