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Soft snow on local trails slows down skiers, bikers

Storm Cycles

While many Parkites rave about the heavy snowfall so far this year, the conditions aren’t ideal for all winter sports in town.

Park City’s groomed snow trails are among the best anywhere, but the soft snow from many consecutive snowstorms are an issue.

Skate skiers and fat-tire bikers especially thrive on packed snow on those trails, because it offers ground traction.

Mountain Trails Foundation Executive Director Lora Smith says the deep snow and wintery days make maintaining those trails slow work, even with heavy-duty machines.

“Wind-drifted snow is really, really fine and crystalline, and it packs in super, super dense," Smith said.

"It's just really hard to move that wind-drifted snow. So, there's been times our crews have been out there with shovels trying to shovel it away, or at least make it manageable for the grooming machinery to get through.”

She asked people to be patient and said the crews work hard to prepare the trails as well as possible, as quickly as possible. They usually work in early-morning hours before people come out to ski or ride.

And some days simply aren’t good to be on the trail. Smith says that’s because skis or tires can create big ruts that take a long time to fix.

“The rule is that if the imprint you're making in the trail is deeper than the knobs on your tires, then it's not a good day to be out.”