PARK CITY, Utah -- A popular Park City Nordic ski race has been cancelled due to the warm temperatures and lack of snow. Friday, organizers of the Round Valley Roundup announced the event would not happen this year.
“You came out here five years ago, 2010-2011, which was that big snow year--and all the sage out here was covered all the way until almost the end of April, so kind of a totally different deal this year,” said Charile Sturgies, who is the Executive Director for the Mountain Trails Foundation.
The foundation hosts five annual events, like the Park City Half Marathon and the Triple Trail Challenge. The Round Valley Roundup is the only winter event, and this year it’s not happening because winter doesn’t seem to be sticking around.
“Last year we struggled to get this race off, and this year we’re really not even in a position to struggle, we pretty much just don’t have snow,” Sturgis said.
According to the National Weather Service, northern Utah has averaged temperatures five degrees higher than normal from August through January. Sturgis describes Park City as a farming community with crop reliant on snow.
“We do farm tourists, we live and die by the weather,” he said.
Surprisingly, Storm Cycles in Kimball Junction--which sells Nordic skis and Fat Bikes (bikes specifically built for trails and snow)--hasn’t felt the burden. They’ve got a local team of lady skiers that bring them business, and Fat Bike sales are better than ever.
“We had a really good early season, good program with the Park City Betties, like I said, they’ve given us a lot of business,” said Robert Hibl, a part owner of Storm Cycles. “And then with some of the new courses opening up like Jeremy Ranch Country Club opening up their courses.”
The unpredictability of Utah’s weather is how the name Storm Cycles came about.
“You have cycles, we could be sitting here in April with feet of snow and go back into that, and that's the benefits of having different sports like that, that you can do that with,” Hibl said.
This is the second time the Round Valley Roundup has had to cancel in its five-year run due to lack of snow. The 50 participants will not see a refund, but Sturgis said most are happy to donate to the non-profit--which calls itself an advocate for Park City trails.
“For most participants, they do realize it’s a donation to the organization, we try to treat it as kindly as possible,” Sturgis said.