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Nordic Valley ski village plans get OK, but plenty of work remains

By Tim Vandenack - | Dec 21, 2022

Ben Dorger, Standard-Examiner

The Nordic Valley ski resort photographed from afar on Jan. 17, 2019. Skyline Mountain Base proposes development of a village near the base of the ski area and it's the focus of an Ogden Valley Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

OGDEN — The groundwork has been laid for development of the proposed Nordic Valley ski village, an array of chalets, townhomes, commercial space and more around the base of the Nordic Valley ski resort.

Weber County commissioners on Tuesday approved the rezone of the property sought by Skyline Mountain Base and Nordic Valley Land Associates, owners of the land where the ski village is proposed. The officials also approved the development agreement outlining the plans, which call for potentially 565 dwellings — a big bump in development in the Ogden Valley if and when it materializes.

“It’s a first, good step forward,” Laurent Jouffray, a member of the Skyline Mountain Base board, said after Tuesday’s meeting. The entire expanse of land covers 500-plus acres, including skiing slopes, but the housing and development would be focused around the current Nordic Valley ski lodge, along 3850 East and Nordic Valley Road.

However, Tuesday’s action doesn’t immediately pave the way for construction. Developing the infrastructure to support the proposed development would be the next step — roads, sewer and water lines, natural gas and electricity connections — and that’s no simple task. “It is a huge investment… Right now we are looking at some options,” Jouffray said.

The proposal was formally unveiled in October 2021, though planning efforts preceded that, and it sparked plenty of debate and criticism along the way, notably from Ogden Valley residents worried the development would disrupt peace and quiet in the area. More recently, County Commissioner Gage Froerer came under fire stemming from a stake he owns in Nordic Valley Land Associates, owner of part of the land where the development would be focused.

James O'Brien addresses the Weber County Commission on the Nordic Valley ski village proposal at a public hearing on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022. The commissioners, from left, are Jim Harvey, Scott Jenkins and Gage Froerer.

Froerer recused himself from a vote last August on the Nordic Valley ski resort issue given his Nordic Valley Land Associates stake and also recused himself from the two votes on Tuesday. Commissioners Jim Harvey and Scott Jenkins both voted for the varied measures.

“This does not come as a surprise to the community. It’s public information,” Froerer said, noting a formal disclosure he filed with the county dated Nov. 20 outlining his stake in Nordic Valley Land Associates. “There was no involvement on my part with planning commission at any point… You were fully aware of my involvement and interest.”

Froerer has verbally disclosed his stake in Nordic Valley Land Associates to the public on other occasions as well.

Even so, James O’Brien, an Ogden Valley resident who pressed the issue and criticized Froerer’s handling of the matter, said the county commissioner should have done more. The land in Nordic Valley Land Associates’ hands, O’Brien said, could be worth “millions of dollars” if the project fully proceeds.

Aside from just recusing himself from voting, O’Brien maintains Froerer should not have been present when project plans were formally discussed and should not have discussed the topic with other commissioners or county staff. Though he recused himself from voting, Froerer was present when the issue was discussed ahead of the vote last August and also was present during Tuesday’s public hearing and discussion of the matter.

Photo supplied, Weber County

A rendering of the proposed development around the Nordic Valley ski resort, depicted in the area at the bottom right of the image.

“From my perspective, Commissioner Froerer’s continuing violation undermines the legality and the political legitimacy of the commission’s approval of the Nordic Valley village project and needs to be rectified going forward,” said O’Brien, a retired lawyer.

Both Harvey and Jenkins defended Froerer and expressed accord that, as a commissioner, he has always acted in an upfront and forthright manner. Aside from saying he’s steered clear of discussing the matter with county staff as they’ve sorted plan details with developers over the past year, Froerer said state law chiefly requires him only to disclose his potential conflict of interest. He could theoretically have voted on the matter, he said.

Aside from issues surrounding Froerer’s role in the matter, another speaker expressed concern about the possibility of development on the mountainside above the proposed village.

Clustering of development rights in the main village area is supposed to prevent or minimize that. Without the agreement hammered out between Skyline Mountain Base and Nordic Valley Land Associates reps, developers would theoretically have been able to build homes all along the mountain where the main slopes of the Nordic Valley ski resort are located, according to Charlie Ewert, chief planner for Weber County.

Jenkins and Harvey didn’t say much at Tuesday’s meeting about the Nordic Valley plans. “We’ve been over this and over this and over this,” Jenkins said.

Going forward, Jouffray said developers would work closely with community members and listen to their concerns. “It has to work with the community,” he said.


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