The retired Al’s Run quad from Taos is headed to Texas to anchor the state’s first lift-assisted bike park, Spider Mountain. Mountain Capital Partners is behind project and will host a preview mountain bike race on September 29th. Skytrac is installing the lift, which will open sometime next year. “There is a much larger plan for the property and bikes are just a part of it,” says a poster on Bike Mojo involved in trail building. Spider Mountain sits just outside Burnet, Texas and has a 350 foot vertical rise with views of Buchanan Lake.
MCP Managing Partner and CEO James Coleman is a University of Texas at Austin alum and Spider Mountain is about an hour away from the fast-growing city. His company currently operates ski resorts in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. This project brings the number of new chairlifts and gondolas outside of ski country to eight this year. From bike parks to theme parks, fairs and urban transport applications, ropeways are proving their usefulness around the country.
The new operator of Utah’s Nordic Valley, Mountain Capital Partners, has high hopes for what is currently the littlest ski resort in Utah. MCP is the fast-growing Durango, Colorado-based outfit led by James Coleman that now operates six ski resorts in the four corners region. Less than three years after acquiring Purgatory and Arizona Snowbowl, Mr. Coleman entered into an operating agreement with Nordic Valley’s owners in April. Now we know one of the reasons why he went to Utah.
The centerpiece of master plan released this month is a 4.3 mile gondola stretching from North Ogden to a summit elevation of 8,100′ before descending into Nordic Valley’s base area near Eden. It would be the third longest gondola system in the world and some 6,000 feet longer than anything in the United States today. “In addition to offering direct-to-resort access in a scenic 12-minute ride, the gondola will also help cut down on canyon traffic and vehicle emissions,” notes the recently-launched nordicvalleyproject.com website. A similar gondola was once eyed to connect Ogden to Snowbasin and the proposal reminds me in some ways of the successful Silver Mountain Gondola project which transformed Kellogg, Idaho.
Nordic Valley has attempted to expand upward and outward multiple times over its 50 year history but never before had access to the kind of capital needed to undertake what is now mapped. The plan includes nine new chairlifts surrounding the new gondola, which would likely be built in two sections. “We’re passionate about the ski industry, and about giving families and individuals the freedom and opportunity to experience the outdoors,” MCP notes. “With an improved guest experience, the new Nordic Valley will be better positioned to grow the ski industry, compete with other area resorts, and bolster Ogden’s status as a first-rate recreation destination.”