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Minnesota ski company moving headquarters to Ogden

By John Daley | Posted - Aug. 10, 2010 at 6:25 p.m.



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OGDEN -- A Minnesota-based ski company is relocating its headquarters to Utah.

Hart Ski Corporation announced Tuesday it's moving to Ogden. It is just the latest in a series of outdoor industry companies to set up shop there.

What is... Hart Ski Corp.?
The Holmberg brothers (Hart and Harry) and friend Ed Bjork started Hart Ski Corp. in 1955 in St. Paul, Minnesota with the introduction of the first seamless metal-edged ski. The Hart was a pioneer in freestyle and mogul skiing and is currently a sponsor of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team.

Five years ago, Ogden city leaders started making a simple sales pitch.

"You can have an inexpensive business environment minutes from world-class slopes; and that's a combination you won't find anywhere else in the country," Mayor Matthew Godfrey said.

The pitch has proved persuasive. Company leaders from Hart Ski took time Tuesday to explain the decision to move the company's headquarters, distribution and three to five employees to Ogden from the Midwest.

"We truly believe that Ogden and the state of Utah is the center of the Universe for skiing in, let's say, North America," said Johann Furr, sales and marketing director for Hart Ski Corp.

Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey announces Hart Ski Corporation's plan to relocate its headquarters to Ogden.
Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey announces Hart Ski Corporation's plan to relocate its headquarters to Ogden.

"You have here in Utah some of the best snow in the world and some of the most prestigious ski resorts here within a close proximity. That's very unusual in the country," said company CEO Chris Farni.

Hart joins roughly two dozen other outdoor brands that have picked Ogden as a new home in the past five years. That's brought what the mayor calls "economic churn": hundreds of jobs, increased hotel occupancy, new startups and opportunities for subcontractors the companies hire.

"We needed to re-invent a new Ogden," Godfrey said. "We were in the old railroad town for a generation, and this is how to rebrand our community. And now when you talk about Ogden, largely along the Wasatch Front people think of us as the ‘outdoor Mecca,' and certainly when you go outside of Utah [that's the perception]."

Ogden now wins attention as a top outdoor destination, just one more item to add to an increasingly effective sales pitch.

The city is also providing Hart with incentives, such as a $25,000 loan to help with relocation.

Hart Ski Corporation is celebrating its 55th year in business.

E-mail: jdaley@ksl.com

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