Winter is upon us, Utah, and it is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty of our state. I recently went backcountry skiing with Sara Goeking, a volunteer board member for Nordic United.
“Nordic United tries to provide opportunities for people who want to enjoy non-motorized outdoor activities in northern Utah,” she said.
There are similar organizations across the state to promote outdoor activities for Utahns of all skill levels.
“There’s one in Salt Lake called TUNA, [The] Utah Nordic Alliance," Goeking said. "There’s one in Ogden, the North Fork Park has the Ogden Ski Club that grooms their trails. There’s a group out of Evanston that grooms trails on the north side of the Uintas and you can actually rent yurts and stay there. There are also groups in Cedar City and Moab. So just about anywhere in the state, you’re never more than a couple hours from someplace that grooms trails and provides these types of opportunities.”
Organizations like these provide training and tips about how to stay safe while enjoying backcountry sports.
“And you also need to know something about avalanche hazard and other hazards you might encounter while you’re out," Goeking said. "So hypothermia, you know cold weather, is obviously one. Avalanches are another risk. And there are lots of ways to get educated about those risks.
“One of the great things about living in Utah is that there are all of these great communities that provide these opportunities. I mean you can go out and do things on your own, but there are also groups of people who will groom trails or plan events or plan workshops so you can learn about it and you have more places that you can go. It’s always good to have more people pitching to build that community and keep it going. And for somebody who is brand new to this type of backcountry recreation, there are all these people out there who are willing to share what they know. So it’s usually pretty easy if you ask around or look online you can usually find somebody pretty close to where you are.”