Not good news from Saddleback.  The Berry family have been good stewards of Saddleback, but are living proof of the old saying "if you want to make a small fortune start with a larger one and buy a ski resort".  Would be a real shame (not to mention a serious blow to the local economy) if they can't operate this season. They've been looking for a buyer since 2012, maybe we should start a collection?

Owner says Saddleback won't reopen without funding for new chairlift

RANGELEY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Berry Family announced Monday in a press release to all media outlets that Saddleback will not open for the winter season unless it can get $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."

The Berry Family says they have informed all employees of the potential changes in winter operations and has guaranteed that all season pass holders will be reimbursed. They also tell media that vendors will be paid in full if the mountain does not open for the ski season.

From Saddleback:

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Good to hear.  Look had one of these too right before Xmas at the rams head condos/TH's.  That one was a comets loss too.  Tough.

MHL said:

Bud that lives up there and worked at mtn said unoccupied and nobody hurt.

I am posting this latest from the Saddleback FB group primarily for historical purposes, and in case anyone on here wants to apply to be hired as GM by a group which doesn't own the non-operating ski area.

Posted on behalf of Peter Stein - Latest News:

Saddleback Mountain Foundation Newsletter 
March 27th, 2017

Hello Fellow Saddlebackers,

We continue to participate in negotiations to purchase the Saddleback Mountain Ski Area with all the inherent confidentialities. Although the board of directors cannot provide details, we can assure you that the process is moving forward.

While we continue to participate in these negotiations, the focus of the Saddleback Mountain Foundation this past week was on completing the 501(c)(3) application and finding the right General Manager for our community resort.

The effort on the 501(c)(3) application includes finalization of our mission statement to include essential elements, such as:

· Preservation of the Ski Area - The primary mission of Saddleback Mountain Foundation is to make sure the lifts always spin and our “trail less skied” vibe is protected for generations to come.

· Education - The Foundation’s plan is to offer a wide variety of year-round educational programs, including ski instruction, amateur racing, health/wellness, conservancy, and nature programs, which will allow both children and adults from all over New England to come enjoy, explore, and learn lifelong skills from our mountain.

· Community Access to the Mountain – Our mission is to ensure that all can experience our mountain. To that end, the Foundation is exploring various options, including scholarships and volunteer programs and opportunities, to help those who need financial assistance participate in mountain activities and programs.

· Science – Climate change is dramatically affecting the ski industry. According to scientists studying across Maine's High Peaks, our mountains are among the most important landscapes on the North American continent when it comes to our variable climate. We can have a role in understanding the importance of Saddleback Mountain's high elevation through studies of how early the snowpack develops, how long the snows stay, and the effects of changing
weather patterns on plants and animals.

· Engineering - Snow making will be key to Saddleback’s survival as a ski area. However, the energy requirements are huge. Did you know it takes two megawatt pumps just to get the water up the mountain? That’s a lot of energy! We plan to explore projects and programs that will enable our mountain to lead the way in the development of renewable energy snowmaking through funded grant programs.

The Foundation is looking for a General Manager with the following skills and characteristics:

· Extensive ski industry experience;

· Excellent managerial and communication skills;

· Extensive experience working within a non-profit ski area model;

· Experience in developing programs that leverage all that is Saddleback and the Rangeley region to advance, improve, and sustain our mountain.

We conducted our first interview this past week and are excited to report that we were very pleased with this first strong candidate. We will keep you updated on the General Manager search as we move forward.

I am more confident than ever that Saddleback Mountain Ski Area will become community owned. Some may have wondered what we mean by “community owned”. We see “community owned” as meaning that those in the Saddleback Mountain Community will have a role in preserving the Saddleback Mountain Ski Area and its use. Our “Community” is all who derive benefit from Saddleback, either spiritually, physically, or economically, and care deeply about its long-term survival. Our Saddleback community consists of a cast of thousands of individuals and businesses who share not only a passion for the mountain, but also for Rangeley and the towns surrounding Saddleback and the High Peaks of Maine. While our community starts at Saddleback, it stretches down to Portland, and throughout Maine and New England and beyond. Our Saddleback Mountain community is large and very, very strong.
Working together, The Saddleback Mountain Foundation and the Saddleback Mountain Community can assure that what has happened to our mountain over the last two years never happens again.


another update...there have been several since my post above, but at least they have finally put an OFFER in to the Berrys.

Saddleback Mountain Foundation Newsletter 
April 24th, 2017

Dear Saddleback Community,

We did not post a newsletter last Monday as we had planned because we had hoped to have some definitive news to share with you later in the week. We are pleased to share with you now, that after considerable constructive back and forth negotiations, we have presented the Berry Family with an agreement for their full consideration. Both parties have worked hard to reach this point and we continue to hope for a positive outcome, in the form of mutual signatures on the agreement. We will certainly let you know when we have more to report.

The Saddleback Mountain Foundation initiative continues to firmly believe the community-owned and mission-oriented non-profit model is by far the best outcome for our beloved mountain and the surrounding community. To further support us in this effort, we are so pleased to announce that Wolfe Tone, an individual with much leadership experience in guiding non-profit and community efforts, has agreed to serve as Acting Executive Director of the Saddleback Mountain Foundation effective immediately. You will hear more from Wolfe himself in our newsletter next Monday, if not sooner.

A recent photograph of Saddleback shows snow still on the slopes - we are hopeful that this time next year the Saddleback family will be back together -skiing - in a place we hold dear, and under an economic model that will keep it that way.

Skifully, Peter

for those still keeping score at home, the group is getting formalized, has a new director, and has been writing a lot of goals along with working on an agreement with the Berrys but most importantly they are still short $ to close the deal.

May 8th, 2017

Hello Saddleback Community:

It is a great pleasure to have the opportunity to introduce myself as the Acting Executive Director of the Saddleback Mountain Foundation. I hope you’re okay if I stay short on the details about me this time around; we can work on that a little bit at a time through this newsletter and, hopefully before too long, in person. I am new to your community, but not new to Maine’s High Peaks region or to inspired efforts like ours here to acquire Saddleback Mountain. I’ve dedicated almost my entire professional life so far to the intersection of land, people, and communities, and am honored to be working with a visionary group of Saddlebackers.

I imagine most of you have been following our newsletters over the past couple of months. There’s street chatter that we’ve folded our tent and gone home; that is, indeed, not the case. There’s street chatter we’ve figured it all out and raised all the money; that’s not the case either. This past week, we again exchanged the terms of a transaction with the Berry family, circling finer and finer points until we were focused on one last agreement term.

As the adage goes, it takes two to tango in a real estate deal. As Peter Stein, the SMF board, and I have toiled for a long time over shaping an agreement, I have tried to imagine how a proposed sale and purchase might look to all the parties, not just how it looks to us, the buyers. The dollars and cents are, in a way, the easy part. The Saddleback Mountain Foundation, and our partnership with the New England Forestry Foundation, believe we can deliver a vibrant mountain managed sustainably that welcomes young and young-at-heart to experience the magic of Saddleback. But SMF is a new organization, still developing its wings. The Berrys have said they want to see a level of evidence that we can succeed and that putting the mountain into a non-profit community led enterprise is the right future for Saddleback. From our vantage point, in order to provide them that evidence, we need to agree to a framework of a deal.

That’s my job in a nutshell. Since last summer, the Saddleback community, Rangeley, and people around the state came out, not demanding a solution but asking how they can be part of the solution.

The Saddleback Mountain Foundation has a vision, a mission, a plan, and a team. We have the framework of a deal that we believe can work. We have cash in the bank, but not all of it. We have fundraising to accomplish for the ski area, a start-up fund, and a replacement Rangeley Chair. There’s more, but that gets us a mountain. We have an incredible story in an incredible landscape.

Now in this Director seat, I believe our progress suggests more of a likelihood of success than failure. In my experience, I am aware of many, many fantastic community and conservation projects that have started with an idea, dedicated individuals, a limited project fund at the start, and an element of uncertainty. I believe the acquisition, conservation, and revitalization of Saddleback Mountain can be the next in that esteemed list of great community accomplishments.

So that’s who I am and how I see the task before me - each challenge turned into an opportunity and a bright future for Saddleback, Rangeley, and Maine’s High Peaks. My goal is to build on your support and invite others to join us in writing the next chapter for this great story. We’ll continue to share developments with you through this newsletter, and I look forward to time with you out on the mountain before too long.


Wolfe Tone

Have to give them credit for at least one thing...they are really good at "updates" that don't really update anything. :/

I find the updates really hard to read, 7 paragraphs of nothing.  Wolfe needs to learn how to use bullet points, he could have written this in one paragraph, 4 bullets and a thank you.   

Zen Master said:

Have to give them credit for at least one thing...they are really good at "updates" that don't really update anything. :/
Posters should add a tl;dr (too long didn't read summary) at the bottom

I'll save you from having to read the longest post to date, but here's a link:

In summary:

SB has been for sale since 2012. It has not operated the past two seasons.

Group needs to raise $8mil to move forward and now have $3.5mil in commitments.

Plus they will need to raise another $3.2mil to replace Rangeley chair or won't open.

Cryptic News

Latest update from SMF group is that they are in a "holding pattern"

Rumors of an Australian group showing interest and possibly making an offer.

Stakes placed around the Rangeley lift terminal and reports of a Dopplemayr van in the area.

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