Powder Ridge Reopens On Friday

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Text by Shawn R. Beals, Hartford Courant; video by Angelica Spanos, Fox CT

MIDDLEFIELD — Powder Ridge will reopen on Friday afternoon for the first time since it closed in 2007.

The new owner, Sean Hayes, has been rebuilding the defunct ski mountain into a regional destination for winter sports, including skiing, snowboarding, tubing and other activities.

“What we’re really doing on [Friday] is turning the lights back on at Powder Ridge,” Hayes said. “It’s a celebration.”

The park will be open for its first day from 5 to 11 p.m.

Hayes and his group purchased the Powder Ridge property from the town in 2012 for $700,000. Residents overwhelmingly approved the sale in an August 2012 referendum.

Hayes, one of the owners of Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park in Portland, said Friday’s celebration will include free admission to the park for a ceremony with park owners and local officials.

The Jib Area — a small terrain park with rails, jumps and a “giant air bag” for skiiers and boarders to jump onto — will be open for a $10 admission price.

Food and drinks will be sold, and the park’s new store will be open. The celebration will also include live music.

Hayes said he will begin making snow at the park after dark Thursday night, and will produce enough to cover the terrain area by the time the opening day celebration begins Friday evening.

The lifts and trails will not be open Friday, but will open soon.

Powder Ridge had been used as a ski resort for 47 years until it closed in 2007. The town bought the 246-acre property for $2.55 million in 2008 after it went into foreclosure. The property spans parts of Middlefield, Meriden and Wallingford.

The sales agreement approved by voters called for a $100,000 payment on closing and six yearly installments of $100,000. Hayes plans to invest about $3.5 million in the property.

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