Powder Ridge will rely less on snowmaking temperatures with new artificial snow turf. (Powder Ridge Park/Facebook)
Being the southernmost ski area in New England, Connecticut’s Powder Ridge has the advantage of being close to many metropolitan areas, but faces the disadvantage of a shorter snow season. That will no longer be an obstacle for skiers and riders when Powder Ridge offers year-round skiing on the 365 Snow Park.
A high-tech version of artificial turf, called 365 Synthetic Snow, uses plastic polymer “fingers” that provides a slippery surface you can carve on your skis or board.
The resort plans to open with 500 vertical feet by Labor Day, with a surface lift and two tubing lanes, and by next summer will offer a 2,800-foot lift-served top-to-bottom run.
The length of the run means real turns for die-hard skiers and riders who don’t want to put away their boards for the summer.
This is great news for skiers and riders who want to get on snow early and stay on snow all season. “When everyone else has to build a three-foot base, we need only three inches of snow on top of the synthetic surface to give the full effect of skiing on real snow, ” Powder Ridge CEO Sean Hayes told SnoCountry.com.
Ski teams and race clubs can get in early turns, too. “Being competitive in Connecticut is difficult because of the short season, but this is a way for teams to practice year-round,” Hayes told us. The resort will offer gates as well as a terrain park.
Newbies can take advantage of terrain-based learning in the summer for those who might dislike learning in colder weather.
Tubing is another draw for groups and summer camps in the warmer months.
“Powder Ridge was one of the original New England ski areas, but was closed 2013 through 2016, so we lost a good chunk of our customer base,” Hayes told us. “We have been working to build the resort back up with the latest snowmaking technologies, and wanted to make sure it was a year-round, full service resort.”
Hayes added that they have invested multiple million dollars in the 365 Snow Park, including land excavation, lift restoration and a new surface lift. “It’s a significant investment on our part, but we believe we have the market for this, with 23 million people within a 90 mile radius of us.”
Powder Ridge is looking forward to the stability the artificial surface will provide. “We will now be able to open no matter what at Christmas, so we can start planning for parties and groups that want to come for their holiday break,” Hayes told us.