Big Plans for Utah’s Smallest Ski Area

It seems like over the past few years, summer isn’t a dull interlude in the ski & snowboard industry. Instead, it’s a period of announcing BIG plans for smaller resorts. For example, last year we talked about the doubling of Lookout Pass & Mount Spokane’s terrain. This year, it’s the expansion of Utah’s modest ski area Nordic Valley AND the benefits that will come to season pass holders.

New Owner Of Nordic Valley Means BIGGER BENEFITS

Purgatory Ski Area Powder Day Graduate Ski Lift

Durango – Purgatory Mountain Resort – Image taken by: MyEyeSees

When the announcement was made in April that Mountain Capital Partners would manage Nordic Valley, the excitement was around them offering a CHEAPER season pass at $299 for 2018/19 season and the additional advantages that would come with it. Besides no blackout days, it would give give pass holders access to:

  • Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort in New Mexico
  • Pajarito Mountain in New Mexico
  • Hesperus Ski Area in Colorado

In addition, if you wanted to fork up a few more bucks, Mountain Capital also offers a Power Pass. This would give access to the resorts above AND:

  • Purgatory Resort (CO)
  • Arizona Snowbowl (AZ)
  • Plus three free days at partner ski resorts including: Copper Mountain (CO), Powder Mountain (UT), Loveland Ski Area (CO), Monarch Mountain (CO), Grand Targhee Ski Resort (WY) and Brundage Mountain Resort (ID)

Describing Nordic Valley Expansion As Massive Is An Understatement

Nordic Valley Expansion

Section in green is the current ski area – Image appears courtesy: Nordic Valley Ski Resort

While all this news was exciting, it wasn’t even close to the bomb-shell of the upcoming plans for Nordic Valley Ski Resort. Currently, Nordic Valley is located in Eden, UT and only 25 minutes from downtown Ogden offering skiing and snowboarding on:

  • 140 skiable acres
  • 23 trails
  • 965 foot vertical
  • 4 lifts

As part of the recent acquisition, the plan is to make the SMALLEST Utah Ski area grow to over 2,800 acres. But, that’s not all! As part of it, they want to build a 4.3 mile gondola connecting North Ogden to the existing Nordic Valley. Rising over the Wasatch Crest at an elevation of 8,100 feet, this means the vertical drop would increase by 2,700 feet as well. If it does happen, it would be among the world’s longest gondolas, exceeding the ski gondola at Silver Mountain.

When Will This Start?

Nordic Valley Ski Resort

Photo by: Jeremiah Watt – Image Appears Courtesy: Nordic Valley Resort

The hope is to begin construction on the gondola in the spring of 2020 and have it completed for the 2020-21 season. The rest of the chairlifts and resort facilities would be added over the course of the next decade depending on the market environment.

Expansion Breeds Controversy

Just like any other growth in a sensitive area such as the mountains, this gondola will likely be a lightning rod for controversy among those who want to see the Wasatch’s undeveloped terrain stay that way. A key sticking point to making this happen is to get Forest Service approval for a territory that is considered roadless and has previously been proposed for wilderness designation.

Just like any major ski area expansion plan, will any or ALL of these ambitious ideas happen? Most likely a few but not all. As James Coleman stated, CEO of Mountain Capital Partners, “Nordic Valley, as it exists, is not profitable. I’m not sure it would survive if we didn’t come in and improve it.

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