|The Park Record
Park City, Utah
July 18, 2000
By Aaron Krenkel
Of the Record staff
While a new stretch of completed roadwork in the Silvercreek Junction area may mean one less headache to residents of the area, to local nordic skiers its as close to heaven as one can get. At least in the summer.
Cross-country skiers convened on the roughly 5-kilometer stretch of re-paved road for a rollerski race on the morning of Saturday, July 15, to test their off-season conditions.
For those who havent seen the nordic athletes skating their way around town in recent weeks, rollerskis are a sort of hybrid between in-line skates and cross-country skis. Consisting of cross country ski binding attached to a roughly 2-foot metal bar, with wheels on the end, the "free," or unattached heels of the skis allow a motion that simulates cross-country skating in the winter.
Eric Stange, an employee of Nordic Equipment (an outdoor store at Kimball Junction) has helped with organizing the events. The first race this summer took place at the same site a couple of weeks ago.
Stange described the races as very informal, low-key gatherings designed to benefit the athletes. "We go out to have fun and get together," he said.
While none of the racers in Saturdays event are currently members of the United States Ski Team, most are what Stange termed "high-caliber skiers," who have their eyes on world-class competition. "Its a bunch of people striving to be on the team," Stange explained.
Park Citys Junior Nordic Team also showed up for the event, which featured 15 skiers.
A steady group of three or four local skiers who live and train in the Park City area has been organizing the races since the summer of 1996. Stange says the groups numbers grow and decline depending on whos in town and what time of year it is.
Recently, he said, the number of racers training in the area has been increasing. "Its growing now, with the Olympics coming around the corner." The cross-country skiing event will be held at Soldier Hollow, the new nordic venue in Midway.
Not all of the racers involved have been striving for Olympic-level competition. Stange said anyone who has been rollerski conditioning in the off-season is welcome to join the group.
For example, he said several locals involved in the Citizens Cup races the local races take place throughout the region during the winter have shown up to give the races a try. "Thereve been a few here and there who have decided to jump in."
Another race is tentatively planned for late July or early August, though Stange says the next roller-ski competition will likely take place on a different stretch of newly paved paradise.
For more information, contact Eric Stange at Nordic Equipment, 655-7225.