Ski Olympic trails or romp in the snow near Park City, Utah
Cheers from thousands of Olympics fans no longer reverberate through Soldier Hollow in Utah’s Wasatch Mountain State Park. But on a brisk winter day, it’s easy to imagine the roar of the crowds as you ski through the finish area the way Olympian cross-country skiers did three years ago.
Many trails through this usually sun-drenched bowl on the back side of the Wasatch Range were reconfigured after the Olympics to add more terrain for beginning nordic skiers. With a total of 31 kilometers (19.25 miles) of groomed track, though,you can still find plenty of variety ― and a good workout. And while the chance to test your skills on Olympic courses used for nordic ski races and biathlons is reason enough to plan a visit, trails lacing through stands of scrub oak, cottonwood, and an occasional apple tree from a forgotten orchard provide their own reward of winter beauty.
As you skate-ski or glide along the 5-kilometer Pony Express trail, watch for the winter wildlife that calls Soldier Hollow home. Coyotes prowl the hillsides and frequently dart across trails; overhead, red-tailed hawks wheel circles while scanning the hills for lunch.