Saddleback Mountain, Maine set to be purchased by local skiers, businesses

Saddleback Mountain, Maine set to be purchased by local skiers, businesses

Saddleback Mountain—Maine’s third largest ski area—will be purchased for $2.2 million by the Saddleback Mountain Foundation (SMF), a group of Rangeley businesses and local skiers. Saddleback, located in Rangeley, didn’t open last season after its owners Irene and Bill Berry failed to finance a new chairlift they believed was needed for adequate operation. SMF intends to operate the ski area as a co-operative, similar to the way Vermont’s Mad River Glen handles business. The group will now face the task of raising $4 million by selling off co-op shares in the ski area, $1.8 million of which will go towards capital improvements.

“This is very much about the community,” Peter Stein, chairman of the SMF, told the Portland Press Herald. “This is structured like a cooperative. No one in this will be looking for financial return. The money it makes will stay in the business. The main reason this works is because it’s different from what it’s been.”


Saddleback from afar. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

In addition to SMF’s purchase of the 723 acre ski area, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and New England Forestry Foundation has reached an agreement with the Berrys to purchase 3,249 acres of land surrounding the ski area in a conservation effort. The amount of the purchase has not yet been disclosed.

The prospect of Saddleback operating for the 2016-17 ski season hinges on the timeline of fundraising efforts. “It depends how much we are able to raise and how fast,” Stein said. “We will not jeopardize the long term for one season. But we want to be sensitive to everyone, especially to the economic impact this has had on the region.”

According to Stephen Philbrick, a member of the SMF, Saddleback’s closure caused the Rangeley area to lose $17 to $20 million in revenue. As such, the hope that the ski area can operate in the near future has certainly brought some positivity to the region.

A press conference was held this morning at the TPL offices in Portland, where SMF announced the details of the purchase in front of a substantial crowd. Saddleback is known for the Kennebago Steeps, a group of 12 expert lines that include glades and chutes, that locals are surely excited to tackle once again.

Other resort news:


Eldora Mountain Resort to trial uphill access for the 2016-17 ski season

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