Mountain Capital Partners no longer plans to build nine new chairlifts and one of the world’s longest gondolas in Northern Utah but a scaled back expansion of Nordic Valley is moving forward. The previous vision hinged on use of Forest Service lands and received chilly public reception.
The resort recently applied for a conditional use permit to add a new lift on 347 acres of entirely private land south of the current ski area. The updated project includes 50 acres of new snowmaking coverage and an approximately 4,400 foot chairlift dubbed Lift 5. Photos included with the application depict Skytrac lifts, indicating the new lift would be fixed-grip.
Back in 2018, Mountain Capital Partners forged an agreement to operate Nordic Valley, becoming the firm’s first property in Utah. MCP specializes in modernizing historically under-capitalized resorts across the Southwest. “The proposed project will allow for an improved guest experience for the surrounding communities and will compliment and improve the existing ski operations at Nordic Valley,” said the Colorado-based company. “With the addition of snowmaking, Nordic Valley will be able to minimize the impact of low natural snowfalls and offer a more consistent product to its customers.”
Days before the deadline for public comments, Sunshine Village CEO Ralph Scurfield pens an op-ed criticizing Parks Canada’s proposed site guidelines that would eliminate three future lifts from consideration.
James Coleman explains his ambitious dream to create another Snowbasin out of Nordic Valley.
Episode 5 of Ski Area Management’s podcast, focusing on risk management, covers lots of lift ground: the Squaw Valley tram accident, a grip slip incident, and challenges Pats Peak faced after buying the Lake Compounce Skyride.
“Ever since the company went public in 2014 it has taken advantage of its improved access to capital to finance large infrastructure projects that may have led to growth in visitation and revenues, but haven’t resulted in better earnings or cash flows.”
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.”