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Powder Hill in the early 1960s
Powder Ridge
Middlefield, Connecticut
Status: Open
First Season:1960-61
Vertical Drop:500 feet
Standing Lifts:2 triples, 2 doubles
Past Lifts:1 quad, 1 double, surface lifts
Left: Powder Hill in the early 1960s
Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
1/21/2017: Powder Ridge to Offer Synthetic Summerti...
7/5/2014: Powder Ridge Cancels Mountain Biking Sea...
SkiNewEngland.net Profile
Located in central Connecticut on Besek Mountain, Powder Ridge was for many years one of the most popular ski areas south of Massachusetts. After a multi-year closure, Powder Ridge reopened in 2013.

Early Years

Louis and Herman Zemel may have opened Powder Hill as a rope tow ski area as early as 1959. Within reach of a major population area and aided by snowmaking and night skiing, the ski area quickly entered into a growth swing. A lower mountain T-Bar debuted for the second half of the 1960-61 season, followed by an upper mountain T-Bar in 1961-62. Top to bottom night skiing also debuted in 1962.

Three New Chairlifts in the Mid-1960s

Powder Hill entered the chairlift world for the 1963-64 season, when a 2,600 foot Hall double was installed. The new lift provided access to the top of the ski area.

A second 2,600 foot Hall double chairlift was added for the 1964-65 season, giving Powder Hill 'more uphill capacity in proportion to its size, than any ski area in New England.'

A novice double chairlift, once again a Hall model, was installed for the 1965-66 season. Powder Hill also started an "Early Bird Skiing" program that year, welcoming skiers at 6:30 AM and providing a continental breakfast. Night owl skiing was soon introduced, keeping the slopes open until 3 AM.

Also around the mid 1960s, the region's segment of Interstate 91 was completed, improving access to the ski area. Access to ski areas further north was also improved, however.

The Powder Ridge Rock Festival

In 1970, the ski area changed its name to "Powder Ridge" and made headlines as the venue for the Powder Ridge Rock Festival. A three day event one year after Woodstock, many popular artists of the day, including Fleetwood Mac, James Taylor, Joe Cocker, Van Morrison, Jethro Tull, Janis Joplin, John Sebastian, Chuck Berry, and possibly Led Zeppelin were expected to play. Connecticut newspapers projected crowds of up to 50,000 to attend the July 31-August 2, 1970 festival.

After local opposition, the event was halted on July 27, 1970, just days before the projected start. Due to the short notice, up to 30,000 concert-goers showed up and proceeded to trash the area and cause drug-related legal issues that would plague the courts for months to come.

New England's First Four Person Chairlift

Also in 1970, the ski area attempted to move forward with an expansion. After gaining a special permit in 1971, construction was halted in the fall due to local lawsuits. Construction resumed the following year and the "747" lift opened for the 1972-73 season, becoming the first quad chairlift in New England.

Powder Ridge circa 2000
Powder Ridge circa 2000

In terms of lift infrastructure, Powder Ridge remained roughly the same for the next three decades. Incremental improvements were made to night skiing and snowmaking operations.

New Ownership

In 1996, White Water Mountain Resorts, Inc. purchased Powder Ridge, with the intent of building it into a four season resort.

In 2001, the aging centerpole quad chairlift was converted to a triple. In addition, the South double chairlift was also converted to a triple.

Closure

The abandoned Powder Ridge base lodge (2008)
The abandoned Powder Ridge base lodge (2008)

The ski area hit tough times soon thereafter, as hopes of expanding to a four season operation were shot down when the town blocked a water park proposal. At one point in early February of 2006, the ski area announced it was closing for the season. It would later reopen after a sizable snowstorm.

In the fall of 2006, the ski area announced it would not reopen.

Attempts at Reopening

In the spring of 2007, the town of Middlefield voted to purchase the ski area. It was unable to secure the ski area at a summer 2008 auction, with Middlefield Holdings LLC retaining the property for $2.75 million.

On December 29, 2008, the town of Middlefield acquired the ski area from Middlefield Holdings LLC for $2.55 million. Since the time of closure, the property was heavily vandalized, further complicating attempts at reopening the ski area. Multiple ski area operators were named as interested in helping reopen and/or operate the area, such as Snow Time, Peak Resorts, and Ski Sundown.

On May 24, 2011, Middlefield voters approved the sale of Powder Ridge to Alpine Ridge LLC. While Alpine Ridge had plans to reopen the ski area for the 2012-13 season, the deal fell through later in 2011.

Middlefield Sells Powder Ridge

In 2012, a new group became involved with the ski area and started cleanup work. That September, the Town of Middlefield sold Powder Ridge to Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort. Led by Sean Hayes, Powder Ridge reopened in late December of 2013.

Powder Ridge's lift served mountain bike park opened on June 19, 2016.

NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News
Recent Articles
Powder Ridge to Offer Synthetic Summertime Skiing - Jan. 21, 2017
Powder Ridge Cancels Mountain Biking Season - Jul. 5, 2014
Powder Ridge NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News Page

Expansion History
Project
Season
South Area
Open
1972-73

Image Gallery
1961-62 Eastern Ski MapDecember 8, 1961 Hartford Courant1962-63 Eastern Ski Map1964-65 Eastern Ski Map1965-66 Eastern Ski MapDecember 1, 1965 Meriden Morning Record
View All Images in Powder Ridge Image Gallery


Lifts
Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts
Installed
747 Triple
Borvig-Partek
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
2001-02
The Middlefield Triple in 2010
Middlefield Triple
Hall-Borvig-Partek
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
2001-02
Mini Field Double
Hall
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1965-66
The North Double in 2009
North Double
Hall
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1964-65

Past Lifts
Seasons
The 747 Quad circa the 1970s
747 Quad
Borvig
Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
1972-73
-
2000-01
Lower T-Bar

T-Bar
1960-61
-
South Double
Hall
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1963-64
-
2000-01
Upper T-Bar

T-Bar
1961-62
-

Maps
1964-65 Powder Hill Trail Map1967-68 Powder Hill Trail Map1969-70 Powder Hill trail map1970-71 Powder Ridge Trail Map1973-74 Powder Ridge Trail Map1980-81 Powder Ridge Trail Map
View All Powder Ridge Trail Maps

Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
2010s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2017-18$55.002017-18 Ticket Price Graph$550.002017-18 Season Pass Price Graph10.0 days2017-18 Skier Visit Graph
2016-17$55.002016-17 Ticket Price Graph$550.002016-17 Season Pass Price Graph10.0 daysDecember 17March 262016-17 Skier Visit Graph
2015-16$55.002015-16 Ticket Price Graph$550.002015-16 Season Pass Price Graph10.0 daysJanuary 8March 72015-16 Skier Visit Graph
2014-15$55.002014-15 Ticket Price Graph$550.002014-15 Season Pass Price Graph10.0 daysDecember 31March 292014-15 Skier Visit Graph
2013-14$55.002013-14 Ticket Price Graph$550.002013-14 Season Pass Price Graph10.0 daysDecember 27March 222013-14 Skier Visit Graph
2000s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2005-06$37.002005-06 Ticket Price Graph2005-06 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 102005-06 Skier Visit Graph
2004-05$35.002004-05 Ticket Price Graph2004-05 Season Pass Price GraphMarch 262004-05 Skier Visit Graph
2003-04$33.002003-04 Ticket Price Graph$450.002003-04 Season Pass Price Graph13.6 days2003-04 Skier Visit Graph
2002-03$33.002002-03 Ticket Price Graph$450.002002-03 Season Pass Price Graph13.6 days2002-03 Skier Visit Graph
2001-02$32.002001-02 Ticket Price Graph$400.002001-02 Season Pass Price Graph12.5 days2001-02 Skier Visit Graph
2000-01$30.002000-01 Ticket Price Graph$400.002000-01 Season Pass Price Graph13.3 daysMarch 182000-01 Skier Visit Graph
1999-00$30.001999-00 Ticket Price Graph$400.001999-00 Season Pass Price Graph13.3 days1999-00 Skier Visit Graph
1990s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1998-99$30.001998-99 Ticket Price Graph1998-99 Season Pass Price Graph1998-99 Skier Visit Graph
1997-981997-98 Ticket Price Graph1997-98 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 22February 231997-98 Skier Visit Graph
1995-961995-96 Ticket Price Graph1995-96 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 21995-96 Skier Visit Graph
1993-941993-94 Ticket Price Graph1993-94 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 121993-94 Skier Visit Graph
1992-93$28.001992-93 Ticket Price Graph1992-93 Season Pass Price Graph1992-93 Skier Visit Graph
1991-92$27.001991-92 Ticket Price Graph1991-92 Season Pass Price Graph1991-92 Skier Visit Graph
1980s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1988-89$23.001988-89 Ticket Price Graph1988-89 Season Pass Price Graph1988-89 Skier Visit Graph
1987-88$24.001987-88 Ticket Price Graph1987-88 Season Pass Price Graph1987-88 Skier Visit Graph
1986-87$20.001986-87 Ticket Price Graph1986-87 Season Pass Price Graph1986-87 Skier Visit Graph
1985-86$18.001985-86 Ticket Price Graph1985-86 Season Pass Price Graph1985-86 Skier Visit Graph
1983-84$16.001983-84 Ticket Price Graph1983-84 Season Pass Price Graph1983-84 Skier Visit Graph
1982-83$15.001982-83 Ticket Price Graph1982-83 Season Pass Price Graph1982-83 Skier Visit Graph
1981-82$15.001981-82 Ticket Price Graph1981-82 Season Pass Price Graph1981-82 Skier Visit Graph
1980-81$14.001980-81 Ticket Price Graph1980-81 Season Pass Price Graph1980-81 Skier Visit Graph
1979-80$13.001979-80 Ticket Price Graph1979-80 Season Pass Price Graph1979-80 Skier Visit Graph
1970s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1978-79$10.501978-79 Ticket Price Graph1978-79 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 271978-79 Skier Visit Graph
1977-781977-78 Ticket Price Graph1977-78 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 71977-78 Skier Visit Graph
1976-77$9.501976-77 Ticket Price Graph$150.001976-77 Season Pass Price Graph15.8 daysDecember 21976-77 Skier Visit Graph
1975-76$9.501975-76 Ticket Price Graph1975-76 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 221975-76 Skier Visit Graph
1974-751974-75 Ticket Price Graph1974-75 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 281974-75 Skier Visit Graph
1970-71$8.001970-71 Ticket Price Graph$150.001970-71 Season Pass Price Graph18.8 days1970-71 Skier Visit Graph
1960s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1968-69$6.501968-69 Ticket Price Graph$85.001968-69 Season Pass Price Graph13.1 days1968-69 Skier Visit Graph
1967-68$6.501967-68 Ticket Price Graph1967-68 Season Pass Price Graph1967-68 Skier Visit Graph
1966-67$6.001966-67 Ticket Price Graph1966-67 Season Pass Price Graph1966-67 Skier Visit Graph
1964-65$5.001964-65 Ticket Price Graph1964-65 Season Pass Price Graph1964-65 Skier Visit Graph
1963-64$5.001963-64 Ticket Price Graph1963-64 Season Pass Price Graph1963-64 Skier Visit Graph
1962-63$5.001962-63 Ticket Price Graph1962-63 Season Pass Price Graph1962-63 Skier Visit Graph
1961-621961-62 Ticket Price Graph1961-62 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 17March 111961-62 Skier Visit Graph
1960-611960-61 Ticket Price Graph1960-61 Season Pass Price GraphJanuary 211960-61 Skier Visit Graph

Visitor Memories
"we heard u had 12 inches+ of snow.congradulations.i now live in florida and this brought back memories fro, 1975-1980.i looked on website,read history and it looks like 1975 again.tks 4 keepn tradition. david haniewski, tks 4 the memories.may mother nature bless you."
david haniewski, Feb. 11, 2017
"I grew up less than 10 mi away from powder ridge. My grandparents would take me there at 5 yrs old 1970 to watch the skiers. I skied there regulary from 1976 untill 2006 then moved to vermont . I grew up on that hill learned to ski there on 210cm wooden skis with beartrap bindings and leather boots. My dad would drive me and my friends there in the 70's for night skiing . In my teens and twentys skied the late pass until 3am loved that ski area new everbody if was home many fond memories sad to here of its demise. It was a great ski area it will be missed"
Christopher Pierce, May. 6, 2015
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External Links
  • Powder Ridge Park - official site
  • Powder Ridge - New England Lost Ski Areas Project
  • Last updated: June 21, 2016

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