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Snow 1, spring sports 0 in mountain towns

Park City High School lacrosse teams practicing in the snow on Doizer Field
Rebecca Hunt
Park City High School lacrosse teams practice in the snow on Dozier Field.

This year’s record-smashing snowfall has been a dream for winter sports fans, but spring sports teams are having a different experience.

Spring sports around town are looking a little different this year.

David Feasler is head coach of Park City High School’s baseball team. Feasler said at this time last year the team was playing at home, but right now that is not the case.

“We've had seven games scheduled. We've played five of them in St. George. And we snuck one last week at Copper Hills, and then the week before at Stansbury.”

He added the team has been practicing at the Base Rec Field House, in the high school gym, in the hallways of the high school and pretty much wherever the team can find a spot.

The baseball team is having to play most of its games in the Salt Lake Valley.

Another team affected is the Park City Soccer Club. Shelley Gillwald is the club’s executive director. She said her players haven’t been able to practice on fields in Park City.

Gilwald said the club was informed by Basin Rec and Park City Recreation that the grass fields around town won’t be ready until May 20th, which is around the end of the spring season for soccer.

The club has tried to get time for their 33 teams to practice on turf fields at venues including Basin Rec Field House and at Matt Knoop Park, but has only been able to get eight houses a week because the venues have seen such high demand from other sports, not just soccer.

Gilwald added that the soccer club has had to use gyms at Park City Day School and Trailside Elementary School to practice. Because those venues are not big enough for soccer, teams have had to play a variation.

“What we do in those scenarios is play futsal, which is a much denser ball, doesn't go airborne, lets us work on skill work with our players. And kind of keep touches on the ball. Over the winter, we participated in the futsal league over in Heber just because they had the time and the space and we didn't have much here. We have very little that we can train as a team. With our teams I should say.”

The club usually front-loads teams' schedules with games in the Salt Lake Valley. However, according to Eli Ulvi, the club's technical director, most of the games in Salt Lake have been canceled or postponed due to thawing of grass fields.

Both boys’ and girls’ high school lacrosse teams at Park City High School have been affected too.

Mikki Clayton coaches the girls team. She said due to Dozier Field not being plowed correctly, the field has not been playable.

"Now that we've had so much snow, they've essentially created like, rock walls of snow. And especially since we've had rain and then snow, it's really hardened. So right now the field is basically plowed from about the 10 yard line to the 10 yard line. And both girls and boys lacrosse needs sort of the full field, like all the way to the football endzones. So yes, we're practicing on the field, but we're not even really able to use our normal lacrosse lines.”

Clayton added the girls team has been able to play some home games at Matt Knoop park, but have also played home games at opponents’ fields.

The boys team is having similar challenges. Its game against Cherry Creek, a high school just outside of Denver, had to be moved to a lower elevation at Westminster College.

When teams will play on Dozier Field and other venues around town is still a mystery, as is what spring thaw will look like in the mountains.

Corrected: April 3, 2023 at 12:13 PM MDT
An earlier version of this report misspelled Shelley Gillwald's name.