North Fork Park and facilitate a Nordic Venue for the citizens and visitors of Weber County. Ogden Nordic is a non-profit organization dedicated to the sport of Nordic Skiing. Our group initially took shape in 1997 and focused on a juniors program. Our mission expanded in 2002 when we began our efforts to groom
Our outreach initiatives include;
Since we recognize the mutual benefit that trails and pathways offer the community over all 4 seasons, we actively work to support Weber Pathways, the US Forest Service, the Community Foundation of Ogden Valley, and the Utah Back Country Horseman. The development, preservation, and maintenance of Non-Motorized trails for multiple user groups such as skiers, hikers, bikers, and horsemen benefit our members all year long and enable pleasant winter gliding in our scenic mountains. Please remember to share the trail with these other groups.
In the 1990’s Paul Stromberg, a Nordic ski coach started a Junior Cross Country Ski team in North Ogden. They practiced in a park in North Ogden where they used a snowmobile to pull a set of box springs to smooth out a trail. Occasionally they came up to North Fork Park which was somewhat regularly groomed for cross-country skiing using a 8 foot wide mechanical cat that had a drag that made a ‘corduroy,’ 3 inch wide on center. This made for some treacherous skiing.
(note: the only way to travel in fresh snow of over 12 inches of snow is with snowshoes…in order to ski, the trail needs to be packed down so the skis don’t sink through the snow and get buried. So, to really glide on skis, it takes a good packing down of the snow, and then preparing the surface to facilitate efficient glide - Hence, the focus of efforts on grooming at cross country ski centers).
When Dave Jenkins took the job as director of the Environmental Center, he realized he needed a better grooming system to make it safer for beginning skiers. In 2002, Dave and Paul Stromberg invited representatives from TUNA (The Utah Nordic Alliance) for a visit and, impressed by what they saw, TUNA donated a snowmobile, a skate drag and a classic track setter to North Fork Park for grooming the North Fork Park Trails!! The snowmobile had over 10,000 miles on it and had been at Mt. Dell for many years….but it got the XC venue going. Subsequently, Dave had a ‘meeting of the minds’ and invited any interested party who lived in the area, and might be interested in helping to groom in the park to come to a meeting. About twenty people showed up to the meeting and they started grooming the main road to Cutler Flats and back the following winter.
In addition to Dave, several people became very involved around 2002-2003 and were instrumental in making this cross country ski venue take off. The operations at NFP became a branch of TUNA, and notes taken at a 2003 meeting show that Ogden Nordic was led by Linda Rheese was President, Paul Rheese, secretary/treasurer, Paul Stromberg was Junior program director, Jim and Lisa White were running the Master’s program and Dave Jenkins was in charge of grooming and trails. Terry Davis and Curt Spurzem were major contributors to the grooming effort as well as getting the organization set up with technology and a web presence.
Terry Davis was instrumental in making contact with engineering and technical companies in the area, which resulted in generous contributions from the Peterson Equipment, Autoliv, Futura, the Wadman Corporation and others. With these donations, Ogden Nordic bought a new snowmobile and they got a grant to purchase a ginzu (a specialized piece of equipment that sets classic tracks and makes the narrow corduroy for skating). So, now they had two snowmobiles, a roller and a ginzu - and what an improvement - the trails were safe and good skiing for everyone!!!
An example of his focus on getting things done, Terry made contact with an equipment company in Logan that was going out of business and got some surplus supplies from them. This company happened to have an old snowcat that was pulled apart - that caught his attention. Creative thinking and cooperation resulted in the purchase of this old snowcat by the Environmental Center and it was put back together by a volunteer team headed by Dave Jenkins. What a find! A hydraulic snowcat with a tiller, can do so much more than a snowmobile with a roller! The arrangement was for Ogden Nordic to use this snowcat and at the end of the season pay the Environmental Center for that use. This snowcat ‘completely changed the game’ - it allowed the primary operators to go out during or after a storm, it had a blade that could move snow around, and they could lay a flat track so the snowmobiles could groom with less chance of getting stuck. (With huge storms when there was no base, snowmobiles would regularly get stuck while grooming - this was not fun for the groomers and made groomer retention a challenge!).
The RAMP (Recreation, Arts, Museum, Parks) committee of Weber was formed around this time, and had awarded Ogden Nordic some smaller grants for purchase of the ginzu. When Ogden Nordic applied for a grant to purchase a new snowcat, the RAMP committee was concerned about the ‘staying power’ of the Ogden Nordic organization. So the decision was to fund a snowcat that would be owned by Weber County Parks Department which contracted with Ogden Nordic for its use. Snowcats are expensive to run, maintain and fuel, so to cover these costs, the Ogden Nordic board started discussing the possibility of establishing a trail use fee. They also explored the possibility of getting a yurt that would serve as a warming hut for skiers. Weber County Parks and Recreation committee was in full support of these efforts, and gave the green light to explore these activities.
It happened that a yurt structure had been moved to Ft. Buenaventura after the 2002 Olympics and was not being used and had fallen into disrepair. In 2008, Ogden Nordic received funding from RAMP to have the yurt moved to the south entrance of North Fork Park to be used as a warming hut/gathering place. In the summer of 2010, the original wooden components of the building were disassembled and moved along with the main structure to it’s new home at the South Entrance. Local contractors helped with site preparation, construction and renovation efforts. It was outfitted with electricity (to heat up the hot chocolate and for baseboard heaters- essentials to qualify as a ‘warming hut’!). A deck was constructed and a new insulated floor was installed along with a rugged aluminum water barrier and a new roof, windows and doors. Volunteers helped to paint it. Signs were hung, and when the rental ski equipment was moved in, it officially became known as “The Nordic Center”!
The Nordic Center opened for business for the Winter Trails Day in January 2011, and event that drew hundreds of trail users! The mission of Ogden Nordic is to promote the sport of cross country skiing in the Ogden Area through Information, Facilitation, Trails Planning & Construction, Coaching, events and Social gatherings. To meet the goals, Ogden Nordic hosts numerous events during the winter months, including winter trail days that introduces new skiers to the sport through clinics and classes and tours; races for novices through elite skiers; moonlight glides; and a juniors program with up to 40 regulars in the program who come ski on Monday and Wednesdays after school and get coaching and great social interaction with some terrific volunteers.
Ogden Nordic is now an independent 501-c-3 non-profit organization. It now has a team of 20-25 volunteer groomers who use a grooming snow cat and 3 state of the art grooming vehicles (purchased through RAMP funding) to meticulously groom 30 Km of trails in the park with connections to the Environmental Center.
The Nordic Center is staffed from Thursday to Sunday by volunteer greeters who help fit rental equipment for visitors of all ages for skiing or snowshoeing, and enthusiastically provide advice and encouragement for their adventures. The juniors program continues with gusto and next season there will be a certified ski school to offer visitors the opportunity to become more proficient in navigating the trails.
Ogden Nordic is a classic example of optimal cooperation among multiple organizations. All operations at Ogden Nordic must be approved by the Weber County Parks and Recreation Committee, and serves the County by making North Fork Park accessible through the winter, The shared operations for grooming and trail maintenance between Ogden Nordic and the Environmental Center is unique and a true ‘win-win’ for both organizations - Ogden Nordic provides expanded trail opportunities for the Environmental Center activities, and the Environmental Center introduces many students and community members to cross country skiing, and they come back to Ogden Nordic to pursue the sport. Camp Utaba personnel are always available to assist with grooming as needed. The Environmental Center also provides housing and maintenance expertise for the grooming equipment, and the charisma and charm of Dave Jenkins keeps the grooming team motivated and enthusiastic!
Since the first donated snowmobile in 2003, there have been many organizations and individuals who have contributed to the success of Ogden Nordic. The “rental fleet” includes about 200 pair of skis, boots and poles and quite a few pair of snowshoes that came from generous donations from Salomon and REI as well as gear that had accumulated over the years. Other generous donations from private companies have helped with operations, and the many hours of time donated by volunteers has made Ogden Nordic a top of the line Nordic Ski area.
One volunteer stands out in his leadership in making all this happen. Terry Davis has had a vision for Ogden Nordic and has forged the way in making that vision materialize. He has served as president for the past several years, and he and his family have trimmed trails, posted signage, groomed trails, forged new trails, worked with the county in enhancing the trail system (for both winter and summer use), raised money, and he has quietly motivated volunteers by setting an example of effort. Terry’s ‘day job’ is taking him and his industrious family to Canada. Their efforts and hard work will be sorely missed.
As difficult as it is to think about snow and skiing in the beautiful summer, there is something all of us can do to make sure the Nordic Center is warm and the trails up in North Fork park are groomed and ready for you to be gliding along come snowfall - become involved with the Amazing Raise, sponsored by the Ogden Valley Foundation. Last year $6,000 was contributed through the Amazing Raise for Ogden Nordic! We are grateful for the continued monetary and volunteer contributions that keep the amazing Ogden Nordic up and running so we can all experience winter adventures in our wilderness paradise here in Ogden Valley. For more details on Ogden Nordic, check out the website at www.ogdennordic.org.
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