2 Eden-area homes threatened by Nordic Valley flow; efforts afoot to fix situation
Melting snow and the resulting rush of water has created issues around some parts of the Nordic Valley ski resort, washing out portions of runs and access roads on the south side of the resort and nearly inundating at least a pair of homes.
Weber Fire District firefighters, neighbors and others pitched in late last week to create ditches to divert the flowing water, mud and road bed material around Steve Munson’s home, which sits west of Viking Drive and below the resort’s southern flank. Munson was away on vacation when the flow started threatening his home and neighbors Bruce Keswick and Bruce Magill, among others, helped with sandbagging and other efforts to protect the residence.
“It’s neighbors like the two Bruces here — without them, who knows what this would look like?” Munson said Tuesday morning, only hours after returning from his trip.
Munson has never seen the sort of flow now occurring at the rear of his house in 21 years living in the location. Had the firefighters and neighbors not pitched in, Magill said, the basement of Munson’s home likely would’ve flooded.
Nordic Valley ski resort reps, meantime, say they are investigating and working on finding solutions. The area around Munson’s home hasn’t been the only one that’s been affected.
“Nordic Valley is addressing the situation, working with the county and … reporting regularly to the surrounding property owners. Addressing the drainage and grading issues on the ski runs will require engineering and construction work that will take some time to complete,” the resort said in a statement to the Standard-Examiner.
Firefighters, neighbors and others also helped with diversion efforts around another home just to the north of Munson’s, likewise threatened by flowing water and mud from Nordic Valley. A storage structure suffered some water and mud damage and a big part of the home’s yard is covered with mud and rocky road bed material, though the home is safe and sound.
“We don’t believe the runs were constructed properly,” Keswick said. When new ski runs were installed above the area, Magill maintains, culverts should have been built beneath them to serve as conduits for snowmelt, but they weren’t.
On May 10, mud flowed onto a section of Viking Drive further north, necessitating closure of the roadway after firefighters working with Weber County engineers fashioned a drainage channel across the road to address the situation. Nordic Valley said that flow didn’t come from a ski area.
Later Tuesday, though, Keswick said water started flowing down the driveway two homes up from him and across Viking Drive, not far from Munson’s home.
“It’s worrisome when you see what’s up there,” Keswick said, alluding to washed out portions of the access road and ski run a short hike uphill from the location, which he’s visited. “It’s been worrisome from the beginning.”
Nordic Valley has already been the focus of criticism by some of the homeowners along Viking Drive and in the area stemming from plans to build a ski village near the base of the resort, which they fear will alter the relatively quiet dynamic of the area. The apparent issues caused by erosion of Hiccup Trail and an access road below the trail, which both roughly parallel Viking Drive, exacerbate things for them.
Munson said Nordic Valley needs to take steps to address the problems, especially if it has more development plans in the works. The southernmost portion of the Nordic Valley ski area is relatively new. “Is this an example of their due diligence?” added Magill.
Nordic Valley’s statement, however, noted the hand of Mother Nature — the heavy, unprecedented snowfall that blanketed much of Utah this past winter.
“The severe winter and extreme water concentrations this year have resulted in the water finding its own paths, running down the graded areas and washing out embankments in some areas, creating surges of muddy water coming to the homes below from areas where water typically hasn’t come in normal years,” the statement said.
A quick fix isn’t likely, the resort statement went on, but efforts have started. What’s more, the resort started providing free sandbags to neighbors on Tuesday, available at the resort workshop.
“The issues will take weeks to address fully, but we are doing initial repairs to address the areas of highest risk, working with local officials, professional experts and our neighbors,” Nordic Valley said.
Some county officials believe the worst is over, Nordic Valley said, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily smooth sailing from here on out. “As snow continues to melt and the runoff comes from higher elevations, the flow coming down the mountain could take different courses and impact different areas,” the resort said.