Powder Ridge Ski Area May Get New Life

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SAM Magazine-Middlefield, Conn., Feb. 24, 2012-The town of Middlefield's Board of Selectmen last week approved a $1 million bid to purchase and reopen Powder Ridge ski area in the latest attempt to revive a hill that has been closed since 2007.

The bid was made by the owners of nearby Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park. Brownstone's managing director, Sean Hayes, said that skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing at Powder Ridge will complement the company's summer business. The summer park is just five miles from Middlefield, and has a six-month season. It draws about 75,000 visits a season, and employs 125 part-time workers, Hayes, said-many of whom could become full-time and work at both facilities if the Powder Ridge sale is completed.

"There's a lot of synergies that we can obtain by operating both a summer and winter business, making it a 12-month business, because we're so close and it works so well together," Brownstone managing director Sean Hayes told the Middletown (Conn.) Press.

First selectman Jon Brayshaw said that the sales proposal is the same as the town offered to a prior bidder, Alpine Ridge LLC, last year, and which voters approved by a 10 to 1 margin. A public hearing on Brownstone's proposal has been scheduled for Mar. 6.

The town acquired the ski area property through foreclosure in 2008. Earlier plans hatched by the town and other investors, including Pennsylvania-based Alpine Ridge LLC, have failed to come to fruition.