INside the OUTside: After five years, Saddleback is now up and running

by Dan Cassidy

It’s been five years since ski enthusiasts were able to ski one of Maine’s top ski resorts, Saddleback and the lifts were turned on Tuesday, December 15, 2020.

The effort became a reality when Arctaris Impact Fund purchased the mountain in January of 2020. Dopplemayr USA was also present to bless a new Quad chairlift for the Mountain.

Although the resort was closed for five years, many locals never gave up on it. “Over the past five years, the Rangeley and Oquossoc communities have shown a remarkable resilience,” said Andy Shepard, general manager at Saddleback. The mountain raised the towers on the new detachable quad that attracted hundreds of spectators from all over and inspired their donor base and also sent a clear message to the Saddleback family that even in the midst of the CVOID crisis, the mountain was determined to open on December 15 and that indeed took place.

Saddleback Ticket pricing:

With a new high-speed detachable quad, the improvements made to the base lodge and the expansion of their new snowmaking system, Saddleback has developed a Fair Ticket Pricing Plan that is intended to make skiing and riding more accessible and fair to everyone while intending to allow the mountain to be sustainable and remain sustainable. Check out the Saddleback website for ticket specials.

The mountain, located in Rangeley has a vertical drop of 2,000 feet, is serviced by two quads, two double chairlifts and one T-bar. Terrain consists of 23 easy/green, 20 intermediate and 23 back diamond trails.

Andy Shepard is the new general manager at Saddleback, Douglas Doc Tulin is director of marketing and Patricia Baker is communications director. Many improvements including the quad lift is a welcome addition to the Mountain.

Ski resorts under pressure:

With the coronavirus continuing to spread it is putting ski resorts under a great deal of pressure throughout the state.

Many ski areas are no longer allowing skiers and snowboarders to enter the base lodges to dress, boot up or warm up. Some have installed porta-potties outside, however visitors are facing problems during cold or snowy weather, as it’s not only difficult to ‘boot’ up in a parking lot then carry back packs and skis to waiting busses then transport them to the lifts. This is creating longer lift lines.

Needs have changed:

The time has come when both individuals and families will have to change our habits before getting to your local ski area. First, you’ll have to change the way you get to your destination, that is, carrying a backpack filled with hand and foot warmers and other gear, you should bring along a chair to sit in next to your vehicle to boot up and dress up.

It’s not how we’ve all enjoyed winter skiing and riding in the past, but during these Covid trying times, let’s hope a better season will be here before spring skiing.

Ski and ride safely, use your head and don’t forget to wear a helmet.


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