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Nordic Ski Trails A Possibility On Bonanza Flat Open Space

KPCW-Bonanza Flat

Summer work is underway in the Park City owned Bonanza Flat open space off the Guardsman Pass road. It’s going to improve recreational access for everyone. But winter at 9,000 feet elevation is altogether a different challenge.

Park City Trail Manager Heinrich Deters says the Guardsman Pass Road where it connects to Pine Canyon is nearly impossible to keep clear because the wind blows so hard, it fills in all the time.

“At 9000 feet, mother nature rules. It wasn’t even the amount of snow that fell, it was the wind that blew. The Jeep Hill safety corridor that we set up; I think worked absolutely fantastic. And, I think most of the people that utilized it, would say the same thing."

Deters says groomed Nordic trails may be provided in Bonanza Flat this winter.

“That-being-said, doing it in that wind-blown area is very difficult. That’s what we learned. However, going down to that area on the west side of Pine Canyon in the aspen trees is very plausible. It can be blowing very hard at Empire Pass and through all our monitoring efforts, we’re down in the aspen trees looking around and just monitoring in general. It’s really nice in there. It’s secluded and we can provide some sort of amenity. So, that’s the aim and we’re going to be working towards it.”

Deters says their biggest challenge is how to get people from the gate on the Guardsman Road to Empire Pass and into Bonanza Flat. The gate is located above the Montage on the first switchback on the Guard Road.

“The gate is there. So, that’s UDOT’s road on this side. So, that’s their jurisdiction so we would have to work with them on that aspect. You know, we spent a lot of money up there. It’s a really, beautiful aspect and property especially in the wintertime. And, who knows moving forward, with climate change? You know Round Valley has some fantastic years but then we have years where we have no skiing out there. So, it is a big priority for my department to try to figure that out so people can go up on the open space and enjoy that.”

Utah Open Lands will present the draft conservation easement to the council later this month. Deters doesn’t anticipate any surprises in the proposal.

The city was awarded grant money from the Governor’s Office of Outdoor Recreation to help fund the trailhead services. Summit County has helped pay for a new 9000-foot multi-use trail which will be open next summer. It will allow access to the Wasatch Crest trail and hopefully take some traffic off Mid-Mountain. 

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