Rangeley, ME —July 20, 2015 —Saddleback, Maine, the third largest ski mountain in Maine and the third largest employer in Franklin County, announced today that it will not commence winter operations unless it can secure $3 million in financing to purchase a new four-person chairlift to replace the aging 4,717-foot Rangeley Double Chair. The 51-year-old lift is the main access from the base lodge to the top of Saddleback Mountain and is at the end of its useful life according to mountain officials.
“In order for Saddleback to be sustainable for the long-term, we’ve decided the lift must be replaced,” said Mark Berry, owner, Saddleback, Maine. “For the last several months, we’ve been actively seeking the necessary financing to replace the chairlift, however time is running out. We only have a few weeks to make this work. In order to open this winter, we need to order the new lift by early August.”
In 2003, Bill and Irene Berry of Farmington, Maine, purchased Saddleback, Maine. The Berry family wanted to protect the resort’s economic significance for Rangeley and its historic importance for Maine. During the ski season, Saddleback, Maine, employs up to 300 people. The Berry’s also had a vision of providing a ski mountain that the average Mainer could afford. The family has invested millions in the mountain since 2003. Improvements include a new base lodge, the installation of two new quad chairlifts, the addition of many new trails, expanded snowmaking and glade skiing. Today it remains one of the few family-owned ski mountains in the Northeast.
Berry continued: “This is certainly not where we hoped to be given our success in growing this mountain. It is our sincere hope that the funding will come through in time to purchase the new lift and have it operational for this year’s ski season. We are now calling on those who treasure what Saddleback is to the people of Maine to help us find a solution.”
The Berry family informed year-round Saddleback employees and mountain property owners of the potential changes in winter operations. The Berry family has guaranteed that all season pass holders will be reimbursed and all vendors will be paid in full if the mountain does not open for the ski season. The ski area and thousands of acres of surrounding woodlands remain for sale.
Saddleback officials also confirmed that all weddings and summer/autumn events will continue as planned regardless of the winter operation decision.
About Saddleback, Maine
Saddleback is a family-owned 4,120-ski mountain nestled in the heart of the Rangeley Lakes Region known for its superior snowfall, miles of uncluttered terrain and relaxed atmosphere. It has a 2,000-foot vertical drop, which is comparable to the best alpine ski mountains in the West.Saddleback has been voted first in overall satisfaction, first in value, best family resort, and best grooming in the East by Ski Magazine, Snow East and other leading industry publications. To learn more, go to www.saddlebackmaine.com.