A fear of falling on slippery surfaces is a valid concern, but the 18th annual national Winter Trails Day provides a great opportunity to learn that falling can be overcome.
Three locations in northern Utah are participating Saturday in the national event designed to get promote the health and social benefits of getting out on the trails for snow sports participation.
"A fear of falling and getting out of your comfort zone is always hard," said Beth Ann Schneider with the Soldier Hollow Cross-Country Ski Resort at Wasatch Mountain State Park. "But once you get a little bit of confidence and realize you can slide without falling it is all smiles."
Soldier Hollow, located in the Heber Valley, will be offering free trail passes, rental equipment and mini-lessons for all ages from 1 to 4 p.m.
Schneider said it doesn't take long to get the hang of cross-country skiing. Such was the case when a middle-aged woman recently visited Soldier Hollow hoping to learn how to ski so she could exercise in the winter.
"She was very nervous and she did fall a couple of times, but once she realized she could get and ski under control she was excited," Schneider said. "That was within a half an hour."
Ogden Nordic, a nonprofit group focused on Nordic skiing, is also holding a Winter Trails event. Classic style and skate skiing equipment will be available free for use on trails at North Fork Park near Liberty in Weber County from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Other activities include a 10K ski race, skate skiing clinics, classic skiing clinics, wax clinics, snowshoe tours and cross-country ski tours.
Another Winter Trails event is being held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sinks Winter Trailhead near Bear Lake. Snowshoes and cross-country skis will be available for free use. The Forest Service Off-highway Vehicle trailer will be on hand. The Utah Avalanche Center, Utah State Parks, Wasatch West Snowmobile Association, Cache County Search and Rescue and dog sledding teams will also be at the trailhead. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Utah Nordic Alliance (TUNA) has traditionally held a Winter Trails Day event at Mountain Dell Golf Course in Parleys Canyon, but the groups decided scheduling conflicts and heavy volunteer hours for the recent U.S. Cross Country Championships would make it difficult to hold an event in 2013.