A joyous crowd united at the Powder Ridge property to witness the closing ceremony that represented a new beginning for the 50 year ski area in Middlefield, CT.
A light and comical First Selectman Jon Brayshaw snickered as he looked into the crowd in front of him and briefly reflected back to the historic Powder Ridge Rock Festival event, "noone in the pond without a bathing suit," he said before welcoming an upbeat crowd who filled banquet tables to witness the unique closing event of Powder Ridge.
“This is the reversal of the demise of Powder Ridge. It required the resurgence of the entrepreneurial spirit in Middlefield. Powder Ridge has been with us for five decades. It’s not just any plot of land, Powder Ridge is a word all its own. It should have its own spot in the Webster dictionary. Powder Ridge Ski Area is known far and wide. Since the Ridge’s early beginnings, it’s been the domain of tens of thousands of happy healthy people, it’s been the source of great pride to the town and its inhabitants. And so, Sean Hayes, with the stroke of this pen, what was once ours is now going to be yours," said the proud First Selectman.
Before the signing took place, Sean introduced his team of investors and pointed out “these are the guys that have taken risks with us over the years at Brownstone and now at Powder Ridge.” Sean went on to say “we view ourselves not as owners of Powder Ridge but more of custodians for the next 50, maybe 100 years.”
Brayshaw recognized Town Attorney Ken Antin for his dedication to the project of selling Powder Ridge. "Ken has covered every aspect of this project from the very beginning and we could not have done anywhere near what we did, without his help."
With agreement to the resolution of the Board of Selectman and the referendum vote, the warranty deed was then signed by First Selectman Jon Brayshaw and witnesses, Michael Margolis and Ken Antin, Powder Ridge attorneys.
As much expected from Sean, "I ask you to treat this property with great respect, great care, as a place that has the ability to change lives and Powder Ridge has changed thousands and thousands of lives in its 50 year history and so we are thrilled that you are on board and on behalf of the administration and citizens of Middlefield and Rockfall, we wish you the best as you begin with what we hope to be 50 more years of Powder Ridge being open for business, thank you very much.” Jon Brayshaw continued by presenting Sean with a gift, an American Flag, something that Sean stated "is what every good ski area needs." A handshake was exchanged followed by a sincere and fatherlike embrace by the First Selectman.
“I think this successful negotiation and the development that we’re anticipating here at Powder Ridge is going to have big implications for the entire region,” stated Senator Suzio. It’ll have a big economic benefit." Suzio continued by adding, “I think this is an important project not just for Middlefield itself, but for everyone in the immediate area. This could be the beginning of a turnaround in the local economy and I’m just really excited for the community and I’m really excited for the state and I pledge to you my ongoing support, whatever I can do on a state level to move this project along, I will be there with you.”
“First of all, I would really like to Congratulate Jon,” stated Larry Mchugh, Chamber of Commerce official who Jon Brayshaw proclaimed as being an influential part of saving Powder Ridge. Interrupted by applause, he continued “and all of those voters in Middlefield who stepped up and said YES...that wasn’t just a little yes, that was a resounding yes!” Directing focus to Sean Hayes, “Because of this man’s vision, determination, intelligence, Powder Ridge will again be a destination in the State of CT for tourism and activities for our young people. We are very, very proud of you, your team, what you are going through for the Town of Middlefield, the State of CT and especially Middlesex County where the sun always shines.”
Sean Hayes read parts of an email received from one of the top ten snowboarders in the country. Middlefield native Celia Miller, who now resides in Colorado, wrote that she is “very excited about the proposition of Powder Ridge coming back to life, it’s such a great thing for the community…I would love to be a part of it, if possible…I know for a fact I wouldn’t be where I am in snowboarding if it hadn’t been for Powder Ridge. I never would have even known what snowboarding was, it changed my life.”
“That’s what we want to make Powder Ridge again,” said Sean Hayes, “the place where children can learn, grow and develop into skiers, snowboarders or whatever they want to do. That’s what we have come here to do."
Sean thanked the audience and made a toast that concluded the signing ceremony. “To 50 more years of Powder Ridge being what it was.”
A celebration followed with a catered buffet, beverages, an enormous inflatable slide for children, balloons and smiling masses who expressed their warm welcomes, praise and pledges of support to Sean Hayes and his team of new owners.