Nordic Valley is not the first name that comes into people’s minds when they think of ski resorts in Utah, even for the Ogden area. In fact, when I told some friends in Utah that I was shredding there, some didn’t even know it existed. For me, I found out about it from seeing it on my drives up to Powder Mountain back when I went to college in Utah. Based on my recent experience at the mountain, it should be on more people’s lists for their trips to the Beehive State for a variety of reasons. For one, they just opened a major terrain expansion last winter, adding over a dozen new trails to its network along with a Leitner-Poma high-speed six-pack. Secondly, it has an extensive night skiing network. Lastly, lift tickets are remarkably cheap, especially for a resort that just installed a high-speed lift. Online tickets for most days of the last two weeks of their season are below $20, and even $9 on one occasion. Nearly two weeks ago, I got to visit the ski area and see what I’ve been missing out on.
I started my day off by hitting up the Crockett lift to check out their terrain park and then went over to the Apollo lift. The Apollo lift is a fixed-grip double chair, but it’s honestly a quick ride up and features a mid-station. My two favorite runs from the area were the black diamonds Chainsaw And Raven, which are groomers with quality pitches. Plans in the future call for the replacement of Apollo with a high-speed lift, and new base facilities. The current base area setup is cute, with a barn that serves at their main lodge along with a few yurts. But it will likely need to grow as the ski resort’s ascent continues.
I got to shred that afternoon with GM Brandon Fessler, who’s a really chill dude and the right guy to lead Nordic Valley into their exciting new era. Nordic Valley was bought by Mountain Capital Partners in 2018 and has since begun its master plan of making the mountain one of the top ski resorts in Utah. For those who don’t know, Mountain Capital Partners owns ski resorts like the Arizona Snowbowl, Brian Head, Purgatory, and a few other mountains. Since Brandon joined the team in late 2019, the resort has seen visitation grow by 100%. After a short ride up Apollo, Brandon immediately took me to the new Nordic Express lift. They were originally aiming to put in a high-speed quad in the space, but thanks to a large number of lift cancellations due to pandemic in 2020, Nordic Valley was able to get a great deal on a six-pack that originally going to service one of Vails properties.
The expansion will be officially completed this summer, with more trails cut and added to their trail network. While Brandon was taking me on the pleasant cruiser Lolly Lolly Lolly, he showed me an overlook that showed off the Pineview Reservoir. One idea they have for the space is to build a taco bar to give the terrain pod its first dining option. Currently, the area features some mellow cruisers, some generally steep groomers, natural bump runs, and the ski area’s first double black diamonds under the lift line: Show Me and Great Odin’s Raven.
Then there are the future plans. Back in 2018, the resort unveiled a master plan that would drastically expand their skiable average. After some feedback from the local community, parts of the plan have been scaled back. Brandon Fessler told me that they are currently working on an updated plan with the U.S. Forest Service(who would have to approve the plans), and Weber County. Their initial expansion map from 2018 is below, and we will keep you posted for when their updated master plan comes out.
The other part of the plans is the introduction of the Nordic Village, which would add commercial and residential complexes to its base area and next to the Nordic Express. Some of the new facilities would include townhomes, multi-family residential buildings, mixed-use residential and commercial buildings, a pond with a boathouse, an outdoor amphitheater, a hotel, hiking and biking trails, a hub for their nordic center, and more. Plans call for between 693 to 763 housing units that would be built in a ten to fifteen-year time span. Brandon told me the goal of the village is to have the amenities be accessible to all. The village plans are currently being evaluated by Weber County.
Nordic Valley has a unique opportunity in the competitive Ogden skiing market. Snowbasin Resort continues to grow with a terrain expansion, a new village, and Club Med hotel all on the way, but their season pass price point continues to grow drastically. Then there’s Powder Mountain, which limits daily passes and appears to be phasing out season passes for people who don’t have the option to renew in favor of those who already have season passes or own Real Estate on the mountain. The Wasatch Peak Ranch is another new addition to the scene, but it’s only available for private club members.
With my talks with Brandon, it was clear that they want to make Nordic Valley the spot for everyone who’s about to be left out of the coming equation at Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, and Wasatch Peaks Ranch. Now it’s up to the local community and the U.S. Forest Service to see how much they want the little Nordic Valley to grow.
Image Credits: Nordic Valley, Nordic Village, Ian Wood