XC ski areas/Woodward/UOP openings are up in the air

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — Alpine ski areas aren’t the only winter sports venues postponing their opening days due to a lack of Northern Utah snow; cross country ski areas face the same challenge.

Parallelling opening dates to the alpine resorts is historically the name of the game for the multiple nordic ski centers in Summit, Wasatch, and Salt Lake Counties. This season is no different (even though local diehards have already logged double-digit days on snow, they’re hiking up, way up into the backcountry to do so).

Flatland skiers who enjoy cross country will have to wait alongside the not-so-diehard skiers for some snow.

These cross country (XC) local ski areas are all in a holding pattern that dramatically dampens daily operations, athletic programs, daily ticket sales, season pass sales equipment rental/sales, not to mention overall morale:

Park City’s off-piste ski areas specifically dedicated to more extreme winter sports feel the effects of a lack of late-November snow.

Woodward’s outdoor winter opening date is November 19 while still encouraging people to take advantage of its vast indoor activities until the snow flies.

Utah Olympic Park (UOP) is open for tours for visitors, for athletes’ pre-season dryland training, and elite bobsled, lug, skeleton training on its artificially iced track. Even so, UOP is also waiting for temperatures to drop, which will allow them to make snow before they can invite the alpine, nordic, free ski, freestyle, and snowboard local, national and international ski athletes.

Not only is Northern Utah struggling to get a layer of snow down for XC, but the annual Thanksgiving travel trip to ski at the West Yellowstone Nordic center in Wyoming by the Park City Ski and Snowboard Team is also in limbo. The team will still go but bring roller ski gear for the dry roads and xc ski equipment just in case because it’s better to be looking at it than looking for it, and as three-time Olympian and team coach Liz Stephen has communicated to her athletes, “Pray for snow.” 

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