When word surfaced this spring that Ski Bluewood was in danger of permanently closing it was as gut wrenching to skiers as the prospect of taking on a double black diamond run covered in ice.
And, frankly, the business community in Dayton had those same stomach-churning feelings.
Ski Bluewood is vital to the Blue Mountain region as a recreation destination and an economic driver.
Having a quality ski resort just an hour away from Walla Walla has been a boon. It's helped attract people to the area and has likely been a factor in keeping folks here. Ski Bluewood enhances the area's qualify of life.
Bluewood has been a boost for the economy of Dayton, which is only about 30 minutes away. Restaurants and other consumer-driven businesses count on skiers for winter business.
The current owners of the ski resort announced earlier this year the resort would close unless new operators stepped forward. In July it was reported a group of business, academic, nonprofit and government leaders in Dayton and Walla Walla began looking at options for taking over the resort.
Dayton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lisa Ronnberg, Duane Wollmuth, executive director of the Southeast Washington Economic Development association, and Dwight Robanske, chairman of the Economic Development Steering Committee in Dayton, are heading up the effort.
"Beyond the direct and indirect employment Ski Bluewood provides, the resort has played a significant role in attracting business people, students, health and academic leaders and retirees to our area. We want to make sure Bluewood continues to be a part of the high quality of life we all enjoy," Ronnberg said.
But to this point, it's been pretty hush-hush. All that can be heard is the sound of rumors circulating. Some of these rumors have been positive, some negative.
Fall is upon us and that means winter is near. Time is running short.
Let's hope a deal can be made so that Ski Bluewood is open when the first snow falls. A significant part of the region's economy is riding on it.
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