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No skiing at Spout Springs again this season

Phil Wright

East Oregonian

Published on October 6, 2017 7:18PM

Spout Springs Ski Area will remain closed for the second winter in a row.

John Murray, 69, of Portland, owns the modest resort on Highway 204 near Tollgate, between Weston and Elgin.

He said he needs to step away from the business due to a serious health condition, which the resort’s altitude could affect. He also did not want to risk being too far from emergency help.

Murray and his wife Nancy bought Spout Springs 19 years ago, he said, and are trying to sell it for $1.2 million. The resort has an assessed or taxable value of $221,916, according to Union County property records, and a real market value of $392,880.

Murray said he has received some inquires about the property.

“We’re trying actively to find someone to purchase it,” he said, “and we would entertain a lease as well, if someone would operate it until it does sell.”

Murray did not open Spout Springs last year either — blaming its closure on a parking dispute with snowmobilers and the U.S. Forest Service.

The heavy snow and inaction caused damage to the resort’s Happy Chair lift. Murray said those repairs will not take place until the spring, another reason he will not be able to open this season.

“I don’t feel pretty good about not operating it,” he said.

During a typical season running from early December until about April 1, Murray said the resort has attracted as many as 12,000-20,000 visitors.

Murray described Spout Springs as a special and even romantic place.

“Lots of people met there over the years,” he said. “And made an effort to tell me they met their wife there.”

Spout Springs had been in continuous operation since the 1920s. The area was also a Nordic training center for the United States Olympic team and the Norwegian jump team in the 1950s and 1960s.


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