Months before the ski season, Powder Ridge in Middlefield is buzzing with activity. Contractors have gutted the main lodge at the base of the hill while Powder Ridge employees put the finishing touches on newly refurbished ski lifts.
Sean Hayes, who owns nearby Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park in Portland, purchased Powder Ridge from the town of Middlefield in 2012. He expects to have the mountain to be up and running the day before Thanksgiving.
“We’re actually very encouraged,” Hayes said. “Brownstone, our other entity for the summer, is winding down. We shifted all those employees over here to get this running.”
With Brownstone open in the summer and Powder Ridge open in the winter, Hayes believes he has the right business model to make both resorts successful. Many of the 195 employees at Powder Ridge are already employed at Brownstone and will now be able to stay employed for 10 months out of the year.
Powder Ridge will feature a restaurant and bar on the second floor of the main lodge. The first floor of the lodge will feel similar to the old lodge though many structural and aesthetic changes will be made. The building that houses the ski and snowboard rentals was also recently refurbished and is already stocked with equipment.
Powder Ridge opened as Powder Hill in 1959. The resort fell on tough times in the late 90s and early 2000s and was shut down entirely in 2007.
“We are bringing everyone back home,” Hayes said. “This is where they learned to ski and this is where they want to teach their kids to ski. It has something unique, it has a feel, it’s very convenient.”