Denzel Rowland, general manager of the resort, said Thursday that U.S. Forest Service representatives had informed Nordic Valley that its proposal would need to be revamped to meet agency guidelines. The plans, unveiled last year, call for a mountain-crossing gondola linking North Ogden to the west and the existing resort facilities in the Eden area to the east, among other things.
“We’ll have to polish it up a little bit ... so it meets the criteria,” Rowland said Thursday.
He said company officials were still reviewing the shortcomings identified by Forest Service officials, but that a retooled plan could be ready in two to three weeks. “We want to move forward with it,” he said.
Sean Harwood, who manages the Ogden Ranger District for the Forest Service, wasn’t immediately available for comment on Thursday. He addressed a gathering on Wednesday in Eden on the status of Nordic Valley’s plans, according to Rowland.
Austin Isbell, of Salt Lake City-based Love Communications, which is handling communications on the expansion plans for Nordic Valley, said the ski resort operator had pulled its proposal “a few weeks ago” so it can be reworked. That doesn’t mean the plans are in limbo, though.
“They’re still fully committed to the project and trying to move things forward, 100 percent,” Isbell said. Like Rowland, he wasn’t sure exactly what needs to be done to meet Forest Service parameters.
Aside from the 4.3-mile gondola, Nordic Valley’s ambitious proposal — which has drawn fire from some in North Ogden and the Ogden Valley — calls for expanding the skiable areas of the resort from 140 acres to 3,500 acres. The number of lifts would go from three to 15 and the resort would edge higher up the mountain where it’s located, from a max elevation of 6,300 feet to 8,100 feet.
Critics question whether the plans are viable, and whether there’s enough snow in the Nordic Valley vicinity to justify such a massive expansion. Others worry about increased traffic and development if the plans move forward, altering the relative quiet of the zone.
Much of Nordic Valley’s expansion would occur on Forest Service land, hence the plans face review from the agency. Forest Service guidelines spell out nine guidelines that plans like Nordic Valley’s face as part of the initial screening process. The firm fell short on one or two of them, apparently, Rowland said.
Plans can’t involve gambling, paramilitary training or disposal of garbage, among other things. They also must be consistent with other standards applicable to the pertinent Forest Service land and can’t lead to “an exclusive or perpetual right of use or occupancy.”
Plans that pass initial screening are then focus of even more scrutiny per the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, before moving forward.