NORTH OGDEN — Meg Sanders has been pounding the pavement around North Ogden of late, trying to get the word out about the proposal to expand the Nordic Valley ski resort.
“It needs to stop,” she said.
The ambitious plans call for construction of a 4.3-mile gondola connecting Nordic Valley and North Ogden to the west and expansion of the resort to 2,800 acres, up from 140. The proposal is generating a lot of talk in North Ogden and the Upper Ogden Valley, and Nordic Valley reps are hosting a pair of public meetings next week focused on the plans.
The aim is to convey plan boosters’ vision to improve the skiing facility, “better compete with other area resorts and bolster Northern Utah’s status as a first-rate recreation destination,” reads an invitation to the meetings. Sanders and other critics, though, are planning a counterdemonstration.
The first Nordic Valley meeting is set for Monday and will be held at Ogden Eccles Conference Center at 2415 Washington Blvd. in Ogden. The second one will be Tuesday at the North Ogden Branch library 475 E. 2600 North in North Ogden. Both gatherings go from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and another focus, aside from providing additional information, will be to getting input from the public.
“We’re still in the planning phase and getting feedback and putting things together,” said James Coleman, managing partner of Mountain Capital Partners, operator of Nordic Valley. On hand will be reps from Mountain Capital, consultant SE Group and Ski Utah, the marketing arm of the Utah Ski and Snowboard Association.
Despite the enthusiasm of boosters like Coleman, critics like Sanders think the project is too big. She and others have been knocking on doors and passing out fliers warning of the possible adverse impacts to North Ogden, including increased auto traffic along 2600 North and Mountain Road, near the proposed North Ogden endpoint of the gondola. The foes plan to demonstrate against the proposal outside Tuesday’s meeting at the North Ogden Branch library and Sanders says she may speak out during the gathering.
“I will certainly be asking questions. If I’m not allowed to speak, yes, I’ll be disrupting it,” she said.
Notably, Sanders worries what will come of the mountainous area that’s the focus of Nordic Valley’s plans, east of North Ogden into the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest and over the mountain to existing Nordic Valley facilities in the Eden area. The prospect of clearing trees to make way for the gondola, ski runs and lifts, encroaching on the pristine land, troubles her.
Growth and development on privately held land already zoned for commercial or residential development, is one thing, she said, but development in U.S. Forest Service land is another. Nordic Valley’s plans call for the addition of 12 ski lifts on both sides of the mountain sitting between North Ogden and the resort’s existing facilities near Eden.
Coleman has already appeared at public gatherings in North Ogden and Eden to discuss the expansion proposal, drawing questions and, overwhelmingly, expressions of concern from residents skeptical of the plans. Speaking by phone, he said he understands the concerns about expanding Nordic Valley’s footprint into U.S. Forest Service land, but the development would be responsible, he said, and allow a broader cross-section of the public to access the land.
Likewise, he understands the reticence of some about bringing more development to the North Ogden area, but countered, saying growth is coming, one way or another.
“This is a highly desirable area, it’s next to a big city,” he said. Development will occur, he said, the only question for locals is what sort of growth to permit.