Talks of expansion fill Utah’s Nordic Valley

Talks of expansion fill Utah’s Nordic Valley

Featured Image: Courtesy of Nordic Valley

Mountain Capital Partners (MCP), the operators of Nordic Valley in Utah, have been toying with the idea of expanding the state’s smallest ski area. MCP entered into an operating agreement with Nordic Valley owners Skyline Mountain Base, LLC, back in April to manage and operate the resort. The plan would be to grow the ski area from 140 skiable acres to more than 2,800 in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, add a 4.3-mile-long gondola and at least 10 more lifts, while also raising Nordic’s top elevation from 6,330 feet to about 8,100.

Although plans have been thrown around, MCP has yet to submit a formal proposal to the Forest Service. Per the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which limits activities that require building permanent roads, a good chunk of the territory where the company would like to expand is roadless. Lucky for MCP, the Forest Service has the ability to make exceptions to this rule. In order to install and maintain the new lifts in the expanded area, roads would need to be built.

At a public comment and information open house last week, local residents expressed concerns over the project’s impact on the environment, traffic, water use and water runoff. James Coleman, the company’s leader, assured residents the project would have minimal impact and expressed viability of the current resort as a bigger concern. With Nordic Valley’s base elevation of 5,400 feet being the lowest of the 14 ski areas in Utah and the highest lift only reaching 6,330 feet–lower than the base of all but two of the state’s resorts–consistent and reliable snow is harder to find, “which is why it is important to go higher on the mountain for the ski area to remain viable,” said Coleman in an article for Ski Area Management Magazine.

Construction of the gondola is proposed to begin in the spring of 2020, to be completed before the start of the 2020-21 ski season and cost around $40 million, according to Coleman.

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