US’ Oldest Operating Ski Club To Vote On Sale Or Closure Of Ski Blandford
The Springfield Ski Club Board of Directors have sent a letter to its membership about a potential buyer for the Blandford Ski Area. In the letter, dated June 23, members were notified of a special meeting on Tuesday, July 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the ski area to vote on selling all assets of the club to Butternut Basin. Springfield Ski Club's members will be meeting on July 18 to approve the sale of assets to the owners of Ski Butternut.
The letter, signed by Springfield Ski Club president Michael R. Gagnon and clerk Sarah Framarin said “This is your opportunity to hear the details of the sale, learn about the future of the ski area and cast your vote,”. The letter highlights membership, accrued debt and aging lifts as reasons for the need to sell or close. The chairlifts range from 39 to 48 years old and were installed at a time in which the club had roughly 5,000 members. Membership fell to 1,426 in 2014-15.
An e-mail this spring declared this year's early season pass sales are "well below" normal and that "Blandford Ski Area is financially insolvent."
The letter also states that any sale needs to include the requirement that Springfield Ski Club members will continue to be able ski and ride at Blandford.
Blandford Ski Area (BSA) is a ski area located in Blandford, Massachusetts and is operated by the Springfield Ski Club. Blandford Ski Area has been owned by the Springfield Ski Club since 1936. This is the oldest, continuously operating club-owned ski area in North America.
Blandford Ski Area has 23 trails (12 lighted for night skiing) and 5 lifts, including 3 double chairlifts and a magic carpet lift. The base is located at 1,025 ft and the summit is located at 1,490 ft; a 465 ft vertical drop. They have updated snow-making that covers about 80% of the mountain, as well as up-to-date grooming. They have two lodges; an older lodge, and a new lodge with hot food service. The average season at Blandford Ski Area lasts from mid to late December to middle March.
Massachusetts law requires a two-thirds vote of the 2017-18 membership for the sale to go through. Any member who doesn’t return their proxy or attend the special meeting will be counted as a “No” vote, and if there are not sufficient numbers of “Yes” votes to approve the sale, the Blandford Ski Area will close.
The potential purchaser, Ski Butternut has a history of coming to the assistance of other regional ski areas. Channing Murdock purchased the defunct Satan's Ridge ski area and reopened it as Ski Sundown. In 2011, Jeff Murdock's Stoney Management became involved with nearby Otis Ridge.
Channing and Jane Murdock took control of Ski Butternut in 1963, naming the area Butternut Basin after the large groves of butternut trees located in the basin of the mountain.