The town of Middlefield, Conn., has closed on a deal to buy Powder Ridge Ski Area for $2.55 million.

The area last operated during the winter of 2005-06.

The town of Middlefield and Robert Switzgable, owner of Ski Sundown, had hoped to buy Powder Ridge, reopen the ski area and preserve surrounding land as open space.

Middlefield Holdings outbid them at an auction June 21, 2008, held after a long involuntary bankruptcy proceeding begun by unsecured creditors of Whitewater Mountain Resorts and principal owner Ken Leavitt.

The Middlefield Press reported the town is in discussions with several potential operators, and that Middlefield hopes to lease the ski area while retaining development rights to the rest of the land involved in the deal.

Switzgable is widely respected for his operation of Ski Sundown and, among local skiers, appears to be the popular choice to run Powder Ridge. Whether that happens remains to be seen.

Middlefield officials have said they have no interest in having the town run the ski area.