After years of sitting idle, a Chautauqua County ski resort has been sold. The Cockaigne Ski Area in Cherry Creek plans to re-open for the ski season next year.
The resort closed after the ski lodge burned down in 2011. The sale was facilitated by the the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency, which agreed to put up a half-million dollars over 20 years at 4 percent.
As an attorney, New York State Assemblymember Andy Goodell (R-Jamestown) represents the former owners who sold the 475-acre site to new owners Adam Pirtz and Isaac Gratto. In explaining the purchase, Goodell said a big priority will be getting a new chalet ready for fall.
"Cockaigne gets about 250-275 inches of natural snow because it's right in the middle of the snow belt," he said. "That's about 23 feet of natural snow and it's not as big, obviously, as the western mountains, but very friendly, family friendly ski resort and some really good skiing."
Goodell is also a one-time ski instructor at Cockaigne. He said there also are other essential elements that have to be put in place.
"They obviously want to have a new fresh face on it and bring back a lot of customers and could be a lot of excitement with a new lodge," Goodell said. "Same time, they have to reach out and put together a National Ski Patrol. This is a safety patrol. Cockaigne had a nationally-recognized ski patrol and hopefully there's some number of those guys around who are willing to step forward and put that back together."
Goodell, also a former county executive, said this project is important to Chautauqua because of the jobs.
"Cockaigne typically employs between 150 and 200 people during the winter season," he said. "We have a number of summer employment opportunities with our golf courses and our resorts, our summer resorts. So this helps provide more of a year-round employment picture for a lot of people who are involved in the entertainment and hospitality industry."