The area’s closest downhill ski resort is up for sale.

Spout Springs Ski Area is officially on the market for a cool $1.25 million, as current owner John Murray looks to retire.

Murray, 66, has owned the 1,400-acre resort since 1999. Located on Highway 204 in the Blue Mountains near Tollgate, Spout Springs offers 800 feet of vertical skiing with a base elevation of roughly 5,000 feet.

The business runs on a lease with the Umatilla National Forest, and includes two double chairlifts, a lodge and restaurant, rental shop and ski patrol building. It is listed through Coldwell Banker First Realtors in Walla Walla.

Between ski seasons, Murray operates a full service marine center and dry dock in Portland. His son, Rick, has served as manager at Spout Springs but also works as a professional marine surveyor.

With no other family to run the resort, Murray said he has decided — reluctantly — to sell.

“It’s been good to me,” he said. “It’s nice, because the marine industry really dies down over winter.”

Established in the 1920s, Spout Springs was the training center for the U.S. and Norwegian Olympic ski jump teams in the 1950s and 1960s. Murray said the hill sits at a comfortable elevation with light, dry snow and varied terrain for both beginner and advanced skiers.

Though drier-than-usual winters have limited the resort the past two years, Murray said that’s not uncommon for the region. Low-snowfall years tend to come in cycles before conditions rebound, he said.

Murray said he has received some interest in the resort already, but no offers. The business would be great for a farmer, he said.

“We have tractors, we groom and it’s seasonal,” he said. “It will be a sweet deal for somebody.”

All the chairlifts will be certified over the summer, and the equipment remains in excellent working condition, Murray said. As part of the offer, Murray would also be available to train the new owner on operating a ski resort.

Regardless of when the sale happens, Murray said he will make sure the resort is ready to open next season.

“Just hope for snow,” he said.

For more information about the resort or to schedule an appointment, contact Coldwell Banker First Realtors at 509-525-0820.

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Contact George Plaven at gplaven@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4547.

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