EDEN — Big change is afoot at the Nordic Valley ski resort.

Expansion of the resort, smallest of the three ski facilities in Weber County, has been the focus of particularly intense discussion and debate since 2018. Now, dirt has started moving to build a new high-speed lift and cut new trails, though a grander proposal to create a mountain-crossing gondola between North Ogden and the Eden-area resort remains on the back burner.

Company reps didn’t provide a firm timeline, but plans call for completion of the lift and at least some of the trails during the 2020-2021 ski season.

“This expansion is the largest in Nordic Valley’s history,” Brandon Fessler, the Nordic Valley general manager, said in an email to the Standard-Examiner. “When fully completed, it will ultimately more than triple our skiable acres.”

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A bulldozer moves dirt on a planned run that will service a new lift being installed at the Nordic Valley ski resort as part of its expansion plans. Officials revealed details of the plans to the Standard-Examiner on Monday Aug. 24, 2020.

Weber County planners issued Nordic Valley a permit last March, with several conditions, allowing the expansion to proceed. Work started over the summer, and the new lift and skiing areas are taking shape on land already owned by Nordic Valley and its partner companies, just south of the resort’s existing footprint in the Eden area. The controversial proposal including the gondola had contemplated expansion onto U.S. Forest Service land.

Fessler said the current expansion phase calls for development of 50 of the 300 acres in the expansion area, increasing Nordic Valley’s skiable area from 140 acres to 190 acres. James Coleman, head of Nordic’s parent company, Mountain Capital Partners, has told the Standard-Examiner that expansion is key to making the resort financially viable. Weber County is also home to the much larger Snowbasin and Powder Mountain ski resorts.

“Right now, we’re at the very beginning of a very exciting time for Nordic Valley — this is a multi-year project. The founders of this resort dreamed about this, and we couldn’t be more proud to be the ones to initiate — and ultimately fulfill — this dream,” Fessler said. “Our aim is to not only introduce new guests to Nordic Valley ski resort but also expand our offerings to those who have been with us for generations!”

The high-speed, detachable lifts that are to be installed, each capable of holding up to six people, will be on a 4,213-foot line, hauling skiers more quickly than Nordic’s other lifts, according to a statement on the plans. The new lift will rise 1,375 feet in elevation and sit on the eastern flank of Lewis peak, according to a geoscience report prepared for Weber County planners on behalf of Mountain Capital Partners. By comparison, the Apollo Lift, currently the longest at Nordic Valley, is 2,994 feet long.

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A six-person chairlift at the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort in Flagstaff, Arizona, sister facility to Nordic Valley in the Eden area. A new lift similar to this is being installed at Nordic Valley and officials revealed details of the plans to the Standard-Examiner on Monday Aug. 24, 2020.

Augmenting snowmaking capabilities in the expansion area via a 28,000-foot water line is also part of the plans, according to the original plans and the geoscience report. Ultimately, plans call for 40 new runs geared to varying skill levels on 100 acres and another 200 acres of glade skiing on top of that.

Stefanie Casey of North Ogden, who kept close tabs on the gondola plans when they were debated in 2018 and 2019, like many in the city, welcomed the scaled-back proposal. “To see it expand on its land, for it to be successful — it’s a great thing,” she said.

She’s leery, though, of the other, grander plan to develop a gondola line and expand onto Forest Service land. Many in North Ogden expressed opposition to that proposal when it emerged in 2018 and it finally stalled in 2019 when Nordic Valley pulled its plans from formal Forest Service consideration. Though open to the current expansion, Casey indicated she’d get active if the gondola plans were to reemerge.

“That’s the most important thing, to stay involved to make sure we have an active part in planning,” she said.

In its statement announcing the current expansion, Nordic Valley alluded to the gondola plans, suggesting they were still a possibility. “While we’re focusing on the current expansion project, we are always thinking about and planning for the future of Nordic Valley, including the gondola,” the statement said.

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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