Powder Ridge Closes, Threat of Development Looms

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SAM Magazine-September 22, 2006--Powder Ridge, located in Middlefield, Connecticut, will remain closed this winter pending sale of the ski resort. The 500-vertical-foot mountain featured 18 trails spread over 75 skiable acres served by six lifts, including two triple chairs and two double chairs.

The announcement that the resort is ceasing operations comes on the heels of a decision by the town of Middlefield not to purchase the ski area. The town had considered purchasing the resort and then leasing the operation back to the owners to prevent development of the property.

However, the town found the $3.6 million price tag too steep, and several of the members of both the town council and the community were highly against the proposed purchase of the property, citing a lack of detail regarding both the purchase and subsequent lease arrangements.

"In a perfect world, someone will come along with deep pockets and open the ski area and hopefully get a summer venue," First Selectman John Brayshaw told the Harford Courant.

"The primary goal is preventing 77 homes," said First Selectman Jon A. Brayshaw ,who was also interviewed by the Courant. Brayshaw, who spearheaded the town's negotiations with Powder Ridge owner Ken Leavitt, argued that the character of the town would be irreparably damaged should the property be developed.

With the town pulling out of further negotiations, the threat of development looms larger and the likelihood that Powder Ridge will remain a ski area is slim. \



The appraised value of the ski resort and the excess land was $6.8M+. The Town proposed buying the underlying land for $3.6M and leasing it back for the tax payments that would normally be paid-for up to 100 years. A deal was signed. It is obvious that certain parties dragged out the process to delay our other options. Powder Ridge has the complete permits to build a water park (won at a cost of $3M). We have nearly 2 million population within 25 miles and 23 million within a 2 hour drive. The Town's zoning regs also allow 2 acre zoning on our 278 acres of land, or 77 units with the ski area remaining intact.