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Saddleback Season in Jeopardy
Saddleback Season in Jeopardy
Area has announced it will not be open during Presidents' Week.
Monday, February 8, 2016, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
In a Facebook post this afternoon, Saddleback announced it would not operate during Presidents' Week.

The area recently missed its projected late January opening, despite announcing it had agreed to sale terms earlier in the month. While snowguns have been placed on the slopes and an employee hired, no future reopening progress has been noted.

"As of today we know the following:
"We will not be open for February vacation week and any update on a possible opening date will be posted as we receive the information.
"Saddleback is more than a mountain - it is a community of people. We are asking for your support as we seek to ensure the long term viability of this community. The Berry Family has made the decision not to pressure the buyer but to be supportive of the situation. We are very grateful to the condominium owners, season pass holders and local businesses for being so supportive of our position."

The prospective buyer is still not publicly known. In a recent Ski Magazine article, Les Otten denied rumors that he was the buyer.

Background
The latest Saddleback saga started on July 20, 2015, when the Berry family announced they had two weeks to place an order for a replacement for the Rangeley double chairlift, or else it would close the ski area. The family was unable to obtain financing.

Heirs to a large insurance company, Bill and Irene Berry purchased the Rangeley ski area and thousands of acres surrounding it for a reported $8 million in 2003, following an announcement from prior owner Donald Breen that it would close. Two new quad chairlifts were installed in subsequent years in conjunction with a major base lodge expansion. The Oquossoc Cove Marina was added to the fold in 2009.

After obtaining is B.S. in civil engineering from Lehigh University in 1955, M.S.T. in biology-geology from Colby College in 1966, and Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Kansas in 1970, Archie "Bill" Berry Jr. joined the faculty of the University of Maine at Farmington. A longtime Saddleback skier, Berry purchased a condo near the ski area in the early 1990s and retired from UMF in 1996. Berry's son Mark worked at Sugarloaf and ran Titcomb Mountain ski area (to which Bill Berry made significant contributions).

In 1971, the U.S. Investment Corporation was founded, which would include Mount Vernon Fire Insurance Company and US Underwriters Insurance Company. On August 8, 2000, Berkshire Hathaway acquired the U.S. Investment Corporation for an estimated $160 million in stock, mainly transferred to the extended Berry family.

On July 28, 2003, Saddleback, Inc. and Saddleback Land & Timber Corp. were incorporated in the State of Maine. Bill Berry, his wife Irene Berry, and their seven children soon took ownership of the 8,000 acre Saddleback tract via their corporations.

Since 2005, Saddleback has entered into multi-million dollar financing agreements with UnitedKinfield Bank, Camden National Bank, Skowhegan Savings Bank (via Finance Authority of Maine), and Coastal Enterprises Inc.

The Berry family placed the ski area on the market in 2012.

In recent years, members of the Berry family have loaned money to both corporations.

In May 2014, the Berrys sold 1,750 acres of land to generate funds.

Rangeley Double (2012)
Rangeley Double (2012)

Saddleback in 2014




Related Stories on NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
  • NBC Portland: 'Money isn't there' for Majella Group Saddleback Purchase - November 21, 2017
  • Saddleback Mountain Foundation Receives 501(c)(3) Non Profit Status - November 14, 2017
  • Majella Announces Delay in Saddleback Sale, Construction - November 10, 2017
  • Concerns Mount at Saddleback - October 20, 2017
  • Majella Commits to Opening Saddleback for the 2017-18 Ski Season - September 19, 2017


  • More Information
  • Saddleback Mountain Resort on NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
  • Saddleback Mountain Resort on NewEnglandSkiHistory.com


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