SKIING -- The new owners of Ski Bluewood aren’t complaining about the lingering winter weather as they prepare for the final weekend of their first season.
“We’ve had great snow all through March, and April has been fantastic,” said Travis Stephenson, who operates the Dayton ski area for an ownership group headed by his Pasco-based family. “But then we typically have a great spring, which is a little-known secret in the area,” the told the Tri-City Herald.
Bluewood reported 2 inches of new snow Thursday morning.
Wednesday morning, Stephenson arrived to 14 fresh inches. In the past week, more than 26 inches fell. That made for 90 inches at the base, which will be more than enough for the 25th annual Bluewood Bash on Sunday.
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"It will disappoint a few people that we are closed for the season after Sunday, but you just don’t have any skiers,” he said. “In our area, people move into golf, mowing the lawn and stuff like that.”
It’s difficult to say who has been more appreciative this winter -- the patrons or the Stephensons, who spearheaded the Bluewood purchase last fall from Stan and Nancy Goodell. Were it not for Travis’ father Mike, it was almost certain that the ski area would have been shuttered this season.
“We didn’t close on the purchase until Dec. 3, the day we were open,” Travis said. “It was done faster than usual, but everyone was in the spirit that it was important to get this open and stay open this year.”
On Thursday, there were 120 inches covering the summit. That total is slightly above normal for the end of the season, but it doesn’t make up for a miserable start of 2011.
“January is historically our biggest month, but we had 10 straight days of rain,” he said. “That hurt, but we’re basically on track with what we expected to see in our first year. We’re not doing backflips, but we’re stepping in the right direction.”