Nordic Valley’s new management quietly revealed massive expansion plans with a website, nordicvalleyproject.com, going live last week.

The proposed changes look ambitious. According to a conceptual rendering, they include 10 new lifts and dozens of new runs criss-crossing Coldwater Canyon and the North Ogden Divide. All said, the proposition would take Nordic Valley from a diminutive 140 skiable acres to 2,850 lift-served acres. 

At the apex of their plans is a 4.3-mile gondola, which would connect the resort base with North Ogden near the city-owned Equestrian Park and green waste site. 

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Site of proposed gondola to Nordic Valley Ski Resort in North Ogden on Monday, June 25, 2018.

“The plan is to get all the permits in place and, around 2020, start trying to make this happen,” said Denzel Rowland, the resort’s general manager. “It’ll be phased out, probably the gondola will be the first thing, then they’ll pick and choose from there.”

Still, some say the lofty project shows the resort’s management has its head in the clouds.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Nordic Valley is going to expand up the mountain and I’m sure it’s not the last time,” said Dan Schroeder, conservation chair for the Ogden Sierra Club. “As far as I can tell, (it’s done) to puff-up real estate prices.”

The expansion faces several obstacles. It would take buy-in from several parties, including North Ogden City, Weber County and the public.

Some of the growth would happen on land Nordic Valley already owns, but the vast majority would be on public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service, in an inventoried roadless area

“It’s going to be a tough road, that’s really all I can say. The most important thing is the public’s participation in this — the buy in from the different communities,” said Sean Harwood, U.S. Forest Service Ogden District Ranger.  “Roadless areas, in a lot of peoples’ (minds), is the next thing to wilderness.”

Harwood said he’s had “one discussion” with Nordic Valley representatives about their plans. He has yet to receive an official proposal.  

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Nordic Valley Ski Resort in Eden on Monday, June 25, 2018.

“It would take three amendments to the forest plan in order to do it. That’s a lot of work. It’ll be a lot of time on their side and a lot of time on our side,” he said. “We have to make absolutely sure the public is behind it.”

Charlie Ewert, principal planner for Weber County, said his office hasn’t been contacted about Nordic Valley’s plans. 

“We haven’t had conversations with them in the better part of a year,” he said. “There’s a whole gamut of things we’d want to chat with them about before we even decided what permitting route they would go.”

North Ogden City Planner Rob Scott said he also hasn’t received any formal plans or applications from Nordic Valley. He said he wasn’t sure how the resort planned to build its gondola base on city-owned land. 

“I guess it could either be a lease or purchase, either one,” he said. “But until we get a formal proposal, it’d be a real supposition.”

Skyline Mountain Base LLC bought Nordic Valley in 2014 when it was known as Wolf Mountain and mired in financial woes. Its new management floated expansion plans soon after, including new lifts and runs on U.S. Forest Service lands, condos and “French inspired mountain luxury.”

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Those development plans never quite got off the ground, but the resort seems to have new momentum after entering a new operating agreement with Mountain Capital Partners this spring.

Colorado-based Mountain Capital Partners owns and operates a handful of resorts in the Southwest, including Colorado’s Purgatory Resort and Arizona Snowbowl.

“They’re well-versed in the ski business,” Rowland said.

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Attempts to interview representatives with Mountain Capital Partners were not successful by the time of publication. Rowland said the proposed gondola could be a boon to communities on both sides of the mountain.

“It’s not all about skiing, it’s about transportation over the Wasatch and into Eden. It should take some traffic out of Ogden Canyon and North Ogden Divide,” he said. “UTA could deliver right to the base, (then) people could go over the top, possibly to another transit station on the other side that could deliver them to Powder Mountain, Huntsville and Snowbasin.”

Rowland acknowledged, however, that there are still hurdles to jump, especially with the Forest Service.

The Nordic Valley project website notes its “precise environmental impact” on those lands will be determined during the National Environmental Policy Act process, which they hope to start this fall.

Schroeder with the Ogden Sierra Club said the impacts to the area’s public lands will likely be vast. They organized to fight a proposed tram from Ogden City to Snowbasin and Malan’s Basin more than a decade ago.

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“They’d be cutting down a very large portion of all the conifers on that mountain. They’d be putting a spaghetti network of roads all over that mountain,” he said.

Roads would likely be needed to access and service the new gondola, lifts and snowmaking equipment. That network isn’t appropriate for an area that’s currently protected as roadless, Schroeder said, and it’s where groups like the Sierra Club draw the line.

“We decided collectively as a nation 18 years ago that we’re not going to build in inventoried roadless areas,” Schroeder said. “It has quite a bit of legal protection, so that raises all kinds of questions about whether they’re serious about the proposal.”

He also questioned whether Nordic Valley’s geographic and climatic limitations make expansion worth the effort. Its base is currently at 5,375 feet — much lower than neighboring resorts in Ogden Valley, which means it generally has a shorter season.

Even if the expansion is approved, its elevation will peak at 8,100 feet. Snowbasin, by comparison, is 9,350 feet at the top and Powder Mountain is at 8,900 feet.

“To spend all that money and introduce all that impact developing an entire mountain for a ski season that’s only going to last a couple months, I don’t think it sounds feasible at all,” Schroeder said. “The elevation is not high enough you can count on snow.”

Contact reporter Leia Larsen at 801-625-4289 or llarsen@standard.net. Follow her on Facebook.com/LeiaInTheField or on Twitter @LeiaLarsen.

(21) comments

springsibis

nOpe!

Sabbatical

Sooo.....you live/work in another state and a VP. A slime ball realtor..definition, pls.. Gage has always lived in the Oden/Huntsville area.he is a successful businessman, family man and athlete.....and the fat lady sang! Mack

Sabbatical

Any Ethic violations, he has not been called to answer any violations...Mack

Sabbatical

It's going to happen John....take awhile but it's going to happen!

Sabbatical

Including you Bob! The fat lady sang!Mack

ogdenstandardsucks

I voted for Ebert. Sorry, but those real estate folks like GF only have their own interests in mind. Yes, my resume exceeds him, I’m not a slimeball realtor, but a technology VP based on another state in a major city much larger than SLC.GF is merely a big fish in a tiny pond, he couldn’t make it in Salt Lake County, even. That’s why the Utah GOP endorsed Ebert, not Froerer.

flatlander

Piffle.  

Sabbatical

Cooper,I watched the Youtube with Gage Froerer..I do not think anyone posting here is qualified or smart enough to have a conversation with Gage Froerer!Mack Foss

Sabbatical

Correct me if I error...Gage Froerer has never been voted out of office. If you do not agree with an elected official...run against him or her. Why all of the dirt throwing just days before an election. I have known gage for over 40 years and a running partner..Gage was usually 1st in all races and I doubt he will be beaten in this race...we'll see tonight! Gage is a successful businessman, lives in Eden, beautiful family, owns additional property, always . professional a gentleman! Does your resume match his. He has my vote!Mack Foss 

gregoryunderscore

Backdoor dealings and this happens to come out too late to be a campaign issue! Good ol boys at it again! This should have had a press conference a year ago they should of honesty stated why (selling lots) not skiing we all know it’s a bad area for a skiing. 

Sabbatical

Greg,Why is Nordic Valley a bad idea for skiing..tell me your experience there please. I am a resident, worked in the ski industry for many, many years and consider myself and expert for providing information about the ski areas here and Salt Lake area.Mack

cowboyu87

  Gage owns more than just a home next to Nordic Valley. He owns part of a firm that owns about 80 acres next to it and it is no secret that they are trying to develop it. There is a lot of people that I know in that area that are worried that its going to be rezoned to build condominiums  on the land.   I have worked with Gage Froerer and his family and I can say with 100% certainty that he only does things that will benefit him directly. I have had land dealings with Gage's wife Gloria and his son Kelly and he continually would threaten me with "my dad is a state representative and we can do what we want." I have actual NOPD police reports with Kelly threaten cops with there job's because his dad knows there boss.  I also know that back when Ogden city was reaccessing the special tax district for the downtown area. Gage Froerer was the only business owner that showed up and publicly objected the tax. Not only that while in meetings with city council members he threatened one them with there job, to the point where the city council member recused themself from voting. He also met with Ogden City Manager Mark Johnson and threaten him if the special tax wasn't eliminated. If your not aware what this money is used for, its used for all the events in downtown like The Twilight series, Ogden Marathon, farmers market etc. I've attached a link to the city council meeting with him talking and watch for at least 15 minutes from the starting point of the video (@ 15:55).https://youtu.be/jj-YySfctEA?t=15m55s  If you think Gage doesn't have any special interest in being a Weber county commissioner then just take a look at this article. http://www.standard.net/Politics/2018/06/14/Weber-Co-Commission-hopeful-Froerer-rebuffs-questions-criticism-in-campaign.html   If that isn't enough,  go to the link below and search Gage Froerer https://www.utah.gov/transparency/app.html?govLevel=HOUSING+AUTHORITIES&entityId=1171&fiscalYear=2017&transType=1&title1=Housing+Authorities%3A+2017%3A+Expense&title2=Weber+Housing+Authority&title3=Housing+Authorities%3A+Weber+Housing+Authority%3A+2017%3A+Expense     It will show the 100+k his company made last couple of years from Weber housing authority while his wife Gloria was Chair. This activity goes back at least as far as the records on the state's website show, which is the last 5 years. This is illegal because she is using her public office to benefit their business.

cowboyu87

   I have worked with Gage Froerer and his family and I can say with 100% certainty that he only does things that will benefit him directly. I have had land dealings with Gage's wife Gloria and his son Kelly and he continually would threaten me with "my dad is a state representative and we can do what we want." I have actual NOPD police reports with Kelly threaten cops with there job's because his dad knows there boss.  I also know that back when Ogden city was reaccessing the special tax district for the downtown area. Gage Froerer was the only business owner that showed up and publicly objected the tax. Not only that while in meetings with city council members he threatened one them with there job, to the point where the city council member recused themself from voting. He also met with Ogden City Manager Mark Johnson and threaten him if the special tax wasn't eliminated. If your not aware what this money is used for, its used for all the events in downtown like The Twilight series, Ogden Marathon, farmers market etc. I've attached a link to the city council meeting with him talking and watch for at least 15 minutes from the starting point of the video (@ 15:55).https://youtu.be/jj-YySfctEA?t=15m55s  If you think Gage doesn't have any special interest in being a Weber county commissioner then just take a look at this article. http://www.standard.net/Politics/2018/06/14/Weber-Co-Commission-hopeful-Froerer-rebuffs-questions-criticism-in-campaign.html   If that isn't enough,  go to the link below and search Gage Froerer https://www.utah.gov/transparency/app.html?govLevel=HOUSING+AUTHORITIES&entityId=1171&fiscalYear=2017&transType=1&title1=Housing+Authorities%3A+2017%3A+Expense&title2=Weber+Housing+Authority&title3=Housing+Authorities%3A+Weber+Housing+Authority%3A+2017%3A+Expense     It will show the 100+k his company made last couple of years from Weber housing authority while his wife Gloria was Chair. This activity goes back at least as far as the records on the state's website show, which is the last 5 years. This is illegal because she is using her public office to benefit their business.

flatlander

OK, fair question.I'm saying that northern Utah realtors lobby has been a powerful force in Ogden City and Weber County politices, not always in my opinion in admirable ways. (E.g. during the Godfrey administration).  I believe GF was in the legislature, and voted for, I think, the disastrous revison in town formation law that led to the Powder Town mess.And I'm thinking that adding an Ogden Valley realtor (or developer for that matter) to the Weber County Commission which will have to act, pro or con, on the just-announced massive Nordic Valley expansion may not be the course of prudence.

ogdenreader

The same page that voted for keeping stream access limited....while sitting on his porch alongside the Southfork?

Sabbatical

Nina..what if you owned a home in that area, is that a conflict of interest?

Sabbatical

Bob, I have known gage for over 40 years, he has been a realtor for years and lived in the Huntsville/Eden for many of those years. What you trying to say Bob? I'm sure there are electricians/plumbers and many other trades..what about them Bob!

flatlander

Isn't Gage Frouer (sp?) an Ogden Valley realtor?

LeiaLarsen Staff
LeiaLarsen

Hi Nina, Tim Vandenack is working on a follow-up story about that. 

ninamorse

How in the world does the Standard not mention that one of the candidates for Weber County Commission owns a lot of land surrounding this expansion project and stands to gain millions with bonus density housing that will surely be built? All he needs is two "yes" votes in the commission office, his and Scott Jenkins. Here's the conflict of interests we've all been talking about. 

johnmacanary

As a resident of Ogden Valley I have exactly zero enthusiasm for this project.  Touting the growth of real estate and increased use of the valley does nothing to get me excited.  We live here because of what it is - not what a real estate development company wants it to be.  If Powder Mountain and Snow Basin actually execute their already approved plans there will be enough housing inventory for the next 50 years.  These guys aren't going to get any support from the local residents.

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