There are more than 25 locations throughout Utah to go cross country skiing, most near Salt Lake City, but these four are really a cut above the rest. Here’s my round-up of the best courses to visit this winter:
1. Alta Ski Area
At an elevation of 8,500 ft., this five-kilometer track is a great spot if you are looking for high altitude training where you can put in a lot of laps. The cost to use this frequently groomed track is $10 for a Ski After 3 day-pass or $125 for a season pass. If you live near Little Cottonwood, this is a great location to go to.
2. Mountain Dell
Located on a golf course a couple of miles up Parley’s Canyon, this track is convenient and offers a great view of the canyon, especially during the winter months, when the snow covers the mountains. This track is well-maintained and groomed daily, sometimes twice depending on snowfall. It is a more lengthy track at 10 kilometers. The cost for day use is $7, and a season pass is $80. Keep in mind that this course is on a watershed, so no dogs are allowed on the track.
3. Mill Creek Canyon
This track is another great location with stunning views. The course is eight kilometers long with the bottom half of the section attracting a lot of foot traffic from other hikers. The top half, though, is generally solitary and quiet. The track is groomed at least once per week, generally before the weekend. It is occasionally groomed after the weekend for the week day use. This is a great option if you are looking for a cheap cross country ski spot. The cost per day is $3, while a yearly pass is $40. Both skate and classic skiing are available on this track.
4. White Pine Touring Center
My personal favorite is right in the heart of Park City and extends beyond to get some really lengthy workouts in. The track is 20+ kilometers with various options. Some of the courses in this location are as short as two or three kilometers. If you are an experienced classic or skate skier, this is the place to go. It is located about six miles from Kimball Junction — about a 30- to 40-minute drive from Salt Lake City. Although a little bit more out of the way, this track is worth the extra distance. It’s groomed daily and costs $18 for day use (the price reduces to $10 per day after 3 p.m.).
Almost every location across the state caters to both classic and skate cross country skiing. If you sign up to be a member of the Utah Nordic Alliance, you will get discounts on season and day passes at many of these tracks. If you are a current university student, you will also be able to get reduced prices using your university ID card.
To learn more about where to cross country ski in Utah, visit the Utah Nordic Alliance’s website at www.utahnordic.com.