Nordic Valley expansion 02

Skiers ride the chairlift at the Nordic Valley ski resort in the Eden area on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. The resort has plans to add a lift and expand the skiable area.

EDEN — The proposed expansion of Nordic Valley, the smallest of Weber County’s three ski resorts, is needed to keep the facility alive, says James Coleman, head of Nordic’s parent company, Mountain Capital Partners.

“It’s huge. Nordic Valley isn’t a particularly viable operation in its current size. It’s the smallest resort in the state,” Coleman said. The expansion, adding a ski lift and dramatically increasing the skiable acreage, is “super important to Nordic Valley’s long-term survivability.”

Weber County is home to two other larger resorts, Snowbasin and Powder Mountain.

Nordic Valley is proposing the addition of 28,000 feet in underground water lines to augment snow production in an area abutting the existing ski area and installation of a new ski lift to serve the expansion zone. The expansion area, adding 700 to 800 vertical feet to the resort, would be cleared enough to allow for the addition of numerous new ski runs — tripling Nordic Valley’s footprint, according to Coleman.

“It makes the resort a lot more fun. That’s what it comes down to — people want to have fun,” he said. Edging further up the mountain to increase the area open to skiing, he thinks, can help bolster mid-week traffic, helping the resort’s bottom line.

The expansion would be onto a 347-acre parcel already owned by Skyline Mountain Base, affiliated with Durango, Colorado-based Mountain Capital Partners. But Nordic Valley would need a conditional use permit to add the new lift and extra snowmaking capacity and the company’s request, made to the Weber County Planning Division, is currently under review.

The expansion would cost an estimated $6 million-$7 million and the firm would need to get the financing in place. But Coleman said Nordic Valley officials’ hope is to start work yet this year and have the new lift and at least three ski runs ready for the 2020-2021 ski season. The total expansion would be spread over about three years.

Mountain Capital Partners operates numerous ski resorts and mountain bike parks in Colorado, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Texas, according to its website. Coleman said since Mountain Capital Partners took over Nordic Valley’s operation in 2014, he’s been able to make the small resort work.

“I’ve got it relatively stable. But I’m a very aggressive, creative operator,” he said. Over the long haul, the resort needs to be upgraded to solidify its financial viability.

An earlier, grander proposal to expand Nordic Valley called for the addition of a mountain-crossing gondola connecting North Ogden to the west and the existing ski resort area in the Eden area. Numerous ski areas higher up the mountain would also have been developed, among other things.

“Certainly haven’t given up on that. But I’m not focused on it right now,” Coleman said.

That earlier proposal, released to the public in 2018, called for the expansion of Nordic Valley onto U.S. Forest Service land around Lewis Peak within the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, adjacent to the resort’s existing footprint. The plans were submitted to the Forest Service for review, but Nordic Valley pulled them last year before the feds had a chance to formally respond. Some elements of that earlier plan are contained in the new expansion proposal, according to Coleman.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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